I used to live in Cleveland Park (and in Van Ness prior to that), so I became very familiar with that particular stretch of Connecticut Avenue. Being that there is so much at our doorstep in Bethesda, I don’t go back to my old neighborhood as often as I would like. Given the recent resurgence of new establishments opening in Cleveland Park, it’s nice to see the area continue to change and develop.
Just last week, we were able to attend an event at Weygandt Wines to celebrate International Champagne Day. It’s hard to imagine that the same spot used to belong to a Blockbuster Video, and right next door is the expanded Palena where I used to do my daily shopping at MacGruder’s. There are still the old standbys like California Tortilla and Indique, but we’ve definitely been eying Medium Rare and still need to make a trip to Ripple as well as the renovated Ardeo/Bardeo.
Anyway, back to the wines. We will fully admit that we are not winos and cannot claim too much expertise in that department. We do, however, enjoy trying new varieties and going to tastings at vineyards, but when it comes to choosing the right bottle at a restaurant to pair with a dish, consider us clueless… which is where the folks at Weygandt Wines come in.
If I still lived in the neighborhood, I could see it being my go-to store for choosing the perfect wine. The store itself is a showcase for Peter Weygandt’s wine selections as an importer from wines all over the world. The store’s partner and manager is Tim O’Rourke, a former chef who hails from restaurants such as Cafe Atlántico, Michel Richard Citronelle, and Tosca. Along the way, he fell in love with fine wine and came to the store with the idea of a place to showcase wine and discuss food.
The space may seem a little intimidating at first, but the staff is very warm and helpful, and if you are looking for something within a particular budget, they can steer you in that direction. There is even a showcase in the front of quality wines for $15 or less.
On this particular night, we were able to sample several varieties of champagne along with several red wines. They were all wonderful, but we have to say our favorite was the champagne from Nicolas Maillart. We even had some small bites to try courtesy of Ripple, and I was definitely drawn to their chicken liver and apple butter crostini.
In addition to providing helpful guidance on wine selections, they also hold regular tastings on Saturdays as well as other events. If you visit their website, there’s a handy guide of corkage fees in the DC area.