YouTube Famous Talking Kosher Wine with The Swirl Suite

Listen to A Glass After Work talking and drinking kosher wine with The Swirl Suite

Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised about this, but there are A LOT of wine bloggers in the DC metro area. I first met Tanisha (Girl Meets Glass) not long after I started blogging, but little did I know that she had a network of local amazing African-American women who were also wine bloggers. A couple of years after I met her, Tanisha left her desk job in DC for a wine life in Paris. As far as I can tell, she hasn’t looked back since (and I admit I’m green with envy).

Separately, a few years later at one of the Wine Bloggers’ Conferences, I met Sarita (Vine Me Up) and Glynnis (Vino_Noire). Sarita and I, in particular, were surprised that while we end up in similar wine circles and that she’s close with Tanisha, we never crossed paths before the conference. Not only that, but we also live fairly close to each other in DC, to the point that we’ve since met up at the wine bar that we both consider our local spot.

Behind the scenes of my interview with The Swirl Suite

Behind the scenes of my interview with The Swirl Suite

Tanisha, Sarita, Glynnis, Leslie (Vino301), and Melissa (Liquor_Lady) now making up The Swirl Suite and hold monthly discussions online about wine and spirits (you can find them here on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Stitcher, and SoundCloud). Sometimes they live stream and sometimes the conversations are pre-recorded. Sometimes it’s just the 5 of them and sometimes they have guests. Always, though, the conversations are lively, fun, and informative.

As a fan of all 5 ladies individually, and The Swirl Suite in its own right, I was very flattered when Sarita asked me to make a guest appearance to talk about kosher wines. I jumped at the chance. Last Sunday, I talked and drank with The Swirl Suite for 40 minutes, and the time went by very fast. You can watch our discussion here:   http://bit.ly/2nIV7hQ.

Covenant Wines Syrah

Covenant Wines Syrah

Without giving too many spoilers from the discussion, I was drinking the Covenant Wines Syrah, which is a $55 red wine from Israel that I would give 4.5 stars. My review will be posted in the next few days. Glynnis was drinking the Ugav Pinotage, which is a red wine made by Jerusalem Wineries in Israel, and she said the wine would be making a regular appearance in her house. Sarita opened a Cantina Gabriele Pinot Grigio that was not a favorite. Clearly, she and I will have to open another kosher wine together so that she has a better experience…there are so many delicious options out there.

Other wines, wineries, and online wine buying options that were mentioned during our conversation:

  • Deccolio Prosseco, which is a $14 sparkling wine from Italy that I reviewed in August and gave 4 stars.
  • Casa De Cielo Reserve Malbec/Syrah, which is an $11 red wine from Chile, is a silky wine full of dark fruit flavors and with medium tannins and acidity. It’s not very complex, but very food friendly (think steak or other grilled meats) and is perfect for drinking now.
  • 2014 Hajdu Wines Brobdinagian Petite Sirah – At $50, this kosher red wine from California is big, beautiful, and defies all the stereotypes about kosher wines. It’s still a touch young, but had nice fruit flavors and was delicious when paired with food. Definitely a wine worthy of a holiday occasion. Ratings 4.5 out 5 stars | AGlassAfterWork.com

    2014 Hajdu Wines Brobdingnagian Petit Sirah

    Hadju Wines– I mentioned the Brobdinagian, which I haven’t blogged about although I did post about it on Instagram and gave it a 5 rating Vivino. However, I also really enjoyed their Grenache, which is a $50 red wine from California that I gave 4 corks to in October.

  • Dalton Winery, which I’ve reviewed in the past and enjoyed.
  • Kosherwine.com – This is the website that I do almost all of my online kosher wine shopping. The selection is definitely worth checking out.

Question of the Day: Have you ever had a kosher wine before?  What did you think?

