5 American White Wines for July 4

5 American White Wines for July 4 – July 4 cookouts are mean lots of good food, friends, and alcohol...and many people enjoy a nice glass of white wine. However, finding one that fits a BBQ atmosphere can be difficult. These wines are good options for all levels of wine drinkers. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

5 American White Wines for July 4 – July 4 cookouts are mean lots of good food, friends, and alcohol…and many people enjoy a nice glass of white wine. However, finding one that fits a BBQ atmosphere can be difficult. These wines are good options for all levels of wine drinkers. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Earlier this week, I posted some suggestions for American sparkling and rosé wines to open over this upcoming holiday weekend. Today is all about the white wine options, as white wine and warm summer weather were practically made for each other. I will apologize upfront to the Chardonnay lovers for not having one on the list. I normally would have at least one, but these other wines were really the ones that were striking my fancy for the Fourth of July. And with that, 5 white wine suggestions of your cookout:

2014 Lilly's Viognier from The Winery at Bull Run– This $29 bottle of white wine from Virginia is a little pricey, but it’s beautiful. It’s the type of wine that’s meant to be sipped slowly with friends on a hot summer day. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Lilly’s Viognier from The Winery at Bull Run

The 2014 Lilly’s Viognier (winery) is a beautiful white wine from Virginia. It’s a light lemon color with a bright floral nose. In the mouth, thee are apricots and white pepper mixed with hints of grapefruit and honeysuckle. Considering my iffy feelings about Viognier, I was surprised how much I loved this wine. At first I thought it might have been because I tasted it during a visit to the winery, but I bought a bottle that I opened at home and enjoyed it as much, if not more, than I did during my winery visit. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and purchased it for $29.

Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc - This $8 white wine from California is not a complex wine, but it’s easy to drink and has a great quality-price ratio. If you’re having a lot of people over, this is a wine people will be happy to drink…especially outside on a hot summer day. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc

The Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc (website) is a white wine from California. This wine is like drinking summer in a glass. It’s light and full of honeydew melons, nectarines, and limes. It’s not a complex wine, but it’s easy to drink and has a great quality-price ratio. If you’re having a lot of people over, this is a white that people will be happy to drink…especially outside on a hot summer day. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the SRP is $8.

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)is a white wine from Washington state that has a touch of sweetness, nice acidity, and is incredibly drinkable. The wine has aromas and flavors of ripe peaches and apricots mixed with honey and a hint of ginger. It’s refreshing and will pair nicely with the summer salads and cold fried chicken, or can be enjoyed all on it’s own. I gave this wine 4 Corks and purchased it for $20.

This $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

Sawtooth Riesling

The Sawtooth Reisling (winery, amazon) is one of my summer house white wines. 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 hot dogs and steamed crabs. A sign that I’m live fairly close to the Chesapeake is I find there are few things as enjoyable as pairing this wine with something that has been seasoned with Old Bay. I gave it 4 corks and usually purchase it for about $13.

Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris - This $30 white wine from Napa California is a little pricey for an everyday wine or a large gathering, but is a perfect palate-pleaser for a more intimate gathering. It’s an enjoyable sipper that is worth the extra cost. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris

The Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris (winery) is a light-to-medium bodied white wine from Napa, California. The wine has a nice lime, grapefruit, and tart Granny Smith apple characteristics that mix with hints of nectarines and thyme. It’s a little pricey for a large gathering, but if you’re doing something a little more intimate, this Pinot Gris is sure to be a guest-pleaser. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $30.

Question of the Day:  What’s your favorite white wine for a cookout or picnic?

Snowzilla Day 1: A Few Inches and a Bouchaine Cabernet

Snowzilla 2016: Day 1 -- Our backyard as the snow started and then again around 7:30pm, along with our last measure of the night.

Snowzilla 2016: Day 1 — Our backyard as the snow started and then again around 7:30pm, along with our last measure of the night.

