5 Wines for Easter Brunch

Top 5 Wines for Easter Dinner -- Easter brunch can be as difficult, if not more so, than Easter dinner when trying to pair wine, but here is some sparkling, white and red wine suggestions that should be a nice addition to your omelet, eggs benedict, or ham brunch selections. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Top 5 Wines for Easter Dinner — Easter brunch can be as difficult, if not more so, than Easter dinner when trying to pair wine, but here is some sparkling, white and red wine suggestions that should be a nice addition to your omelet, eggs benedict, or ham brunch selections. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

This year, Hubby and I are headed out to Easter brunch with his family. While this means I don’t have to worry about what wine to bring to his mother’s house for the holiday, it does mean that I’ve already started scoping out the restaurant’s wine list. Figuring out what can pair with a raw oyster bar, pastries, omelets, a carving station full of ham and lamb, and a hot dishes like gravy and biscuits can be as much of a challenge as figuring out wine for Easter dinner. Whether you’re headed out or having people over, here are 5 wines that should help make Easter brunch a success.

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 tastes of berries, baked pears and hints of toast, cream, and vanilla. It’s the perfect brunch bubbly, as the bright acidity will help keep the meal fresh tasting, and it will pair nicely with almost everything on the table. Not to mention that all of the Gruet sparkling wines are very affordable, so you if you rather mix this sparkler with some juice to make a mimosa or bellini, you can do so without any guilt. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $13.

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Crémant d’Alsace – This $19 bottle of sparkling wine from France is pink, dry, and perfect. It tastes of cranberries, strawberries, and pomegranates mixed with hints of oranges and a soft, creaminess. It’s a delicious choice for brunch, appetizers, or just sitting in the backyard on a beautiful day. Rating 4 out 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Crémant d’Alsace

The Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Crémant d’Alsace is pink bubbly that is packed with flavor–cranberries, strawberries, and pomegranates mixed with hints of oranges and a soft, creaminess. It’s not sparkler I would mix with juice, but rather enjoy it’s bright acidity, light body, and fun bubbles on its own. While it also would go well with almost everything on the table, I think would be particularly fantastic with eggs benedict or with some ham. I gave this wine 4 corks, and while I received it as a sample, it has an SRP of $19.

Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco – This $25 bottle of fizzy red wine from Italy is easily drinkable and delicious.  It has beautiful berry flavors mixed with hints of flowers, and it was a wine that was clearly made to be paired with food.  This Lambrusco is a definite crowd pleaser that can be enjoyed during brunch, dinner, or night sitting around talking with friends.  Rating 4.5 out 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco

The Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco is a bright, dark red color with fizzy bubbles and just a touch of fruity sweetness. The wine is full of cranberry, strawberry, and blackberry flavors mixed with some rose petals and thyme. I did a Lambrusco tasting at the end of January for my coworkers (which I will write about in the next couple of weeks), and out of the 6 wines we tasted, the Fattoia Moretto tied with the Riunite Lambrusco as the favorite. I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $25.

Bodegas Ruberte Tresor Garnacha – This $10 bottle of red wine from Spain is a perfect example of wine with an excellent quality/price ratio.  It’s easy to drink, has nice red berry flavors, and is a great choice for a lighter spring or summer red wine. Rating 3.5 out 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Bodegas Ruberte Tresor Garnacha

The Bodegas Ruberte Tresor Garnacha screams spring with its red berry flavors, a touch of white pepper, and its medium body. It’s a wine that would pair nicely with a chorizo and cheese omelet or some sliced ham. Just be warned that even though this wine doesn’t taste like it has a lot of alcohol, it can definitely pack a punch. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and received it as a sample, but it has an SRP of $10, which is an amazing quality/price ratio.

2013 Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon – At $24, this red wine from California lingers in the mouth and leaves you wanting more. It has nice fruit flavors mixed with some savory notes that are perfect for enjoying on its own or pairing with beef, lamb, or pasta. Cheers! Ratings 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Francis Ford Coppola Winery Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon

The Coppola Winery Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon is a bigger, bolder wine that is full of cherries and blackberries mixed with vanilla, licorice, hints of something floral. It’s not so much a fun, flirty sipper like the other wines on this list, but rather a wine that is more substantial as you drink, eat, and talk away the morning. When I reviewed the wine, I actually paired it with very cheesy eggs, which were made with an applewood smoked cheddar, and bacon, so I say with confidence that if you’re going planning on eating the heftier, smokier brunch items, this wine will be the perfect choice. I gave the Coppola Director’s Cut Cab 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but it has an SRP of $24.

Question of the Day: Have you picked out the wines for your Easter meal yet?  What are you planning on opening?

