5 American Red Wines for July 4

If you’re in the DC area, the cold, rainy weather probably has you in the mood for red wine, but otherwise, it’s sometimes hard to find a red wine that goes well with the warm summer weather. However, red wine is made for BBQ. Here are a few great red wine ideas that are under $25 and worth about opening today for your cookout. Happy Fourth of July!

One Hope Pinot Noir – At $19 a bottle, this red wine from California not only tastes great, but also helps fund rescue animal adoptions, as half the proceeds go to charity. The wine is juicy with a touch of sweetness and begs to be paired with grilled Portobello mushrooms, goat cheese, and girlfriends. Rating: 3.5 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 One Hope Pinot Noir

The 2013 One Hope Pinot Noir (website, amazon) is a California wine made by Rob Mondavi, Jr. and half the proceeds of the wine are donated to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help fund pet adoptions. This wine tastes of sweet, juicy strawberries and Bing cherries mixed with hints of cinnamon. It would be a great wine to pair with grilled stuffed Portobello mushrooms, especially if you’re stuffing them with goat cheese. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and purchased it for $19.

Mark West Black Pinot Noir – At $14, this surprisingly full-bodied red wine from California is not what a typical Pinot Noir. It’s a bit darker and more brooding, without being as in-your-face as a Cabernet. Definitely a wine to think about when looking for an in-between. Rating 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Mark West Black Pinot Noir

The 2014 Mark West Black Pinot Noir (winery) is a red wine from California. It’s a surprisingly full-bodied Pinot, with black cherry, tobacco, and mocha characteristics. It’s a nice cookout option because it’s smooth and easy to drink while you’re standing around the grill, but it will also pair particularly well with pulled pork, grilled chops, or burgers. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $15.

Barefoot Merlot – At $8 a bottle, this red wine from California has a fantastic quality price ratio. If you are looking for a red wine and know you’ll be drinking more than one glass, this approachable red is a perfect everyday option. Rating: 3.5 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

Barefoot Merlot

The Barefoot Merlot (website) is a California red wine that is perfect for a party. While not very complicated, this Barefoot wine was surprisingly easy to drink and enjoyable. The wine is medium-bodied and has dark fruit flavors—black plums, blueberries, and blackberries—with just a hint of baking spice. I preferred the wine with just a touch of chill (not actually cold), which also makes it the perfect way to keep cooler while still drinking a red wine during the summer. I gave this wine 4 stars and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $8.

Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon – At $13 a bottle, this red wine from Lodi California is full-bodied with firm tannins and just plain beautiful. It’s a plush wine that is perfect to enjoy with BBQ ribs or on its own while sitting on the patio with friends. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon

The Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon (winery) is a red wine from Lodi, California. It’s a full bodied wine with firm tannins, and lots of black cherry and blackberry flavors that are mixed with hints of cedar and black pepper.  This plush red wine is perfect to enjoy with BBQ ribs or on its own while sitting on the patio with friends. I gave this wine 4 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $13.

2013 Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon – At $24, this red wine from California lingers in the mouth and leaves you wanting more. It has nice fruit flavors mixed with some savory notes that are perfect for enjoying on its own or pairing with beef, lamb, or pasta. Cheers! Ratings 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Francis Ford Coppola Winery Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon

The Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon (winerysnooth) is from California and, as long as you give it a little time to breath before drinking it, the wine is fruity upfront, has some savory notes in the middle, and a finish that lingers, begging for another sip to follow. If you’re breaking out the smoker, this is a wine you should open with it. The full-to-medium body will be able to stand up to the flavor of the food, while also enhancing it. I gave this wine 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $25.

Question of the Day: At a BBQ or cookout, are you more likely to drink beer, wine, or liquor?

 

5 American White Wines for July 4

5 American White Wines for July 4 – July 4 cookouts are mean lots of good food, friends, and alcohol...and many people enjoy a nice glass of white wine. However, finding one that fits a BBQ atmosphere can be difficult. These wines are good options for all levels of wine drinkers. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

5 American White Wines for July 4 – July 4 cookouts are mean lots of good food, friends, and alcohol…and many people enjoy a nice glass of white wine. However, finding one that fits a BBQ atmosphere can be difficult. These wines are good options for all levels of wine drinkers. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Earlier this week, I posted some suggestions for American sparkling and rosé wines to open over this upcoming holiday weekend. Today is all about the white wine options, as white wine and warm summer weather were practically made for each other. I will apologize upfront to the Chardonnay lovers for not having one on the list. I normally would have at least one, but these other wines were really the ones that were striking my fancy for the Fourth of July. And with that, 5 white wine suggestions of your cookout:

2014 Lilly's Viognier from The Winery at Bull Run– This $29 bottle of white wine from Virginia is a little pricey, but it’s beautiful. It’s the type of wine that’s meant to be sipped slowly with friends on a hot summer day. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Lilly’s Viognier from The Winery at Bull Run

The 2014 Lilly’s Viognier (winery) is a beautiful white wine from Virginia. It’s a light lemon color with a bright floral nose. In the mouth, thee are apricots and white pepper mixed with hints of grapefruit and honeysuckle. Considering my iffy feelings about Viognier, I was surprised how much I loved this wine. At first I thought it might have been because I tasted it during a visit to the winery, but I bought a bottle that I opened at home and enjoyed it as much, if not more, than I did during my winery visit. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and purchased it for $29.

Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc - This $8 white wine from California is not a complex wine, but it’s easy to drink and has a great quality-price ratio. If you’re having a lot of people over, this is a wine people will be happy to drink…especially outside on a hot summer day. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc

The Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc (website) is a white wine from California. This wine is like drinking summer in a glass. It’s light and full of honeydew melons, nectarines, and limes. It’s not a complex wine, but it’s easy to drink and has a great quality-price ratio. If you’re having a lot of people over, this is a white that people will be happy to drink…especially outside on a hot summer day. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the SRP is $8.

2014 Chateau St. Michelle Cold Creek Riesling – At $20, this white wine from Washington state would be the perfect wine for a summer salad, cold chicken, or just to sip on with good friends and conversation. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Chateau St. Michelle Cold Creek Riesling

The 2014 Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Riesling (winery)is a white wine from Washington state that has a touch of sweetness, nice acidity, and is incredibly drinkable. The wine has aromas and flavors of ripe peaches and apricots mixed with honey and a hint of ginger. It’s refreshing and will pair nicely with the summer salads and cold fried chicken, or can be enjoyed all on it’s own. I gave this wine 4 Corks and purchased it for $20.

This $13 bottle of white wine from Idaho is full of tropical and stone fruits mixed with Lemonheads candy, honey, and flowers. The touch of sweetness mixed with the acidity should make it a nice pairing with the ham, lamb, or turkey. Rating 4 out of 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Sawtooth Riesling

The Sawtooth Reisling (winery, amazon) is one of my summer house white wines. It’s full of tropical and stone fruits mixed with Lemonheads candy, honey, and flowers. There’s also a hint of ginger. The touch of sweetness mixed with the acidity should make it a nice pairing with hot dogs and steamed crabs. A sign that I’m live fairly close to the Chesapeake is I find there are few things as enjoyable as pairing this wine with something that has been seasoned with Old Bay. I gave it 4 corks and usually purchase it for about $13.

Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris - This $30 white wine from Napa California is a little pricey for an everyday wine or a large gathering, but is a perfect palate-pleaser for a more intimate gathering. It’s an enjoyable sipper that is worth the extra cost. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris

The Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris (winery) is a light-to-medium bodied white wine from Napa, California. The wine has a nice lime, grapefruit, and tart Granny Smith apple characteristics that mix with hints of nectarines and thyme. It’s a little pricey for a large gathering, but if you’re doing something a little more intimate, this Pinot Gris is sure to be a guest-pleaser. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $30.

Question of the Day:  What’s your favorite white wine for a cookout or picnic?

5 American Sparkling & Rosé Wines for July 4

5 American Sparkling and Rosé Wines for July 4 – July 4 cookouts are mean lots of good food, friends, and alcohol, but finding a sparkling or rose wine that fits a BBQ atmosphere can be difficult. These 5 wines are perfect options, and they’re all under $25. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

5 American Sparkling and Rosé Wines for July 4 – July 4 cookouts are mean lots of good food, friends, and alcohol, but finding a sparkling or rose wine that fits a BBQ atmosphere can be difficult. These 5 wines are perfect options, and they’re all under $25. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

I can’t believe there is only a week to go until July 4th, but that means it’s time to make final wine preparations.  As long time readers know, I will often open sparkling wine for myself on Independence Day because bubbly and fireworks just go together.  And, as I’ve definitely become more of a rosé drinker over the last few years, I can’t deny that I’ve started to associate summer with drinking pink wine.  So, to kick off my week of Fourth of July wine recommendations, here are some sparkling and rosé wines from the United States that you should consider.  All of them are under $25 and delicious!

Gruet Blanc de Noirs – This $13 bottle of sparkling wine from New Mexico is dry with beautiful, persistent bubbles. The bubbly tastes of berries, baked pears with hints of toast, cream, and vanilla. It’s delicious on its own or mixed with your favorite fruit juice for a champagne cocktail. Rating 4 out 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Gruet Blanc de Noirs

The Gruet Blanc de Noirs is full of berry and baked pear flavors mixed with a hint of toast, cream, and vanilla.  The sparkler has nice acidity, which would make it a good pairing with both potato salad and hot dogs.  Plus, the price is perfect for buying multiple bottles without breaking the bank. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $13.

