Singing with My Grüner Veltliner

Last week was an exciting workweek for me.  Sure, the recent flood of meetings continued, but a little excitement was interjected into it all when I went to a mid-week, early-morning briefing.  I admit it; I was grumpy when I was handed the invitation to the breakfast.  Immediately, I noticed that I had to wake-up earlier than usual and schmooze with people before I had a chance to have coffee number 3 for the day.  Plus, the topic of the briefing really was only tangentially within my area of expertise, so that of course made me a little edgy (one doesn’t want to look stupid in front of her colleagues).  It wasn’t until I arrived and the first speaker was introduced that I realized Goldie Hawn was one of the panelists!  Luckily for me, part of why I was there was to talk to one of the other panelist, so when I went up to say hello to him, he quickly introduced me to Ms. Hawn.  In an effort to remain professional, I didn’t have a chance to take a picture with her.  Truthfully, I didn’t have a chance to do much more than shake her hand, but it was still an exciting and out-of-the-ordinary way to start the day! 

Since my day started with a twist of something different, I decided that I wanted to end it with a wine that continued the trend of being out-of-the-ordinary, or at least out-of-the-ordinary for me.  Being that it has been incredibly hot here, the 2007 Laurenz und Sophie Singing Grüner Veltliner (vineyard, snooth) looked like it would be both something different and something refreshing. 

The Singing Grüner Veltliner was a clear lemony yellow. The wine had fresh, wet stone aromas that were followed by hints of green apples and green grapes.  In the mouth, the wine had very minerally flavors, with only a touch of fruitiness—some apricots, along with the green apples and green grapes I found on the nose.  A crisp acidity played well with the dryness and the alcohol to give the wine a pleasant balance.  The flavors lingered in the mouth a little longer than I expected, particularly because the wine was so light. 

Is this worth a glass after work? If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $14, this wine is a nice, easy drink.  In the description on the back of the bottle, there is a question about why the wine is called the Singing Grüner Veltliner, although the question is left unanswered, saying that the drinker should come up with the reason.  After experiencing this wine, I think that it’s called the Singing Grüner Veltliner because it leaves your wallet and your taste buds singing for joy because you didn’t have to spend a fortune on a quality, approachable, and enjoyable white wine.


Overall: 3.5 Corks


Bliss with Barefoot & Bubbles

If you follow me on Twitter (@Alleigh), you know that last week was a ridiculously busy week in my office.  Every year, we hold a breakfast reception for people who come into DC, and we choose the date by looking at the popular Spring Break weeks for K-12 schools.  The purpose of picking the date this way is because there will be more families travelling, so we can see more people.  This year’s reception was last Wednesday, and it was the biggest one my office has ever had—over 250 people!  Now, that may not seem like a lot to people who are used to those types of big events, but as this is only a one-time-a-year reception, it is not something that my officemates and I are used to. 

For me, the reception meant a lot of talking, a lot of standing on my feet, and a lot of just “being on” all the time.  It also meant an overall increase in meetings, since people who attend the reception usually want to set up private meetings at another time.   All in all, it was a very successful week, but I was ready to collapse on Friday night when I got home.  I walked in the door, chilled a bottle of Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvee (vineyard, snooth), and plopped down on the couch to decompress w/ Hubby. 

Admittedly, I’m not the first to review the Barefoot Bubbly.  In fact, some of the blogs that I read regularly, like Wines by Benito, 1 Wine Dude, Brix Chicks, and The Wine Whore, have great thoughts to share on this sparkler.  Despite the diverse coverage, I still wanted to share my thoughts because, well, this wine fits perfectly into what A Glass After Work is all about.  As I read through the posts by other bloggers, what was most interesting to me is that while the wine was consistently described as not complicated, everyone gave it a thumbs-up—and I completely agree. 

The sparkling wine had a nice, medium lemon color, with big, strong bubbles rising to the top of the glass.  On the nose, there were pleasant green apple aromas.  In the mouth, the bubbles just danced off my tongue.  Again, there were green apple flavors.  There was also the slightest hint kiwi. 

