Almost every metro Atlanta restaurant and then some are hosting Valentine's Day dinners for this month. There really are too many for us to list for fear some might accidentally be missed. Instead, look here at some of the wine, spirits and beer tastings and other events you can attend to find new tastes to treasure.
On top of the list, there is a celebrity chef gastronomic blow out, an opportunity to make sushi at a Japanese restaurant (Samurai sword optional), a three-day mini beer fest, and a huge Cabernet Sauvignon wine tasting with enough Cabs and Cab blends to change the whites of your eyes to pink. There is the newly declared Singles Awareness Day celebration along with a really unique cupcake and wine tasting.
Feb. 3 – For the OTP crowd, the Georgia Liquor Barn & Tasting Room on Atlanta Road in Cumming offers a $7 per person (per flight) Beer and Wine Tasting from 6-9 pm this Friday. Reservations are not required. Beers this night come from the Victory Brewing Company in Pennsylvania, wines from California’s Cable Car Vineyards. Victory brews include Golden Monkey, Hop Wallup, Storm King and Hop Devil. Cable Car offers their vineyard’s Chardonnay, a Merlot, their Cabernet Sauvignon and a nice Pinot Noir. Call 678-455-5255.
Feb. 3-4 – Here is the gastronomic blowout. The Celebrity Chefs Tour, benefitting the James Beard Foundation, fires up the kitchen in the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta on 14th Street in Midtown. Friday’s festivities begin with a cocktail party with guest chefs in the hotel’s Park 75 Lounge with an assortment of specialty cocktails offered by the Atlanta Bartenders Guild. Saturday evening there’s a huge seven-course meal, each presented with a special wine pairing. The celebrity chefs are going to create each course. It's $50 per person for the Friday reception and cocktails, $140 for the Saturday dinner or $160 apiece for the two days. Reservations are a must.
Feb. 3-5 – It's going to be a 10-draft beer mini beer fest in Athens this weekend. It takes place at Aromas Restaurant and the Five Points Bottle Shop, two establishments across each other on South Milledge Avenue and Lumpkin Street. Beers from the Kalamazoo, MI, Bell’s Brewery are offered, including their acclaimed Black Note, their 2009 Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout – blended aged in Bourbon barrels – and their seasonal, heavily-hoppy Hopslam, and six others. Prices and tasting time vary.
Feb. 4 – Italian winery owner Paolo Demarie from Vezza d’ Alba, a town in the Roero area in northwest Italy's famous Piedmonte wine region, visits Le Caveau Fine Wines in Chamblee for a high-end Italian wine tasting from 1-3 p.m. this Saturday. Demarie’s Roero Arneis white wine, their Barbera D’Alba Superiore, a Nebbilio D’Alba and a Barabaresco are offered along with a dessert frizzante, the Demarie Barchetto Birbet.
Feb. 7 – Restaurant RA Sushi promises to allow guests at their Sake & Sushi Social to “roll up their sleeves and learn about sushi rolling” from 7-9 p.m. this Tuesday. The prices are $35 each or $60 per couple which gets each person four courses of sushi and three sakes to drink. Restaurant staff say they are offering silky smooth “traditional” Japanese Sakes, not the newer, fruit-flavored styles. RA Sushi is in the 1000 block of Peachtree Street NW.
Feb. 8 – This is a Valentine's Day “roll out the wine and chocolate” event. At the Phipps Plaza Latitude Restaurant, “An evening of Wine & Chocolate” is planned from 6:30-8:30 p.m. this Wednesday. Five chocolates are going to be tasted with five wines at a cost of $50 with reservations in advance, $59 apiece the day of the tasting. Wine specialist Patroski Lawson’s Square Hat Wine Company hosts the event.
Feb. 8 – It’s the “King of wines time” from 6:45-9 p.m. this Wednesday where over 50 Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet Sauvignon blended wines are being offered at the American Wine Society’s (AWS) Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting. Make no mistake. This is a wine lover’s mega-event. It takes place in D’Vine Wine Bar in The Shoppes of Dunwoody where it had been originally scheduled Jan. 25. Sponsored by the Greater Atlanta Chapter of the AWS, it's the metro area's biggest and best red wine party hosted by one of the oldest and most prestigious local wine clubs. Costs are $25 per person for reservations paid before Feb. 6 and $30 afterwards. Credit cards and cash accepted. Email reservations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 9 – Duluth’s Chocolate Perks at 3160 Main St. hosts a special Wine & Chocolate tasting from 6:30-8:30 p.m. this Thursday. A selection of four white and red wines will be paired with dark chocolate truffles and fresh strawberries during a sit-down pairing around candlelit tables. There’s a “surprise” wine, according to owner Marsha Bomar. Other vintages include an Australian Riesling blend, FRISK Pickley, Robert Mondavi “Spellbound” Chardonnay, and the Washington State 14 Hands “Hot To Trot” red blend. Prices are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Reservations must be made by Feb. 7 at email@example.com.
Feb. 9 – “Let Them Eat Cupcakes (and Drink Wine),” is the theme of the popular but unusual cupcake and wine tasting from 7-9 p.m. this Thursday in Niko’s Wine Corner on Crogan Street in downtown Lawrenceville. The mini cupcakes – six of them from neighboring bakery Sweets on the Square – are getting paired with six red and white sparkling and still wines. The cupcakes flavors include “Death by Chocolate," Red Velvet Cake, Carrot Cake, Cherrie Jubilee, raspberry-filled Vanilla and Hazelnut-filled banana. Cost is $10 per person with RSVPs required by Feb. 7 for an event that quickly sold out last year.
