Sunday Baking: Sofia Minis & Andes Mint Cookies

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

Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs & Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies – At an SRP of $20 for a 4-pack, it is worth grabbing this sparkling wine in a can from California. During these last days of summer the Sofia minis are the perfect beach or poolside sipper or a fun option for a cookout. The cookies are delicious, although not the best pairing with the wine. Cheers! Rating 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs & Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies – At an SRP of $20 for a 4-pack, it is worth grabbing this sparkling wine in a can from California. During these last days of summer the Sofia minis are the perfect beach or poolside sipper or a fun option for a cookout. The cookies are delicious, although not the best pairing with the wine. Cheers! Rating 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Sofia Blanc de Blancs 4-pack box

Sofia Blanc de Blancs 4-pack box

Recently, I’ve noticed a number of “wine in a can” options, and I admit that rather than shying away from them, I’ve been intrigued. I always prefer my soda from a can, and often, while I will pour my beer into a glass, there is an argument to be made for the beer tasting fresher from a can than from a bottle. So, why can’t the same theory work for wine?

I decided my first can of wine should be a Sofia mini, which are the Coppola Winery’s single serving cans of the Sofia Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine.   The minis come in a 4-pack box, and each can comes with a perfectly sized straw so that you can daintily sip from the can. Since there were several cans for me to experiment with, I made sure to taste the wine both directly from the can, as well as from a wine glass.

Sunday nights have been dedicated cookie time for several years now, but Hubby and I have also started turning it into pizza night because my new dietary restrictions mean I need to make my own at home. Since I already have the oven going, we usually make the pizza once I’m done baking cookies. And, as you can imagine, the Sofia minis seemed like a perfect wine for Sunday night cookie baking and pizza making.

Sofia Blanc de Blancs Mini

Sofia Blanc de Blancs Mini

The Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs (winery, snooth) are made in Modesto, California. The wine was a light-to-medium lemon yellow and had small, persistent bubbles. On the nose, there were flowers and perfume mixed with hints of pineapples and cream. In the mouth, there was honeysuckle and passion fruit mixed with hints of pineapple. The wine was light bodied with nice acidity and a bit of sweetness.

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 for a 4-pack, it is worth grabbing a pack or two the next time you’re at the store. The can format gives the wine a little extra bubble, similar to what it does with a soda or beer. Plus, it’s nice to be able to enjoy some bubbly without having to open a whole bottle.  That said, while I enjoyed the sparkler, I also have to admit that this isn’t my favorite of the Coppola wines. Maybe they’ll think about cans for some of the others?

pouring Sofia Blanc de Blancs 2The Andes Mint cookies were delicious and ended up being a big hit in my office. They’re not the type of cookie to make every week, but if you want a minty Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day cookie or are looking for something a little different throughout the rest of the year, these cookies are would be a good option.

Overall, while the sparkler didn’t make a very good pairing with the cookies, it was exactly what I was looking for with the white pizza. Plus, during these last days of summer the Sofia minis are the perfect beach or poolside sipper or a fun option for a cookout.

Question of the day:  What are your thoughts about wine in a can?  Have you tried any?

Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
A deliciously minty take on chocolate chip cookies.
Servings
3 dozen
Servings
3 dozen
Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
A deliciously minty take on chocolate chip cookies.
Servings
3 dozen
Servings
3 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt and unsweetened cocoa powder. Set aside.
  2. In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugars until fluffy.
  3. Add vanilla, peppermint, and egg, and beat for 30 seconds (or until well combined).
  4. Add egg yolk, and beat for 30 seconds (or until well combined).
  5. On low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just blended (about 30 seconds).
  6. Fold in Andes Mints by hand.
  7. Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  9. Remove dough from the refrigerator. Take a rounded tablespoon of dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Press them down so that each is about 1/2 inch high.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.
  11. Let cookies set on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

Suggested Retail Price: $20 for a 4-pack
Received as a sample.
Overall: 3.5 Corks

5 American Red Wines for July 4

If you’re in the DC area, the cold, rainy weather probably has you in the mood for red wine, but otherwise, it’s sometimes hard to find a red wine that goes well with the warm summer weather. However, red wine is made for BBQ. Here are a few great red wine ideas that are under $25 and worth about opening today for your cookout. Happy Fourth of July!