5 Wines for Easter Dinner

Top 5 Wines for Easter Dinner -- Easter dinner can sometimes present a challenge when trying to pair wine, but here is a sparkling wine, a white wine, and three red wine suggestions that should be a nice addition to your ham, lamb, or turkey dinner. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Top 5 Wines for Easter Dinner — Easter dinner can sometimes present a challenge when trying to pair wine, but here is a sparkling wine, a white wine, and three red wine suggestions that should be a nice addition to your ham, lamb, or turkey dinner. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Easter is one of those holidays where Hubby and I don’t have a set tradition. Sometimes we go to brunch by ourselves or with friends, sometimes with his family. Sometimes we head to his mother’s house for Easter brunch or dinner. Sometimes Easter coincides with Passover, so I avoid anything leavened (like his mother’s amazing homemade macaroni and cheese) and anything with pork (like the ham), although this year, the two holidays are at different times. The only thing that is consistent about my Easter celebration is that there is always wine.

Easter dinner can sometimes present a challenge when trying to pair wine because the main dishes can include everything from a honey-glazed ham to herb-roasted lamb to roasted turkey. That doesn’t even take into account the assorted side dishes like deviled eggs, scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and asparagus. Don’t let the mix of food scare you away from picking a wine, though.  Here are 5 suggestions that should help make Easter dinner a success.

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, although it should go nicely with lamb or turkey, as well as an Easter brunch if you’re doing that instead. 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. It would be a perfect pairing with ham, although it should go nicely with lamb or turkey, as well. And, while this isn’t the Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco I have on my 5 wines for Easter brunch list, it’s one that is worth considering. I gave it 4 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the suggested retail price is $20.

Sawtooth Riesling -- This $10-13 bottle of white wine from Idaho is full of tropical and stone fruits mixed with Lemonheads candy, honey, and flowers. The touch of sweetness mixed with the acidity should make it a nice pairing with the ham, lamb, or turkey. Rating 4 out of 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

2011 Sawtooth Riesling

The Sawtooth Reisling is a wine I drink regularly, although I clearly I need to post an updated review on the blog. It’s full of tropical and stone fruits mixed with Lemonheads candy, honey, and flowers. There’s also a hint of ginger. The touch of sweetness mixed with the acidity should make it a nice pairing with the ham, lamb, or turkey. Plus, it makes for a fun conversation piece because how often do you get to say you’re drinking a delicious wine from Idaho? I gave it 4 corks and usually purchase it for $10-$13.

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

2012 Valletta Barbera d’Alba

The Valletta Barbera d’Alba is a delicate, yet intense wine that has rapidly become a favorite. Whenever I see it on a wine list, I order it, and I reliably bring it with me as a hostess gift. I think the fruit and earthiness in this wine, combined with it’s velvety tannins and balanced acidity will make it perfect for Easter dinner, particularly if you’re serving lamb or turkey. I gave it 4.5 corks and purchased it for $25.

Angove Family Winemakers Warboys Grenache -- This $66 bottle of red wine from Australia is deli well-balanced and complex without being jammy and over-bearing. It could go with Easter ham, lamb, or turkey, although it would be particularly nice with the lamb. Rating 4.5 out of 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

2010 Angove Family Winemakers Warboys Vineyard Grenache

The Angove Family Winemakers Warboys Grenache will need to breathe a little when you open it, but it’s well-balanced and complex without being jammy and over-bearing. The wine has a nice mix of flowers and cherries, with hints of white pepper and a smokey cedar box. While it could go with ham, lamb, or turkey, I think it would be particularly nice with the lamb. I gave it 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but found it online for $66.

2013 Mumm Napa Pinot Noir Devaux Ranch – At $35, this California red wine is a little pricey, but is perfect for company, for Thanksgiving dinner or the rotisserie chicken you bought on the way home, or while sitting on the porch chatting with your spouse during a nice spring evening. Rating 4.5 out 5|AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Mumm Napa Pinot Noir Devaux Ranch

The Mumm Napa Pinot Noir Devaux Ranch is one of Mumm Napa’s still wines, although it’s made with the delicious grapes they use to make their famous sparkling wines. This medium-bodied wine would pair nicely with ham, lamb, or turkey as it has a nice mix of berry and spice flavors, but a lower acidity that won’t get in the way of the food…particularly the ham. I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $28 as a Club Vivant member. However, if you’re not a member of Mumm’s wine club, you can purchase it online for $35.

Question of the Day: If you celebrate Easter, what are your traditions? Will you be enjoying a brunch or a dinner?

Loving LaTour

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 – 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

While I don’t keep kosher throughout the year, during the 8 days of the Jewish High Holidays, I’m careful about the food I eat. There’s no bacon or pork chops, no cheeseburgers…and my wine is almost exclusively kosher. I was particularly excited about opening the 2011 LaTour Netofa Red this year because two blogs I trust–Yossie’s Corkboard and Kosher Wine Musings— had great things to say about it. And, what better way to celebrate the start of the Jewish New Year than with a wine that I had high expectations for?  So, after I came home from synagogue on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, I opened the LaTour while Hubby started dinner.

