KickAss Britchen Red is Definitely KickAss

KickAss Britchen Red – At $32, this is red wine blend from Paso Robles California is appropriately named. This wine is perfect for a cookout, sitting around a fire pit talking with friends, or curled up with a good book. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.comI received KickAss Britchen Red as part of the The Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club, which is why I decided to open it after my disappointing experience with the Peraj Petita. I’ve belonged to the wine club for just under a year, and while I’ve only blogged about the Levo Mint so far, I’ve opened most of the wines I’ve received and loved them all. So, I had faith this wine was going to be the red I was looking for.

KickAss Britchen Red – At $32, this is red wine blend from Paso Robles California is appropriately named. This wine is perfect for a cookout, sitting around a fire pit talking with friends, or curled up with a good book. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

KickAss Britchen Red by AronHill Vineyards

The KickAss Britchen Red (winery) was from Paso Robles, California and was a red blend of 70% Estate Primitivo, 20% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Zinfandel grapes. The wine had a dark purplish, ruby color. On the nose, there were strawberries mixed with red and black cherries and a hint of nutmeg and smokiness. In the mouth, there were strawberries, cherries, and nutmeg mixed with hints of cedar and smoke. The wine had medium-to-full-body, tannins, and acid.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $32 a bottle, I know this isn’t an everyday wine for most people, but it’s definitely a wine worth splurging on. Interestingly, for all the hints of darker characteristics in the wine, I found it lively and incredibly easy to drink. It’s very food-friendly. Just keep in mind that while it may not taste like it, this wine has a pretty high alcohol content. So, don’t let that catch you off guard, especially as I have no doubt that you won’t want to stop at just one glass.

KickAss Britchen Red – At $32, this is red wine blend from Paso Robles California is appropriately named. This wine is perfect for a cookout, sitting around a fire pit talking with friends, or curled up with a good book. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.comAs summer draws to a close and you start thinking about Labor Day cookouts, this is a wine that would be perfect to pair with cheeseburgers, smoked ribs, grilled sausages, and your friends. Or, it can be just as enjoyable opening it the way I did — after a disappointing bottle, while looking for a little bit of comfort, on a quiet evening, eating leftover meet lasagna, helping Hubby recover from Day 1 of chemo, and focusing on kicking cancer’s ass.

KickAss Britchen Red has a great label and name, and I have definitely been known to buy wine based on the label alone. How often do you buy wines based on the label or name without knowing anything about the winery?

And for some other blogger thoughts on the wine:

Price: $32
Purchased at The Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club
Overall: 4.5 Corks

8 Kosher Wine Ideas for Your Passover Seder

The world of kosher wines has changed dramatically over the last several years, which means that whether you’re hosting Passover or you’re a guest at someone else’s seder, picking out wine can be daunting. Here are 8 wines—one sparkling, three white, and four red—that you should feel comfortable opening for the holiday. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

8 Kosher Wines For Passover

As I discussed with The Swirl Suite a couple of weeks ago, the world of kosher wines has changed dramatically over the last several years, which means that whether you’re hosting Passover or you’re a guest at someone else’s seder, picking out wine can be daunting. Here are 8 wines—one sparkling, three white, and four red—that you should feel comfortable opening for the holiday.

SPARKLING

Deccolio Prosecco – At $14, this kosher sparkling wine from Italy is simple, food-friendly, and refreshing. It’s worth checking out, even if you’re not looking for a kosher wine. Rating 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Deccolio Prosecco

The Deccolio Prosecco (winery) was a kosher sparkling wine from Italy that is perfect for both the kosher and non-kosher bubbly fan. It was light golden yellow with a lot of good bubbles. Both on the noise and in the mouth, this sparkler had a lot of Granny Smith apples, oranges, and hints of white flowers and honey. It’s simple, food-friendly, and refreshing, and won’t break the bank. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $14.

WHITES

Ben Ami Chardonnay -- At $10, this kosher Chardonnay from Israel is a nice white wine that would be nice both as an every day wine and as one to open on the holiday. It pairs well with roasted chicken or is enjoyable on its own. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Ben Ami Chardonnay

The Ben Ami Chardonnay (snooth) was from Israel and made with 100% Chardonnay grapes. It has a medium lemon-yellow color. This wine is all about tropical fruits—pineapple, guava, and hints of nectarine and lime on the nose with pineapple, honeydew and hints of lime, guava, and mango in the mouth. The wine had a medium body and bright acidity that made for a nice pairing with roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. I gave this wine 4 stars on Vivino and purchased it for $10.