One Hope Pinot Noir – At $19 a bottle, this red wine from California not only tastes great, but also helps fund rescue animal adoptions, as half the proceeds go to charity. The wine is juicy with a touch of sweetness and begs to be paired with grilled Portobello mushrooms, goat cheese, and girlfriends. Rating: 3.5 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 One Hope Pinot Noir

The 2013 One Hope Pinot Noir (website, amazon) is a California wine made by Rob Mondavi, Jr. and half the proceeds of the wine are donated to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help fund pet adoptions. This wine tastes of sweet, juicy strawberries and Bing cherries mixed with hints of cinnamon. It would be a great wine to pair with grilled stuffed Portobello mushrooms, especially if you’re stuffing them with goat cheese. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and purchased it for $19.

Mark West Black Pinot Noir – At $14, this surprisingly full-bodied red wine from California is not what a typical Pinot Noir. It’s a bit darker and more brooding, without being as in-your-face as a Cabernet. Definitely a wine to think about when looking for an in-between. Rating 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Mark West Black Pinot Noir

The 2014 Mark West Black Pinot Noir (winery) is a red wine from California. It’s a surprisingly full-bodied Pinot, with black cherry, tobacco, and mocha characteristics. It’s a nice cookout option because it’s smooth and easy to drink while you’re standing around the grill, but it will also pair particularly well with pulled pork, grilled chops, or burgers. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $15.

Barefoot Merlot – At $8 a bottle, this red wine from California has a fantastic quality price ratio. If you are looking for a red wine and know you’ll be drinking more than one glass, this approachable red is a perfect everyday option. Rating: 3.5 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

Barefoot Merlot

The Barefoot Merlot (website) is a California red wine that is perfect for a party. While not very complicated, this Barefoot wine was surprisingly easy to drink and enjoyable. The wine is medium-bodied and has dark fruit flavors—black plums, blueberries, and blackberries—with just a hint of baking spice. I preferred the wine with just a touch of chill (not actually cold), which also makes it the perfect way to keep cooler while still drinking a red wine during the summer. I gave this wine 4 stars and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $8.

Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon – At $13 a bottle, this red wine from Lodi California is full-bodied with firm tannins and just plain beautiful. It’s a plush wine that is perfect to enjoy with BBQ ribs or on its own while sitting on the patio with friends. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon

The Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon (winery) is a red wine from Lodi, California. It’s a full bodied wine with firm tannins, and lots of black cherry and blackberry flavors that are mixed with hints of cedar and black pepper.  This plush red wine is perfect to enjoy with BBQ ribs or on its own while sitting on the patio with friends. I gave this wine 4 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $13.

2013 Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon – At $24, this red wine from California lingers in the mouth and leaves you wanting more. It has nice fruit flavors mixed with some savory notes that are perfect for enjoying on its own or pairing with beef, lamb, or pasta. Cheers! Ratings 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Francis Ford Coppola Winery Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon

The Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon (winerysnooth) is from California and, as long as you give it a little time to breath before drinking it, the wine is fruity upfront, has some savory notes in the middle, and a finish that lingers, begging for another sip to follow. If you’re breaking out the smoker, this is a wine you should open with it. The full-to-medium body will be able to stand up to the flavor of the food, while also enhancing it. I gave this wine 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $25.

Question of the Day: At a BBQ or cookout, are you more likely to drink beer, wine, or liquor?

 

Celebrating 7 Years of Blogging with a Coppola Cab

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

2013 Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon – At $24, this red wine from California lingers in the mouth and leaves you wanting more. It has nice fruit flavors mixed with some savory notes that are perfect for enjoying on its own or pairing with beef, lamb, or pasta. Cheers! Ratings 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon – At $24, this red wine from California lingers in the mouth and leaves you wanting more. It has nice fruit flavors mixed with some savory notes that are perfect for enjoying on its own or pairing with beef, lamb, or pasta. Cheers! Ratings 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Francis Ford Coppola Winery cork 2013It’s hard to believe, but 7 years ago yesterday I posted my first wine review, which was of Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s 2006 Diamond Collection Cabernet Sauvignon.  Since then, I’ve tried to celebrate my blogiversary with a Coppola wine, and this year is no different.  I spent Saturday morning running errands before heading to an early afternoon knitting class to work on my lace knitting technique. After knitting, Hubby and I did our taxes, and then settled into a relaxing evening.  I opened a Coppola wine, grabbed the shawl I was working on in my knitting class, and watched a good Saturday night movie.

