kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits, travel & lifestyle writer / wine educator


Featured Wine: 2010 Domaine Seguinot-Bordet Chablis Premier Cru


I love, love, love Chablis. The flintiness, the minerals, the mouth-puckering citrus. This is my kind of Chardonnay--steely, crisp and food-friendly.

The 2010 Domaine Seguinot-Bordet has all that and and more. It exhibits some weight on the palate, as well as some honey and straw. It's not as assertively acidic and crisp as other examples I've tried, but I think that gives it broader appeal, able to be enjoyed both by white wine acid hounds as those who prefer rounder, softer wines. Serve it chilled--but not overly so--so the aromas can shine through. And if you plan on broiling lobster tails or lump crabmeat with butter for an intimate New Year's Eve dinner, this is the wine to pour (in-between all that Champagne, of course.)

Featured Wine: 2011 Bulgariana Winery Cabernet Sauvignon


Recently, I attended a dinner at Blue Duck Tavern in Washington, D.C. that featured wines from Bulgaria. Many consumers may be surprised to know that the Bulgarians have been making wine for thousands of years; it's only been recently (read: after Soviet rule) that the country has been able to get their wines out to the rest of the world. Though many bottles still go to Russia, luckily an increasing number are being imported to the United States, by people like Robert Hayk, who founded G&B Importers in Bethesda. There is great value to be found in these wines, which offer freshness and great fruit with a dry finish, making them super food friendly.

One of my favorite reds from last night (and we did also try a lovely white blend as well as a Sauvignon Blanc) is the 2011 Bulgariana Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. It sees no oak, so it retains its vibrancy, but at the same time is very balanced, with approachable, fine tannins, a great balance between dark fruit and earth, and a medium body. It was a winning partner with Chef's Bone Marrow with Roasted Garlic. And it's a veritable steal, too: $9.99 at area Total Wine stores, and just a dollar or two more at other shops. Fellow Virginia residents: we won't be able to get our hands on a bottle (or a case) of it until December, when it will be available in VA Total Wine stores too. Not surprisingly, it's done very well in MD and DC among wine lovers seeking a great Cab under $10.

I'd love it with braised short ribs, or seared lamb chops. I can totally see this being one of my house wines for the upcoming fall and winter season.

Featured Wine: 2013 Bodegas Carrau Sauvignon Blanc "Sur Lie"

Bodegas Carrau Recently, I attended a Wines of Uruguay tasting at the Embassy of Uruguay in Washington, D.C. While I expected to taste a fair share of Tannat-based wines (and I did, ranging from easy drinking entry level options, to blends with Merlot, Cab and/or Tempranillo, to serious, dark bottles with grippy tannins), I was surprised to see some really well made white wines, too.

The 2013 Bodegas Carrau Sauvignon Blanc "Sur Lie" is lively and zesty, with a mouth feel that's spritzy and almost effervescent (similar to a Vinho Verde.) It has notes of lime zest, and a great line of minerality on the finish. The winery rep on hand told me it's a popular wine for oysters, and has been on the menu at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and other D.C.-area restaurants that serve bivalves. You can also get it at area Whole Foods stores. I'm definitely planning on stocking up on it--along with a bunch of oysters--and start shucking and sipping. It retails for around $14.

Featured Cocktail: Kegged Lemonades at Kapnos

lemonades_at_Kapnos[1]  Last week I went to check out Mike Isabella's new Greek hotspot Kapnos. Beyond the awesome wine list, which has so many of Greece's greatest hits that I had the chance to try during my trip there last year, beverage director Taha Ismail offers up three kegged lemonades. Available by the glass for $11, or the pitcher for $42, the three offerings are aromatic, fresh and vibrant, not to mention low alcohol libations that are perfect thirst quenches for the warmer weather. Gin Lemonade also features Batavia Arrack, honey and thyme, topped with soda and grilled lemon; Skinos Lemonade mixes the Greek liqueur with watermelon, tarragon and lemon; and Rum Lemonade combines it with lemon verbena tea, lemon, cane syrup and Angostura Bitters.

(While you are there, don't miss the Papadapolous cocktail ($12), with Skinos, HUM Liqueur, grapefruit, lime, maple and Burlesque Bitters. Both the HUM and the grapefruit lend an intriguing subtle florality. Yum.)


Featured Cocktail: Horchata Margarita

Horchata Margarita cropped

In case you haven't heard, July 24 is National Tequila Day. (I know my Inbox and Twitter feed have been bombarded with recipes and promotional info....) And while I like to sip a high quality Tequila all by itself, I can also be persuaded to drink it in a cocktail...

I received a press release the other day about the "Secretos del Tequila" program at CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa, a tequila appreciation program developed to increase guests' knowledge of and understanding for Tequila. The resort produces five types of Tequila, and also feaures 126 distinct by-the-glass options, and a number of Tequila-based cocktails.

The Horchata Margarita is a creamy, spicy version of the Margarita. (Think of Horchata as the liquid part of rice can find it in ethnic grocery stores and specialty food shops.)

