Snowzilla Day 4 – A Goodbye to Snow with a Snow Roller

**Here is my blog post about Snowzilla Day 1 , Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 1), Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 2), and Snowzilla Day 3**

Magic Hat Brewing Company Snow Roller – This seasonal brown ale from Vermont is only available in the winter, but it’s a great option for the IPA lover looking to explore new beer horizons Ratings 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Magic Hat Brewing Company Snow Roller – This seasonal brown ale from Vermont is only available in the winter, but it’s a great option for the IPA lover looking to explore new beer horizons Ratings 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

IMagic Hat Brewing Company Bottle Top promise…this is my last post about Snowzilla. I know it was months ago. I know everyone is over snow and instead thinking about spring, cookouts, and rose. But, I’m clearly behind on blogging, and I tasted so many good things over those few days I didn’t want to miss sharing. So, here it is…my final day of Snowzilla.

By the time Day 4 rolled around, the weather was doing more to clear away the snow than the city. There are many things I love about DC, but the ability to handle snowy weather is not one of them. Hubby and I spent our last day home acting more like it was a staycation day rather than a snow day. And, after several days of wine, I felt like enjoying a beer instead. So, I opted for Magic Hat Brewing Company’s aptly named Snow Roller.

Magic Hat Brewing Company Snow Roller Hoppy Brown Ale

Magic Hat Brewing Company Snow Roller Hoppy Brown Ale

The Snow Roller (brewery) is a brown ale from Vermont. The beer had a clear medium amber color with about an inch of foamy tan head. On the nose, there were mild smells of caramel, cereal, and something bitter. In the mouth, caramel and biscuits mixed with hints of citrus and something earthy. The beer had a medium body with a slight bite of bitterness on the finish.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. It was an interesting mix of a brown ale and IPA. So, if you’re an IPA lover looking to expand your beer horizons, you should definitely grab a bottle. Overall, this beer was makes for a nice winter seasonal option and it was perfect for a snowy day.

Question of the Day:  What’s the weather been like you?  How has it impacted your drinking choices?

Purchased at Harris Teeter
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Snowzilla Day 3 – Morning Sun & a South African Chenin Blanc

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

Snowzilla Day 3 - A view of people walking in the middle of the street from the balcony

People walking in the middle of the street

**Here is my blog post about Snowzilla Day 1 , Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 1), Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 2), and Snowzilla Day 4**

By Day 3 of Snowzilla, most of the snow had stopped. We woke up in the morning to 2 feet of snow, which required some final shoveling, particularly when it came to digging out the car. However, for the most part, that Sunday was about enjoying being snowed in without snow falling and walking around the neighborhood. Hubby and I had a leftovers from the two big meals he made at the beginning of the storm, not to mention cheese and prosciutto left. Instead of going for another red, though, the warmer weather and sunshine called for a white wine to go with the historic snowfall we were digging out from.

Hubby in yellow digging out the car from 2 ft of snow

Hubby in yellow digging out the car from under 2 ft of snow

The 2014 De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc (snooth, winery) is from Stellenbosch, South Africa and is made with 100% Chenin Blanc grapes. The wine was a medium lemon yello color. On the nose, there were white flowers and peaches mixed with a hint of honey, pear, and ginger. In the mouth there were pears, flowers, peaches, and apricots with hints of honest and ginger. This wine is medium-to-full bodied, with nice acidity and a long finish.

2014 De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc – At $35, this white wine from South Africa is a dry, but luscious wine that is incredibly food friendly and easy to sip. The flavors are all flowers and peaches with hints of ginger, and it’s long finish lingers in the mouth bringing a smile to the face. Ratings 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At an SRP of $35, this wine is probably a little price for an everyday wine, but this is a wine to grab for a nice Friday or Saturday night dinner or to open at the start of a night with friends. It’s incredibly food-friendly and easy to sip.

The snow stopped, but 2ft piled up against our back door, which turned our back patio into a "snowbox."

The snow stopped, but 2ft piled up against our back door, which turned our back patio into a “snowbox.”

According to the website, DeMorgenzon  means “the morning sun.”  While I didn’t know that when I opened the bottle, it was perfectly named for when I opened it.  The sunny, cloudless morning made for a beautiful winter day, and the Chenin Blanc made for a beautiful wine.  It brought a smile to my face…particularly nice a cold walk, in front of a warm fire, and cuddled up with Hubby.