2011 LaTour Netofa Red

2011 LaTour Netofa Red

The 2011 LaTour Netofa Red (winery, snooth) was made in the Galilee region of Israel and is a blend of Mourvèdre and Syrah. It was a dark ruby color with a touch of garnet on the rim. The nose was big, with blueberries, blackberries, nutmeg and hints of tea leaves, black pepper, and dried roses. In the mouth, there were blackberries, dark plums, and hints of blueberries, black tea, and dark chocolate. The wine was full-bodied with big tannins and acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $35 a bottle, this wine offers a lot in a single glass. It definitely needs to time to breath, so either decant it before drinking it or use an aerator when pouring. As long as you do that, it’s a wine you can sit and puzzle over, pair with a delicious holiday meal, and enjoy while talking the night away. It’s versatile and worth checking out, even if you aren’t looking for a kosher wine.

Question of the Day:  Do you have recommendations for a great red wine that is under $30?  My hunt for the elusive inexpensive kosher red is still on!

Price: $35
Purchased at Kosherwine.com
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Rugelach and Yarden Merlot

Chocolate Rugelach

Chocolate Rugelach

Sunday, September 20th was a pretty normal Sunday in the A Glass After Work household. The morning was spent doing yard work, while the afternoon was spent doing other chores around the house, preparing for the week ahead, and baking cookies. The universe of who gets cookies these days has expanded– several dozen are for my coworkers, a dozen are for my brother and sister-in-law who are in the military, and a half dozen or so go to the guys in the UPS office who do a fantastic job helping me package and ship cookies across the country every week. As my baking has continued, I’ve started focusing on cookies that fit the season or test my creative baking skills. So, with Sunday being in the middle of the Jewish High Holidays and figuring most of my coworkers and the UPS guys had never had homemade rugelach before, I decided that the Jewish cookie would be the best option. Sure, they’re a bit of work, but I opened a bottle of Merlot, turned on the radio, and was ready to go!

2009 Yarden Merlot

2009 Yarden Merlot

The 2009 Yarden Merlot (winery, snooth) was a deep purple with hints of ruby. On the nose, there were blackberries and hints of black cherry, tobacco, and vanilla. In the mouth, there were blackberries mixed with vanilla and hints of tobacco. The wine had a medium body, medium acidity, and medium tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable glass. At $30 a bottle, I wanted more from this wine. There was nothing bad about it, but there was nothing memorable either. It was a little thin, the flavors fell flat in my mouth, and the finish was short. The wine opened up after breathing a little, but even with that, each sip just left me wanting something different.  Maybe I would have felt different if this wine was half the price, but $30 just seems like a lot of money for an average wine.

The cookies, though, were a huge success. My coworkers devoured them all before lunchtime, and my brother texted to tell me they were “awesome…honestly, some of the best [he’d] ever had.” I will definitely be making them again.

Overall, the pairing the Merlot with the rugelach actually helped the wine, and the cookies stood up to the stronger drink choice. If you’re a rugelach fan, I would definitely recommend making these and pairing them with some wine.

Question of the Day:  How much impact does price have on your wine selection?  What about on your enjoyment of that bottle?

Chocolate Rugelach
Print Recipe
A Jewish pastry-like cookie that can be filled with chocolate, a mixture of nuts and raisins, or jam.
Servings
32 rugelach
Servings
32 rugelach
Chocolate Rugelach
Print Recipe
A Jewish pastry-like cookie that can be filled with chocolate, a mixture of nuts and raisins, or jam.
Servings
32 rugelach
Servings
32 rugelach
Ingredients
Dough
Chocolate Filling
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate , finely chopped (I used mini chips, but if you use regular sized ones make sure you chop them!)
  • 3 Tbs butter , unsalted; melted and cooled
Servings: rugelach
Instructions
Making the dough
  1. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Place cubed, chilled cream cheese and butter in food processor. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice to make sure everything is mixed.
  3. Add egg, vanilla, and sugar. Process until incorporated.
  4. Add flour mixture, and pulse until the dough starts to clump together. The dough will form large, curdlike clumps.
  5. Form dough into ball and divide in half. Chill dough for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 3 days.
Chocolate filling
  1. Melt butter and let it cool.
  2. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate.
  3. When butter is cooled, pour into cinnamon-sugar mixture and mix thoroughly.
Assembling rugelach
  1. brush the butter over the rolled out rugelach, sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then press the chocolate down evenly over the dough. Roll up and bake.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  3. Remove dough from refrigerator, and let it stand for 5 minutes or until it is malleable enough to roll.
  4. Flour work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10 to 12 inch circle and until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. When you are finished rolling, use a pizza cutter to trim the edges of the dough to make an even circle. As you're rolling, be sure to rotate and reflour as necessary. If the dough becomes too sticky to work with, you can briefly place it back in the refrigerator until it is firm enough to roll.
  5. Mark the center of the dough with the tip of a knife. Cover the dough with the filling, making sure to spread evenly. Avoid putting the filling in the very center of the dough, as the filling will push towards the center when the triangles are rolled up.
  6. Use a pizza cutter to cut the circle into 12-to-16 equal-sized wedges.
  7. Starting with the outside of the circle, roll each triangle tightly and carefully to make the classic rugelach shape. Place the rugelach seam side down onto your parchment.
  8. Place each rugelach on the baking sheet. It's best to put them seam side down to help keep them closed, although I wasn't as careful about that as I should have been.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes, and the rotate the baking sheet in the oven for even baking. After rotating, bake for another 5-10 minutes, for a total bake time of 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  10. Once the baking sheets are removed from the oven, let cookies set on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

