The Wine, Spirits & Beers of March
Celebrate St. Paddy's Day throughout Metro Atlanta with Irish whiskey, BBQ, Beer & Bourbon, Naked Wines and more.
March is the month for that favorite party, the time we celebrate Saint Paddy who chased the snakes out of Ireland and converted the heathen. But March 2012 is a month of much more. There are craft beers to seriously contemplate, Pisco Sours to sip in honor of Peru, the High Museum of Art’s magnificent wine tastings and auction, orgasmically grown wines to try. It all starts this weekend with a fine fest celebrating beer, barbecue, babes,and bourbon although not necessarily in that order.
March 3, from noon-6 p.m. on that Saturday, Daisy Duke and The Boots Girls will be dancing while you taste it, sip it and pork it, all to live music at Atlantic Station at the Atlanta Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival. Get your favorite designated driver. They give you a souvenir glass for unlimited--that’s right--sips of 40 Bourbons, another 60 beers, and plate after plate of fine barbecue. Competitions include a Barbecue Sauce Challenge and prizes for the Best Beer Belly. There are classes on beer brewing, a BBQ cooking and a Bacon and Whole Hog Seminar, among others. Heaps of steaming BBQ from restaurants like Hapeville’s Pit Boss--the absolute best barbecue restaurant near the airport--Kennesaw’s Big Shanty Smokehouse, Meehan's Public House, Marietta’s Williams Brothers BBQ and Nana G’s Chick N Waffle food truck are will be served.
Also, on March 3 from 4-6 p.m. Niko’s Wine Corner on Crogan Street in downtown Lawrenceville celebrates its two-year anniversary offering Naked Wines from Oregon’s Naked Winery & Orgasmic Wine Company. You can sip Foreplay Chardonnay, Dominatrix Pinot Noir, and Naughty Chardonnay--all wines “orgasmically grown” in the vintner’s northwest wineries in Oregon and Washington. Experts from Atlanta’s Artisan Vines Distributing Corporation say the Naked Vines owners whimsically adopted wine names like Penetration Cabernet Sauvigon, Naked Pinot Gris, Vixen Syrah and others as a marketing ploy.
This same Saturday, March 3, from 7-10 p.m. take your credit cards, drive to Adairsville for Barnsley Gardens Resort’s Winter Wine Series and a program named “Life Is A Cabernet.” Barnsley offers a multi-course dinner featuring all the Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet Sauvignons all for the mere costs of from $220 to $659. Silver Oaks Cellars has wineries in Napa and Geyserville that only make high-end Cabernets. This Cab fete lets you drink, interact with chefs and wine experts. Barnsley Gardens Winter Wine Series continues, incidentally, on Saturday, March 31, with a big tasting of the Blue Rock Vineyards wines, presented by Sonoma Winemaker Kenny Kahn.
Duluth’s Park Café from 5-9 p.m., Wednesday, March 7, offers five wines from Paso Robles’ historic Rotta Vineyards at the restaurant’s regular Wednesday night wine tastings. The Ccfé offers two Rotta reds, two white wines and the Rotta Black Monukka dessert wine at either $10 or $15 per person, depending upon whether or not you go to sip wine or order off the regular dinner menu.
On March 7 the Ten Bristo on Peachtree Parkway in Norcross features “A Selection of Adobe Road Wines” from 6-8 p.m. during the weekly scheduled “Wine Down Wednesdays” tasting program. Guest presenter is Bob Dickerson with Adobe Road Winery located in Petaluma in Sonoma County. They began commercial bottling in 1999 and produce mostly French varietal wines.
At the 52 Bristo in Alpharetta, a new wine program is offered from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. each Monday beginning March 7, continuing March 14, 21, and 28. Guests at the Bristo, located on 52 North Main St., who order off the lunch or dinner menu automatically receive 50 percent off the price of every bottle of wine on the restaurant’s wine list, said server Linda Garland. The wine list features 10 white wines, 15 red wines and an Italian sparkling wine. See the wine list at
On Saturday, March 10, from 3-5 p.m. at Hinton’s Wine Store in Alpharetta, a special wine tasting gets underway called “Ray’s Pick of the 2011 Tastings.” Ray Leveille and his wife, Walli, carefully checked the sales records of the 100 public and private wine tastings they conducted in 2011 in Hinton’s next-door Bin 75 Tasting Room, selecting the most popular suds plus the red and white and sparkling wines. The “Ray’s Pick” celebration offers guests samples of the Spanish Kila Brut Cava sparkling wine, still wines Godeval Godelo from Spain, Cade Sauvignon Blanc and Trefethen Dry Riesling--both from California--and the Founders Brewing Company’s Centennial I.P.A., bottled in Michigan. Also offered are three more California red wines, Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, Barringer’s Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the Banshee Mordecai Zinfandel Red blended wine. Last year was the first year owner Chris Hinton and the Leveilles organized a similar tasting and 75 people attended. RSVP to the website.
