The Holiday Season Arrived with “L’Ancien” Beaujolais Nouveau

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

The third Thursday of November is one of the best faux holidays of the year—Beaujolais Nouveau Day! And, for me, it’s the real start of the holiday season.

Long time readers know how much I enjoy the day, but for the uninitiated, Beaujolais Nouveau is a light-bodied, French red wine. The wine is harvested, fermented, bottled, shipped, and opened by wine drinkers all within a 6-8 week period. Beaujolais Nouveau is not to be aged, but rather enjoyed within the couple of months of when it’s released, while the wine is fruity and immature. Think of it as a preview of what to expect when the aged Beaujolais wines are released. And, that’s exactly what had me excited about the one I opened on Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

Admittedly, the Thursday before Thanksgiving was a very quiet workday. I had a fundraising call with my boss, lunch with a Congressional staffer I’ve been playing tag with for months, and a coalition conference call. Congress was still focused on figuring out plans for the lame duck, so everything else was mostly quick conversations or emails to remind staffers about my organization’s priorities for this period. Everything was very low-key, which was the perfect end to my four-day workweek. On my walk home, I went to a new-to-me wine store and bought a new-to-me Beaujolais Nouveau.

The 2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine from Beaujolais, France and was made with 100% Gamay grapes.  On the nose, there were strawberries and cream mixed with hints of late bloom rose petals. In the mouth, there were tart strawberries and raspberries, as well as hints of cranberries and roses. The wine is light-bodied with light tannins and a good acidity.

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau & the corn husk charms from the "Tom Turkey" Simply Charmed magnetic wine charm set

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau & the corn husk charm from my “Tom Turkey” Simply Charmed magnetic wine charm set

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $16, this wine is incredibly food friendly and has surprising structure to a wine that is so young. I’m a fan! What is particularly notable about this wine is that unlike many other Beaujolais Nouveau producers, they don’t use carbonic maceration, which can give the wines a bubble gum characteristic. So, as you’re starting to think about holiday parties and dinners, this is a budget-friendly wine that will please almost every wine drinker.

(Also pictured is one of the Simply Charmed “Tom Turkey” magnetic wine charms I received as a sample. Click here for details on the giveaway I’m doing where you can win a “His & Hers” set, which has 12 charms and is a $28 value. There are several ways to enter, but you have do to it fast, as entries are only accepted from November 26 until 11pm on December 4th)

Question of the Day: Have you ever participated in Beaujolais Nouveau Day events?  What are your thoughts on the faux holiday?  What about your thoughts on the wine?

Price: $16
Purchased at Chat’s Liquors on Capitol Hill
Overall: 4 Corks

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?

A Taste of Fall with An Italian Red & Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

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

2013 Valle Dell’Acate Il Moro Nero D’Avola & Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies – This $17 red wine from Italy just screams to be paired with delicious food. Whether it’s a more traditional Italian meal, a Thanksgiving dinner, or these Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies, the pairing won’t disappoint. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Valle Dell’Acate Il Moro Nero D’Avola & Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies – This $17 red wine from Italy just screams to be paired with delicious food. Whether it’s a more traditional Italian meal, a Thanksgiving dinner, or these Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies, the pairing won’t disappoint. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Last Sunday, Hubby and I ran the local Veteran’s Day 10k. That was our first real taste of cold weather in DC, and it was punctuated with frost on the ground when we arrived at the race’s starting line at 8am. I was in my element…I love running in cold weather. In fact, I ended up running my personal best, shaving a little more than 2 minutes of my previous best 10k time.

After the race, Hubby and I were able to take it easy for most of the day. I got together with my knitting group got together for a couple of hours in the later afternoon, but otherwise, I spent the day at home recovering and baking the last of the fall, pumpkin cookies.

2013 Valle Dell'Acate "Il Moro" Nero d'Avola

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

To go with my afternoon baking, I opened a 2013 Valle Dell’Acate Il Moro Nero d’Avola (winery), which is a red wine made from 100% Nero D’Avola grapes in Sicily, Italy. The wine was a deep ruby red with a watery rim. On the nose, there were blackberries and licorice mixed with hints of cedar and cloves. In the mouth, there were tart blackberries and licorice, as well as hints of blueberries and cedar. The wine had a medium body, medium tannins, and high 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 an SRP of $17, this wine is meant to enjoy with food. Admittedly, on it’s own, it was a little sharp for me, but it was the perfect pizza wine to go with the homemade white pizza Hubby and I made for dinner.  I also made sure to save a glass to taste with the dinner Hubby made on Monday night–turkey-stuffed acorn squash–and the pairing was absolutely outstanding.  With Thanksgiving right around the corner, if you’re looking for a wine that is under $20 and will pair nicely with Turkey Day foods, this is a good option…just make sure it’s the wine you’re serving with dinner and not the wine you open when you’re standing around talking with family.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

As for the Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies, they were like biting into a piece of fall. The cinnamon chips intensified the baking spice flavors without overwhelming the pumpkin, making for a tasty fall treat. The cookies were a little crisp on the ends and moist in the center, which was a nice consistency with these flavors.

Overall, the wine and the cookies were a nice match. The acidity from the wine made the spices in the cookies taste fresh, and the cookies added a nice depth of flavor to the wine. They felt like a nice indulgence after the morning’s run.

What are your dessert plans for Thanksgiving Dinner?  Will there be cookies on the table?  And do you have a wine picked out specially for dessert?

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies – These easy-to-make drop cookies are like biting into a piece of fall. The cinnamon chips intensify the baking spice flavors without overwhelming the pumpkin, making for a tasty fall treat. | AGlassAfterWork.com
Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
40 cookies
Servings
40 cookies
Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies – These easy-to-make drop cookies are like biting into a piece of fall. The cinnamon chips intensify the baking spice flavors without overwhelming the pumpkin, making for a tasty fall treat. | AGlassAfterWork.com
Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
40 cookies
Servings
40 cookies
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until combined.
  4. On low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just blended (about 30 seconds).
  5. Stir in chips until evenly distributed.
  6. Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F.
  8. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats and place in refrigerator to chill.
  9. In small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon for coating.
  10. Remove one of the dough halves to begin shaping cookies.
  11. Take a rounded tablespoon of chilled dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1-inch balls.
  12. Roll balls in the cinnamon and sugar mixture until coated.
  13. 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.
  14. Bake for 10 minutes.
  15. Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

*This recipe was inspired by and adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod's Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookie recipe

Suggested Retail Price: $17
Received as a sample.
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Chateau Ksara, A Beautiful Fall Wine

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

2013 Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent – At $15, this red wine from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon packs a flavorful punch without breaking the bank. It’s a slow-sipper that is perfect for an evening sitting in front of a fire and reading or enjoying with family over a hearty stew. Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent – At $15, this red wine from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon packs a flavorful punch without breaking the bank. It’s a slow-sipper that is perfect for an evening sitting in front of a fire and reading or enjoying with family over a hearty stew. Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent cork
While I work on federal policy and legislation, I don’t really get involved in the campaigns, especially now that I work for an association and not for a member of congress who has to run for reelection every several years. This means that while I end up doing a fair amount of work traveling, overall, the second half of an election year tends to be slow. At first, it’s exciting. It’s nice to have a break from the chaos, take a longer lunch or meet up with a colleague for coffee meeting instead of a frantic discussion in the office. However, after August’s 8 weeks of a slower pace, the downtime was getting old. Sure, that it meant I was able to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference without constantly checking my work phone. It meant that Hubby and I were able to take a 10-day vacation at the end of the month, and I only checked email a handful of times. And, it meant that I was able to leisurely drink a lot of great wine. But, by the time September arrived, I was ready to get back to the regular schedule.

2013 Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent – At $15, this red wine from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon packs a flavorful punch without breaking the bank.  It’s a slow-sipper that is perfect for an evening sitting in front of a fire and reading or enjoying with family over a hearty stew. Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent

One of the wines I lingered over was the 2013 Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent (winery, snooth). It was a red wine from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, and it was made with 40% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The wine was a deep ruby color. Both on the nose and in the mouth, there were black cherries, dark plums, and raspberries mixed with vanilla, cocoa dust, and hints of a smokey fire. The wine was full-bodied with firm tannins and high 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 $15, this wine packs a flavorful punch without breaking the bank. I found the wine to be a slow sipper, perfect for an evening sitting around in front of a fire and talking or reading. That said, I think the wine would also hold up nicely to a hearty meal like stew. This, and several other Chateau Ksara wines are actually available in my local Lebanese restaurant, both by the glass and by the bottle.  I’ve ordered several glasses since trying this bottle and have never been disappointed.  So, regardless of whether you enjoy it on its own or with food, Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent worth opening and enjoying…especially now that cooler fall weather has arrived.

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

Suggested Retail Price: $15
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks

Rosé & White Wine Live Blogging at the Wine Bloggers Conference

10 Rosé and White Wines – These wines from California and Oregon range from $13-$38. While not every one was a winner, there were a very gems in this group. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

10 Rosé and White Wines – These wines from California and Oregon range from $13-$38. While not every one was a winner, there were a very gems in this group. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

One of the signature events at the Wine Bloggers’ Conference is the Live Wine Blogging. For those who haven’t read my previous recaps or haven’t been to the conference, it’s an hour-long speed tasting where winery representatives have 5 minutes at a table of wine bloggers. The winery representatives talk about the wine while bloggers taste, ask questions, act like the paparazzi taking photos of both the bottles and the reps, and Tweet thoughts or tasting notes. After that, the winery representative moves onto the next table.

The live blogging is like speed dating with wine, and just like speed dating, it’s one of those things that people either love or hate.   Admittedly, I used to find the chaos of it stressful, but over the last couple of years, I’ve learned to really love it. The only thing I would change about the Live Wine Blogging sessions would be to have all of the wines come from the region where the conference is being held. Otherwise, I use the experience as a chance to weed out wines I have no interest in tasting again from wines I think have a lot of potential, are a good quality/price ratio, or that just deserve a little more attention. I then try to taste (and sometimes review), those wines at another time.

Here are the wines I tasted during the Rosé and White Wine Live Blogging:

2015 LangeTwins Family Winery Sangiovese Rosé – At $13, this California rosé wine has a great quality/price ration.  It won’t offer you anything unusual, but it’s reliably tasty and very food friendly Rating: 3.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 LangeTwins Family Winery Sangiovese Rosé

2015 LangeTwins Family Winery Sangiovese Rosé (winery, snooth)
Price: $13
Light-to-medium pink color.
Strawberries and grapefruit rinds on the nose.
Light, but creamy strawberry tart and sour cherries in the mouth.
Bright acidity.
3.5 Corks

2015 d’Art Wines White Barbera – At $20, this white wine from California has a light body and would make a nice summer sipping wine.  Rating: 3 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 d’Art Wines White Barbera

2015 d’Art Wines White Barbera (winery)
Price: $20
Pale straw yellow.
Tart green apples and grapefruit on the nose and in the mouth.
Bright acid with a light-to-medium body.
3 Corks

2015 Michael David Winery Sauvignon Blanc – At $16, this white wine from California is sustainably grown and has nice fruit flavors.  It’s a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc at an affordable price. Rating: 3.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Michael David Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Michael David Winery Sauvignon Blanc (winery, snooth)
Price: $16
Grapes: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Light straw yellow.
Full of grapefruits, tropical fruit, and minerality.
Good acid, although a tough high on the alcohol in the mouth.
This wine is sustainably grown.
3.5 Corks

2015 Trione Vineyards and Winery Sauvignon Blanc – At $23, this is a whole lot of California white wine for not too hefty of a price.  Think peach, grass, green pepper, and rose petals.  Every sip will having you thinking “wow” and wishing for oysters. Rating: 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Trione Vineyards and Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Trione Vineyards and Winery Sauvignon Blanc (winery, snooth)
Price: $23
White peaches, grass, hints of green pepper and rose petals.
Nice minerality. Every sip had me thinking…wow and wishing for a raw bar!
4.5 Corks

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

2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé (winery, snooth)
Price: $15
Grapes: Carignane, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache grapes
Bright salmon pink color.
Lots of grapefruit mixed with hints of tart raspberry and flowers.
Nice acidity and light body.
This wine is a perfect summer porch sipper with a nice quality/price ratio.
4 Corks

2015 Oak Ridge Winery Old Soul Chardonnay – At $13, this white wine from California tastes like pineapple, toasted oak, and baked apples mixed with a lot of alcohol. Rating: 3 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Oak Ridge Winery Old Soul Chardonnay

2015 Oak Ridge Winery Old Soul Chardonnay (winery, snooth)
Price: $13
Pineapple and toasted oak mixed with a hint of baked apple.
Lots of heat.
Lots of other bloggers enjoyed this wine at WBC16, but it was not my thing.
3 Corks

J Vineyards & Winery Brut Rosé – At $38, this sparkling wine from California is a little pricey, but it’s worth opening on a special occasion or during a holiday like Thanksgiving.  It’s elegant and lingers in the mouth. Rating: 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

J Vineyards & Winery Brut Rosé

J Vineyards & Winery Brut Rosé (winery, snooth)
Price: $38
Grapes: 69% Pinot Noir, 29% Chardonnay, & 2% Pinot Meunier
Salmon pink color.
Strawberries and cream with hints of rose petals and apples.
Bright acidity with lingering finish.
An elegant sparkling wine.
4.5 Corks

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

2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay (winery, snooth)
Price: $18
Apples, pears, & some chewed on Popsicle stick.
This wine is very smooth. Would be a great food wine.
3.5 Corks

2014 Peirano Estate Winery "The Other" White Blend – At $14, this California white wine has a sexy label, but is not a sexy wine.  It’s soft mouth feel mixed with perfumey taste makes for a flabby wine that’s not worth the price. Rating: 2.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Peirano Estate Winery “The Other” White Blend

2014 Peirano Estate Winery “The Other” White Blend (winery, snooth)
Price: $14
Grapes: 65% Chardonnay, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10% Viognier
White flowers & apples.
Soft mouth feel & perfumery with hints of bubble gum.
Love the label, but sadly I don’t the wine.
2.5 Corks

2015 Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir – At $24, this white wine from Oregon has a light body, nice acidity, and a lingering finish.  It’s truly a delicious wine.  Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir

2015 Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir (winery, snooth)
Price: $24
Full of stone fruit, pineapple, and grapefruit on the nose.
In the mouth, there were stone fruits, Granny Smith Apples, grapefruits, and pineapple with hints of raspberries.
Light body. Nice acid. Lingering finish. Delicious wine!!
4 Corks

Question of the Day:  Have you ever gone wine tasting?  What are you thoughts on trying multiple wines in one sitting?

Bonus Question: If you’ve been to a Wine Bloggers’ Conference, what are you thoughts on the Live Blogging?