 

14 Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

14 Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner – Here are mix of sparkling, rosé, white, and red wine options that would be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving Day feast. Plus, 10 of these Thanksgiving wine pairing options are $20 or less, so there is no need to worry about spending a fortune for good wine. Cheers…and Happy Thanksgiving! | AGlassAfterWork.com

14 Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner – Here are mix of sparkling, rosé, white, and red wine options that would be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving Day feast. Plus, 10 of these Thanksgiving wine pairing options are $20 or less, so there is no need to worry about spending a fortune for good wine. Cheers…and Happy Thanksgiving! | AGlassAfterWork.com

It’s hard to believe that it’s Thanksgiving time.  Hubby and I are running the SOME Turkey Trot for Hunger 5k before we head to his mother’s, as we usually do.  While there is a lot to be thankful, our holiday festivities will be a lot smaller than previous years.  My sister-in-law moved to the West Coast, so she and her boyfriend won’t be joining.  Hubby’s cousin recently had a baby and decided to host, which means we’ll be missing both his cousin, her husband, and their baby girl, as well as her parents.  And, his grandmother passed away at the end of the summer, so there will be an obvious absence at the table.  Except for his grandmother’s passing, the smaller holiday is actually because of happy reasons, and I’m excited to see our families expand and be successful.  At the same time, though, I will miss the hustle and bustle of the larger dinners that I’ve gotten used to over the years.

That said, smaller numbers means more wine for me!  I’m still debating between a Zinfandel and a Petit Sirah as my big red wine of choice.  If you’re still trying to figure out what to bring, maybe this list of suggestions will inspire you:

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.  It’s a sparkling wine that I’m constantly recommending because it’s available throughout much of the country, is a big crowd pleaser, and is very affordable. In this case, though, it’s a particularly nice choice because it pairs will with Thanksgiving dinner. It compliments the turkey, while the bubbles and acidity cut through some of the heavier dishes like the mashed potatoes or green bean casserole. Plus, how often do you get to drink a wine from New Mexico?!? I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $13.

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

The Biutiful Cava Brut Rosé (snooth) is a Spanish sparkling wine from Spain with tart raspberries and strawberries characteristics that mix with hints of peaches and cream. The wine had a light-to-medium body, has good acidity, and goes down very smoothly. It would go nicely with appetizers like a crab or spinach dip, as well prosciutto and cheese plates, while being able to transition nicely into a dinner time sparkler to pair with the turkey dinner, particularly if you’re having fried turkey. All in all,  this rose Cava is easily drinkable, food-friendly, and very affordable. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and purchased it for $14.

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 Vineyards Zin Gris (winery) is Zinfandel rosé that is not a “White Zinfandel.” It’s a dry wine that’s full of cranberry, lime, and thyme flavors, which will mix nicely with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner side dishes like stuffing and cranberry sauce. Plus, the bright acidity of the wine will help cut through some of the more butter-laden goodness like macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes without overpowering them. I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it online through the vineyard for $19.

2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé – At $15, this California rosé wine is a perfect summer porch sipper with a nice quality/price ratio. Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé

The 2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé (winerysnooth) is a light bodied wine that is beautifully fresh tasting, with lots of grapefruit characteristics mixed with hints of tart raspberry and flowers. This wine is an easy sipper that would compliment both appetizers and the main feast, particularly for the wine drinker that prefers lighter, crisp styles. I gave this wine 4 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has a great quality/price ratio with an SRP of $15.

2015 Vasco Urbano Wine Company – At $24, this California rose from the Livermore Valley is light bodied and nicely balanced. It’s perfect for a cheese board or some porch sipping, and it will carry over nicely into the fall. You might even want to consider it for your Thanksgiving table. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Vasco Urbano Wine Company Grenache Rose

The Vasco Urbano Wine Company’s 2015 Ghielmetti Vineyards Grenache Rosé (winery) has quickly become one of my favorites. It’s light body, bright acidity, and beautiful balance makes it a wine that is enjoyable both on its own and with food. It’s a particularly nice option for Thanksgiving because it will compliment the turkey, while keeping your mouth fresh and ready for the next bite. I gave it 4.5 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has an SRP of $24.

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)has the slightest touch of sweetness, but when combined with a nice acidity, the wine is refreshing and incredibly drinkable. The wine has aromas and flavors of ripe peaches and apricots mixed with honey and a hint of ginger., which will bring warmth to the turkey dinner and all it’s dishes. The wine would be particularly nice with a fried turkey. I gave this wine 4 Corks and purchased it for $20.

