by BethesdaNow.com — February 1, 2013 at 3:30 pm 0

Editor’s Note: This weekly sponsored column is written by Arash Tafakor, owner of Georgetown Square Wine and Beer (10400 Old Georgetown Road).

One of the most common questions I get from customers is, “What’s the difference between Shiraz and Syrah?” The simple answer from a wine merchant is nothing, there’s no difference, same grape just a different name. While Australia and some other regions call the grape Shiraz, other regions such as France, California and Washington State call the grape Syrah. But there are definitely differences in styles and taste profile; all based on the climate the grape is grown in. It has almost become industry standard in warmer climates such as Australia and South Africa to call the wine is called Shiraz. In cooler climates, such as Northern Rhone, Northern California, and Washington State the wine is called Syrah.

Saint Cosme Cote Rotie 2010, Cote Rotie, France

Syrah wine is originated in the Rhone region of France. Appellations in Northern Rhone such as Cote Rotie and Hermitage use only Syrah grapes for their red wines while Syrah in Southern Rhone is used to blend. Syrah from Northern Rhone tend to have more earthy tasting notes than your typical red. Premium Syrah typically come from Cote Rotie, Hermitage, and Saint-Joseph. These regions produce Syrah that contains an intense level of tannins, complex flavors and a long wonderful finish.

Made by one of Rhone’s top producers, this Syrah is a very well balanced wine with hints of violet, bacon, earthy flavors and roses.

This wine is extremely impressive and is sold out throughout the market. It received 95 points Wine Spectator, as well.

Torbreck Woodcutters Shiraz 2011, Barossa Valley, Australia

In the early 2000s Australian Shiraz sales were booming. American wine consumers couldn’t get enough. The brand Yellow Tail was created and, along with other quirky animal labeled Australian Wines, took over grocery store’s wine shelves. Winemakers in Australia realized this and started producing high-end Australian Shiraz like crazy, flooding the market. Wine consumers probably have noticed wine shelves containing less and less Australian Shiraz the past few years. People are simply not buying these wines anymore, for whatever reason.

Despite that fact, the wine is much better than what it was ten years ago. Australian wine makers have perfected their craft and make top quality wines. Australian Shirazes are grown in Australia’s hot, dry climate. The warm climate produces powerful wines with dark ripe fruit, jammy, and silky smooth taste. Top quality Shiraz producing regions in Australia are the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Coonwarra.

This wine comes from the Barossa Valley, arguably the best Shiraz producing region in Australia. This wine encompasses the best of Australian Shirazes have to offer, full bodied, fruit forward black fruit, medium tannins, perfect amount of spice and extremely smooth.

K Vintners “The Beautiful” Syrah 2010, Walla Walla, Washington

Syrah from North America is a tough sell to consumers. Our North American Syrah section is minimal. Consumers are not buying them nor are they looking to buy them. This is unfortunate because North American Syrah is very good.

The Syrah market in California has been stagnant for sometime now, but its northern neighbor Washington State has seen a boom of Syrah producing wineries.  Top quality regions for Syrah in Washington State are the Columbia Valley and Walla Walla. The climate of these regions typically means sunny warm dry days and cool nights, making it perfect for the Syrah grape. Syrah from these regions produce a plump, full-bodied, ripe wine with a perfect amount of acidity.

Winemaker Charles Smith is literally a rock star in the Washington State wine community. A former band manager turned self-taught wine maker, Smith has been making premium Syrah since 2001. Smith’s high-end wines often sell out immediately and are very hard to get, “The Beautiful” being one of them.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BethesdaNow.com.

Community discussion guidelines: Our sponsored columns are written by members of the local business community. While we encourage a robust and open discussion, we ask that all reviews of the businesses — good or bad — be directed to another venue, like Yelp. The comments section is intended for a conversation about the topic of the article.

by BethesdaNow.com — February 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm 0

Montgomery County Police today announced that its redistricting plan, which includes moving Potomac into Bethesda’s 2nd District, will go into effect on Monday.

The redistricting comes in part because of the department’s move to a new headquarters facility in Gaithersburg and the future relocation of the 1st District station (which used to cover Potomac) to that facility.

The announcement today said planning has been going on throughout the department and there should be no disruption to police operations.

In a November community meeting, 2nd District Commander Capt. Dave Falcinelli said the Bethesda District shift shouldn’t be too burdensome because Potomac actually used to belong to the area.

County Police Chief Thomas Manger said the redistricting effort is to better organize the distribution of officers. Manger said one major reason for the reshuffling was the difficulty for officers in the Rockville police district to get out to Poolesville in rural northwestern Montgomery County.

The Bethesda District will now extend from the Chevy Chase/Silver Spring line west to the Potomac River and north to Montrose Road, commonly held as the dividing line between North Bethesda and Rockville.

Map via MCP

by BethesdaNow.com — February 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm 0

Athletic boosters from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School are hosting a February event to help raise money for concussion testing equipment at the school.