**Here is my blog post about Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 1), Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 2)Snowzilla Day 3and Snowzilla Day 4**

As Monday January 18 started, so did the rumblings that DC might get a really big snowstorm at the end of the week. In fact, everyone was so focused on Friday’s impending storm that very little attention was paid to the 1-3 inches that were predicted for mid-week. Thankfully, I walk to work, so I wasn’t one of the unfortunate Washingtonians who had more than a 7-hour drive home on icy, untreated roads, but I definitely heard the stories. The debacle of Wednesday started panic about what was in store for the more than 2 feet of snow that was expected later in the week. By the time Friday rolled around, my office decided we could all work from home in the morning and then we would close in the afternoon when the federal government closed.

The snow started around 1:30pm, and by the time we did our last shoveling of the night, there were still only a few inches on the ground. However, like most Washingtonians, we were prepared for Snowzilla. We made sure there was enough “snow day” type food, but also some well-planned out wine options. On that first night, Hubby made homemade tomato sauce with brown rice pasta, and I opened up a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from one of my wine clubs that I’d been saving.

2012 Bouchaine Landucci Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – At $70, this small production red wine from is a great option for special occasions. It’s easy to drink, very food friendly, and incredibly delicious. Cheers! Ratings 5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.comThe 2012 Bouchaine Landucci Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (winery) is from the Combsville area of Napa, California. The wine was a deep purple color. On the nose, there were a lot of dark fruits–black plums, blackberries, and black cherries–mixed with a hint of baking spices. In the mouth, there were black plums and cherries mixed with cinnamon and hints of nutmeg and smoke. The wine was full bodied with good acid and tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $70, there is no doubt that this wine is expensive, but it’s also absolutely delicious. Only 505 cases were produced, so it’s small production, and it’s a wine that is very enjoyable now, but also has enough structure and flavor that it could be cellared for at least another 5 years. Unfortunately, when I went to go buy another couple of bottles to hold onto for a while, it looks like the winery is already sold out.

Spaghetti and sauce for Snowzilla night 1The wine was one I drank leisurely through the first night of the blizzard. It was a nice accompaniment to Hubby’s homemade sauce, and it was the perfect for cuddling up on the couch in front of a fire after our last round of shoveling for the night.

Overall, at this price range, this is a special occasion type of wine. And, if you’re looking for that special bottle, particularly one to go with a hearty meal or vibrant conversation, this is a wine you should consider.

Question of the Day:  Do you live in an area that gets a lot of snow?  Is alcohol something that you stock up on in your snowstorm preparations?  What’s your go-to snow day choice?

Price: $70
Purchased at Bouchaine Vineyards Wine Club
Overall: 5 Corks

Sunday Baking: Pinot Gris and Snickerdoodles

While my coworkers all enjoyed the novelty of the Candied Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies, they were clearly not the success I hoped they would be because there were still cookies left in the tin at the end of the week. Normally, all the cookies are gone by mid-day on Monday. It’s a rarity for cookies to even make it until Tuesday. During my whole year of baking cookies for my office, the only time I’ve had to take cookies home with me on a Friday was during heavy vacation/holiday weeks. So, clearly, these were a bust. In order to win back my fans, I decided to go with something simple and traditional…the Snickerdoodle.

Sunday BakingThe baking process is usually pretty routine for me. I pick out cookies for the week on Saturday before Hubby and I go grocery shopping. Then, Sunday is all about the baking. Whether it’s a lounge-around-at-home or an errand day, one of the first things I do is make coffee and set out to work on the dough so that it can chill in the refrigerator for several hours while I go about the rest of the day.

This past Sunday was pretty quiet. Saturday had been very busy trying to get our condo ready to rent. In fact, we hit more than a few snags in the work we were doing, which meant the projects we were on were delayed, so by the time Sunday rolled around, Hubby and I were tired, frustrated, and wanted nothing to do with home improvement activities. That said, we still have a lot of settling in to do in the new house, so we took the time at home in the new place to hang a few paintings on the wall and put together our new grill, which we promptly used.

Thankfully, the Pinot Gris I opened to enjoy with the hot dogs with mac & cheese, lasted me through the end of the book I was reading and into my Snickerdoodle baking.