Question of the Day: Do you tend to spend less on wine that you buy to open during the week than on the wine that you open over the weekend?  What’s your price range for an weekday bottle of wine?   

 

Suggested Retail Price: $35
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 2) – Sparkling Pinot & Snow

Mumm Sparkling Pinot Noir – At $35, this sparkling red wine from California is food-friendly and easy to drink. It’s worth considering the next time you have a dinner party, are hosting a holiday meal, or are looking to curl up on the couch with a delicious bottle of something different. Rating 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Mumm Sparkling Pinot Noir

**Here is my blog post about Snowzilla Day 1 , Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 1), Snowzilla Day 3and Snowzilla Day 4**

Something about snowy weather makes me want to drink red wine, but since Snowzilla was such a unique occasion in DC, I also really wanted to drink something special and unique. That’s why, on the second day of Snowzilla, I decided to open Mumm’s Sparkling Pinot Noir.

Mumm Sparkling Pinot Noir (winery) is a sparking red wine made in Napa Valley, California with 100% Pinot Noir grapes. The wine had a deep ruby red color with flecks of purple and a nice purple fizz top when it was poured. On the noise, there were plums and cherries mixed with a hint of cinnamon. In the mouth, there were plums and cherries mixed with cloves and cinnamon, a hint of creaminess, and some chocolate dust. The wine had small persistent bubbles, medium tannins, and good acidity.

Snowzilla Day 2 - Me walking into the front yard in the evening to discover we had 22 inches of snow

Snowzilla Day 2 – Me walking into the front yard in the evening to discover we had 22 inches of snow

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $35, this wine is both delicious and an interesting conversation piece, so it’s worth the extra effort of going to the winery’s website to buy it (that’s the only place it can be purchased). Most people haven’t tasted a red sparkling wine, and if they have, it was most likely a sparkling Shiraz from Australia or a Lambrusco from Italy. This is not like either, although it’s more comparable to a Lambrusco.  The Mumm Sparkling Pinot is balanced with deep flavor and a hint of sweetness, while also being crisp and refreshing.

Snowzilla cheese, charcuterie, and Crunchmaster crackers

Snowzilla cheese, charcuterie, and Crunchmaster crackers

I enjoyed this wine throughout the day. I opened it to go with an after-shoveling snack of cheese, charcuterie, and Crunchmaster gluten-free crackers. The wine tasted like it was made to go with the prosciutto. Both the bubbles and the acidity helped cut through the fattiness of the meat, while the flavors of the wine complimented the flavors of the prosciutto. Not to mention that I couldn’t have asked for a better cheese to eat with the wine than the truffle gouda because the earthiness of the cheese brought out the deeper flavors of the wine.

Hubby's slow cooker chili and Mumm Sparkling Pinot Noir

Hubby’s slow cooker chili and Mumm Sparkling Pinot Noir

For dinner, I drank the wine with Hubby’s crockpot chili. Admittedly, the sparkler was a touch better with charcuterie and cheese earlier in the day, but it held up nicely with the heaviness of chili, especially because the touch of sweetness from the wine balanced out the little bit of spiciness from the chili.

All in all, the Mumm Sparkling Pinot Noir was the perfect bottle to enjoy through the day, whether it was with food or in front of the fire knitting. It was an easy sipper that offered something a little different. And, while I enjoyed it during a winter snowstorm, because it’s so food-friendly and easy to drink, this wine is also worth considering the next time you are having a dinner party or hosting a holiday meal.

Question of the Day: What are your thoughts on red sparkling wine?

Price: $35
Purchased at Mumm Napa
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 1) – Crunchmasters, Cheese, & Charcuterie

Crunchmaster 7-Grain and Sea Salt Multi-Grain Crackers – If you eat gluten-free or dairy-free, are willing to try something a little different, or are looking for a great palate cleanser when doing a wine tasting, the Crunchmaster crackers are worth trying. | AGlassAfterWork.com

Crunchmaster 7-Grain and Sea Salt Multi-Grain Crackers – If you eat gluten-free or dairy-free, are willing to try something a little different, or are looking for a great palate cleanser when doing a wine tasting, the Crunchmaster crackers are worth trying. | AGlassAfterWork.com

Snowzilla Day 2 -- This was our back patio in the morning under 17 inches of snow.

