Bubbly & True Blood: A Perfect Sunday Evening

**I received this wine as a sample**

Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut

Thankfully, work is quiet enough that I didn’t have to work on Sunday.  However, Sunday nights in the “A Glass After Work” household have evolved into quick runs before an early dinner so that Hubby and I are ready for a night of True Blood. Neither of us are big TV watchers and the little TV that we each watch is not the same, but there is something about True Blood that keep both of us entertained.  Since Sunday nights have turned into planned TV nights, I’ve started opening fun bottles that might pair well with the show, and last Sunday was all about bubbly.

The Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut (winery, snooth) was a blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Trepat grapes and had a medium-to-dark salmon color with a slight orange tinge.  The Cava had a lot of small, active bubbles.  On the nose, there were raspberries and toast.  In the mouth, there was a berry patch—ripe raspberries and strawberries.  The wine had a light body, low tannins, and smooth acidity.

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 of wine. At a suggested retail price of $18, this wine is light, refreshing, and enjoyable.  The wine has a nice balance and is perfect for a perfect option for an every day sparkling wine.

Price: $18 (suggested retail)
Received as a sample
Overall: 3 Corks

Friday Night Rosé

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

2009 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah

The last four weeks at work comprised one of the busiest times I have had since I started working.  My days were full of internal discussions on how to move forward with one of my biggest projects this year, intense meetings with people from other offices who want to work on the project, internal and external phone calls with additional people who are interested in the project, and more emails than I know what to do with.  So, when my boss closed the office early on the Friday before July 4th, I was ecstatic.  I wasn’t able to leave at noon when we officially closed, but I escaped a few hours early.   Since Hubby was going out with some friends, I made a few detours before coming home, where I ate some Thai takeout, opened a bottle of Rosé, and caught up on some trash tv.

The 2009 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah (winery, snooth) was made from 100% Syrah grapes and had a really dark pink color with hints of orange, particularly on the rim.  On the nose, there were bright red fruits with a hint of perfume.  In the mouth, there were strawberries, raspberries, violets, and something a little foresty on the finish.  The wine was very dry, with good acidity, and a light-to-medium body.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $17, this wine pushes the limit on what I’m likely to pay for a Rosé, as I am not generally a huge fan.  However, this wine surprised me.  It is slightly heavy for a Rosé, but that’s part of what I found intriguing about this bottle.  It had nice flavor and a touch of body, but was still refreshing, light, and flirty—what I expect from a good Rosé. Admittedly, my pairing with Thai was probably not the best choice, but the wine was quite enjoyable.

Overall: 3.5 Corks

**I would like to extend my sympathy to everyone at Viña Montes.
I’m sure that Mr. Douglas Murray will be missed by you all.***

Cooling It Down With A Spanish Rosé

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

2008 Tapeña Rose

Passover ended last Monday night, just as the hot weather in DC began.  As the weather gets hotter, there are two things that happen—all dinners in the “A Glass After Work” household rely on the George Foreman grill and Hubby & I disagree about whether it is hot enough to turn on the air conditioning.  While the George Foreman is a poor replacement to actual grilling, living in 757 sq ft of condo provides few other options, particularly as the fire marshal just told the building that having grills on the roof deck is a fire code violation.  So, grilled chicken on the GF is the dinner of choice, and it was definitely the easy dinner option after work on Monday.  As for the AC, Monday was just the start of the heat wave, so neither Hubby nor I were quite ready to cave and turn on the air conditioning; however, it was the start of the weeklong discussion.  Instead, we agreed to open the windows, turn on our ceiling fan, and rely on cold beverages to help keep us cool.  My choice was a Spanish Rosé.

The 2008 Tapeña Rosé (winery, snooth) was made with 55% Monastrall, 40% Garnacha, and 5% Shiraz grapes.  On the nose, there were grapefruits, raspberries, strawberries, and a hint of white pepper and fresh herbs.  In the mouth, there were sour cherries, pink grapefruits, tart raspberries, strawberries, thyme, and a touch of something funky on the finish that I couldn’t quite place.  The wine had a lime-like acid and a light body.

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 of wine. At a suggested retail price of $10, this wine isn’t very complex, but offers a food-friendly summer option.  The herb flavors in the wine mixed nicely with the spices I used for the chicken, providing a refreshing backdrop to the dinner.  After dinner, it was a good wine to settle into watching the latest episode of Castle and trying to stay cool.