**adapted from The Crepes of Wrath and The Baking Bible

Price: $30
Purchased at Total Wine & More
Overall: 3 Corks

At Anthony Road

John Martini, owner of Anthony Road Wine Company, in the vineyards

John Martini, owner of Anthony Road Wine Company, in the vineyards

The second day of the 2015 Wine Bloggers’ Conference pre-excursion started at Anthony Road Winery. Anthony Road is on the west side of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. The current owners, Ann and John Martini, planted their first grapes at the vineyard in 1973. They initially sold their grapes, but, in 1990, decided to start making their own wine and opened Anthony Road Winery. Now the family-run business grows grapes at two different vineyard sites and produces its own wine.

Me and wine barrels at Anthony Road Wine Company

Me and wine barrels at Anthony Road Wine Company

John Martini took us to the vineyard that is part of the Cornell Cooperative Extension: Finger Lakes Grape Program. The program conducts research and provides the grape and wine industry in the region with information on a variety of different topics, and this vineyard is part of research on the practicality and sustainability of growing Gruner Veltliner in the Finger Lakes.

Bottling at Anthony Road Wine Company

Bottling at Anthony Road Wine Company

We returned from the vineyard to a glass of the 2014 Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Rose. With glass in hand, we were then off to see the winery operations, getting an up close view of the stainless steel tanks and oak barrels, as well as watching the winery’s bottle process in action. After that, we had a chance to taste some of the other Anthony Road wines and enjoy the beautiful scenery. It was a great way to start the day!

2014 Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Rosé

2014 Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Rosé

2014 Anthony Road Cabernet Franc Rosé ($18)
Beautiful color with a vibrant nose and good fruit flavors–mostly strawberry and cherry. The wine was light-bodied with bright acidity. It was a good summer wine that would pair nicely with cheese.
3.5 Corks

2014 Anthony Road Unoaked Chardonnay

2014 Anthony Road Unoaked Chardonnay

2014 Anthony Road Unoaked Chardonnay ($17)
Very pale lemon yellow. There were some green apples along with a hint of pears, pineapple, and something minerally. The wine was light-to-medium bodied. An easy sipper.
3.5 Corks

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Chardonnay

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Chardonnay

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Chardonnay (price not listed on Internet)
This wine was reminiscent of its unoaked counterpart, but in a way I didn’t enjoy as much. It had a medium lemon yellow color with some green apples and pears on the nose. In the mouth, there were apples and something bitter. The wine had a medium body and acidity.
3 Corks

2014 Anthony Road Dry Riesling

2014 Anthony Road Dry Riesling

2014 Anthony Road Dry Riesling ($18)
Lots of citrus–oranges and grapefruits, along with a hint of lemon and lime–mixed with white flowers. There was also some minerality. The wine had a light-to-medium body and good acidity. This vintage is sold out, but I ended up buy some of the 2013 vintage, which I will review separately.
4 Corks

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Riesling

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Riesling

2014 Anthony Road Skin Fermented Riesling(price not listed on Internet)
For as much as I liked the dry Riesling, I disliked the skin fermented one. In fact, this was my least favorite of the wines, mixing some baking spices with citrus and apple notes.
2.5 Corks

A taste of the 2008 Vignoles Trockenbeeren

A taste of the 2008 Vignoles Trockenbeeren

2008 Vignoles Trockenbeeren ($75)
Pure lusciousness. It was full of tropical fruits–mango and pineapple–along with apple and pear notes. It was full-bodied with nice acidity.
4.5 Corks

Question of the Day:  Do you visit wineries or breweries?  Do you think it changes your opinion of the wine or beer?