2014 Clarksburg Chenin Blanc – This $18 white wine from California would be good any time of year and is absolutely wonderful on its own, but makes a particularly delicious addition to a Thanksgiving feast. It’s the epitome of what every Thanksgiving Dinner pairing should be! The magnetic wine charm is by Simply Charmed and part of the “Tom Turkey” set. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Clarksburg Wine Company Chenin Blanc and Simply Charmed magnetic wine charms

The 2014 Clarksburg Chenin Blanc (winery) is everything I want in a Thanksgiving Day wine. I’m actually sorry that I opened my final bottle last week because it means I won’t have another to open when Hubby and I do our own Thanksgiving. That said, I did enjoy my bottle with turkey-stuffed acorn squash, and the pairing was out-of-this-world. The juicy stone fruit combined with hints of melon and wax enhanced the sweetness of the squash, while nice acidity of the wine helped keep the turkey and rice mixture inside the squash from being too heavy and dense tasting. It was the type of pairing where I was literally alternating between a bit of dinner and a sip of wine. So grab this wine today! I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $18.

(And as a side note, while I’ll be doing a separate blog post that will include a giveaway to one lucky reader, if you’re looking for fun, magnetic wine charms to help with glass identification when you’re entertaining or if you’re just feeling festive and want to fancy-up your wine glass, I highly recommend Simply Charmed. My glass of Chenin Blanc is rocking one from the “Tom Turkey” charm set that I received as a sample.)

2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay – At $18, this California white wine is very smooth and is a perfect food wine. Rating: 3.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay

The 2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay (winerysnooth) is a smooth, food-friendly wine that embodies the nice balance a Chardonnay should have. It’s full of apple and pear flavors, but only has a touch of oakiness that is reminiscent of chewed on Popsicle stick (but in a good way). People often love or hate Chardonnay, but I would say that regardless of which category you fall into, this is one that is worth trying this Thanksgiving, especially as it will be a nice pairing with buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. I gave it 3.5 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has an SRP of $18.

2014 The Whip– At $24, this white wine blend from California will blow you away. It’s nicely balanced, easy to drink, and is a perfect pairing option for appetizers, dinner, or just talking with friends and family. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 The Whip

Murrieta’s Well 2014 The Whip (winery) is a gorgeous blend of grapes. This is a wine that will blow away your Thanksgiving Day guests as it’s a nicely balanced, easy-to-drink wine that has a tart citrus flavor mixed with a hint of creamy sweetness that is unique, but homey all at the same time. The wine is full of flower blossoms, limes, stone and tropical fruits, and honey dew melon and would be a great way to start off the festivities. I gave it 4 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has an SRP of $24.

Albinea Canali Lambrusco “FB” Metodo Ancestrale -- This $20 bottle of sparkling wine from Italy is a dry wine, although the strawberry flavors are juicy and sweet. It would make a perfect pairing with Easter ham or Thanksgiving turkey. Rating 4 out of 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Albinea Canali Lambrusco “FB” Metodo Ancestrale

The Albinea Canali Lambrusco “FB” Metodo Ancestrale is a semi-sparkling, dry Lambrusco with a medium pink color rather than the sweeter, inky purple wine people often associate with Lambrusco. The “FB” has juicy strawberry flavors mixed with hints of bread crust and touch of tartness that will make a nice pairing with turkey. I gave it 4 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the suggested retail price is $20.

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau – At $16, this light-bodied red wine from France is a food-friendly wine that will please almost every wine drinker. So, as you’re starting to think about holiday parties and dinners, this is one to keep in mind. Rating 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau

No Thanksgiving celebration is complete without at least one bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau. I haven’t had a chance to open my bottle of Georges Duboeuf yet, but I did taste the 2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau and was a fan. A nose full of strawberries and cream mixed with hints of late bloom rose petals. In the mouth, there are tart strawberries and raspberries, as well as hints of cranberries and roses. The wine is light bodied with light tannins and a good acidity that makes it food friendly and gives surprising structure to a wine that is so young. It also makes we want to try the winery’s regular Beaujolais, which I’m sure would also make for a nice addition to the Thanksgiving table. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $16.

