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

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?

Fall Has Arrived with Apple Butter Snickerdoodles & Amarone

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WBC16 Pre-Conference (Part 5): Last Day in Livermore Valley

Las Positas Vineyard

Las Positas Vineyard

The final vineyard stop on the Livermore Valley pre-wine bloggers’ conference excursion was to Las Positas Vineyard. The gracious hosts not only had space for us to taste their wine, but also the wines from several other wineries in the area. There were also several booths from local businesses. Our schedule up until this point had been crammed full and a little rushed (although I wouldn’t have wanted to cut anything off the schedule!), so it was nice to have a little bit of time to relax and enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

2012 Las Positas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – At $68, this California red wine is very non-intrusive. It has medium body, a mix of fruit and spice characteristics, and is definitely meant for food. Rating: 3 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Las Positas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

2012 Las Positas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (winery)
Price $68
Dark ruby color
Plums, cherries, and a hint of spice on the nose
Plums, cherries, tobacco, and hints of clove in the mouth
Medium body and tannins, high acid
I know this wine won the Double Gold at the 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition and the Silver at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, but I was really underwhelmed, particularly at such a high price point.
3 Corks

2013 Heine Petite Sirah by Vasco Urbano Wine Company – At $48, this California red wine is the epitome of big, bold, and beautiful. Just give it a little time to breath and the wine will be one to spend an entire evening getting to know. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Heine Petite Sirah by Vasco Urbano Wine Company

2013 Heine Petite Sirah by Vasco Urbano Wine Company (winery)
Price: $48
Grapes: 100% Petit Sirah
Cases produced: 100
Dark inky purple
Blueberry, blackberry, and boysenberry syrup on the nose
Add chocolate to that in the mouth
Big, grippy tannins, full body, and good acid
This wine is the epitome of big, bold, and beautiful once it has a little time to breath. There is a lot going on, but its so well balanced that it’s the type of wine I want to spend an entire evening getting to know.
4.5 Corks

2013 Dante Robere Estate Syrah – At $38, this California red wine is one that is a food-friendly wine that you should feel comfortable ordering at a restaurant or grabbing in the store. Nothing crazy different, but solidly enjoyable. Rating 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Dante Robere Estate Syrah

2013 Dante Robere Estate Syrah (winery)
Price: $38
Grapes: 100% syrah
Cases produced: 115
Medium-to-dark ruby color
Blackberries, smoke, and cedar on the nose
Blackberries, dark plums, smoke, cedar and baking spices in the mouth.
Medium-to-full body, tannins, and acid.
3.5 Corks

And with that, my final thoughts on Livermore Valley…

Collin Cranor, the winemaker for Vasco Urbano Wine Comapny and Nottingham Cellars

Collin Cranor, the winemaker for Vasco Urbano Wine Comapny and Nottingham Cellars

WOW! There is no doubt, I’ve fallen in love with wine from the area. Admittedly, my favorites were Murrieta’s Well, which I reviewed here, and Vasco Urbano Wine Company, which we didn’t visit, although we tasted their wines at a variety of stops throughout the Livermore Valley trip (my thoughts on their wines are here). Vasco Urbano specializes in Rhone styles (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, and the delicious blends that can be made from those grapes), so it’s not a surprise that I enjoyed their wines as those tend to be the grapes I gravitate towards. That said, their winemaker, Collin Cranor, does amazing things with grapes, as I also really enjoyed the wines we tasted from Nottingham Cellars—Vasco Urbano’s sister winery. Nottingham Cellars wines are all Bordeaux-style red blends made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot.

All that said, if you aren’t drinking wine from the Livermore Valley, you should be. Whether it’s the larger producers or the smaller producers, the wines are mostly reasonably priced and they are ridiculously good.

Question of the day: When you pick wine for yourself, would you go for the Rhone styles or the Bordeaux styles?

A Storybook Zin for a Not-So-Storybook Day

The first week back at work after vacation is always rough, but last week was particularly so for me. Not only had I spent 10 days out of the office hardly checking email, but also I had already spent more than half of August traveling (some work, some personal) because Congress was on recess for 7 weeks. The pace of work and life had been so much slower, and I was settling into it. But, the start of September also meant the restarting of a frenetic pace. I was averaging 8-10 meetings a day with congressional staff, not counting my internal work meetings and conference calls that started up again now that work is in full swing. Not that any of it’s bad. In fact, despite the chaos, things at work are going really well. However, by the time last Friday hit, I was a combination of wound up tight and exhausted. When I walked in the door, I went straight for a bottle I knew would make me smile and shrug off the stress of the week.

2012 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel Estate Reserve – At $68, this wine is not an every day wine, but it is a nice splurge when looking for something a little special.  It’s luscious, inviting, and absolutely lovely…the type of wine you just want to sink into.  Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Estate Reserve Zinfandel

The 2012 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel Estate Reserve (winery) is from Napa Valley, California. The wine was a dark ruby with hints of purple. On the nose, there were blackberries, nutmeg, cinnamon, and hints of cedar. In the mouth, there were blackberries, blueberries, and baking spices mixed with something floral and cedar. The wine had a medium-to-full body, acid, and tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $68 (or $61.20 if you belong to the wine club like I do), this wine is not an every day wine, but it is a nice splurge when looking for something a little special. It’s luscious and inviting, the type of wine you just want to sink into and enjoy.

I sipped on my first glass while sitting in the living room talking with Hubby about our respective days. The second glass was an amazing accompaniment to Hubby’s burgers with applewood smoked cheddar and polenta fries. And, the third glass, well, that was for snuggling up on couch with an afghan and my book, and I couldn’t have had a better wine for that.

I didn’t end up finishing the bottle on Friday night, and I had two glasses left for Saturday night. The wine it didn’t pair well with dinner (my fault, not the wine’s), but on it’s own, it continued to be absolutely lovely…possibly better on night two than on night one. All in all, it was an outstanding choice to enjoy a Friday night while ushering in the next busy season at work.

Question of the Day: Do you do anything special or have any rituals to help get back into “work mode” after vacation?  

Price: $68 (or $61.20 for wine club members)
Purchased at Storybook Mountain Vineyards
Overall: 4.5 Corks