Horchata Margarita Courtesy of CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa

2 oz. CasaMagna Aged Tequila (or a Reposado or Anejo Tequila of your choice) 1 1/2 oz. Controy (Mexican orange liqueur) or your favorite orange liqueur (Cointreau, Combier, etc.) 3 oz. Horchata 1/2 oz. simple syrup (or to taste) Freshly grated cinnamon, for garnish

Add Tequila, orange liqueur and horchata to a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.

Featured Cocktail: Papagayo Peninsula

caribbean cocktail This summer, Bryant Park Hotel's Cellar Bar has created eight tropical-inspired tipples. Named after some of the world's most beautiful beaches, each cocktail is designed to transport guests to their own version of a tropical paradise.

The Papagayo Peninsula on Costa Rica was the inspiration for this sip, which mixes Death's Door Gin with grapefruit and blood orange, topped with basil. Mix up a batch, and imagine yourself lazily lounging on a hammock strung between two palm trees. Ahhhhhh..

Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica Courtesy of Esther Gonzalez, Head Bartender, Cellar Bar at Bryant Park Hotel, New York, NY

3 oz. Death's Door Gin 2 oz. Grapefruit juice Splash blood orange puree Grapefruit slice 2 Basil leaves Grapefruit peel and basil, for garnish

In a shaker tin, muddle a grapefruit slice and 2 basil leaves. Add the gin, grapefruit juice and blood orange puree. Add ice, and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a piece of basil and a grapefruit peel.




Featured Wine: 2011 Kuhling-Gillot "Quinterra" Riesling QbA, Rheinhessen

20130626_222421 Last night I caught up with the Riesling Mobile Wine Trip on its stop in Washington, D.C. outside Oyamel. The eight-day journey, organizing by Wines of Germany, hit up a bunch of U.S. markets, and it was designed to promote the Summer of Riesling (now in its 6th year) with members of the trade. We had the opportunity to taste five German Rieslings, in styles ranging from bone dry and mineral-driven, to aged bottles dripping with honey and petrol.

The 2011 Kuhling-Gillot "Quinterra" Riesling from the Rheinhessen is a perfect example of a bottle that's just dying to be chilled and enjoyed patioside this summer. It's vinified in a dry style, with mouthwatering acidity, appealing minerality and a hint of peach and peach blossom. While it may not have been the most complex example that we tried, I would deem it a great introduction to anyone who wrongly assumes all Riesling is sweet and/or a "dessert wine". It would be a fab food partner with raw or grilled oysters, or salad topped with goat cheese and grilled peaches.

Featured Cocktail: Rhubies and Gold


Tart and stalky, rhubarb isn't just for pies anymore. I've seen it crop up in lots of cocktails recently, and love what you can do with products like Swedish Rhuby Liqueur. The Rhubies and Gold cocktail blends it with the smooth taste of Bourbon and a zesty bit of lemon. Feel free to adjust the amount of simple syrup to taste...I actually think it would also be delish if you infused some mint into the simple syrup (instead of vanilla) for a porch rocking cockail.

Rhubies and Gold 2 oz. Rhuby Liqueur 2 oz. Woodford Reserve Boubon 1 oz. lemon juice 1 oz. vanilla simple syrup (see Note) Red currants, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain over one large ice cube into a rocks glass, and garnish with the red currants.

Note: For the vanilla simple syrup: Combine 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and scrape the contents of one vanilla bean into the syrup. Let steep until desired flavor is achieved. Strain out solids with a cheesecloth, and store the syrup in the refrigerator.

Featured Wine: 2012 J Vineyards Pinot Gris

J Pinot Gris

For me, the appeal of Pinot Gris is indirectly proportiate to that of Pinot Grigio. Yes, I know they are made from the same grape, but the latter is all too often neutral, insipid and utterly forgettable.

Pinot Gris, on the other hand (especially that coming out of Oregon, and sometimes California), is just teeming with character, with a great balance of body and acidity, and mouth-watering stone fruit, floral and citrus aromas. (In other words, a willing alternative for this avoider of oaky Chard.)

California's J Vineyards produces the #1 best selling CA Pinot Gris in America. It's so hot right now that it's outpaced the entire category, growing by 50% in the last thirteen weeks of 2012 alone. (The trend away from said oaky, buttery, over the top CA Chardonnay is definitely helping their cause, and it always makes me happy when white wine lovers broaden their horizon.)

At around $15, it's a great option for anything from grilled shrimp, to crab legs, to chicken Caesar salad. Sourced from estate vineyards in Clarksburg, Lodi, Monterey and the Russian River Valley, the wine sees no time in oak, and no malolactic fermentation. It's at once crisp and lush, with lemons, limes and minerality on the palate, and aromas of apricots and tropical fruit. In a word, yum.

Featured Wine: Cabernet for a Cause

Cabernet for a Cause

Last fall, The Capital Grille held a contest for artists to submit original pieces of artwork to potentially become the label for the 2009 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon. The winning piece of art is "Golden Moments" by artist Sherry McAdams of North Carolina. Through April 28, for every bottle of this wine sold, The Capital Grille will donate $25 to Share Our Strength, to aid in their mission to combat childhood hunger. Also, starting last month, the original painting began a six-city tour at Capital Grille locations, where guest will have the opportunity to place a sealed bid to purchase the painting. You can also bid online at The tour makes its final stop at the Chevy Chase location on April 24, where the final bid will be announced.