2015 Altovinum Evodia Garnacha - This red wine from Spain can be found for under $10, but your guests will never guess because it is a luscious, versatile wine. Whether opening it over appetizers, a dinner of white or red meat, or just open a bottle in front of a cozy fire with friends, it’s hard to beat this quality price ratio. Rating: 4 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Altovinum Evodia Garnacha

The 2015 Altovinum Evodia Garnacha is one of the more versatile wines I’ve had, as I think it would pair nicely with white or red meat. In the case of Thanksgiving, the cherry, raspberry, and cranberry characteristics blend nicely with cinnamon, rose petals and hints of tobacco to make a wine that is exactly what you want to pair with turkey and cranberry sauce. It’s also a wine that has a wonderful quality/price ratio. I gave it 4 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the suggested retail price is $11, but a little research makes it look like you can find it for under $10.

2013 Valle Dell'Acate "Il Moro" Nero d'Avola - This $17 red wine from Italy is a little sharp to drink on its own, but it pairs beautifully with some homemade Italian cooking or a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Rating: 3.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Valle Dell’Acate “Il Moro” Nero d’Avola

The 2013 Valle Dell’Acate Il Moro Nero d’Avola (winery) is a wine that was definitely meant to pair with food. While I was not as much of a fan of drinking it on its own, it was absolutely outstanding with the turkey-stuffed acorn squash that Hubby made for dinner last week. The nice tart blackberries and licorice mix with hints of blueberries and cedar in a way that would be a perfect pairing for sweet potato casserole. I gave this wine 3.5 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the suggested retail price is $17.

2012 Valletta Barbera d'Alba - This $25 bottle of red wine from Italy is delicate and intense, making it perfect for Easter or Thanksgiving dinner, particularly if you’re serving lamb or turkey. Rating 4.5 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Valletta Barbera d’Alba

The 2012 Valletta Barbera d’Alba (winery) is a red wine I open in my house regularly, as it’s seductive and food-friendly without being overly expensive. It’s a deep ruby color with flecks of garnet that I love looking at in my glass. And, the cherry and plum notes mix with an earthiness and something toasty to make a medium-to-full bodied wine with velvety tannins that just scream to be paired with a Thanksgiving dinner. I gave it 4.5 corks and purchased it for $25.

2014 Portalupi Dolinsek Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel – This $48 red wine from California lingers in the mouth, get more and more flavorful as time passes. It’s a wine meant for enjoying over a leisurely feast with family and friends. Rating: 4.5 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Portalupi Dolinsek Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel

Drinking Zinfandel with a Thanksgiving dinner is like eating peanut butter with jelly…the two are practically made to go together. And, the 2014 Portalupi Dolinsek Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel (winery) is a particularly good option because the medium-bodied wine is full of blackberry, raspberry, and cranberry flavors that hint at pine trees and baking spices. What’s particularly wonderful about the wine is it lingers in the mouth, get more and more flavorful. This Zinfandel will help bring out the deep flavors in the turkey (especially if you’re a dark meat lover), as well as in side dishes like the sweet potato casserole. It’s perfect for eating a leisurely feast with family and friends. I gave it 4.5 stars, and while I received this wine as a present, it looks like it sells for about $48.

Question of the Day:  Have you picked our your Thanksgiving wines?  What are you planning to serve?

Rosh Hashanah & a Hadju Grenache

The Jewish High Holy Days started last Sunday night with Rosh Hashanah, so there was none of my normal Sunday night cookie baking. Instead, I spent a couple of hours at synagogue. Monday, instead of heading to work, I was at synagogue again for most of the day. With the craziness of life right now, I didn’t plan a special dinner for the New Year. Instead, because Hubby works from home on Mondays and fall weather has finally arrived in DC, we decided that the best way to celebrate the New Year was with some hearty, slowcooker chili. And, of course, a kosher red wine!