Overall: 3 Corks

Sonoma Grand Tasting at WBC09

I admit it, by the time the Sonoma Grand Tasting started, I was a bit overwhelmed. This was my first Wine Bloggers’ Conference, and up until this point, I’d never tasted more than 15-20 wines in one sitting. At the WBC, though, by 5pm there had already been wine tasting in the welcome room, wine tasting at lunch, and wine tasting at the speed tasting, so the Sonoma Grand Tasting was taking me further outside of my tasting comfort zone than I’d even been before. So, I was nervous, but I was also up for the challenge.

The Sonoma Grad Tasting was a roped-off patio area near the pool at the Flamingo Resort. As you can see from the pictures, there were a lot of bloggers in a very small space, but it served as a way for us to get to know each other very quickly. People were standing around talking, eating delicious cheese and spreads with crackers, and of course, tasting 2, 3, or 4 wines from every vineyard at the tasting.

The Grand Tasting was definitely a success for me. I tasted Murphy-Goode wines for the first time and was pleased with what I tasted, as I had never even heard of the winery before the contest for the Really Goode Job. I worked my way through some well-know, affordable everyday wines that I often look at in the wine store, but haven’t had a chance to purchase, as well as tasted some lesser-known, more-unusual wines that were pleasant surprises. While all of the wines were good, none of them knocked me off my feet. Admittedly, I was nervous that I was the only one who felt that way, but after talking with other bloggers throughout the weekend, it seemed that my opinion was shared by others.

My notes from this event aren’t very detailed, but here are some pictures and my overall ratings:

Murphy-Goode Winery (website)
2008 “The Fume” Sauvignon Blanc—$12.50 3 Corks
Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon—$20 3 Corks
2006 “Liar’s Dice” Zinfandel—$21
3.5 Corks

Chateau St. Jean (website)
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon—$30 3.5 Corks
2007 Chardonnay—$25 4 Corks

Souverain (website)
2007 Chardonnay—$13
3 Corks
2007 Merlot—$15
3 Corks

Frick Winery (website)
2006 Cinsault—$26
4.5 Corks
2007 Grenache Blanc—$27 4 Corks

Alexander Valley Vineyards (website)
2004 Syrah—$35
4.5 Corks
2007 Sin Zin—$17 3 Corks
2008 Dry Rose of Sangiovese—$12 3.5 Corks

Dutton Goldfield Vineyards (website)
2006 Sanchietti Vineyard Pinot Noir—$58
3 Corks
2006 Freestone Hill Vineyrd Pinot Noir—$58
3 Corks
2007 Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir—$38
3 Corks
2007 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay—$35
2.5 Corks

Running with Equus

The first week back after a long weekend is always difficult, but last week was particularly tough for some reason. My hours returned to being longer, I was back to wearing a suit every day, and there was a lot going on, which left me exhausted by mid-week. So, when I came home from work on Thursday and saw a package from Cassandra (@2carbuffs), I was very excited. Several weeks ago she mentioned that she wanted to ship me a bottle of a wine that she enjoys at home, and I was very flattered, although I checked to see if the wine was available in my area in hopes that she wouldn’t have to go through the hassle. However, as I had trouble locating the wine, Cassandra bought me a bottle and shipped it, which ultimately made for a wonderful Thursday afternoon surprise after a long week.

The Equus Run Vineyard is located in Central Kentucky, and they have 13 wines listed on their website. I had a bottle of the Bacchus Blush (vineyard, snooth), which is a semi-sweet rose wine made mostly from Riesling and Vidal Blanc grapes, although there is a minimal amount of Concord and Merlot grapes added to give the Blush its medium salmon color. On the nose, a perfumey, floral aroma dominated, although it was followed quickly by ripe pear and strawberry, pink grapefruit, lime, and a hint of burnt sugar. In the mouth, blossom flavors mixed with those of pear, strawberry, and crème brûlée. The wine was a little boozy tasting on the finish, but nothing so strong as to detract from its sweetness.

Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…if you like sweet wines, you’ll definitely have a decent, reliable glass of wine with the Bacchus Blush. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any online retailers selling the wine, and as it was a gift, I don’t know how much the wine cost, but I would guess that it isn’t too expensive to consider for a glass after work. I must admit that sweet wines aren’t generally my style, so this probably isn’t a wine that I would drink everyday, but I was more than happy to take this wine and run with it. So, if you enjoy sweet wines and are looking for one to enjoy on its own or to accompany a salty dish, or maybe even to drink with a strong cheese (think bleu cheese), the Equus Run Vineyard Bacchus Blush is worth considering.

Overall: 3 Corks