Panic! at the Pinko: Eat and Drink with Some of the Industry’s Best at Lightwell Survey

by Charlottesville29

For food and drink artisans, side projects can be especially inspired.

It’s not that side projects are better than regular gigs. Rather, they can just provide artisans an outlet to explore their passions in different ways than their regular jobs might typically afford, often with stellar results.

For Early Mountain Winemaker Ben Jordan, Lightwell Survey is just such an outlet. Jordan’s side projects have earned quite a following in the industry. His War & Rust, for example, is a coveted infused wine made in the style of a Barolo Chinato. Lightwell Survey, meanwhile, is a winery Jordan formed with friends in 2015 to make “small batches of lively reds, dense whites, and unique combinations of the two . . . with no preconceived descriptions or traditional aspirations.”

At Lightwell Survey, Jordan works with one of D.C.’s most accomplished oenophiles, Sebastian Zutant, whose resume of beverage programs includes standard-bearers like Komi, Proof, and Rasika, and now his own restaurant Primrose. In contrast to the single-varietal wines that dominate the Virginia industry, Jordan and Zutant dream up unconventional and unexpected blends, often pairing a typically “red” grape with a white one. “We’re looking to explore,” said Jordan, “whether that means out-there vinyeard sites, or combining grapes and techniques that aren’t normally found in the same wine, and exploring how they can change our perspective on taste and flavors in wine.”

Another plus for passionate artisans is that they tend to congregate. Some of the most epic feasts in the Charlottesville area are said to occur when industry folks gather behind closed doors. Fortunately, every now and then they invite the public. Saturday April 2 is just such an opportunity. All converging on Lightwell Survey’s Waynesboro tasting room for Panic! at the Pinko will be Andrew Cole and Mitchell Beerens of Lampo, Rachel Harris of Vic’s, and Blanc Creatives. The Lampo team will be dishing up their famous hummus with chil oil, za’atar and grilled pita; a pita wrap with caponata, smoked ricotta, and fresh basil; and, macerated blackberries with whipped mascarpone, marsala, and amaretti. Harris, meanwhile, will bring her buttered saltines and pimento; pickled shrimp salad; sticky spicy wings; and Cap’n Crunch shortcake, among other offerings. And, Blanc Creatives will be on hand with their world-renowned cookware.

The excuse to gather is two new releases. “Strange Collapse” is part orange wine, part rosé, blending Vidal, Petit Manseng, Chambercin, and Taminette. The other is an extremely limited wine-cider collaboration with Troddenvale. Guests are encouraged to dress in pink while enjoying these rare wines for what Lightwell Survey is calling “a funky pink party celebrating the joys of spring and juice.” Sounds like a heck of a Saturday. Tickets here.