YouTube Famous Talking Kosher Wine with The Swirl Suite

Listen to A Glass After Work talking and drinking kosher wine with The Swirl Suite

Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised about this, but there are A LOT of wine bloggers in the DC metro area. I first met Tanisha (Girl Meets Glass) not long after I started blogging, but little did I know that she had a network of local amazing African-American women who were also wine bloggers. A couple of years after I met her, Tanisha left her desk job in DC for a wine life in Paris. As far as I can tell, she hasn’t looked back since (and I admit I’m green with envy).

Separately, a few years later at one of the Wine Bloggers’ Conferences, I met Sarita (Vine Me Up) and Glynnis (Vino_Noire). Sarita and I, in particular, were surprised that while we end up in similar wine circles and that she’s close with Tanisha, we never crossed paths before the conference. Not only that, but we also live fairly close to each other in DC, to the point that we’ve since met up at the wine bar that we both consider our local spot.

Behind the scenes of my interview with The Swirl Suite

Behind the scenes of my interview with The Swirl Suite

Tanisha, Sarita, Glynnis, Leslie (Vino301), and Melissa (Liquor_Lady) now making up The Swirl Suite and hold monthly discussions online about wine and spirits (you can find them here on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Stitcher, and SoundCloud). Sometimes they live stream and sometimes the conversations are pre-recorded. Sometimes it’s just the 5 of them and sometimes they have guests. Always, though, the conversations are lively, fun, and informative.

As a fan of all 5 ladies individually, and The Swirl Suite in its own right, I was very flattered when Sarita asked me to make a guest appearance to talk about kosher wines. I jumped at the chance. Last Sunday, I talked and drank with The Swirl Suite for 40 minutes, and the time went by very fast. You can watch our discussion here:   http://bit.ly/2nIV7hQ.

Covenant Wines Syrah

Covenant Wines Syrah

Without giving too many spoilers from the discussion, I was drinking the Covenant Wines Syrah, which is a $55 red wine from Israel that I would give 4.5 stars. My review will be posted in the next few days. Glynnis was drinking the Ugav Pinotage, which is a red wine made by Jerusalem Wineries in Israel, and she said the wine would be making a regular appearance in her house. Sarita opened a Cantina Gabriele Pinot Grigio that was not a favorite. Clearly, she and I will have to open another kosher wine together so that she has a better experience…there are so many delicious options out there.

Other wines, wineries, and online wine buying options that were mentioned during our conversation:

  • Deccolio Prosseco, which is a $14 sparkling wine from Italy that I reviewed in August and gave 4 stars.
  • Casa De Cielo Reserve Malbec/Syrah, which is an $11 red wine from Chile, is a silky wine full of dark fruit flavors and with medium tannins and acidity. It’s not very complex, but very food friendly (think steak or other grilled meats) and is perfect for drinking now.
  • 2014 Hajdu Wines Brobdinagian Petite Sirah – At $50, this kosher red wine from California is big, beautiful, and defies all the stereotypes about kosher wines. It’s still a touch young, but had nice fruit flavors and was delicious when paired with food. Definitely a wine worthy of a holiday occasion. Ratings 4.5 out 5 stars | AGlassAfterWork.com

    2014 Hajdu Wines Brobdingnagian Petit Sirah

    Hadju Wines– I mentioned the Brobdinagian, which I haven’t blogged about although I did post about it on Instagram and gave it a 5 rating Vivino. However, I also really enjoyed their Grenache, which is a $50 red wine from California that I gave 4 corks to in October.

  • Dalton Winery, which I’ve reviewed in the past and enjoyed.
  • Kosherwine.com – This is the website that I do almost all of my online kosher wine shopping. The selection is definitely worth checking out.

Question of the Day: Have you ever had a kosher wine before?  What did you think?

 

The Tribe Chardonnay with My Wine Tribe

2013 The Tribe by Covenant Wines – At $35, this kosher white wine from Lodi, California is a bit expensive on the quality-price ratio scale. It’s a good, enjoyable wine that was delicious with goat cheese, but it’s an “everyday wine” at not-so-every day pricing. Rating 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 The Tribe by Covenant Wines – At $35, this kosher white wine from Lodi, California is a bit expensive on the quality-price ratio scale. It’s a good, enjoyable wine that was delicious with goat cheese, but it’s an “everyday wine” at not-so-every day pricing. Rating 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

My setup for July's Blogger HangoutI’ve mentioned before that at the 2014 Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Santa Barbara, I became friends with the several amazing women that make up my “wine tribe” (Alison from Bon Vivant, Ann from Oddball Grape, Becca from The Gourmez, Krista from Upkeep: Wine, Body, and Soul, and Lisa from Wine with Lisa). The two “Allisons/Alisons” live in DC, which means we get to see each other occasionally, but the rest of the group is spread out all over the United States and Canada. Our geographical diversity means we all bring very different perspectives to the conversation, although it also means that almost all of our face-to-face time is done over the Internet rather than in person. It’s one of the many exciting things about this year’s Wine Bloggers’ Conference (WBC16) in Lodi…I’ll have a chance to see Alison, Becca, and Lisa in person!

In preparation for WBC16, we grabbed some Lodi Chardonnay to pair with our monthly discussion about blogging. Check out Becca’s recap, which not only covers our some thoughts on the different wines we each opened, but also includes great photos from previous Wine Bloggers’ Conferences and her pre-conference thoughts about WBC16.

2013 The Tribe Chardonnay

2013 The Tribe Chardonnay

My 2013 The Tribe by Covenant Wines (winery, snooth) was a kosher wine made from 100% Chardonnay grapes and using a new flash-dente technique that allows the winery to flash-heat the grapes straight out of the vineyard, rather than heating the wine to make it kosher (read this post for more information on what makes a wine kosher). The wine was a medium lemon yellow. On the nose, there were pineapples and Granny Smith apples. In the mouth, there were pineapples, pears, and cream mixed with the taste of a chewed Popsicle stick.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine/beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $34, this wine is a bit expensive on the quality-price ratio, even for a kosher white wine. Don’t get me wrong…it’s a good, enjoyable wine that was delicious with goat cheese, but it’s an “everyday wine” at not-so-every day pricing.

The Tribe CorkOn a fun note, after Krista and Becca mentioned that they had cinnamon characteristics in their Lodi Chardonnay, I detected a hint in mine. However, I have to be honest and say that I’m not really sure if that was power of suggestion or if it was really there. I’ll be on the lookout for cinnamon notes in the Chardonnays while I’m in Lodi this week!

Question of the Day: How do you like your Chardonnay…crisp and aged in stainless steel, a plush oak-and-butter monster, or slightly oaked and somewhere in-between?

Price: $35
Purchased at Schneider’s of Capitol Hill
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Passover 2012 Top 5 Wine List

Last year, while putting together my Passover 2011 Top 5 Kosher wine list, I realized I was sorely lacking in white and sparkling wine recommendations.  In fact, not only were all of my recommendations red wines, they were all Israeli red wines.  What was most unfortunate about this was that it wasn’t from a lack of trying non-Israeli, non-red wines.  It was just that none of them were any good.  On some level, it makes sense that Israeli winemakers are rocking the kosher wine market, but that didn’t change my desire to branch out a little.  So, I spent the last year on a mission to find good kosher wines from elsewhere in the world, particularly ones that were sparkling or white and help round out my kosher wine options.

My quest paid off.  While I still prefer kosher reds to kosher bubbly and kosher whites, I found a few California and Italian options to add to my recommendations.  That said, I still feel I have a dearth of kosher white-and-sparkling wine recommendations, which means my search continues.  If you have any ideas, please share them by leaving a comment or sending me an email.

The first night of Passover is two weeks away, so as you start thinking about your menu and your wine options, here are my Passover 2012 Top 5 kosher wine recommendations:

 

Borgo Reale Prosecco

Borgo Reale Prosecco

#5
The Borgo Reale Prosecco is a mevushal sparkling wine from Italy.  It had light citrus and yeast aromas that were mixed with a hint of apple.  The sparkler paired nicely with fish, but was particularly enjoyable when mixed with some orange juice.  That makes this sparkler a fun addition to the Passover Seder, as well as a good way to celebrate the guests leaving on Sunday morning.  I gave this bubbly 3 corks and purchased it for $18.

 

 

2008 Bartenura Nebbiolo

2008 Bartenura Nebbiolo

#4
The 2008 Bartenura Nebbiolo was made with 100% certified organic Nebbiolo grapes.  It had a nice mix of red fruits and violets, along with a hint of tobacco that gave the wine a slightly different character. It’s very food-friendly and will go particularly with Italian dishes like my spinach matzo lasagna.  I have this wine 3.5 corks and, while it was a sample, it retails for about $17.

 

 

2009 Covenant Lavan Chardonnay

2009 Covenant Lavan Chardonnay

#3
The 2009 Covenant Lavan Chardonnay had nice complexity, good balance, and the slightest hint of oak.  There were good citrus fruits mixed with pears, apricots, and vanilla, as well as a hint of ginger and cloves that gave the wine a nice complexity.  It was food-friendly and would be a nice way to start of a Passover dinner, but it also drinks well on its own if you just want to enjoy it with guests before sitting down to start the Sedar.  I gave this wine 4 Corks and purchased it for $37.

 

 

2008 Golan Heights Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Golan Heights Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

#2
The 2008 Golan Heights Winery Cabernet Sauvignon was made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.  Black fruits dominated the wine, and it had a nice smoothness and balance to it.  The wine promised to age nicely and is one that I can’t wait to pair with my Nana’s brisket.  I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $16.

 

 

2007 Covenant Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 Covenant Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

#1
The 2007 Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon is a California Cabernet that will knock your socks off, whether you’re looking for a kosher wine or not.  It was full of cedar, smoke, and black fruits, but also had hints of spices that gave it a complexity that was particularly enjoyable.  The wine was food-friendly, so it would be perfect for a Seder or holiday dinner, but it’s so luscious and tantalizing, that it’s also quite enjoyable on its own.  While the fruit characteristics dominate right now, I think this is a wine that will age nicely over the next 10 years, so be sure to buy a bottle to enjoy now and one to open in the future.  I think it will be worth the wait. I gave this wine 5 corks and purchased it for $70.

Question of the Day: Have you started thinking about your Passover or Easter wines yet?

I’m A Covenant Convert

Unfortunately, as I’m putting together this year’s Passover wine list, I haven’t seen major kosher wine sales from any of the big online wine stores.  This means that I’m not going to be as fortunate as I was in the Fall when Lot18 offered an impressive listing of Covenant Wines at nice discounts—both the main label Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, as well as the second label Red C Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc were available.  I couldn’t have been more excited.   My first experience with Covenant Wines was in May 2011 when I reviewed the 2009 Lavan Chardonnay, and what a Chardonnay it was.  After tasting that wine, I knew I had to try their others, and the Lot18 listing was the perfect opportunity.  So, for the 2011 High Holidays, I bought everything Lot18 had to offer, but I was most excited about the Cabernet Sauvignon (I’m glad I take very detailed notes, since I’m obviously behind on blogging about this wine!).

2007 Covenant Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 Covenant Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2007 Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon (winery) was a deep purple hinting towards ruby with some iridescence on the rim.  On the nose, there was smoke and cedar with some hints of dark plums, menthol, and nutmeg.  In the mouth, there was smoke, cedar, dark plums, cherries, and a touch of nutmeg.  The wine had medium-to-full body, medium tannins, and medium acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for?  At $70, this wine was definitely not an everyday wine, but its lush silkiness is worth the splurge for a special occasion or for one of those nights where you just know you want something a little extra in your wine.

I actually enjoyed this wine over a two-day period.  The first was a Saturday night with a couple of my wine ladies, as one of them was celebrating her birthday.  It was the first kosher wine either of them had ever tasted.  Both ladies admitted to associating kosher wine low quality, sweet wine, and then quickly followed the comment up with the fact that they would never have guessed the Covenant Cab was a kosher wine because of their preconceived expectations.  In fact, they both agreed it was one of the best Cabernets either of them had ever tasted.

The second night I spent with this wine was a Sunday evening at home, full of blogging, knitting, and watching Boardwalk Empire.  This is clearly a wine the benefited from a little breathing time, as it was even more enjoyable on the second night.  Each sip was so seductive, it just left me wanting more.

So, if you’re looking for an amazing Cabernet and don’t mind digging a little deeper into your wallet, this is a wine that won’t disappoint.  I didn’t have the chance to pair it with food, but it’s a food-friendly wine that could transition nicely into an evening on the couch while digesting and gabbing.  All the way around, it’s worth overlooking the cost and giving it try.  You won’t be disappointed.

Question of the Day: What price range are you comfortable hitting for a “splurge” wine?  Do you approach shopping for those splurge wines differently than you approach shopping for an everyday wine?

Price: $70
Purchased at Lot18
Overall: 5 Corks

Red C’s Kosher Sauvignon Blanc

 

2010 Red C Sauvignon Blanc

2010 Red C Sauvignon Blanc

I mentioned last week that I’m a little behind in blogging, but I think that might have been an understatement.  As I started to put together my top Kosher wine list, I realized there were several wines I tasted during the Jewish High Holidays (back in October) that I never posted about.  Admittedly, those holidays were all about Covenant Wines.  Lot 18 was selling both their high end and their more affordable wines at fabulous prices, so I couldn’t resist the temptation to stock up on wines that I’d been dying to try.

2010 Red C Sauvignon Blanc  Back LabelThe 2010 Red C Sauvignon Blanc (winery) was a light lemon yellow.  On the nose, there were strong grapefruit and gooseberry aromas mixed with a hint of grass and green peppers.  In the mouth there were grapefruits, gooseberries, and hints of grass and thyme.  The wine had bright acidity and a light-to-medium 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 $20, this wine was ok, but not my favorite of the Covenant Wines.  There was something in the finish that made me raise my eyebrows, although I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was.  It was almost Splenda-like, which is not a flavor I enjoy.  It took the wine from 3.5/4 corks down to 3 corks.  That said, it was ok and surprisingly New Zealand like Sauvignon Blanc.

Question of the Day: Are you a Sauvignon Blanc fan?  Do you have a preference of New Zealand-style over French or California style?

Price: $20
Purchased at Lot18
Overall: 3 Corks