The B-CC Barons All-Sports Ball is set for 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on at Tommy Joe’s (4714 Montgomery Lane) and will include appetizers, a cash bar and silent auction. Tickets are $50 and the booster club is trying to fund concussion baseline testing for all B-CC student athletes.

Nine schools in Montgomery County have baseline testing equipment, according to Montgomery County Public Schools, but all are financed by booster clubs and rely on volunteer health professionals to administer the tests. Whitman High School has had the testing for nine years, The Gazette reported in December.

It was in December that MCPS superintendent Josh Starr recommended $75,000 toward baseline testing in his recommended fiscal year 2014 budget.

Starr announced the plan to look into baseline testing in September:

“The long-term effects of concussions and head injuries are being discussed across the country and are the subject of a growing body of research,” Dr. Starr said. “I think we must explore a districtwide baseline testing program as part of our ongoing efforts to keep our student-athletes safe and healthy.”

Baseline testing is an exam conducted during the pre-season that assesses an athlete’s balance and brain function, including learning and memory skills, ability to pay attention or concentrate, and how quickly he or she thinks and solves problems. Results from baseline tests can be compared to additional exams administered to an athlete suspected to have experienced a concussion. Health care professionals can use the results of these tests as one measure in deciding when it is safe for a student to return to action.

For more information on the B-CC fundraiser, visit the event page.

by BethesdaNow.com — February 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

MCFRS officials say a smoke alarm alerted neighbors to a house fire on Thursday morning in Bethesda that led to the rescue of a 90-year-old female resident.

Soon after 5:30 a.m., firefighters were called to the house in the 7700 block of Glenmore Springs Way near Seven Locks Road after receiving multiple calls from neighbors reporting that the house was on fire.

The fire, heavy in the garage of the ranch style home, was extinguished with little spread into the remainder of the house, officials said. Upon arriving firefighters were told the 90-year-old woman was possibly still in the house, where they found her in a back bedroom.

She was treated on the scene and transported to a local hospital, where officials said she remained Thursday evening with non-life threatening injuries.

There were no vehicles in the garage at the time of the fire, which officials said led investigators to determine the fire started in or around an oil-filled space heater that was plugged into an extension cord.

The fire caused $200,000 in damages to the structure and contents and three adult residents were displaced.

“A working smoke alarm, along with alert neighbors, were a life-saving combination,” according to the MCFRS description of the event.

by BethesdaNow.com — February 1, 2013 at 11:00 am 0


Brickside Food & Drink, the bar and restaurant with a prohibition-era theme and diverse menu from the owners of Adams Morgan’s Grand Central, opened last night on Cordell Avenue.

The 4,000-square-foot space at 4866 Cordell Ave. (some have called it cursed) has seen high turnover in recent years. But the team behind Grand Central feels its partnership with Virginia chef Andrea Pace and his partner Reem Arbid can be successful in a stretch of Woodmont Triangle that is seeing a rejuvenation of sorts.

Smoke BBQ (4858 Cordell Ave.) opened earlier this month a few doors down and Tommy Joe’s owner Alan Poho is building a 6,200-square-foot, two-floor restaurant complete with an upstairs patio on the corner of Cordell and Norfolk Avenues. The flagship franchise of California Tortilla moved across the street in October for a roomier location at 4871 Cordell Ave.

Pace, a fine dining chef at Villa Mozart in Fairfax, brings a different type of bar food than you’ll find at Cordell Avenue sports bars Maggie’s and Caddie’s on Cordell.

Appetizers include a salumi dish ($15.95), assorted marinated olives ($3.95), roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce ($6.95) and polenta fries with blue cheese dip ($3.95). Entrees include pastas, hamburgers, pizzas, paninis and a selection of meat and fish dishes starting at $9.95.

Co-owner Brian Vasille said he sees Brickside as a sports bar also, so he outfitted the place with a giant projection screen. The drink menu includes some exclusive $8 cocktails and martinis, but also standards such as $3 cans of National Bohemian and Pabst Blue Ribbon.


by BethesdaNow.com — February 1, 2013 at 9:30 am 0

MCFRS Rescues Elderly Woman From House Fire on Thursday Morning — The 90-year-old woman firefighters rescued Thursday morning from her home in the 7700 block of Glenmore Spring Way remained hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries last night. [Washington Post]

Bethesda Man Sentenced To Prison For Dealing Cocaine — A federal judge sentenced Xavier Eccleston, 35, to 17 and-a-half years in prison for conspiring to distribute powder and crack cocaine. [The Gazette]

Ledecky Swimming High School Meets, Helps School To League Title — Gold medal Olympian and Bethesda native Katie Ledecky helped her Stone Ridge School to its swim league title for the first time in 10 years. The 15-year-old fresh off her leap into the world spotlight last summer has become quite the draw at the high school meets. [Washington Post]

Flickr photo by Michael Adler2


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