Mumm Napa Brut Rosé - At $24, this rose sparkling wine is light bodied, full of flavor, and easy to drink. It also comes in large formats, so it’s a perfect option for a summer cookout, New Year’s Eve party, or big family brunch. Rating: 4.5 Corks out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Mumm Napa Brut Rosé

The Mumm Napa Brut Rosé tastes of cherries, strawberries, plums, and hints of whipped cream and yeast.  It has a light body and is very easy to drink (maybe a little too easy).  This bubbly also comes in large formats, so if you know that 750ml isn’t going to be enough, you can purchase a 3 liter or 6 liter bottle.  I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased the 750ml bottle for $19.20 (as a wine club member.  Regular price is $24).

Barefoot Perfectly Pink Spritzer- At $7, this sweet, rosé wine spritzer is easy to drink and very refreshing. One serving is also only 180 calories, but still is full of flavor. It would be great to enjoy at a cookout or during an summer evening with girlfriends. Rating: 3.5 Corks out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Barefoot Perfectly Pink Spritzer

The Barefoot Perfectly Pink Spritzer surprised me…I admit it.  It’s all about ripe strawberries and raspberries mixed with juicy pineapple and hints of pink grapefruit.  It’s light-bodied, sweet, easy to drink, and very refreshing.  The acidity and spritz keeps the sweetness in check.  The key to this wine, though, is keeping it cold, so don’t be afraid to add an ice cube or two.  I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as it warmed up.  I gave this wine 3.5 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the SRP is $7.

Storybook Mountain Zin Gris- At $25, this dry rosé wine from California is everything a pink wine should be. It’s a nice mixture of cranberries, limes, and thyme; it’s food-friendly; and it’s easy to drink. It would be the perfect wine for any picnic or cookout. Rating: 4.5 Corks out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Storybook Mountain Zin Gris

The Storybook Mountain Zin Gris is my “house rosé.”  I haven’t done a separate review of it in a while, so I clearly need to, particularly as I drink it at home regularly.  It’s a nice mixture of cranberries, limes, and thyme, which creates something a little different in a rosé.  This wine is dry and is as enjoyable with food as without it.  I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $22.50 (as a wine club member.  Regular price is $25).

2015 Mark Ryan Winery "The Vincent" Rosé - At $15, this dry rosé wine from Washington State is affordable, food-friendly, and very drinkable. Whether it’s a small gathering, a big cookout, or a romantic dinner, this wine would fit the mood without costing a fortune. Rating: 4.5 Corks out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Mark Ryan Winery “The Vincent” Rosé

The Mark Ryan Winery “The Vincent” Rosé is a perfect picnic or cookout wine.  There were fresh strawberries mixed with rose petals and lemon zest.  It’s a lighter bodied wine that still packs a powerful flavor punch without being overwhelming.  I only discovered this wine in May, but I suspect it will join the Storybook Mountain Zin Gris as a A Glass After Work house wine.  I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $15.

Question of the Day:  Do you have your plans all set for the upcoming Canada Day or July 4th holiday weekend?  

Sunday Baking: Rutini Sauvignon Blanc & Shortbread

*** I received this wine as a sample. ***

2014 Rutini Sauvignon Blanc – At $25 a bottle, this white wine from Mendoza, Argentina is an easy drinker. It’s perfect for a relaxing summer evening when you’re looking for a crisp, refreshing wine. Ratings 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Rutini Sauvignon Blanc – At $25 a bottle, this white wine from Mendoza, Argentina is an easy drinker. It’s perfect for a relaxing summer evening when you’re looking for a crisp, refreshing wine. Ratings 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Stack

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Stack

The week of the Lambrusco tasting was a busy one. Plus, while those tastings are always fun, they take a lot of time and energy to plan. So, combining it with work being busy in its own right, I was exhausted by the time that weekend rolled around. Except for our normal weekend errands, I spent my time on the couch reading a trashy novel. That also meant that when it came to cookie baking on Sunday, I was not feeling very adventurous. Instead of trying an entirely new recipe, I was inspired by Cookies and Cups to make whipped shortbread cookies. The gluten free ones I made for myself were plain, but the ones I made for everyone else also had chocolate chips. To go with the cookies, I opened up a Sauvignon Blanc.

2014 Rutini Sauvignon Blanc

2014 Rutini Sauvignon Blanc

The 2014 Rutini Sauvignon Blanc (wines, snooth) is made in Mendoza, Argentina with 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The wine was a medium yellow color. On the nose, there were stone fruits with hints of pineapple and pink grapefruit. In the mouth, there were pineapples and grapefruits with hints of vanilla. The wine had a medium body and acidity.