2014 Hadju Winery Grenache – At $50, this kosher California red wine is a little pricey, but nice choice for a special occasion.  It’s an easy-to-drink, crowd pleaser that goes nicely with a holiday meal or can stand on its own with good company and conversation. Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Hadju Winery Grenache

The 2014 Hadju Winery Grenache (winery) was a red wine from California. The wine was a dark ruby color. On the nose, there were cherries and strawberries mixed with hints of dried roses, leather, and baking spices. In the mouth, there were cherries, strawberries and cream, and leather with hints of baking spices and cedar. The wine had a medium body, tannins, and acid.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $50 a bottle, this wine is a little on the expensive side and definitely for special occasions. However, it’s worth opening during that holiday dinner because it’s a wine that can please almost every wine lover. The key, though, is giving it time to breathe. When I first opened and tasted it, I was surprised by the alcohol coming from the wine…there was just too much heat and it overpowered everything else. After using my aerator and giving the wine a little time to open up, though, it was beautiful. In fact, I really enjoyed the wine on Tuesday night, too. So, don’t be afraid to drink this wine over two nights.

The Grenache made for a good pairing with the chili, as the spices Hubby used to flavor the chili blended nicely with the baking spice flavors in the wine. My biggest concern was that the wine would accentuate the fieriness of the chili, but once the alcohol in the wine calmed down a bit, they actually complimented each other nicely.  All in all, it was a good choice and a wine I will likely order again for one of the Jewish holidays.

Question of the Day:  Has the weather by you started to change?  Have you switched wine and beer choices to match the fall weather?  If so, what are you drinking?

To everyone who is celebrating, may you and yours
have a sweet, healthy, and happy 5777!
L’ Shana Tovah!

Price: $50
Purchased at Hadju Winery
Overall: 4 Corks

WBC16 Pre-Conference (Part 5): Last Day in Livermore Valley

Las Positas Vineyard

Las Positas Vineyard

The final vineyard stop on the Livermore Valley pre-wine bloggers’ conference excursion was to Las Positas Vineyard. The gracious hosts not only had space for us to taste their wine, but also the wines from several other wineries in the area. There were also several booths from local businesses. Our schedule up until this point had been crammed full and a little rushed (although I wouldn’t have wanted to cut anything off the schedule!), so it was nice to have a little bit of time to relax and enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

2012 Las Positas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – At $68, this California red wine is very non-intrusive. It has medium body, a mix of fruit and spice characteristics, and is definitely meant for food. Rating: 3 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Las Positas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

2012 Las Positas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (winery)
Price $68
Dark ruby color
Plums, cherries, and a hint of spice on the nose
Plums, cherries, tobacco, and hints of clove in the mouth
Medium body and tannins, high acid
I know this wine won the Double Gold at the 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition and the Silver at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, but I was really underwhelmed, particularly at such a high price point.
3 Corks

2013 Heine Petite Sirah by Vasco Urbano Wine Company – At $48, this California red wine is the epitome of big, bold, and beautiful. Just give it a little time to breath and the wine will be one to spend an entire evening getting to know. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Heine Petite Sirah by Vasco Urbano Wine Company

2013 Heine Petite Sirah by Vasco Urbano Wine Company (winery)
Price: $48
Grapes: 100% Petit Sirah
Cases produced: 100
Dark inky purple
Blueberry, blackberry, and boysenberry syrup on the nose
Add chocolate to that in the mouth
Big, grippy tannins, full body, and good acid
This wine is the epitome of big, bold, and beautiful once it has a little time to breath. There is a lot going on, but its so well balanced that it’s the type of wine I want to spend an entire evening getting to know.
4.5 Corks

2013 Dante Robere Estate Syrah – At $38, this California red wine is one that is a food-friendly wine that you should feel comfortable ordering at a restaurant or grabbing in the store. Nothing crazy different, but solidly enjoyable. Rating 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Dante Robere Estate Syrah

2013 Dante Robere Estate Syrah (winery)
Price: $38
Grapes: 100% syrah
Cases produced: 115
Medium-to-dark ruby color
Blackberries, smoke, and cedar on the nose
Blackberries, dark plums, smoke, cedar and baking spices in the mouth.
Medium-to-full body, tannins, and acid.
3.5 Corks