Feb. 9 – Sit back for “The Armchair Tour of France” and French wines taking place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the pH Wine Merchant on Peachtree Hills Avenue in Atlanta. This wine store prides itself in educational wine events, Maggie Meroney says. She’s pH Wine Merchant’s wine consultant and director of education. The “Armchair Tour” intends to de-mystify confusing French wine labels and help explain the wines of each region. It offers samples of eight to 10 different wines from the French wine regions of Alsace, Burgundy, Rousillon, Bordeaux, the Rhone and Loire Valleys, the Languedoc and Provence, all at a cost of $45 each with a color slide presentation, a complete wine list and specially prepared hors d’oeuvres included. Reservations required.
Feb. 11 – Grab your protest banners and march this Friday for Singles Awareness Day to Smyrna’s Atkins Park Restaurant and Tavern for the big “Anti-Valentine's Day Bash.” It begins 10 p.m. and lasts until 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Best of all, there is NO cover charge! The band Homefront performs a free concert! Festivities feature a balloon drop at midnight and a whole beverage menu of shots, spirits, and other party drinks. Smyrna’s General Manager Patrick Yelverton explains that last year unmarried restaurant staff members, tired of the Valentine's Day date/dinner scene, declared Feb. 11 in Smyrna to be Singles Awareness Day, came up with the idea for an “Anti-Valentine's Day Bash” as an opportunity to celebrate being unattached.
Feb. 14 – Amid the plethora of metro area restaurant Valentine's Day parties, here is an important and timely, socially conscious event considering all those families made homeless by mortgage foreclosures and unemployment. Downtown Atlanta restaurant Alma Cocina at 191 Peachtree St. NE promises to donate 20 percent of the cost of everyone’s lunch and dinner tab to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which, like many other worthwhile charities, is struggling to keep up with demands. The event is called the Atlanta Community Food Bank Valentine’s Day Supper Club. It takes place from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. this Tuesday. This club meets on a monthly basis at other metro area restaurants.
Feb. 15 – “Wine Down Wednesday” from 6-8 p.m. at Norcross’s Ten Bristo off Peachtree Parkway offers guests generous sample sips of five different wines. Owner Jesse Kauffman provides two vintages not on his 38-label wine list along with three that are on the list and asks guests to rate them. The $10 per person cost includes homemade hummus, Lavash crackers and French-inspired crudités. This Bristo features locally grown, organic and sustainable agricultural food and vegetables. Reservations are not required.
Feb. 17 – It’s “Shiraz vs. Syrah – A Wine Grudge Match” at the Vineyard Wine Market’s V2 Wine Room from 7-9 p.m. this Friday. The establishment is in The Shoppes at Powers Ferry on the corner of Shadowood Parkway SE. Technically, Shiraz and Syrah are made from the same exact red wine grape. Winemakers in different countries have their preferred spelling. In Australian and South Africans it is Shiraz. It is Syrah everywhere else. The market is encouraging guests to sip and compare Shiraz from the two countries just mentioned with Syrahs from California, Italy and France’s Cote du Rhone wine region. Cost is $25 a each, including big plates of “noshing food,” says owner Anthony Alvarez.
Feb. 18—The Marietta Wine Market, just off the downtown city square, hosts Paso Robles Winemaker and Owner Marco Caporale for a special tasting of his Rotta Family Winery vintages at 2-4 p.m. This is one of the market’s weekly Saturday afternoon wine tastings. Wine critics frequently say this Central California region’s vintages produces finer wines than those from the Napa Valley. The Rotta Family Winery is one of Paso’s oldest, founded in 1908. Guests can sip seven wines, a Zinfandel, a Chardonnay, a Petit Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, the Rotta “Trinity,” a three-grape red wine blend, plus the dessert-style Black Manukka. Admission requires a $10 charity donation.
Feb. 19 – North Georgia’s Frogtown Cellars east of Dahlonega offers an After Valentine's Day Brunch from 12:30-2:30 p.m. this Sunday. Frogtown produces 11 wine varieties and offers one of the most exquisite dining rooms among all the Georgia wineries. There are to be “generous pours” with five of their vintages, including the 13th Colony Cabernet Sauvignon, Frogtown’s Sangiovese and Disclosure Chardonnay. It costs $54 per person with reservations.
Feb. 21– Hinton’s Wine Store in Alpharetta hosts a reservations-only seated wine tasting of California’s acclaimed J Vineyards & Winery beginning at 7 p.m. this Tuesday. Vice President of Winemaking Melissa Stackhouse will present J Vineyard’s sparkling Cuvee 20 and Brut Rose, along with the 2010 Pinot Gris and three of the winery’s Russian River Valley vintages – the 2009 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and the 2008 “Nicole’s Vineyard” Pinot Noir. Cost is $25 per person.
Feb. 29 – Free wine! Yes. This is a fantastic reason to leap up to Young Harris for Crane Creek Vineyard’s wine release party from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Leap Year’s Day. They plan a special celebration with the first pours of the newly vinted 2010 Enotah White, a 100 percent Chardonel wine, one of the 14 different wines Crane Creek crafts. They bottled 300 cases two weeks ago. Chardonel, a French American hybrid, is a cross between the Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc grapes, said General Manager David Sanford. Guests are getting free pours on the new Chardonel, the 11 other wines this vineyard offers, and hors d'oeuvres. Reservations are requested.