Flam Blanc – At $28, this white wine blend from Israel is full of flavor. Whether you’re looking for a wine to pair with a turkey dinner or to enjoy over a steaming bowl of mazto ball soup, this wine is a fantastic option. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Flam Blanc

The Flam Blanc (winery, snooth) was an Israeli white wine blend that tasted full of limes, pineapples, and Granny Smith apples with hints of wet stone.  The wine had a light body and high acidity. It’s a fantastic food wine, just begging to be paired with a turkey dinner, but would also be nice with matzo balls or kugel. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased if for $28.

Makom Grenache Blanc – At $30, this kosher white wine from California would please any crowd, kosher or not. It’s light-to-medium bodied with an acidity that makes it perfect for opening for a holiday dinner. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Makom Grenache Blanc

The Makom Grenache Blanc (winery) was made by Hajdu Wines. It was a beautiful lemon color with bright citrus, green apple, and something floral on the nose. In the mouth, the lemons were more like lemon curd mixed with apples, wet stone, and a hint of salinity. The wine had a light-to-medium body with good acid. It was a very fresh tasting that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. I gave this wine 4.5 stars on Vivino and purchased it for $30.

REDS

Casa De Cielo Reserve Malbec/Syrah – At $10, this kosher red wine is from Chile and has a quality/price ratio that would be difficult to match. It is a beautiful medium-bodied, well-balanced that is enjoyable on its own or perfect with a grilled London broil and polenta fries. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Casa De Cielo Reserve Malbec/Syrah

The Casa De Cielo Reserve Malbec/Syrah was Kosherwine.com’s private label, so it can only be purchased from their website. The wine was a blend from the Maule Valley in Chile. It was a beautiful medium-bodied, well-balanced red with blackberries and hints of cocoa dust and roses on the nose and blackberries, dark plums, tobacco and hints of cocoa and smoke in the mouth. While I enjoyed the wine on its own, it was absolutely gorgeous with a grilled London broil and polenta fries. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $10.

2011 LaTour Netofa Red – At $35 a bottle, this red wine from Israel is versatile kosher wine that offers a lot in a single glass. It can be used to accompany a holiday meal or just enjoyed on its own while talking the night away. Give it time to breath, and you won’t be disappointed. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2011 LaTour Netofa Red

The LaTour Netofa Red was is a full-bodied wine made from a blend of Mourvèdre and Syrah grapes. Both the nose and mouth were full of blueberries, blackberries, nutmeg, as well as hints of tea leaves, black pepper, dark chocolate, and dried roses. This was a wine that tasted like it was made to enjoy over a holiday meal with family and friends. I gave it 4.5 corks and purchased it for $35.

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

The Hajdu Wines Brobdingnagian Petite Sirah (winery) was a big and beautiful. It has nice fruit flavors and was delicious when paired with both a Florentine bistecca and chocolate chip meringue cookies. I actually brought this wine to a BYOB wine lunch with some diverse wine lovers, and not only did no one guess that it was a kosher wine, but also everyone loved it and went back for me. I gave this wine 5 stars on Vivino and purchased it for $50.

2012 Gva'ot Masada – At $80, this kosher red wine from Israel is a special occasion wine worth putting on your holiday table regardless of whether or not you keep kosher. It’s a big, bold, seductive wine that lingers in the mouth, calling for great food, conversation, and another sip. Rating 5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Gva’ot Masada

The Gva’ot Masada was the epitome of a special occasion wine, and I’m in love it. This wine as all about blackberries, black currants, and dark plums mixed with a smokey earthiness, and the slightest touches of dark chocolate, thyme, and blueberries. It was full-bodied with grippy tannins. with a medium-to-full body and nice tannins. This is a seductive wine that lingers in the mouth, calling for great food, conversation, and another sip. I gave it 5 corks and purchased it for $80.

Question of the Day: If you celebrate Passover, have you picked out your wines?  What are you planning on serving? And, where do you tend to buy your kosher wines?

Levo Mint – A Sexy California Red

Monday, February 13 was one of those days that got a late start, so it fooled me. I had some emails to answer before my 10:30am staff meeting, but all seemed quiet…until it wasn’t. Halfway through the staff meeting, my email started to blow up. From there, I spent much of my day running from congressional office to congressional office, meeting with staff on a vote that was announced for that week. I enjoy the busy days, but this one shifted from busy to chaotic, which isn’t quite as fun. The benefit of having email on my phone, though, is that once things moved back from chaotic to busy, I was able to make it to my spin class before heading home to open a bottle of wine and pack for my work trip to Nashville.

