Casillero del Diablo: Halloween-Worthy Red Wines Under $20 (+ a couple of candy pairings)

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

Hi wine friends…and Happy #WineWednesday. Today, I’m sharing my Halloween recommendations with you–the 2017 Casillero del diabloCabernet Sauvignon and the 2017 Red Blend, both of which I received as samples, and the 2016 Carménère, which I purchased on my own.  Cheers!

Wine mentioned in the video:
🍷2016 Casillero del Diablo Carménère — $10
🍷2017 Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon — SRP $17
🍷2017 Casillero del Diablo Red Blend — SRP $12

Received as a sample.

Sunday Baking: Montes Alpha Carménère & Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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

2012 Montes Alpha Carménère & Chocolate Crinkle Cookies – At $20 a bottle, this red wine from Chile is big, bold, and full of flavor. Plan on opening it for dinner and grabbing a second glass afterwards for a relaxing evening, whether it’s a school night or not. Cheers! Rating 4 out 5| AGlassAfterWork.com

TheA glass of Montes Alpha Carmenere and chocolate crinkle cookies second weekend in January was all about trying to get back into the normal routine of things. Saturday was meal planning, grocery shopping, laundry, and making cookie dough. Sunday was a little bit of relaxing, the first meeting of my new book club where we read Lost in the City by Edward Jones, and baking cookies. Since I wanted something warm and chocolate-y, I went with chocolate crinkle cookies. To go with the dance party that is often my Sunday evening cookie baking, I opened a bottle of Chilean red wine.

2012 Montes Alpha Carménère & Chocolate Crinkle Cookies – At $20 a bottle, this red wine from Chile is big, bold, and full of flavor. Plan on opening it for dinner and grabbing a second glass afterwards for a relaxing evening, whether it’s a school night or not. Cheers! Rating 4 out 5| AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Montes Alpha Carménère & Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

The 2012 Montes Alpha Carménère (winery, snooth) was a deep ruby with hints of purple that clung to the glass. The wine was made with 90% Carménère and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. On the nose, there were blackberries and tobacco with hints of vanilla, earth, and menthol. In the mouth, there were blackberries and plums with hints of vanilla, tobacco, and chocolate and mint on the finish. The wine was full bodied with smooth tannins and high acid.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At an SRP of $20, this wine was big, bold, and very enjoyable. However, I wish it was just a touch better integrated. The alcohol and acid distracted me from the beautiful flavors. Letting the wine breath a little definitely helped, but ultimately the balance was the difference between me really liking this wine and my loving it. Of course, none of that stopped me from dancing around the kitchen and having a fun time with the wine while I was baking.

The cookies were big and fudgey, and exactly what I was hoping for. My coworkers gobbled them down, and my sister-in-law later mentioned that they were her favorite for the month of January.

Overall, the pairing of the Carménère and the chocolate crinkle cookies was perfect for a rainy, January day. The cookies helped tone down the alcohol and acid in the wine, and the chocolatey-ness of the cookies paired nicely with flavors in the wine. Both the wine and the cookies will be repeats for me.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite chocolate cookie?

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Print Recipe
Chocolatey cookies rolled in powdered sugar and baked to fudgey, chewy perfection
Servings
2 dozen
Servings
2 dozen
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Print Recipe
Chocolatey cookies rolled in powdered sugar and baked to fudgey, chewy perfection
Servings
2 dozen
Servings
2 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt .
  2. Combine the unsweetened chocolate and butter in a bowl. Microwave on low (or at 50 percent power), stirring occasionally. It should take about 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is melted.
  3. In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg and vanilla on high speed.
  4. Add chocolate mixture until just combined.
  5. Slowly add flour mixture, just until it is combined.
  6. Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
  7. When ready to bake, remove cookies from the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  9. Place the granulated sugar and powdered sugar in separate shallow bowls.
  10. Take a rounded tablespoon of chilled dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1-inch balls. Roll the shaped dough in the sugar mixture until coated. Slightly flatten cookies with the palm of your hand, if desired.
  11. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until cookies are puffed and cracked. The edges will look as if they're finished, but the middle will look soft and gooey.
  12. Let cookies set on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire cooling rack to completely cool.
Recipe Notes

Suggested Retail Price: $20
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks

A Disappointing Red

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the wonderfully relaxing evening I had while reading my book and drinking a 2008 Treana Red.  What I didn’t mention in that review was that the Treana was actually my second bottle of the night.  The first bottle I opened was actually a Chilean wine that I tried really hard to enjoy, but just couldn’t make happen.