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris and Snickerdoodles

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris and Snickerdoodles

The 2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris (winery, snooth) is a from Napa Valley, California and is made with 100% Pinot Gris grapes. The wine had a light-to-medium straw yellow color. On the nose, there were nectarines, Granny Smith apples, and hints of honey. In the mouth, there were limes, grapefruits, tart Granny Smith apples, and hints of nectarines and thyme. The wine had a light-to-medium body and bright 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 $30 a bottle, this wine is a little on the high end for an everyday wine, but it offers something a little different in a white that I think makes it worthwhile. It’s easy to drink both on its own and with food. The acidity helped cut through some of the fattiness of the hot dogs and mac & cheese without overpowering the food, which was perfect. Admittedly, the Pinot Gris didn’t pair with the cookies as well as I hoped. I thought the lighter flavors and the acidity would go nicely with the lighter cookie, but the citrusy notes clashed with the cinnamon from the cookie. Oh, well…lesson learned.

Bouchaine Vineyards Cork and SnickerdoodlesOverall, one coworker said to me on the way to our staff meeting that “Normally, [he doesn’t] think one way or the other about Snicerkdoodles, but these are damn good ones.” And, as if to prove the point, all 3 dozen cookies were eaten within 3 hours of my bringing them to the office. It confirms that I think I perfected my Snickerdoodle recipe. So, my Sunday Baking seems to have been an all-around success, even if the wine-cookie pairing itself wasn’t very good.

Question of the Day: What do you do when you create a bad food pairing…do you stop drinking the wine with the food or do you just push through and hope for better next time?

 

Snickerdoodles

(*adapted from Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe)
Yields: 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (for coating)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (for coating)

Directions

  • In medium bowl, mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  • Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  • On low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just blended (about 30 seconds).
  • Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats and place in refrigerator to chill.
  • In small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon for coating.
  • Remove one of the dough halves to begin shaping cookies.
  • Take a rounded tablespoon of chilled dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1-inch balls.
  • Roll balls in the cinnamon and sugar mixture until coated.
  • 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.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack
    Remember to chill the dough and cookie sheets between batches.

Price: $30
Purchased at Bouchaine Vineyards Website (through the wine club)
Overall: 4 Corks

Another Great Bouchaine

Thursday morning started off with my review.  The Boss isn’t the same guy that hired me.  In fact, The Boss is only started at my organization 6 months ago.  But, in that short amount of time, he’s proved to be one of the best manager’s I’ve had.  He’s well-known and well-liked in the industry.  He will say he disagrees with a decision without making the person feel stupid or incompetent.  And, he has an open door policy, so whether it’s a suggestion on how to make things run better, a question on the best way to proceed on a project, or just wanting to touch base, The Boss is very welcoming.  Therefore, even though I found it incredibly awkward to write my review, I wasn’t actually nervous about talking to The Boss about it.

The meeting was about 30 minutes, and unlike previous reviews I’ve had, we actually went through the document.  The Boss pointed questions about how I felt things were going now that I’ve been with the organization for a year.  We talked about a few challenges I’m facing and some ideas on how to make things work a little smoother, which was all very positive and constructive.  And then The Boss outlined several things he thought I did really well, and that was that.

The rest of the day was busy and went fairly quickly.  I actually ended up getting home a little late, so Hubby had already headed to the gym to get in his run.  I had to wait a little, since the gym was full of people avoiding the cold and sticking to their New Year’s Resolution.  Thankfully, my Thursday night runs are flat 5-milers, so once the treadmill opened up, I was able to do my run in less than an hour.  By the time I got home and showered, Hubby was putting together some pesto shrimp for dinner.

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris

The 2012 Bouchaine Estate Pinot Gris (winery) was from Napa Valley, California.  The wine had a light-to-medium lemon yellow color.  On the nose, there was limes and grapefruits, with a hint of thyme.  In the mouth, there were grapefruits and thyme.  The wine had a light-to-medium body and medium-to-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 $30 (or $24 for wine club members, of which I am one), this wine is food-friendly and perfect for sipping.  In fact, it is exactly the time of wine I enjoy with seafood—good acidity; subtle, but still flavorful; and not so strong that it overpowers the dish.  After several days of heavier meals and wines, this Pinot Gris paired with the pesto shrimp was the perfect way to lighten things up a little.  I know a number of you are Pinot Grigio fans, so if that is a style you enjoy, definitely consider trying a bottle of Bouchaine’s Pinot Gris.