Snowzilla Day 2 — This was our back patio in the morning under 17 inches of snow.

**Here is my blog post about Snowzilla Day 1 , Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 2)Snowzilla Day 3and Snowzilla Day 4**

By the time we woke up in the morning on the for Day 2 of Snowzilla, there was a lot of snow on the ground.  We waited until after breakfast before heading out to begin our first round of clearing the sidewalk.  Hubby and I split the duties, although he admittedly had the harder job as he shoveled, while I put salt down when he was done.  By the time we finished, changed into dry clothes, and warmed up a little, it was time for Hubby to put our chili dinner in the crockpot and for me to open a some wine–a Mumm Sparkling Pinot Noir–and put together a snack, but the only thing better than good wine on a snow day is having good food with the wine.

Hubby and I out shoveling the for the first time on Snowzilla Day 2

Hubby and I out shoveling the for the first time on Snowzilla Day 2

As I mentioned in January, I’ve been having some health issues, so the doctor put me on a low FODMAP diet.  While things are a little less strict for me now, in January, I was completely gluten-free.  So, when Crunchmaster reached out about sampling their gluten-free crackers, I jumped at the chance.  I actually tasted Crunchmaster Crackers for the first time with Becca (The Gourmez) at the Wine Bloggers’ Conference in the Finger Lakes.  At the time, they were the perfect palate cleanser after several atrocious beers and a funky snack we ate at another table.

Because I enjoyed them in the Finger Lakes, I wanted to try them with the new lens of having to eat gluten-free.  Crunchmaster has a wide variety of flavored crackers, but I could only eat the 7-Grain Crackers and the Sea Salt Multi-Grain Crackers because I also eliminated onion and garlic from my diet.  If you’re interested in other flavors, Becca reviewed the Roasted Vegetable, White Cheddar, and Roasted Garlic.

Crunchmasters 7 Ancient Grains and Multi Grain Crackers

Crunchmaster 7 Ancient Grains and Sea Salt Multi-Grain Crackers

The 7-Grain Crackers tasted like “healthy” food to me.  I wasn’t surprised to learn they had 24g of whole grain per serving (15 crackers) and were low sodium, gluten and dairy free, and made with 4 different types of seeds–quinoa seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, amaranth seeds. I thought they added variety, in both taste and texture, to the cheese and charcuterie board, as well as a providing a nice compliment to the sparkling red wine, but Hubby was not a fan.

The Sea Salt Multi-Grain Crackers disappeared off the board pretty quickly, so there was little doubt that they were the favorite. They had 22 g of whole grain per serving (16 crackers…I love getting the extra cracker in there!), were dairy and gluten free, and were made with 3 types of seeds—sesame seeds, flax seeds, and quinoa seeds.  They were the right consistency for spreading our Cherry Glen Monocacy Silver (a local, soft ripened goat cheese), as well as had the perfect amount of salt to combine with the truffle gouda cheese that we also were enjoying.

Snowzilla cheese, charcuterie, and Crunchmasters

Snowzilla cheese, charcuterie, and Crunchmaster crackers

Doing the cracker taste test was a fun and delicious experiment on a snow day that left us house bound in front of a warm fire. Since then, even though I’ve added gluten back into my modified low FODMAP diet, the Sea Salt Multi-Grain have become a staple in the A Glass After Work house.  I occasionally take half a serving and a cheddar cheese stick for the perfect sized afternoon snack.  So, if you eat gluten-free, are willing to try something a little different, or are looking for a great palate cleanser when doing a wine tasting, I recommend giving the Crunchmaster a try.

Question of the Day: Do you eat gluten-free, low FODMAP, or have some other type of special dietary constraints?  If so, do you tend to feel like the foods you have to eat taste as good as the restricted versions of the same food?  If not, do you ever eat the foods that are geared towards some of these specialized diets (like gluten-free or lactose-free items)?

