On Friday, June 22, more than 1,500 wine-and-food lovers filled the sprawling Great Hall of the National Building Museum for Wine Enthusiast’s third annual Toast of the Town in Washington, D.C.
The majestic setting—replete with ceilings soaring four stories high, towering marble Corinthian columns and a tiled fountain—was the perfect backdrop for the nearly 50 vintners, who showcased more than 500 of their finest wines, as well as a handful of top distillers and brewers. To complement these stellar sips, 37 of the city’s top restaurants prepared delectable bites that highlighted culinary cultures from around the globe.
With temperatures hitting nearly 100°F on Friday, many revelers made a beeline for cool and refreshing whites to begin the evening. Wines of Vinho Verde featured a quintet of stellar Portuguese contenders, including the Quinta de Gomariz’s 2011 Loureiro, which boasted a floral nose and a tantalizing passion fruit notes. Representing the West Coast, Napa Cellars offered its crisp and citrusy 2011 Sauvignon Blanc.
Bubbly options included Bisol Desiderio & Figli’s award-wining 2011 Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze Prosecco, La Marca’s NV Prosecco and Tott’s NV Brut Gold Medal Cuvée.
Reds were well represented, with Alexander Valley Vineyards’s bold, berry-laced 2007 Cyrus Red and Chamisal Vineyards’s red-fruited 2010 Estate Pinot Noir.
For those seeking a wine alternative, Mad Fox Brewing Company’s honeyed Saison Farmhouse Ale, made in Virginia, and Farmer’s Organic Botanical Gin poured by Chatham Imports, Inc. were both popular.
The fine food was another draw for guests. Station 4 pulled out all the stops with a slow-cooked pork belly with a guava-rum emulsion, BLT Steak offered up a one-bite version of its signature soy-lime dressed tuna tartare, and Bastille balanced sugary and savory with a chocolate foie gras truffle rolled in pistachio bits.
For a sweet treat to end the evening, guests enjoyed miniature cupcakes from Sprinkles Cupcakes, The Front Page’s red velvet moon pies and artisanal chocolates from Zoë’s Chocolate Co., including one spiked with Greek Mavrodaphne wine.
Throughout the night, the space was filled with the soulful sounds of the five-piece David Bach Consort, which played invigorating instrumental covers that ranged from Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” to John Lennon’s “Imagine.”