Question of the Day: Do you have a particular wine that you enjoy drinking with shrimp dishes? 

Price: $30 (or $24 a bottle for wine club members)
Purchased at Bouchine Vineyards
Overall: 4 Corks

Breaking out the Bouchaine

I’m very bad at coordinating people’s schedules.  I don’t know why, but it seems like every time I try, there are 100 emails back and forth trying to find the magic time that works for everyone.  On Thursday afternoon, I initiated one of those emails, trying to get four of us on the phone at the same time sometime on Friday. After a couple of rounds of emails, it became obvious that Friday wasn’t going to work, so I offered up yesterday as an alternative.  Unfortunately, both Tuesday and Wednesday weren’t going to work either because one of the participants because of a board meeting for another organization.  Since time was of the essence, this put me back to trying to find a time on Friday.  Finally, I made an offer that I couldn’t believe I was typing…what about 5pm on a Friday before a long-holiday weekend?  The other three participants jumped at the time.  Sigh…

After I forwarded the email to my assistant so that he could send out the meeting request to the group, he laughed and then apologized for laughing.   When my coworkers started trickling out of the office around 3pm, a couple of them asked if I wanted to grab a drink before heading out for the weekend.  Obviously, I had to decline.  Around 4, as the last of my coworkers left the building, they teasingly asked why I was still there.  Didn’t I know it was time to go home?  Even my assistant bailed on me at 5pm while I was dialing the moderator passcode to begin the conference call.  Friday at 5pm before a three-day weekend and my office was deserted except for me, and I had no one to blame but myself.

Now, if I’m being honest, it wasn’t that bad.  While it was happening, I was jealous of everyone who’d already left.  But, the call ended up being fairly quick.  45 minutes later, I was sending off the last of the emails to make sure everyone had a summary of what we discussed, along with the action item list.  By 6pm, I was walking to the metro, and my long weekend was underway.  When I walked in the door around 6:45pm, Hubby had pork chops defrosting, and I was ready to open a bottle of red to kick things off right.

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Meunier

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Meunier

The 2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Meunier (winery) is from Carneros in Napa Valley, California.  The wine had a medium ruby color.  On the nose, there were pomegranates and cranberries mixed with hints of allspice.  In the mouth, there were pomegranates, cranberries, pine needles, and earth, along with hints of cinnamon and black olives.  The wine had a medium body, medium acidity, and medium tannins.

Finding a Pinot Meunier is a little unusual, as the grape is usually used as the third variety (along with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) in traditional, French Champagne.  Only a handful of wineries make a stand-alone red wine out of the grape, and Bouchaine happens to be one of them.  They produced only 600 cases of the 2012 vintage.  It’s a great varietal wine because it has nice flavors and is medium bodied, without being overly acidic or tannic.

Is this wine worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $40 a bottle (or $32 a bottle for wine club members, and this is one of my three wine clubs), this wine is a little expensive for an every day wine, but it’s also a little different and is beautiful to drink, particularly when it has time to breathe.  For me, it’s a “Friday” wine…a wine that I can open up when I get home, taste and make my notes while Hubby prepares dinner, sip throughout dinner, and then savor for the rest of the evening, as Friday nights tend to be later nights in the A Glass After Work household because we don’t have to worry about getting up for work the next morning.

Bouchaine Vineyards corkThe wine paired beautiful with Hubby’s pork chops, which he breaded in salt-pepper-garlic-and-oregano seasoned panko breadcrumbs and baked.  The meal was simple, as our only side was applesauce, but when paired with Bouchaine’s Pinot Meunier, it absolutely sang.  The wine was a great alternative to Pinot Noir, which is what I usually tend to pair with pork chops.

P.S.  If you haven’t filled out my reader survey yet, please do so.  It’s only 10 questions (9 multiple choice questions and 1 “anything else you want to tell me”).  I’d love to hear from you about what you like and what you would like to see more of at A Glass After Work!

Question of the Day:  Do you tend to drink wine, beer, or something else with your pork chops?

Price: $40 (or $32 a bottle for wine club members)
Purchased at Bouchine Vineyards
Overall: 4 Corks