5 Wines for Easter Brunch

Top 5 Wines for Easter Dinner -- Easter brunch can be as difficult, if not more so, than Easter dinner when trying to pair wine, but here is some sparkling, white and red wine suggestions that should be a nice addition to your omelet, eggs benedict, or ham brunch selections. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Top 5 Wines for Easter Dinner — Easter brunch can be as difficult, if not more so, than Easter dinner when trying to pair wine, but here is some sparkling, white and red wine suggestions that should be a nice addition to your omelet, eggs benedict, or ham brunch selections. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

This year, Hubby and I are headed out to Easter brunch with his family. While this means I don’t have to worry about what wine to bring to his mother’s house for the holiday, it does mean that I’ve already started scoping out the restaurant’s wine list. Figuring out what can pair with a raw oyster bar, pastries, omelets, a carving station full of ham and lamb, and a hot dishes like gravy and biscuits can be as much of a challenge as figuring out wine for Easter dinner. Whether you’re headed out or having people over, here are 5 wines that should help make Easter brunch a success.

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 tastes of berries, baked pears and hints of toast, cream, and vanilla. It’s the perfect brunch bubbly, as the bright acidity will help keep the meal fresh tasting, and it will pair nicely with almost everything on the table. Not to mention that all of the Gruet sparkling wines are very affordable, so you if you rather mix this sparkler with some juice to make a mimosa or bellini, you can do so without any guilt. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $13.

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Crémant d’Alsace – This $19 bottle of sparkling wine from France is pink, dry, and perfect. It tastes of cranberries, strawberries, and pomegranates mixed with hints of oranges and a soft, creaminess. It’s a delicious choice for brunch, appetizers, or just sitting in the backyard on a beautiful day. Rating 4 out 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Crémant d’Alsace

The Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Crémant d’Alsace is pink bubbly that is packed with flavor–cranberries, strawberries, and pomegranates mixed with hints of oranges and a soft, creaminess. It’s not sparkler I would mix with juice, but rather enjoy it’s bright acidity, light body, and fun bubbles on its own. While it also would go well with almost everything on the table, I think would be particularly fantastic with eggs benedict or with some ham. I gave this wine 4 corks, and while I received it as a sample, it has an SRP of $19.

Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco – This $25 bottle of fizzy red wine from Italy is easily drinkable and delicious.  It has beautiful berry flavors mixed with hints of flowers, and it was a wine that was clearly made to be paired with food.  This Lambrusco is a definite crowd pleaser that can be enjoyed during brunch, dinner, or night sitting around talking with friends.  Rating 4.5 out 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco

The Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco is a bright, dark red color with fizzy bubbles and just a touch of fruity sweetness. The wine is full of cranberry, strawberry, and blackberry flavors mixed with some rose petals and thyme. I did a Lambrusco tasting at the end of January for my coworkers (which I will write about in the next couple of weeks), and out of the 6 wines we tasted, the Fattoia Moretto tied with the Riunite Lambrusco as the favorite. I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $25.

Bodegas Ruberte Tresor Garnacha – This $10 bottle of red wine from Spain is a perfect example of wine with an excellent quality/price ratio.  It’s easy to drink, has nice red berry flavors, and is a great choice for a lighter spring or summer red wine. Rating 3.5 out 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Bodegas Ruberte Tresor Garnacha

The Bodegas Ruberte Tresor Garnacha screams spring with its red berry flavors, a touch of white pepper, and its medium body. It’s a wine that would pair nicely with a chorizo and cheese omelet or some sliced ham. Just be warned that even though this wine doesn’t taste like it has a lot of alcohol, it can definitely pack a punch. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and received it as a sample, but it has an SRP of $10, which is an amazing quality/price ratio.

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

Francis Ford Coppola Winery Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon

The Coppola Winery Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon is a bigger, bolder wine that is full of cherries and blackberries mixed with vanilla, licorice, hints of something floral. It’s not so much a fun, flirty sipper like the other wines on this list, but rather a wine that is more substantial as you drink, eat, and talk away the morning. When I reviewed the wine, I actually paired it with very cheesy eggs, which were made with an applewood smoked cheddar, and bacon, so I say with confidence that if you’re going planning on eating the heftier, smokier brunch items, this wine will be the perfect choice. I gave the Coppola Director’s Cut Cab 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but it has an SRP of $24.

Question of the Day: Have you picked out the wines for your Easter meal yet?  What are you planning on opening?