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $8.99, this wine is pure, uncomplicated happiness in a bottle.  It’s the type of wine that doesn’t require a lot of studying, but rather is just meant to drink up and enjoy.  The Barefoot Bubbly is very drinkable on its own, although I paired it with a tortellini and shrimp in an alfredo sauce, and it was a great match.  The Barefoot Bubbly wasn’t anything fancy, and certainly not something that I would say was a special occasion sparkler, but it was perfect to open after a crazy day (or week) at work and just settle into and relax while you sip.   

Overall: 3.5 Corks

All You Need is a Little Patience…

I admit that before taking my wine class, I’d only had a few Zinfandels, and this unfamiliarity caused me to shy away from them.  I had no idea what I was missing.  As winter comes to a close, and with it my desire to drink heavy red wines, I decided to do some last minute exploring of California’s Zinfandels.  I chose California, as the majority of Zins come from this area of the US.  I opened the first of these recent Zin purchases last week—a 2006 Paso Creek.

The deep color of the 2006 Paso Creek Zinfandel was very inviting.  When smelling the wine, I found hints of black pepper, semi-sweet chocolate, and a heavy fruit smell that I couldn’t quite place.  The smell was very pleasant. 

As for tasting the wine, the first night didn’t live up to the expectations I had from the smell.  The taste seemed very muddled and chewy.  Itreminded me of a fruit stew. 

On the second night, after the wine had time to breathe, the stewy taste transformed into spicy, warm fruit pie flavors that were enjoyable.  The wine still felt thick in my mouth, but with the change in flavors, it was very pleasant.  Finally, as you can see from the label, the wine is high in alcohol.  

Is this worth a glass after work?  Definitely. For $17, the wine offers something a little different from your usual, everyday red wine, but the difference is still a pleasant, enjoyable flavor, as long as you have the patience to either decanter it or let it breathe for a little.  Paso Creek’s website describes the wine as “a big, full-bodied, frank, and forthright wine that somehow manages to retain a touch of its wild side,” and I think that is a fitting description.  I drank the wine with a grilled steak marinated in Worcestershire sauce, and this was a wonderful pairing.  You could also eat it with other any bold flavor food,though, especially something like lamb or dark chocolate.

Overall: 3 1/2 corks

Celebrate Spring with the 2006 Governor’s White!

Spring has definitely arrived—it’s the busy season at work, as at a lot of people are coming into town for meetings to set the year’s agenda and make special requests.  This means a lot of talking, a lot of memo writing, and a lot of negotiating.   It’s a fun time, but it’s also so demanding that I come home from work physically and mentally exhausted.  This doesn’t bode well for poor Hubby who craves “real” food after a few weeks because we basically live off of take-out during these few hectic months (yes, he could cook, but he doesn’t, so take-out it is).  This year, though, it gives me a chance to experiment with wine & take-out pairings, which is definitely an added bonus for me.

One great pairing from this week was eating Chinese food with The Williamsburg Winery’s 2006 Governor’s White.  The Governor’s White is a pale, lemon color with a strong pineapple and grapefruit smell.  As a non-drinker, Hubby doesn’t really like the smell of wine, but he’s a huge pineapple fan.  So, I asked him just to sniff my glass and tell me if there was a flavor that really “hit” him.  As skeptical as he was, he was a good sport.  He took a whiff and said “Mmmm!  That smells like a ripe, fresh pineapple.”  Clearly, the smell was something we both enjoyed. 

The wine has a surprisingly complex taste.  The pineapple and grapefruit appeared when I tasted the wine, and they were accompanied by some honey, floral, lemon, and honeydew notes.  The wine itself is a refreshing semi-dry wine, so it’s sweeter than what I normally drink, but the sweetness is part of what made it a perfect match for my crab rangoon and my very spicy garlic chicken & broccoli.  The seafood and spiciness help keep the sweetness in check. 

Is this worth A Glass After Work? Definitely. At $7 a bottle, this is an unexpected sweet treat. You can undoubtedly sit down and drink a glass when you’re unwinding after you eat or enjoy a glass with some spicy or seafood dishes. If you don’t live near VA, you might have trouble finding this wine, but don’t fret, you can grab a bottle or two or three online. Overall: 3 1/2 corks (keep a lookout for a post explaining my new rating system)