Is this wine worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $25, this wine is a little pricey for what it is, especially as it doesn’t give me thing hints of freshness or grass that I expect from a Sauvignon Blanc. However, I really still really enjoyed it. The wine was particularly delicious with the homemade gluten-free white basil pizza Hubby and I made for dinner.

2014 Rutini Sauvignon Blanc and shortbread cookies

2014 Rutini Sauvignon Blanc and shortbread cookies

As for the cookies, they were ok, but not a favorite. While loved the idea of a fluffy shortbread cookie, I think the whipped consistency just didn’t work for me. It lost the flavor and feel of what I love about shortbread, which may have been why the gluten-free version actually tasted better. That said, my coworkers really enjoyed the chocolate chip version, and the cookies vanished before lunch on Monday.

Overall, the wine and cookie pairing was tasty, and combining the two made both the wine and the cookies better. That said, the cookie recipe isn’t one that will become a regular in my rotation. The wine, though, is one I would open again…especially with a white basil pizza.

Question of the Day:  How do you feel about shortbread cookies?  Are you a fan?  And should they be “traditional” or are they the type of cookie that can be modified and played with?

Whipped Shortbread Cookies
Print Recipe
This variation on the traditional cookie makes a fluffier, yet still buttery treat. Chocolate chips can be added for even more variety.
Servings
30 cookies
Servings
30 cookies
Whipped Shortbread Cookies
Print Recipe
This variation on the traditional cookie makes a fluffier, yet still buttery treat. Chocolate chips can be added for even more variety.
Servings
30 cookies
Servings
30 cookies
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, mix together flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter for 3 minutes. It should be fluffy. Then add vanilla and beat until combined.
  3. Once the butter is fully whipped, add dry ingredients. Mix until combined. If you're added chocolate chips, add them now and mix until combined.
  4. Preheat oven to 325F.
  5. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  6. Take a rounded tablespoon of dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  8. Remove cookies from oven, but let them set on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire cooling rack to completely cool.
Recipe Notes

*adapted from Cookies & Cups' Whipped Shortbread recipe

 

Suggested Retail Price: $25
Received as a sample.
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Beautiful Biutiful Cava

Biutiful Brut Rosé Cava – At $14 a bottle, this sparkling rose wine from Spain is perfect for any season. Whether it’s opened during a summer picnic with friends over a basket of prosciutto and cheese or during a Thanksgiving feast with family, this food-friendly bubbly is easily drinkable and is full of festivity and fun. Ratings 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Biutiful Brut Rosé Cava – At $14 a bottle, this sparkling rose wine from Spain is perfect for any season. Whether it’s opened during a summer picnic with friends over a basket of prosciutto and cheese or during a Thanksgiving feast with family, this food-friendly bubbly is easily drinkable and is full of festivity and fun. Ratings 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Biutiful Brut Rosé Cava

Biutiful Brut Rosé Cava

Hubby and I never really celebrate Valentine’s Day. Not that I’m judgey of people who do…I completely understand the desire to feel that little bit of extra love and attention or spend time with your special someone over a nice dinner. However, Hubby’s birthday is the week before Valentine’s Day. Our anniversary is literally a month before. Two weeks before that is New Year’s, and a week before that is Christmas. So, for us, there are numerous opportunities around that time of year to make sure the other person knows how we each feel, so we just never really got into celebrating Valentine’s Day. That said, the day still calls for opening some bubbly to enjoy over dinner.

The Biutiful Cava Brut Rosé (snooth) is a sparkling wine from Spain that is made with 100% Garnacha grapes. The wine had a nice orangish-pink color with persistent bubbles. On the nose, there were raspberries and strawberries with a hint of apricot. In the mouth, there were tart raspberries and strawberries mixed with peaches and cream. The wine had a light-to-medium body and good acidity.

Biutiful Cava Brut Rose and homemade cheesesteakIs this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $14, this rose Cava is easily drinkable, food-friendly, and very affordable. The acidity create a nice brightness and bubbles dance. I paired the sparkler with homemade cheese steaks, and the wine cut through the fat from the cheese and the meat beautifully, making for a nice pairing. I also think this wine would be a enjoyable over a Thanksgiving turkey dinner or on a picnic blanket with friends while eating prosciutto and cheese. Overall, this Cava definitely added a nice touch to our casual Valentine’s Day dinner, and I won’t hesitate to grab another bottle when I see one.

Question of the Day: Are you someone who celebrates Valentine’s Day or do you tend to treat it like every other day?

Price: $14
Purchased at 7 River Mart, the convenience store I walk by during my commute.
Overall: 3.5 Corks