2013 Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon – At $24, this red wine from California lingers in the mouth and leaves you wanting more. It has nice fruit flavors mixed with some savory notes that are perfect for enjoying on its own or pairing with beef, lamb, or pasta. Cheers! Ratings 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Francis Ford Coppola Winery Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2013 Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon (winery, snooth) was from the Alexander Valley in California and was made with 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, and 5% Cabernet Franc grapes.  The wine was a deep, blood-like red.  On the nose, there were strawberries, blackberries, and black cherries followed by hints of vanilla, lavender, smoke, and cocoa.  In the mouth, there were Bing and black cherries and blackberries mixed with vanilla, licorice, hints of something floral.  The wine had a medium-to-full body with medium acid and nice tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for?  At an SRP of $24, this wine is very approachable whether it’s on its own or with food. It just needs a little time to breath before drinking. Admittedly, the smoke on the nose had me expecting a deeper, more brooding wine but it’s not.  Instead this is a serious wine that is fun with fruit upfront, some savory notes in the middle, and a finish that lingered and left me wanting more.

I paired the Director’s Cut Cab with breakfast-for-dinner, which included eggs made with an extra sharp cheddar, bacon, and toast.  This wine was surprisingly good with both the very cheesy eggs and the bacon.  That said, there was nothing quite like drinking it while watching the 2007 Best Picture winner, Atonement, which I never saw, and knitting with plush, velvety yarn. The combination of the movie, the wine, and the yarn was a perfect way to spend Saturday after a really busy week.

Question of the Day: If you’re a blogger, do you celebrate your blogiversary? How?

Special thanks to all of you wonderful readers
for sharing some great (and not so great) wines and beer with me
over the last 7 years!

Suggested Retail Price: $24
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Unpacking with Pinot

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

 

Selfie at Lil’Bro & Sis’inLaw's Wedding

Selfie at Lil’Bro & Sis’inLaw’s Wedding

After coming home from Dallas and a day-trip to West Virginia for work, I was able to settle into a week of work before heading to my hometown in Upstate New York for my little brother’s wedding (although he’s not really so little any more!).  Lil’Bro was married on a Thursday, July 3rd, so Hubby and I left DC super early that morning to make the 6+ hour drive with enough time to clean-up and get to the ceremony on time.  It was a brutally hot and humid day, and shortly before the wedding was supposed to start, storm clouds started to roll in.  They decided to brave it out, and even as big drops started to fall, the ceremony went on outside as planned.  The rain was more than a drizzle, but not steady either.  It was a beautiful ceremony, and I couldn’t be happier for Lil’Bro and Sis’inLaw.

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

The next day, Hubby and I headed into New York City for the rest of July 4th weekend.  We went to Central Park, One World Trade Center, the 9/11 Memorial, and Hubby’s first Broadway (well, off-Broadway) musical.  We walked from Battery Park, through Chinatown, Little Italy, and the High Line, all the way back where we were staying in Hell’s Kitchen.  There was amazing food to fuel all the walking and sightseeing—dinner at Empanada Mama (where Hubby and I split a life-changing fig, caramel, and mozzarella dessert empanada), breakfast at the Carnegie Deli (where I indulged by love of franks and eggs), delicious Italian wine and pasta from Bricola Wine Bar (where I went for yummy Gavi), and one of the best brunches I’ve had at 44 1/2 , which we enjoyed out on the patio (where the cocktails are all music themed, so I couldn’t resist the one named after Lady Gaga while enjoying my deep dish French toast).  And, it all ended with an easy Amtrak ride back to DC on Sunday.

Selfie Walking Around NYC Chinatown

Selfie Walking Around NYC Chinatown

By the time we got home from the long weekend, I was exhausted.  However, as we were leaving for Santa Barbara bright and early on Thursday morning to head to the Wine Bloggers’ Conference, there was no rest for the weary.  Hubby and I unpacked the suitcases.  While he put together a light dinner, I started the laundry and opened a bottle of wine to help unwind.  I wanted something that when I opened it, I wouldn’t have to worry about weather it would be good, but at the same time, I also wanted to try something new.  Since I’ve come to rely on the Francis Ford Coppola Winery making a wine I like, I opened the 2011 Votre Santé Pinot Noir.