2013 Levo Mint – At $36, this red wine from California is an incredibly sexy wine that is worth every penny. It’s big and bold enough to enjoy on its own, while turning sultry when paired with food. It’s a luscious wine that will call into question your self-restraint, but leave you with no regrets. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Levo Mint

The 2013 Levo Mint (winery) is a red wine blend from California. On the nose, there were blackberries and cigars mixed with hints of black cherry and vanilla. In the mouth, there were blackberries and black cherries with a cigar box and hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. The wine was medium-to-ful bodied with medium tannins and high acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $36, this is an incredibly sexy wine that is worth every penny. I sipped away at my first glass while packing for my trip. And, while it was delicious, the wine only got better from there. I paired the second glass with Hubby’s slow cooker BBQ pork and grits. There was something about the BBQ that enhanced the depth and smokiness of the wine, making the meal sultry and delicious. I couldn’t get enough. Admittedly, the third glass was just gluttonous, but I was enjoying it too much to have self restraint. All in all, it was a wine worth the indulgence.

November 2016's Wine Bloggers' Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club shipment | AGlassAfterWork.com

November 2016’s Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club shipment

As a side note, the Levo Mint was one of three wines I received as part of “The Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club.” This wine club is just $99, and 50% of the profits are donated back to the WBC Scholarship Fund. The scholarship helps wine bloggers attend the annual Wine Bloggers’ Conference, which long-time readers know I think is an invaluable experience for every wine blogger.  The wine club also has a private Facebook group and, since several participants are also wine bloggers there are a number of people blogging about, tweeting about, and holding live tastings of these wines.  So, if you wanted to add a social component to your membership, there are many ways to do that.

So far, I’ve been in love with every wine I’ve received through the club. There are four shipments of three wines from boutique California wineries (we’ve received two shipments/six wines). If you’re looking for an inexpensive, charitable wine club that is going to give you some truly fantastic wines that you probably wouldn’t know about on your own…this is the wine club for you.  Check it out!

Question of the Day: Do you drink wines or belong to wine clubs that donate some of the profits to charity? Do those donations make you more likely to buy the wine or join the club?

Price: $36
Purchased at The Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club
Overall: 5 Corks

My Annual Review, Laurent-Perrier Champagne, & A Casserole

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

First off…today is my 8-year Blogiversary, so a quick thank you for being loyal readers!! I’ll post more on my celebration in the next few days. With that, onto the blog post.

Last Tuesday started off with my annual review. No matter how good one feels about his/her job or boss, review time is always nerve-wracking. This year, though, I actually outlined a few new things in my self-evaluation that will expand my role in the association, push me outside my comfort zone, and, hopefully, provide some good career growth. Thankfully, not only to the Big Boss have great feedback about my performance, but also he was very supportive of the goals I outlined. Now, the hard part will be implementing it!

After my review, I was off to meetings with Senate staff for most of the day. Then, I finished things off with a killer spin class at my local spin and barre studio. By the time I walked home, Hubby had dinner–Pinch of Yum’s creamy chicken quinoa and broccoli casserole–in oven, so all that was left was to open a good bottle of wine.

Laurent-Perrier Demi-Sec – At $40, this Champagne from France dances in the glass and in your mouth.  The cost makes it a more of a splurge, but the beautiful flavors, and food-friendliness can’t help but bring a smile to your face. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Laurent-Perrier Demi Sec

The Laurent-Perrier Demi-Sec (winery) is a sparkling wine from the Champagne region in France and is made with a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes. The bubbly had a medium yellow color with a lot of small, persistent bubbles that danced in my glass. The characteristics on the nose and in the mouth with similar–juicy white peaches mixed with lemons and brioche. The wine had a medium body with medium-to-high acidity and a hint of sweetness.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this sparkler in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At an SRP of $40, it is definitely more of a weeknight splurge, but I thought that a good review was qualified. And, since I’d actually enjoyed this Champagne for the first time a few weeks ago, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. Sometimes, I find that Champagne can be almost too subtle, but this bubbly has enough going on that I’m aware of it without it drawing my attention away from conversation or food every time I take a sip.

Admittedly, I enjoyed several glass over the course of the evening. My first was while Hubby finished making dinner. It was a lovely choice for catching up about our day, although it admittedly went down so smoothly that I was ready for my second glass by the time dinner was served. The acidity and bubbles were perfect for cutting through the cheese in the casserole, and the more delicate flavors matched nicely with the lighter seasoning of the chicken and quinoa in the casserole. After dinner, I poured by third glass, grabbed my latest knitting project, and watched a few episodes of Call the Midwife, my latest Netflix addiction.

