We Love Music: VinoFest @ Union Market — 6/28/14

See-I at VinoFest (Photo by Sung J. Shin)

See-I at VinoFest (Photo by Sung J. Shin)

VinoLovers, a new personalized wine subscription service based in DC, presented its inaugural VinoFest at Union Market Saturday, offering a happy gathering of wine appreciators selections from a dozen different wines and a musical lineup that included nine different acts, including Eric Hilton of the Thievery Corporation and Jesse Boykins III.

The weather was perfect for the gathering, which served as a perfect summer escape via parking lot. VinoFest was held in the loading dock and adjoining lot behind Union Market, and it became a perfectly comfortable location as more and more people filled the space throughout the afternoon, contributing to the feeling that you were attending a fancy block party in a secluded cul de sac in the city.

After taking some time to check out the wine selection, I caught the performance by Brooklyn-based quartet Body Language, who played some very catchy electronic R&B. Musicians Grant Wheeler, Matt Young and Ian Chang took to synthesizers and other instuments while vocalist and Angelica Bess smoothly sang some smooth but funky tunes, sometimes in harmony with the men. Her soaring yet sweet voice was a lovely compliment to the synths of the band — and the effect was not unlike watching some of the better moments of a live Moby stage show when the DJ teams with a soul singer for some of his better songs.

The latest album from Body Language, Grammar, showcases lush disco grooves that are perfect for an idyllic summer day. The low-key song “I’m A Mess,” features Young on primary vocals, assuring his love that he needs her around because he couldn’t get by without her, while Bess sells the idea of escaping from it all on the bouyant, dance number “Well Absolutely.”

The band is touring quite extensively this year, and they will be back in DC to open for Rubblebucket at U Street Music Hall on Friday, Sept. 19.

After Body Language, DC reggae masters See-I took the stage. See-I play a regular Wednesday night show at the Eighteenth Street Lounge, and they will be hitting the road for shows in California and Florida in the near future. By the time See-I took the stage, the large crowd that had congregated in the wine-tasting room were ready to descend to the asphalt below to sway in the sun.

See-I’s latest performances come on the heels of the May 12 release of their second full-length album, Knowledge Shine Bright, where Brothers Arthur “Rootz” Steele and Archie “Zeebo” Steele bring the cool with breezy songs like the album’s title track and some sunny dance beats and bright outlooks with “Never Give Up.” Catch See-I next at the Eighteenth Street Lounge on Wednesday, July 2.

A pour in the winetasting room (Photo by Sung J. Shin)

A pour in the winetasting room (Photo by Sung J. Shin)

But how was the wine, you may ask? Pretty good, I would say.

Below are the tasting notes from the wine passport provided by VinoLovers. Salute!

Ruffino Presecco NV
Intense sensations of apples and peaches drive a pleasant aftertaste that is reminiscent of fruity and floral aromas.

Early Mountain Rose 2013
100% Merlot from Madison, Va.
Aroma of young strawberries and ripemelon. Flavors of refreshing strawberry, raspberry, and lemon zest.

Salton Flowers Demi-Sec White White NV
A Brazillian blend of Moscato (70%), Malvasia (25%), and Gewurtraminer (5%). Aromas of rose, geranium, carnation, and jasmine with flavors of peach, pineapple, apricot, apple, and banana.

Tangled Tree Sauvignon Blanc South Africa 2012
A blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Colombard from Robertson, South Africa. Bona fide aromas of tropical fruit, including guava, melon, and slight undertones of gooseberry. Crisp and fresh finish, abundant tropical fruit flavors.

Le Jade Chardonnay-Viognier Vins de Pays d’OC 2012
France – a blend of 60% Chardonnay, 40% Viognier from Languedoc-Rousillon, France. Aromas of golden pear, apple, white peach, and lemon zest. Flavors of ripe white pear and peach with exotic flavors of banana and white pineapple.

Praia Aveleda Vinho Verde NV
Portugal – aromas of bright lime, lemon zest, and green apple skin. Smooth and delicious with flavors of fresh exotic fruit. Slightly spritzy, well balanced, and refreshing.

Cortenova Pinot Grigio 2013
From the Northern Italian region of Veneto-Friuli, this wine has a fresh and floral bouquet with a hint of pears, apricots, and bananas. Flavors are fresh and inviting with bright fruit and an easy drinking style with a pleasing hit of almonds in the aftertaste.

Boxwood Trellis Middlesburg 2011
A Bourdeaux blend from our backyard in Middlesburg, Va.! Merlot 53%, press blend 47% (Cabarnet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot). Aromas of earthy, floral notes with a pleasant minerality in the background. Flavors are well rounded and soft with subtle oak notes that balance with the tannin structure. A hint of wild cherries and thyme on the finish.

El Canador Malbec 2013
100% Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. Bright aromas of cherry, blackberries, and smokey black pepper. Elegant flavors of blackberries, ripe plum, and robust spices with good balance and structure.

El Cortuillo Tempranillo La Mancha 2012
100% Tempranillio from La Mancha, Spain. Up front aromas of raspberry and cherry fruit. Flavors of earthy blackberry, blueberry, peppered dark cherry, and plum. Medium-bodied with soft smooth finish.

Oxford Landing Estates Shiraz South Australia 2012
A Sublime Shiraz. Deep purple red in color, it has lifted aromas of plums and black cherries with hints of violets and white pepper. The generous palate has flavors of blackberry and plum, complimented by soft, supple tannins with hints of chocolate and spice, and subtle oak influence.

Mickey reviews music shows. For recent reviews, visit Parklife DC.


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