2011 Francis Ford Coppola Votre Santé Pinot Noir

2011 Francis Ford Coppola Votre Santé Pinot Noir

The 2011 Votre Santé Pinot Noir  (winery, snooth) is from California and is made with 100% Pinot Noir Grapes.  The wine was a medium ruby.  On the nose, there were red cherries, cloves, and hints of lavender and pomegranate.  In the mouth, there were pomegranates and cherries, mixed with a hint of spice and something woody.  The wine had a medium body, tannins, and 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 $14, this wine is affordable, flavorful, and food-friendly.  I was sorry that I didn’t have a marinated grilled chicken and salad to go with the wine, as I think it would have been a nice accompaniment for summery meal, but it ended up being exactly what I was looking for on a Sunday night as Hubby and I tried to unwind while also preparing to hit the ground running on Monday before leaving on our next adventure.

Question of the Day:  I know it’s a few weeks ago, but how did you spend your July 4th weekend?

Francis Ford Coppola Winery cork

 

 

Suggested Retail Price: $14
Received as a sample.
Overall: 3.5 Corks

A (Belated) Blogiversary Post

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

Clearly, this post isn’t very timely, as my 5-year blogiversary was in February.  However, at the time, I did open a wine to celebrate with the intention of posting faster.  It’s just that the time slipped away from me.  That said, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share with you all and to thank you for being loyal readers.  Here is to another great year filled with lots of great wine!  Cheers!

*********

2011 Fancis Coppola Sofia Rose bottle topIn February 2009, I started taking a wine course at the Washington Wine Academy.  At the time, I knew nothing about wine, except that I enjoyed drinking it.  Hubby was taking some graduate school courses during the week, though, so I figured it was the perfect time for me to head back to school, too…to wine school, that is.

At the time, I also participated in a private message board filled with more than 40 women that I met on The Knot’s Destination Wedding message board while Hubby and I were planning our wedding (long time readers have heard me talk about these women before, as I’m still close with a number of them and we try to get together, even if it’s just online, at least once a year).  Anyway, when I started taking the wine class, these ladies were asking me all sorts of questions about what wine I was drinking, what I thought of about a particular wine, etc.  So, I decided that instead of posting about it in our private message board, I would start a blog.  On February 19, 2009, my first post went live, and I’ve been blogging every since.

My first wine review was of Francis Coppola’s 2006 Diamond Collection Cabernet Sauvignon.  Since then, I’ve celebrated my blogiversary by opening a wine from Francis Ford Coppola Winery.  I originally planned to open the same wine every year, since I thought it would be fun to do an annual comparison of the wine, as well as watch how my tasting skills changed.  However, I didn’t have the money or storage space to buy a case or two back in 2009, and finding the vintage now is almost impossible.  Plus, it’s just as fun to see what new things the winery is doing, and recently, they’ve been doing a lot.

2011 Francis Coppola Sofia Rosé

2011 Francis Coppola Sofia Rosé

The 2011 Sofia Rosé (winery, snooth) was from Monterey County, California and was made with 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache grapes.  The wine was a dark raspberry pink.  On the nose, there were pomegranates, red currants, and a hint of orange zest.  In the mouth, there were pomegranates, red currants, and strawberries, with a hint of cherries, licorice, and something herbal.  The wine was a dry rosé with 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 an SRP of $19, it pushes the upper limits for what many people are willing to pay for an everyday wine, much less an everyday rosé.  However, this is one that it is worth it.  It offers a little something different, and, particularly as the warm weather arrives, this wine will be cool and refreshing on a hot summer day.  It’s food-friendly, so it would be a great wine for a picnic or as wine to help ease you into the evening.  It would be great with a cheese and charcuterie plate, with an entrée salad (which is often difficult to pair with), or with a lighter fish dish.

For me, the 2011 Sofia Rosé  was the perfect way to celebrate 5 years of blogging—drinking a wine that is a little different than the wines I normally gravitate towards from a winery that has been with me since the beginning.

Question of the Day: If you’re a blogger, do you have any blog birthday traditions?

Suggested Retail Price: $19
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks