The Tlo Wines GSM Is Not To Be Missed

2012 Tlo Wines Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre (GSM) – At $30, this red wine blend from California is worth a weekend splurge.  The tannins cling to the mouth, and the flavors lingered in the finish.  It’s a wine that will wrap you up like it was a blanket and provided pure, tasting pleasure.  4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.comHubby leaves his first day of chemo with a pump that infuses his medicine 24/7, which means Days 2, 3, 4 and 5 of his chemo cycle are mostly spent at home. For three of those days, we head to the infusion center for an hour or so every afternoon so they can give Hubby fluids, nausea medicine, and refill the pump with the next round of medicine. We both took off from work that first week of treatment because we didn’t know what to expect. That meant we spent much of Day 2 reading and trying to settle into our new normal. Once we returned home from the infusion center, the evening was relatively quiet. We had chicken and rice soup for dinner, and then cuddled on the couch for the evening while binge watching House of Cards. And of course, I opened a bottle of red wine, and since I had done so well the night before with the wine from The Wine Bloggers’ Conference Scholarship Fund Wine Club, I decided to jump right into another bottle.

2012 Tlo Wines GSM back label

The 2012 Tlo Wines Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre (GSM) (winery) was from the Arroyo Grande Valley in California and was made with 37% Grenache, 34% Syrah, and 29% Mourvèdre grapes. The wine was dark purple. On the nose, there were blackberries and strawberries mixed with hints of plums, vanilla, black pepper, and the tiniest bit of smoke. In the mouth, there were blackberries, plums, with hints of vanilla, chocolate, and smoke. The wine had a medium-to-full body, tannins, and acid.

Tlo Wines owner and winemaker, Andy Zaninovich bottled his first wines 9 years ago, although the wines were for private use at the time. In 2011, Tlo Wines became a bonded winery. Today, the micro-winery produces about 700 cases annually, and the wines generally range from $30-$50 a bottle.   It’s possibly the smallest commercial winery that I’ve ever tasted wine from, and I’m so glad I did!

2012 Tlo Wines Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre (GSM) – At $30, this red wine blend from California is worth a weekend splurge.  The tannins cling to the mouth, and the flavors lingered in the finish.  It’s a wine that will wrap you up like it was a blanket and provided pure, tasting pleasure.  4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.comIs the 2012 Tlo Wines GSM worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At the wine club price of $30, this wine is worth a weekend splurge. Admittedly, it was a bit heavy of a wine for the chicken and rice soup, but that was my fault in choosing the pairing, not the wine’s fault. After dinner, I continued to drink the wine on its own, and just loved it. The tannins from the wine clung to my mouth, as the flavors lingered in the finish. It was a wine that just wrapped me up like it was a blanket and provided pure, tasting pleasure.

Just as a note, as this blog post goes live, the winery has the GSM on sale for $17, which is a fantastic QPR, particularly if this is your first order with Tlo Wines and you’re able to take advantage of the free shipping when you order more than 4 bottles. So, if you think this is a wine you want to try, now is the time!

Question of the Day: Do you like red wines with big, grippy tannins, the type of wines that cling to your mouth?

 

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

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

I’m Back with News & Gruet

It’s been a long time. I’m sure you’ve wondered if I’ve stopped blogging. I haven’t. The first half of the year just started off with so much work travel that something had to suffer a little, and unfortunately it was the blog. And then, the week after my last work trip, my whole world changed…

A few months ago, Hubby and I were moving furniture in the house, and he pulled a muscle in his neck. He would rest and then go to the gym when it felt better, but it would start bothering him again. After about 6 weeks of this, he made a doctor’s appointment. On Thursday, May 18, I left for work, and he headed to the doctor. A couple of hours later, he called me to say they were sending him to the hospital for CT scans and blood work. I picked him up, so we could go together. After several hours of tests, even though no one could give us an official diagnosis, it was clear he had cancer.

We came home from the hospital and did what anyone would—talked and cried, hugged each other, and cried some more. We also drank two bottles of Gruet Brut Rosé. It’s one of our favorites, and bubbly can make even the worst situation seem a little less dire.**

The following day, Hubby had a biopsy. A week after that first doctor’s appointment we got confirmation of what we already guessed–Hubby has stage II non-Hodkin’s lymphoma. It’s an aggressive cancer, so treatment is intense. He started his first of six 21-day cycles of chemotherapy this week. The first week is 5 days of infusions–some at the hospital and some through a pump he has with him 24/7–so we both head into today’s last session emotional drained, but also with the knowledge that we’re fighting this thing.

Hubby’s cancer is treatable, and we’re incredibly fortunate to live in a city with amazing medical care and to be surrounded by a strong support system. The doctors and nurses at Virginia Hospital Center have been wonderful—explaining everything to us in detail, while also being caring, supportive, and friendly. At work, our supervisors have been very understanding and accommodating. Our family and friends have shown an outpouring of love and generosity. And, everyone has shared a cancer story about a parent, sibling, friend, or other loved one who has had cancer and fought it. We’ve been surprised how many of those stories have been people with lymphoma. Even my Dad shared a story, reminding me of something that I forgot in the confusion of everything…my grandmother had a “terminal” case of lymphoma in 1965, which she fought and then lived 45+ more years, passing away from the complications of old age in her mid-90’s.

It’s amazing to think that three weeks ago Hubby walked into the doctor’s office because we thought he had a pulled muscle in his neck and today he’s finishing his first week of cancer treatment.  If all goes as we hope, Hubby will finish in mid-October and will head into the holiday season healthy.

In the meantime, I promise our battle against cancer won’t take up every blog post, as this is still a wine and beer blog. However, the reality is it’s part of our life now. I keep things focused on me to give Hubby as much privacy as he can expect being married to a blogger, but be prepared for me to be honest about my good, ok, and bad days, since all my glasses after work will be influenced by that now. Life can really change in the blink of an eye.

** I will save my Gruet tasting notes for another post, but as this is a wine blog, I want to acknowledge that I will forever be fan of Gruet for helping us cope with this nightmare. These two bottles were the first of many that have been opened since of others to come. We drank some of rosé, brut, and blanc de noirs, and with every bottle we opened, it was like having a reliable friend with us. We knew without a doubt every bottle we opened would be a delicious and comforting one for us to share together.

Question #1 of the Day: Do you have a positive/encouraging story you’d be willing to share (you can always email me at alleigh@aglassafterwork if you want to keep it private?

Question #2 of the Day: We all know about comfort food, but what is your comfort wine, beer, or cocktail?

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?

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?