Question of the Day: What is you’re under-$50, but still a splurge go-to sparkling wine?

Suggested Retail Price: $40
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks

Fall Has Arrived with Apple Butter Snickerdoodles & Amarone

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

2012 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico & Apple Butter Snickerdoodles– These easy-to-make cookies and this $40 red wine from Veneto, Italy were each enjoyable on their own, but together, they enhanced each other for an out-of-this-world pairing. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico & Apple Butter Snickerdoodles– These easy-to-make cookies and this $40 red wine from Veneto, Italy were each enjoyable on their own, but together, they enhanced each other for an out-of-this-world pairing. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

The arrival of fall not only means changes in the wine I drink (more reds, fewer roses and whites), but also in the cookies I bake. I really try to have my cookies match the holidays or the seasons, and there are some cookies that would seem out of place any other time of year. At the end of September, I started making the transition to fall cookies. First up were Apple Butter Snickerdoodles, which I paired with an Amarone.

The first time I made apple butter snickerdoodles was last year, and while they had potential, they needed some work. I tweaked last year’s recipe with the goal of making the cookies less cakey and more flavorful. And, my changes definitely paid off! The cookies came out tasting exactly the way I hoped, although I still need to work on how they look. They were a little flat.

2012 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico – At $40, this red wine from Veneto, Italy a little pricey, but as long as the wine aerates before drinking it’s smooth, flavorful, and delicious. This would also be a great wine for aging. Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico

The 2012 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico (winery, snooth) is a red wine from Veneto, Italy. The wine had a dark ruby red color. On the nose, there were dark plums, cinnamon, nutmeg, and hints of peppermint. In the mouth, there were dark plums, cherries, boysenberry syrup, nutmeg, and dark chocolate dust. The wine had a big body, firm tannins, and high acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At an SRP of $40, this wine is pricey; however, it’s also beautiful. Admittedly, on the first day, I wasn’t as much of a fan. While it reminded me of a cedar forest after a rainstorm, and so I was very intrigued, the alcohol was high and the wine was very tight. I just wasn’t thinking it was anything special, and it certainly didn’t taste worth the price. I took Wine Compass’ suggestion, though, and was patient with the wine…and my patience paid off. On day 2, the Cesari Amarone was still very flavorful, but the wine was much smoother, more integrate, and absolutely delicious. It’s clearly a wine that needs time and aeration. I also think that it would age nicely, if you have a place to cellar it.

2012 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico & Apple Butter Snickerdoodles– These easy-to-make cookies and this $40 red wine from Veneto, Italy were each enjoyable on their own, but together, they enhanced each other for an out-of-this-world pairing. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.comThe cookies have quickly become a fall favorite. Three dozen disappeared from my office in the couple of hours after our staff meeting and before lunchtime. My brother texted me saying they were “sooooo delicious” and asking for them to stay in the rotation. And, the UPS guys stopped me on the street midweek rather than waiting for next week’s batch, asking me to please not wait until next fall to make these cookies again. So, they were definitely a hit.

Overall, eating the Apple Butter Snickerdoodles with the Amarone was out of this world. It’s hands down the best wine and cookie pairing I’ve had to date. The wine and the cookies were enjoyable on their own, but together, they enhanced each other without one overwhelming the other. Honestly, this combination was the epitome of what every wine and food pairing should be.

Question of the Day: What is your favorite food & wine pairing?

A Glass After Work's Apple Butter Snickerdoodles
Apple Butter Snickerdoodles
Print Recipe
These snickerdoodles are a delicious fall variation of my tried-and-true recipe.
Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
A Glass After Work's Apple Butter Snickerdoodles
Apple Butter Snickerdoodles
Print Recipe
These snickerdoodles are a delicious fall variation of my tried-and-true recipe.
Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined.
  4. On low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just blended (about 30 seconds).
  5. Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats and place in refrigerator to chill.
  8. In small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon for coating.
  9. Remove one of the dough halves to begin shaping cookies.
  10. Take a rounded tablespoon of chilled dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1-inch balls.
  11. Roll balls in the cinnamon and sugar mixture until coated.
  12. Place cookies on lined, chilled cookie sheets. Keep cookies about 2 inches apart and press them down so that each is about 1/2 inch high.
  13. Bake for 10 minutes.
  14. Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Suggested Retail Price: $40
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks