Starting 2014 with Santana’s Sparking Rosé

2007 Wedding PhotoOn Tuesday, Hubby and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary.  To be honest, I can’t believe how quickly the time flies.  We’ve both changed a lot since 2007, but the fact that we’ve done it together has helped make our relationship stronger.  To be honest, our “6th year” was a good one, so I wasn’t necessarily in a rush for it to be over.  That said, 2013 was also a year that reminded me how very lucky I am.

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, I had major hip surgery in March 2013.  The surgery left me stuck at home and in bed for 3 weeks.  Even when I returned to work, I spent several more weeks working part-time and hobbling around on crutches.  And none of that includes the months physical therapy or the fact that I couldn’t drive for 6 months.  Through all of it, I know I wasn’t the easiest patient, but I could never have gotten through the surgery and the lengthy recovery without Hubby’s support, encouragement, and love.  So, we definitely had something to celebrate this year.

2007 Santana Supernatural Rosé

2007 Santana Supernatural Rosé

Now, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but a couple of my girlfriends and I are splitting a Mumm Napa Wine Club membership.  Our first Club Vivant shipment arrived right before the holidays, and it not only included two magnums that the three of us will open in a few weeks when we finally have a chance to get together, but also it included a wine that is the collaboration of musician Carlos Santana and Mumm winery—the 2007 Santana Supernatural Rosé.  Hubby is not a big music person, but when we first started dating there were several conversations about Santana and how sexy his music is.  Because of those conversations, Santana has followed us through our relationship.  Therefore, when I saw a “Santana” bottle of wine in our shipment…and a vintage from the year we were married…I knew which wine I was claiming and what I would be opening to celebrate our anniversary this year!

2007 Santana Supernatural Rose in the glassThe 2007 Santana Supernatural Rosé (winery) is from Napa, California and is a blend of 51% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir, and 1% Syrah grapes.  The bubbly had an orangey-pink color with a lot of small persistent bubbles.  On the nose, there were red plums, Bing cherries, and touches of cream and vanilla.  In the mouth, there were blackberries and cream mixed with tart Bing cherries and hints of toast and limes.  The sparkler had a light body and bright acidity.

It’s also important to note that Carlos Santana donates 100% of his proceeds from the wine sales to his family’s Milagro Foundation.  The foundation was started in 1998, and it provides financial assistance for educational, medical and housing needs of children all over the world.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At the regular retail price of $70, the sparker is actually a little pricey for what it had to offer.  I want my socks knocked off with a little more subtle complexity for that much money, and it didn’t quite do that.  However, the wine is currently on sale for $56, and if you’re a Club Vivant member it actually is $52.  For $52, this bubbly has good flavors, fresh acidity, and a little something special to offer.

I actually opened the sparkler after Hubby and I returned from dinner at SEI.  We opted to celebrate with sushi because, after spending two weeks in Italy, anything else was bound to be a huge disappointment.  Plus, SEI is one of our favorite sushi restaurants in DC, and it didn’t disappoint.  I ordered a new wine for dinner–the 2011 YINYANG Pinot Grigio Roséfrom the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  It was the perfect pairing.  Light in flavor, but still having some pink grapefruit and lemongrass mixed in with the bright acidity.  It was everything I want in a sushi wine.

2007 Santana Supernatural Rose and my moleskin wine journalWhen it came to the food, admittedly, I’m a creature of habit with SEI’s sushi, as I love their “Fish and Chips” flounder and “Triple Tuna” rolls.  Hubby and I did switch things up a little with our non-sushi dishes, though, as we tried the shrimp tacos (which came with guacamole, wasabi sour cream, and potato crisps) and the fried rice (which was with eggs, crispy ginger, and Chinese sausage).  The tacos were good, but the fried rice was the stand out dish.  It was absolutely fantastic.  Afterwards, Hubby and I capped off the evening with a raspberry sorbet and sea salt ice cream.

By the time we got home, Hubby and I were both stuffed.  However, that didn’t stop me from opening the Mumm bubbly and my new 2014 Moleskin Wine journal, which has become an annual Christmas present.   All in all, the 2007 Santana Supernatural Rosé perfect way to cap off our 7th anniversary celebration.

P.S.  Don’t forget to fill out my reader survey.  It’s only 9 multiple choice questions, and I’d love your input as I figure out what’s on tap for A Glass After Work!

Question of the Day: Do you like to drink wine with sushi?

Price: $52
Purchased at Mumm Napa’s Wine Club
Overall: 4 Corks

Nothing Small About HandCraft’s Petite Sirah

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

There is something about a short workweek that makes it so much slower than a regular workweek.  That was particularly true for me during the first week of January.  I had to work on New Year’s Eve, but had New Year’s Day off.  Then, I was back in the office Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  The problem is, I was one of the few people working.  I sent emails and tried to set up all the meetings necessary to starting the New Year off right, but I mostly received “out of office” replies in response.  Not only that, there were only a couple of people in my office, so there wasn’t even anyone around to gossip with.  So, the week was quiet and slow.  I thought Friday was never going to come, but when 5 o’clock finally arrived, I was out the door and ready to sink into a glass of a nice, big red wine.

2010 HandCraft Petite Sirah

2010 HandCraft Petite Sirah

The 2010 HandCraft Petite Sirah (winery, Amazon) is a blend of 82% Petite Sirah, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Sangiovese, 3% Syrah, and 3% Zinfandel grapes.  The wine is made in California and was a deep, vibrant purple with flecks of ruby throughout.  On the nose, there was IHOP Boysenberry syrup and plums mixed with nutmeg and black pepper.  In the mouth, there were boysenberries, blueberries, and hints of dark plums and black pepper.  The wine had big tannins, high acidity, and a fully 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 an SRP of $12, the quality-price ratio on this wine is almost impossible to beat.  Was it quite as elegant as the Clarksburg Wine Co’s Petite Sirah I’d opened a couple of nights early?  No, but at half the price (and with a little aeration both by using an aerator and letting the wine sit in my glass), the HandCraft was still very enjoyable.  It was a big, bold, jammy red that I could just sink myself into.  It was perfect for the first Friday night of 2013.

Hubby made a lemon pepper chicken with a cucumber salad and olive oil dressing for dinner on that Friday night, which was an ok pairing for the wine.  It’s definitely food-friendly, I just think I didn’t do the best job pairing it.  Admittedly, I enjoyed the wine best on it’s own while relaxing with Hubby, my knitting, and re-runs of Love-It-Or-List-It.  In fact, I actually enjoyed the wine over two nights.  Not only did it hold up really well over the two days, but I actually enjoyed it slightly more on day two.

If enjoying good wine at an affordable price isn’t enough of a reason for you to grab a bottle of HandCraft Petite Sirah, maybe the fact that the proprietor, Cheryl Indelicato, donates a percentage of the sales proceeds is.  According to their website, Cheryl donated $100,000 to breast cancer research and prevention.  As many of you know, not only do I have a family history of breast cancer, but also one of my Wine Ladies was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2011.  Thankfully, she has been cancer-free for more than 6 months, but being able to buy a good wine that helps an important cause and share that wine with this amazing group of women…well, it means this wine will likely become a regular attendee at wine night.  How could it not?

Suggested Retail Price: $12
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks

Top 5 American Red Wines for July 4th

If you live on the East Coast, particularly in the mid-Atlantic, you’re probably still recovering from the record-breaking temperatures and the crazy storms.  We were fortunate enough to not lose our electicity because our condo building has a generator, but everything around us was without power.  That, combined with street lights that were out, trees down in the middle of the road, and the general sense that people were unprepared, definitely made for a chaotic weekend.

The plus side to all of it, though, is that there are “two Fridays” during this four-day workweek, not to mention a fun federal holiday in-between.  I’ve heard some coworkers gripe about the Fourth of July being on a Wednesday, but really, I think there’s nothing like breaking up the week with a good party.  With that in mind, here are 5 American red wines that would be perfect for a July 4th BBQ or cookout.

2007 Birdies for the Brave Merlot

The Williamsburg Winery Birdies for the Brave Merlot  was full of strawberries and pomegranates, along with a hint of a smoky, woodiness.  It was a medium-bodied wine with light tannins, so it would be light red wine option on a hot summer day.  Additionally, the PGA Tour and players have joined with various corporate sponsors, including Williamsburg Winery, to raise money through Birdies for the Brave.  They donate money to groups that provide critical programs and services to meet the specialized needs of wounded warriors and military families, and the proceeds of this wine helps support those efforts.  I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $18.

2007 cc: Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 cc: Cabernet Sauvignon

The cc: Cabernet Sauvignon (winery) had dark fruits mixed with smoke and black better that gave the wine a nice complexity.  It had big tannins and a medium-to-full body, so it had nice heft without being too heavy for enjoying outside.  I gave the wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $24.

2008 Michel-Schlumberger Maison Rouge

2008 Michel-Schlumberger Maison Rouge

The Michel-Schlumberger Maison Rouge (winery) is a medium-bodied wine full of red fruit characteristics with a touch of earthiness and thyme mixed in to give it an interesting, slightly different taste.  It’s a wine that should probably breathe a little bit, or at least go through an aerator, but once it opens up, it will be a nice red to enjoy in the hot July 4th weather while watching fireworks with friends.  I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $25.

2008 Ottimino Rancho Bello Vineyard

2008 Ottimino Rancho Bello Vineyard

The 2008 Ottimino Rancho Bello Vineyard Zinfandel (winery) is a wine full blueberries, black cherries, pomegranates, and raspberries that are mixed with cooking spices like cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and white pepper.  It’s a bigger wine that will really come to life when paired with a traditional BBQ sandwich, ribs, or even a hot dog on a bun.  I gave this wine 4.5 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the suggested retail price is $30.

2008 Treana

2008 Treana

The Treana (winery) is full of blackberries, plums, and pine needles, with some smoked beefiness and cedar.  It’s a perfect wine to pair with BBQ and cookout meats, as its full body and medium-to-high tannins can stand up to their powerful flavors.  Admittedly, it’s probably a little on the high end for a cookout wine, but it’s a wonderful sipping wine with a lingering finish that makes it a great choice if you’re only going to enjoy a glass or two.  I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $35.

Tomorrow I will post a list of Top 5 American Whites and Sparkling wines.  In the meantime, though, if these wines aren’t what you’re looking for, check out my 2011 list of Top American Wines Under $20 for July 4th.

Top American Wines Under $20 for July 4th

There’s nothing like a good party on July 4th, even if the holiday falls on a Monday this year.  While I put together a BBQ wine list for Memorial Day, not all of them are American wines, and there is something special about drinking domestic wines to help celebrate Independence Day.

So, if you’re looking to have wine as you watch the Fourth of July fireworks, here is a list of wines that I’ve reviewed that are under $20, all American, and sure to be a hit.  There are 3 reds, 3 whites, and 2 rosés.

Reds

2007 Williamsburg Winery Birdies for the Brave Merlot
from Virginia

2007 Birdies for the Brave Merlot

Francis Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Collection
from California

2006 Francis Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Collection

 

2007 Chatom Vineyards Zinfandel
from California

2007 Chatom Vineyards Zinfandel

 

Whites

2008 Edna Valley Vineyard Paragon Sauvignon Blanc
from California

2008 Edna Valley Vineyard Paragon Sauvignon Blanc

 

Seven Heavenly Chardonnay
from California

Seven Heavenly Chardonnay

 

 

2010 Sawtooth Winery Riesling
from Idaho

2010 Sawtooth Winery Riesling

 

 

Rosé

2009 Merryvale Stanly Ranch Estate Rosé
from California

2009 Merryvale Stanly Ranch Estate Rose

2009 Merryvale Stanly Ranch Estate Rose

 

 

2009 Cardinal Point Rosé
from Virginia

 

 

Question of the Day: What will you be drinking on July 4th?

Williamsburg Winery’s Birdies For The Brave is a Hole in One

2007 Birdies for the Brave Merlot

Usually the week before a Congressional recess is hectic.  For some reason, though, this week just hasn’t been as crazy.  Don’t get me wrong.  Work is busy, but the controlled chaos that normally occurs seems to be missing as we get ready for the July 4th break.  To be honest, I think I prefer it this way.  There is a lot to do, but it’s not overwhelming.  Plus, I’ve been able to leave work at a normal time, which means getting my run in before dinner instead of heading out at 9pm and relaxing a little after dinner with my wine and So You Think You Can Dance before calling a night.  I’m trying not to get too used to it, but this is definitely appealing, particularly the relaxing with my wine part.

The latest wine that I opened in anticipation of July 4th is Williamsburg Winery’s Birdies for the Brave 2007 Merlot.  Birdies for the Brave is the TPC Network’s military outreach initiative. Golf player Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, started the organization.  At the time, Phil contributed $100 for each birdie and $500 for each eagle he made to Homes For Our Troops and Special Operations Warrior Foundation.  Since then, the PGA Tour and players have joined with various corporate sponsors, including Williamsburg Winery, to raise money for groups that provide critical programs and services to meet the specialized needs of wounded warriors and military families.

The 2007 Birdies for the Brave Merlot (winery, snooth) was a deep purplish ruby.  On the nose, there were lots of red fruits, along with a hint of cedar and smoke.  In the mouth, there were strawberries, red currants, and pomegranates, followed by a nice cedar, woodiness.  The wine had medium body, medium acid, and light tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $18, even the non-Merlot lover will enjoy this wine with a good steak.  Hubby made it with a grilled beef tenderloin that was marinated in red wine, garlic, and peppercorns, and the pairing  was practically perfection.  If the wine and the steak don’t tempt you, though, maybe the charity aspect will.  Approximately 28% of the wholesale price of each bottle of Williamsburg Winery’s Birdies for the Brave wine is given to the organization in support of our military and their families, so not only are you drinking a good wine, but you’re supporting a supporting a good cause.  As we head into the July 4th weekend, nothing celebrates our independence and our freedom like a bottle of wine from Williamsburg and a charity that “Honors those who sacrifice for our freedom.”

Price: $18
Purchased at Harris Teeter
Overall: 4 Corks