Monday, February 25, 2008

virginia wine country and stephen colbert's portrait

As soon as Stephen Colbert's portrait was hung in the National Portrait Gallery it was a goal to go see it before they took it down. It was originally scheduled to be up for 6 weeks, which would make this past weekend the final weekend, but the National Portrait Gallery extended the "exhibition" through April 1. I suspect the NPG realized that they were drawing in more young people than they had in a while and those young people were staying to see the other exhibits and to spend their money in the gift shop. At any rate, go see it if you're a fan of Stephen Colbert. It's quite humorous to see his portrait hanging over the water fountains between the men's and women's restrooms on the second floor. People crowd around the portrait taking photos and we were no exception.

While we were at the NPG, we explored the exhibit Obata's Yosemite. Japanese artist Chiura Obata visited Yosemite National Park in 1927 and sketched and painted the landscape and weather there. He produced watercolors and woodcut prints from his sketches. The colors were striking, even today 80 years after.

Also on exhibit right now at the NPG is Recognize! which is an installation highlighting portraits and photographs of hip hop. The exhibit provided a different perspective of the hip hop community.

We also went on a short wine tour while we were in Virginia. We visited four wineries on Saturday. The first was Piedmont Cellars which, frankly, I found mostly forgettable. We picked up a bottle of their 2006 Hunt Country Red and a sweet desert wine which I will pass along to my father.

The second winery we visited was Naked Mountain Winery. At Naked Mountain, you can go for a tasting and stay for their lasagna lunch. The lasagna was delicious and their wine was quite good also. We purchased a bottle of the 2005 Chardonnay. I picked up a bumper sticker that proclaims "DRINK NAKED" for the very reason that you suspect. Their tasting room was a lot of fun, their lunch was delicious and they have three great dogs running around, including one black lab that has a sign on his collar that says "Please don't feed me." So in spite of his best sad puppy eyes, he isn't getting any shnibbles to eat.

Third was Linden Vineyards, which turned out to have the best wine and also a nice Case Club members only deck where you could drink wine by the glass or bottle and choose from a selection of nice cheeses to pair with the wine. Again we bought another Chardonnay, the 2005 Avenius Chardonnay, and we also chose the 2006 Vidal Riesling. They had barrels on the porch for $50 each, one of which nearly came home with us, but it was decided to wait until another trip.

The fourth and final winery of the day was Gadino Cellars. We had a bit of palette fatigue by the time we arrived here and as the day was getting a bit long, we settled on one bottle of the 2005 Viognier. We ended up drinking this when we got home on Sunday and we found it to be quite enjoyable and it paired well with the shrimp and chicken lo meins.

Saturday night we had a wonderful Italian dinner at Luciano's, where we were treated to a free bottle of Antonini Ceresa Prosecco champagne with dessert. The champagne put a nice little finish to a beautiful day.

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