2010 Kiyapura Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenere

The 2010 Kiyapura was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère, which had a brilliant deep ruby color with flecks of purple.  On the nose, there were juicy blackberries, cinnamon, and a touch of something vegetal.  In the mouth, there were under-ripe blackberries and stems.  The wine had a medium body, medium tannins, and high acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? No…it’s not worth dirtying a perfectly clean wine glass.   At $13, this wine just isn’t worth it.  I tried drinking it alone, but it was too green and too acidic.  I tried pairing it with Hubby’s delicious lamb tacos, but it was just not working with the food.  I even tried giving the wine some help with an aerator, as well as letting it decant for a little, but in the end, there was nothing I could do to make this wine more enjoyable.  Unfortunately, I ended up opening a different bottle because life is just too short to drink bad wine.

Question of the Day: Do you every dump out a bottle of wine or do you feel the need to drink it unless the wine is actually flawed?

Price: $13
Purchased at Barclay’s Wine
Overall: 1.5 Corks

A Black Sheep (Oveja Negra) Birthday

2008 Oveja Negra Carmenère

The Friday before Memorial Day was my birthday.  As it was also the start of a holiday weekend and the beginning of a quiet week at work, I decided to celebrate by taking the afternoon off.  On my way home, I went to my local wine shop to find a celebratory bottle of Carmenère.  I ended up opening a bottle of Carmenère for my birthday in both 2009 and 2010, so I thought it would be fun to make it a tradition.

The 2008 Oveja Negra Carmenère (snooth, winery) is a single vineyard blend of  92% Carmenère and 8% Cabernet Franc grapes.  The wine has a deep purple color with a hint of ruby.  The nose was big and bright with ripe strawberries, tart raspberries, juicy plums, nutmeg, cloves, and the slightest hint of vanilla.  In the mouth, there were strawberries, plums, and cloves wrapped in a pleasant woodiness.  The wine had good acidity, high alcohol, medium tannins, and a medium body.

Is this worth a glass after work? If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $20, this wine is was certainly not a “black sheep;” in fact, it was a luscious complex wine that was worthy of a birthday celebration.  The Carmenère was definitely food-friendly and would pair wonderfully with a marinated steak.  However, I enjoyed this wine on its own.  It was so smooth and well-balanced that it was like drinking warm liquid velvet, and it brought a smile with each sip.

Price: $20
Purchased at Schneider’s of Capitol Hill
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Another Birthday, Another Carmenère

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

My birthday was the Thursday before the Memorial Day holiday, which is the perfect time for a birthday, as everyone is in a festive mood and ready to celebrate with BBQs, drinks, and good times.  However, before the holiday weekend could begin, it was a crazy week at work, as many people were preparing to go away to kick off the start of summer in style.  Between having a busy few days and Hubby being unemployed, we decided to stay in to celebrate my turning another year older.  Hubby made chili-spiced cheeseburgers and a raspberry red velvet birthday cake, and I opened a bottle of Carménère that had my name written all over it.

2007 Montes Alpha Carménère

The 2007 Montes Alpha Carmenère (winery, snooth) was made with 90% Carmenère and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and had a deep ruby color with a garnet rim.  On the nose, there was smoke, tobacco, and a hint of berries, vanilla, and dark chocolate.  In the mouth, there were blackberries, dark plums, and a hint of tobacco, vanilla, nutmeg, and dark chocolate.  The wine had medium tannins and body with high 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 $25, this wine was enjoyable, but didn’t have the extra something special I was looking for in a my birthday wine.  It was food friendly, but definitely was better on its own.  All in all, if you’re looking for a wine, there is no reason to shy away from this one; however, there are some less expensive options out there that are just as tasty and enjoyable.

Overall: 3 Corks