March 10, from 6-10 p.m., at the Sweetwater Brewing Company’s brewery on Ottley Drive in Atlanta, the “Brew Your Cask Off” Cask Ale Festival lets party-goers judge and sample 80 special-made cask ales that were brewed three weeks ago by an eclectic assortment of “brewery friends.” These are all “one-of-a-kind” ales, ranging across the board in tastes and styles with everything from light and delicate to roasted porters. “Some may never be brewed again,” one Sweetwater exec quipped. One prize is a toilet seat printed with the word “Looser.” But it is for a worthy charity and all in fun.
March 12, The Wine Cellars in Symrna’s Market Village Shopping Center hosts its once monthly Monday night “Wine 101 Course” from 6:30-8 p.m. The tasting offers wine drinking informative points that encourage guests to discover their personal wine enjoyment. Six wines are offered along with bread, cheeses, fruit and other foods for a cost of $25 per person. The Wine Cellars host free wine tastings in the store every Saturday from 2-4 p.m. “Wine Course 101” requires RSVPs on the website.
Tuesday, March 13, it will be wearing o’ the green and drinking o’ the sprits at what promises to be a St. Patrick’s Day warm-up. Fado Irish Pub in Buckhead hosts the Bushmills Whiskey Tasting beginning at 7 p.m. This offers a six-dish meal accompanied by five Bushmills, including Bushmills 1608 Anniversary Edition, the new Bushmills Honey Whisky plus a 10- and a 16-year-old Malt Whiskey, among others. Master of Whiskey Keven Mulcahy and Rick Sullivan from 92.9 DAVE FM Radio are hosts. Reservations required.
March 14 in Athens, the Wine Dinner at Speakeasy Restaurant on East Broad Street offers a four-course, five-wine event featuring Paso Robles wines from Vina Robles in San Miguel. The food is southern inspired. These wines are great! (I tasted Vina Robles’ Cabernet Sauvignon, their Syrah/Petit Sirah Red #4, and the other current portfolio vintages last year at an Atlanta trade show. Every wine gets my two thumbs up!) The Five Points Bottle Shop and Ultimate Distributors Inc. are co-hosting this charity fund-raiser at Speakeasy. RSVPs required.
March 15 the Duluth eatery Luciano’s Ristorante Italiano on Sugarloaf Parkway hosts a wine dinner and tasting of the Friuli region winery, Sant’ Elena, in northeastern Italy. It begins this Thursday at 7 p.m. and is limited to 30 people. Each guest receives a free Stozle crystal wine goblet, specially designed for sampling the tastes and aromas of Friuli wines. Make reservations on the website.
March 17, in Avondale Estate’s Little Wine Shop on North Avondale Road, there is a free French wine tasting from 1-3 p.m. this Saturday. Winemaker Thomas Bonnefon of Chateau Le Noble in Bordeaux offers guests three of the chateau’s latest wines, a red, a white and a Rose. Chateau Le Noble is entering its wines in the Atlanta market for the first time.
Also on March 17 is the annual Smyrna St. Patrick's Day Fest at Market Village. The streets of downtown Smyrna will be closed to traffic for the event, which begins at 2 p.m. Mayor Max Bacon kicks off the festivities by dying the Market Village fountain green. The Irish festival features carnival rides, a redhead contest and live music from Andrew Black and Pine City, Patrick Scott and Homefront. Food is avaialble from Atkins Park Tavern and Zucca Pizzeria. Proceeds from the event benefit Mustard Seed Communities, a nonprofit that aims to help handicapped and abandoned children.
March 19, Monday, from, 6-10 p.m., you get a fun ‘hands-on” March Pizza Making Class and wine sipping party at Double Zero Napoletana, a Roswell Road restaurant about one block north of I-285 in Sandy Springs. The cost is $39 per person, including a big glass of Cantele Salice Salentino, a red wine from Southern Italy. There are two seating’s at 6 p.m., another at 8 p.m. Participants go into the Double Zero kitchen, work with the “head pizzaiolo” chef and learn how to make pizza dough, stretch and dress the pie, bake it in a special oven and eat it, said Federico Castellucci, owner of the Castellucci Hospitality Group, which owns Double Zero.
March 21 is “The Big Night” at the Dal Coure Humble Italian Restaurant along the Ray Moss Connector in Johns Creek. Starting at 7 p.m. this Wednesday, a four-course wine dinner will be paired with six Italian wines, everything from a Pinot Grigio to a Montepulciano to Super Tuscans like a Brunello di Montalcino, says John Agri, an owner and resident “Wine Gorilla” as he calls himself. Next to the fine fare and the high-end wines, the price is a surprisingly low $25 per person! The eight-month old Dal Coure is next door to the Dal Coure Market, where they sell wine and food. Reservations can be made on the website.
March 22, beginning Thursday at 7 p.m., The Vineyard Wine Market in The Shoppes of Powers Ferry offers an Argentine wine tasting with Ricardo Piccolo, Ambassador for the Catena Winery in Mendoza, the WINE ENTHUSIASTS Magazine 2010 “New World Winery of the Year.” Guests may sample Catena’s ’09 Malbec, their ’10 Alta Cabernet Sauvignon, the ’10 Chardonnay, the ’08 Alta Malbec, the ’08 Alta Chardonnay and the ’09 Catena Cabernet Sauvignon. Costs and RSVP can be found on the website.
March 23 the Georgia Liquor Barn in Cumming hosts a “Meet The Winemaker” wine tasting taking place this Friday from 6-9 p.m. Featured wines come from the Waterstone Winery in Napa. They include a Pinot Noir, a Pinot Gris, Waterstone’s Cabernet Sauvignon, their Merlot and Chardonnay. Waterstone Winery, founded in 2000 by Phillip Zorn and Brent Shortridge, does not own a winery or vineyards. They buy grapes from other California growers and use the facilities of other wineries to produce, age and bottle vintages. This same night, The Liquor Barn is also offering samples San Francisco brews which come from the 21st Amendment Brewery and Steam Beers from the Anchor Brewing Company. Call 678-455-5255 for information.
The “Holy Mother of Gatherings” promises free beer for folks assembling at Decatur’s downtown Brick Store Pub from noon-4 p.m., Saturday, March 24. It is a unique event bringing together between 80-100 people that all bring bottles of craft and micro-brewed beers NOT currently available in Georgia. Beers are listed on the BEER ADVOCATE website. Everyone shares sample sips. There is a fund-raising silent auction and a raffle, said Lee Dickson, Beer Manager at Brick Store Pub.
March 25 offers “Wine & Dine Your Way To Success” from 6:30-9 p.m., Sunday, at Vinings South City Kitchen. For $50 each, guests are instructed on points about out how to correctly order wine in restaurants while enjoying sample sips of eight wines. Patroski Lawson advises everyone about wine etiquette, how to read wine lists and order wines, banter with the waiter or sommelier, and then learn the proper way to accept wine and pay for the evening. Reservations are required atwww.squarehatwinecompany.com.
March 28-31 sees the High Museum of Art Wine Auction, a “Salute to the Glorious Grape.” It is the South’s largest wine event with prices to match and activities set to take place in restaurants, in private homes and under the white tents at Atlantic Station. A quick overview includes tours of Atlanta wine cellars, wine dinners at over a dozen top restaurants, a “Toast to Oregon’s Terrior” tasting of Oregon wines, all concluding with the March 31 Vintner’s Reception and Live Auction. Over the past years, this event has raised over $19 million to support the High Museum. The weekend programs can be enjoyed individually and collectively with over 300 wines to sample and enjoy.
March 31 is the conclusion of the month that “comes like a Lion, goes out like a Lamb.” The month is going to conclude with massive belching from participants leaving the Suwanee American Craft Beer Fest, which runs from noon-5 p.m. this Sunday, in Suwanee’s Town Center Park. Over 120 craft and micro brewed beers, poured by 40 breweries, are there to be responsibly sipped and savored. New this year is a Home Brew Beer Contest, organized under the national Beer Judge Certification Program. For $10 home brewers can enter their favorite suds and maybe win awards and recognitions. Food and swag will be sold, live music offered.