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Heart's Delight Begins!

Heart's Delight: DC's Premier Annual Wine Weekend!

Wednesday evening saw the kickoff to another great Heart's Delight. For those who may not be familiar, Heart's Delight is four days of fabulous wine and fabulous food. But--as Wednesday proved again--the best part may be the great people who come together to enjoy them. And it's all to support the fight against heart disease.

The opening event was the United States of Wine Reception on the rooftop above Charlie Palmer Steak. Seventeen American wineries poured--some who've supported the event for years, some who participated for the first time. Among the latter were Quintessa and Soliste. Master Sommelier Larry Stone poured the Quintessa and owner Claude Koeberle poured the Soliste--they're both rock stars and the wines they offered were superb. Peay, poured by co-owner Andy Peay, was another outstanding first-timer. Ridge, Opus One and Domaine Drouhin Oregon were just a few of the returning stars.

After the reception it was down to the private dining room in Charlie Palmer's for the Collectors Dinner. The theme, once again, was for each participant to bring at least one memorable bottle to share. Most brought more than one. There was more wine than anyone could drink. In some circumstances, that might be unfortunate...wasteful. But it turned out to be very good. Because it encouraged people to take wine around the room--sharing their favorites with anyone and everyone.

And that was the highlight. While there were great bottles--at my table, a 2008 Marc Hebrart Special Club Champagne, a 1997 Zind-Humbrecht Rangen de Thann Clos Saint Urbain, a 1995 Pahlmeyer and two Soliste pinots among them--it was the sharing that really mattered. People gathered between tables--said: "try this"--and enjoyed each other's company. Was the 1989 Chateau Lafleur memorable? Sure. The 1985 Krug? Of course. The Lafleur was Helen Mirren in an elegant black cocktail ensemble. Sexy and a distinguished way. The Krug was Sophia Loren in her 50s, wearing a low cut dress--still luscious and proud of it. But even more memorable than the wines were the people who shared them. There was talk of life...and love...of a marriage proposal about to happen the next night (spoiler alert: she said yes)...and a hundred other things.

It was a night of generosity. Just one example...during the reception a 5L bottle of 1993 Ridge Montebello was auctioned off for a very good price. At the dinner, the winning bidder opened the bottle and shared it with everyone--upon which Ridge winemaker Eric Baugher announced he'd send him another. It was that kind of night.

The DC wine community came together. For a good cause. To eat and drink. But perhaps mostly, to celebrate life and friendship.

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