Out and About

On Friday we accepted the very kind invitation of one of Matt’s former coworkers to attend a happy hour that he was hosting at the Army Navy Club downtown. After several glasses of wine (no idea what it was beyond Merlot and Chardonnay since it was dressed up in fancy Army Navy Club labels) we decided to head with the host and another former coworker (whom we also knew from college) out to McCormick and Schmick’s for a late dinner.

While there, I had a glass of Penfolds 2005 Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet. At the restaurant it was selling for $9.25 a glass and $37.50 for the bottle, but I see you can find it here for as little as $8.68 a bottle. For that price, this would be an excellent value as an easy to drink wine that would please a crowd at a party with no trouble.

My tablemates all had the Guiness special at $3.00 a pint, but I really only feel the need to drink Guiness when eating corned beef and cabbage, not with my seafood. Though I guess I shouldn’t talk since I paired a big red with my seafood….

I’d never been to McCormick and Schmick’s before, and didn’t realize it was a chain until I just went and looked it up. However, for a chain, the food and service were excellent and I loved the decor/ambience. We were seated immediately and put in a tucked away booth with curtains to close if you wanted more privacy.

I had the Maryland Crab Soup, which was a little spicy for my taste (just a little too much tabasco it felt like) but Matt really enjoyed it. My main course was the Crab, Shrimp and Artichoke Dip, which was fabulous. I love this creamy concoction in all its forms at various restaurants, but this one was especially tasty. And it was huge. There was more than enough for me and at least one other person to make an entire meal out of it. The pita chips were crispy and thick enough to scoop up the dip nicely.

Now, the food wasn’t a fabulous match with the wine, but that’s okay, I really wanted this glass. Overally, the restaurant had a really good selection of wines by the glass and a fairly large selection of wine overall, ranging from decently priced huge producers to smaller, more expensive selections.

The Penfolds had a nose of vanilla, cedar, dark fruit and spices. It really jumped out of the glass. In the mouth I got black currants and blackberries. Overall, it had a good mouthfeel and is definitely a drink it now kind of wine. It’s smooth and structured nicely, but seems clearly to be a wine that was bottled with immediate drinking in mind. I would really like to have some of this on hand for a backyard bbq this summer, as I can see it going over really well with a crowd. Good sized pour for the glass as well.

This was the first glass of anything from Penfolds that I have had and I would be very interested in trying some of the other offerings. I know over on Wino-Sapien there are many reviews of the various levels of the Penfolds collection (and it looks like there are many, many tiers to their offerings) and lots of them sound like excellent bargains if they can be found here in the US. I see that several stores in the NY/NJ area have good deals on the particular wine I tasted, I will have to keep my eye out for some more of the offerings in my area. Perhaps on my trip to the wine store next week….I need some everyday wines again!


3 Responses

  1. Sonadora,

    Penfolds has an incredible number of wines on the market.
    If you can find them the ‘cheaper’ Bins are the ones to look for.
    eg Bin 28, Bin 128.
    The Koonunga Hill Cab Shiraz you mention is always good at a BBQ.


  2. Hi,

    I love that restaurant; I visit the Crystal City location at least once every 2 weeks. My favorite thing is the calamari appetizer with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Awesome! You have so succeeded in making me hungry.

    Happy Sipping!


  3. Thanks for the suggestions Edward. I will definitely be keeping my eye out when I am hunting for wines for some of the other varieties!

    Dezel, that sounds excellent as well! I love some Sauvignon Blanc with my seafood…sorry to get you salivating!

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