And with that, my final thoughts on Livermore Valley…

Collin Cranor, the winemaker for Vasco Urbano Wine Comapny and Nottingham Cellars

Collin Cranor, the winemaker for Vasco Urbano Wine Comapny and Nottingham Cellars

WOW! There is no doubt, I’ve fallen in love with wine from the area. Admittedly, my favorites were Murrieta’s Well, which I reviewed here, and Vasco Urbano Wine Company, which we didn’t visit, although we tasted their wines at a variety of stops throughout the Livermore Valley trip (my thoughts on their wines are here). Vasco Urbano specializes in Rhone styles (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, and the delicious blends that can be made from those grapes), so it’s not a surprise that I enjoyed their wines as those tend to be the grapes I gravitate towards. That said, their winemaker, Collin Cranor, does amazing things with grapes, as I also really enjoyed the wines we tasted from Nottingham Cellars—Vasco Urbano’s sister winery. Nottingham Cellars wines are all Bordeaux-style red blends made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot.

All that said, if you aren’t drinking wine from the Livermore Valley, you should be. Whether it’s the larger producers or the smaller producers, the wines are mostly reasonably priced and they are ridiculously good.

Question of the day: When you pick wine for yourself, would you go for the Rhone styles or the Bordeaux styles?

What are you waiting for…it’s Open That Bottle Night!

Most of the wines I open for an everyday drinking are $20 or less.  However, since the move, I’ve found myself opening wines that I’ve been holding onto for unknown reasons.  I think packing everything up and seeing some of the great wines that I was holding onto for an unknown reasons left me wanting to just open and enjoy them all just for the sheer joy of enjoying fantastic wine.  Four out of the five wines I’ve reviewed since the big move have cost more than $30.  The most expensive one was an $80 bottle that I had been saving for almost five years.

Let’s be honest with each other, though…not only do I not normally open an $80 Malbec on a random Sunday night while I was baking cookies…neither do you.  But, there is something liberating and fun about throwing caution to the wind and opening that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a yet-to-be-determined “special event.”  And, that is why Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher started Open That Bottle Night.

Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) takes place on the last Saturday in February, and it’s all about opening a bottle of wine that is special.  It could be a bottle that you bought on a  special vacation or it may be the most expensive bottle you’ve ever purchased.  Regardless, it’s that wine that stares at you every time you look at your wine rack and leaves you thinking “is today the perfect day?”

For me, I’m ending my crazy run of opening expensive, non-everyday wines on OTBN (and before I drink all of the special bottles I own).  I’m also participating in a blog hop with several other fantastic wine bloggers that I met last summer at the Wine Bloggers Conference (special thanks to Anne at Odd Ball Grape for organizing!).  With that in mind, it seemed only appropriate to open a wonderful wine that I bought in Santa Ynez, California at Bridlewood Estate Winery on the last day of the conference.

2009 Bridlewood Estate Winery Syrah

2009 Bridlewood Estate Winery Reserve Syrah

The 2009 Bridlewood Estate Winery Reserve Syrah (winery, snooth) is from Santa Ynez, California and is made with 100% Syrah grapes.  The wine was a deep clear purple with a bright ruby rim.  On the nose, there were black cherries, black licorice, and nutmeg mixed with the slightest hint of violets, black pepper, and earthiness.  In the mouth, there were black cherries, black licorice, dark chocolate, and hints of espresso, leather, and violets.  The wine had a full-body, good acidity, and strong tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $50 a bottle, this wine is not cheap, but it’s worth the extra price if you’re looking for a wine that is a little extra special.  It’s what I look for in a big, bold red wine.  It has a nice complexity that makes it enjoyable to drink on its own, but also is wine that pairs nicely food, particularly with Hubby’s pork chops.

Question of the Day:  Did you participate in Open That Bottle Night?  If so, what did you indulge in?

Price: $50
Purchased at Bridlewood Estate Winery
Overall: 5 Corks