New Year’s Eve with Mumm

Hubby & me at the Ponte Vecchio in Florence; Me and Andrea from Of Vines & Velos at Bridlewood Estate Winery; and Hubby and me in front of our new home.

Hubby & me at the Ponte Vecchio in Florence; Me and Andrea from Of Vines & Velos at Bridlewood Estate Winery; and Hubby and me in front of our new home.

I admit it…I was sorry to see 2014 end.  It was a wonderful year for Hubby and me.  We started it off by celebrating the New Year and our 7th wedding anniversary in Rome and Florence, Italy.  In March, I was finally fully recovered from the major hip surgery I had in 2013, so I ran my first post-surgery half marathon on the one-year anniversary.  I attended the 2014 Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Santa Barbara, where I caught up with old wine friends and made some fantastic new ones (both of which you will be hearing more about over the coming weeks).  Hubby accepted a new job in August and is finally enjoying some job stability.  And, while we were in Vegas running our second half marathon of the year, Hubby and I found out that the offer we put on a new house was accepted.  So, we ended 2014 by leaving Virginia and moving into our new house in the District of Columbia…all right before the holidays.

Sadly, Hubby had the flu on New Year’s Eve 2015, so our plan to go out with friends was thwarted.  Instead, we curled up on the couch and watched a new-for-us series, “Ray Donovan,” and “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.”  And, of course, I opened a bottle of bubbly.

Mumm sparkling wine is a regular favorite in my house.  In fact, I enjoy it enough to split a wine club membership with a couple of the Wine Ladies.  So, I couldn’t resist open a bottle of their wine for New Year’s this year.

010 Mumm Blanc de Blancs

2010 Mumm Blanc de Blancs

The 2010 Mumm Napa Blanc de Blancs (winery) is made in Napa Valley, California with a blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Gris grapes.  It has a light-to-medium golden color with a lot of small, persistent bubbles.  On the nose, there are limes and apples.  In the mouth, there are limes, apples, and a hint of apricots and buttered biscuit.  The sparkler is light bodied with high acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $42 a bottle (or $33.60 if you’re a Mumm Club Vivant member), this bubbly is more of a nice dinner wine than one to open every day.  That said, if you’re looking for a romantic evening with oysters or having company and want a welcome bubbly to start the evening or pair a sparkler with salad, the Mumm Blanc de Blancs is very food friendly and would make the perfect pairing.  It is also worth considering if you’re looking for something to curl up with in front of a fire for a special evening at home, as the bubbly is beautiful on its own.  For me, while Hubby and I didn’t end up spending New Year’s as we planned, the Mumm helped cap off a fantastic 2014.

Question of the Day: What did you drink this New Year’s Eve?

Price: $42 a bottle (or $33.60 for Mumm Club Vivant members)
Purchased at Mumm Napa website
Overall: 4 Corks

Top 5 Red Wine Recommendations for Thanksgiving 2013

At work last week, all the ice-breaking conversations before meetings revolved around Thanksgiving.  Who was traveling; who was hosting; the usual conversations that accompany the holiday season.  I’m not exactly sure how Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year, but it did, and questions about Thanksgiving plans drove home the fact that I’m completely unprepared.  Hubby and I only have to do an hour-or-so drive to my in-laws on Thanksgiving Day, so my lack of preparation isn’t too concerning for me…except for when it comes to the wine selection.  Not only have I started getting questions from friends and readers about wine recommendations, but I will need to bring a bottle or two to my in-laws.  In the past, that wouldn’t have been a big deal because I was the only wine drinker at the table, so I would just pick out a wine that I love.  This year, though, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law both started drinking wine, so there is the added (unintentional) pressure to bring something that everyone is going to think is fabulous.  For me, it will probably be a beautiful Pinot Noir or a big Zinfandel, but for them, I will need to bring a bright white.

With that in mind, today’s list will be my Top 5 Red recommendations, while tomorrow will be my Top 5 White & Rose recommendations.  (I didn’t post a Thanksgiving list last year, but here are my 2011 red wine and white wine recommendations)

 

2009 Lost Canyon Morelli Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir

2009 Lost Canyon Morelli Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir

The 2009 Lost Canyon Morelli Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir (wineryamazon) is slightly heavy for a Pinot Noir, but it has a beautiful complexity that will be delicious with well-seasoned turkey.  The wine has strawberries, rhubarb, and red licorice flavors mixed with hints of cedar, mushroom, earth, and allspice.  I gave this wine 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $45.

 

2011 Alphabets Pinot Noir

2011 Alphabets Pinot Noir

The 2011 Alphabets Pinot Noir (winery) was actually my red wine choice for the post-Thanksgiving dinner Hubby and I did for ourselves last year.  The wine tasted of Bing cherries, cranberries, and red currants with hints of white pepper, smoke, and cinnamon mixed in.  It not only went well with the turkey, which was seasoned with white truffle oil and garlic, but stood up to the variety of side dishes that we had.  Honestly, I couldn’t get over how delicious the wine was and how well it went with our Thanksgiving feast.  I gave the wine 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $21.

 

2010 Painted Wolf Pinotage

2010 Painted Wolf Pinotage

The 2010 Guillermo Painted Wolf (winery) is a delicious wine full of blueberries, cherries, tobacco, and the slightest hint of vanilla and Band-Aids.  It has a medium body and medium tannins, which will keep it from over-powering the Thanksgiving meal.  Plus, this wine will be great to transition away from the table and into an evening of schmoozing.  I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $19. (I will have a full review posted later this week)

 

2008 Ottimino Rancho Bello Vineyard

2008 Ottimino Rancho Bello Vineyard

The 2008 Ottimino Rancho Bello Vineyard (winery) is a bigger wine that will give some depth to the Thanksgiving dinner.  The beautiful mixture of berry and cooking spice characteristics will bring out some of the deeper flavors while your eating, as well as transition nicely into a wine that you can drink on its own once the meal is over.  I gave the wine 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $30.

Question of the Day:  Have you picked out your Thanksgiving wines yet? 

Lost Canyon Pinot Noir Should Be Found

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

2009 Lost Canyon Pinot Noir BW CloseupTo say that the last month has not gone the way I planned would be an understatement.  Rather than go into all of the gory details, I’ll just leave it at the I hurt myself last winter.  I think it was from cross-training with kettle bells while preparing for another half marathon, but there is no way to know for sure.  I never ran the half and did everything possible to heal, but ended up having hip surgery in March, which explains my absence.  At least I feel like I’m in good company, as A-Rod and Lady Gaga both had the same surgery earlier this year.  Anyway, I’m on the road to recovery, although I’m still off wine for a little longer, as I’m not sure how well it would mix with my crutches.  That said, I have some catching up to do on wines I tasted, but didn’t have a chance to share, so here goes…

2009 Lost Canyon Morelli Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir

2009 Lost Canyon Morelli Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir

The 2009 Lost Canyon Morelli Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir (winery, amazon) is from the Russian River Valley in California and is made with Pinot Noir grapes.  The wine was a medium-to-dark ruby with hints of orange on the rim.  In the mouth, there were red plums, strawberries, rhubarb, and cherries with hints of black dirt, cedar, and bay leaves.  In the mouth, there were strawberries, rhubarb, and red licorice, with hints of cedar, mushroom, earth, and allspice.  The wine had a high acidity, medium-to-high tannins, and a medium body.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for?  At an SRP of $45, this wine is probably a little expensive for a weekday glass after work, but if you’re looking for something a little more expensive to settle into on a Friday night, this is definitely a wine to consider.  I opened it on a cold Saturday at the beginning of January and spent the late afternoon and early evening just sinking into it and an evening of talking with Hubby while knitting a pair of plush, handmade socks.  The great mix of fruit and earthiness gives this Pinot a surprising complexity that, when combined with the slightly heavier body, was perfect for my evening in.

Suggested Retail Price: $45
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Welcome to Vegas Bubbly, Baby!

Moreno BHLV "Welcome to Las Vegas" Limited Edition Brut California Sparkling Wine

Moreno BHLV "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" Limited Edition Brut California Sparkling Wine

One of my good girlfriends just turned 40, so to help her celebrate this milestone, several of us went to Vegas for a long weekend at the end of February.  We left DC at the crack of dawn on Friday morning and arrived in Vegas just as the day was getting started.  It didn’t take us long to get to our hotel, check-in, and get the party started.  Since what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, I’m not going to share too much.  However, since I hit the town with two other devoted wine lovers, I will say that it is a city that was made for us!  We ate at three fabulous restaurants (Aureole, Eiffel Tower Restaurant, and Nobu), each of which not only had amazing food, but also wine lists and pairing suggestions that could make even the finickiest wine drinker happy.  We also picked up several bottles of sparkling wine for the room because what is a celebration without bubbly?

The Moreno BHLV “Welcome to Las Vegas” Limited Edition Brut California Sparkling (winery) was made with French Colombard, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir grapes, which were grown in Mendocino County, and the bottle was decorated with hand applied Swarovski Crystals, which were imported from Wattens, Austria.  The sparkler had a medium yellow color and nice, persistent bubbles.  On the nose, there were lemon shortbread cookies.  In the mouth, there were lemons that were reminiscent of licking a wetnap and on the finish there was something almost aspartame-like.

Moreno BHLV "Welcome to Las Vegas" Limited Edition Brut California Sparkling Wine close-upIs this worth a glass after work? Eh…if you have a bottle on hand, drink it, but I wouldn’t go searching it out either.  At $50, this bubbly is one that you’ll probably only encounter on The Strip in Vegas, and if you do, you’re should be more interested in buying it for the novelty of the bottle than for the quality of the wine.  As long as that’s the case, this bottle is worth it because it’s the perfect novelty item for a wine lover in Vegas.  If you’re only looking for a bottle of good bubbly to drink, though, this is not one that would be high on my list. The sparkler itself had great aromas, but the flavors just didn’t live up to the promise.

Question of the Day: Have you ever been to Las Vegas?  If so, what is your favorite Vegas restaurant?  If not, is there a restaurant there that has been calling your name?

Purchased at ABC Stores
Overall: 2.5 Corks

Steak & Storybook

I’ve mentioned before that this year started off being a bit crazy.  Even though we’ve gone through only one of us having a job before, having Hubby  and me go through job instability at the same time put us both on edge.  At the end of January, right after we heard that I was going to keep my job, Hubby was asked to interview at a new company.  The interview itself was long, but all the pieces seemed to fall into place quickly, and before the day of his interview was over, a friend who already works there told Hubby to expect an offer.  Since then, it’s been a whirlwind as he gave notice, closed out his projects, and got things ready to embark on a new adventure.

2008 Storybook Mountain Vineyard Eastern Exposure Zinfandel

2008 Storybook Mountain Vineyard Eastern Exposure Zinfandel

His coworkers threw him a farewell party last Wednesday, so I was on my own for dinner.  I’d been having a particularly busy day at work, so after coming home late, I opened a bottle of Zinfandel and made myself a filet mignon with Savory Sweet Life’s Asian inspired marinade, which I found on Pintrest.

The 2008 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Eastern Exposure (winery) was mostly Zinfandel grapes blended with a touch of Viognier grapes.  The wine had a deep ruby color.  On the nose, there were blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and cedar with a hint of anise and nutmeg.  In the mouth, there were blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, anise, nutmeg, and hints of pine needles.   The wine had a medium body, medium tannins, and medium acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $45, this wine is a little on the pricey side for an after work wine, but it’s definitely worth the cost, particularly if you’re having steak for dinner.  Savory Sweet Life’s marinade was delicious, and it was an amazing pairing with the Storybook Zin.  In fact, it was one of those meals where I savored every bite, so much so that it helped melt away the stress of the day itself.  I was truly sorry that Hubby missed such a fantastic dinner.

Price: $45
Purchased at Storybook Mountain Vineyards website
Overall: 4 Corks