My Annual Review, Laurent-Perrier Champagne, & A Casserole

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

First off…today is my 8-year Blogiversary, so a quick thank you for being loyal readers!! I’ll post more on my celebration in the next few days. With that, onto the blog post.

Last Tuesday started off with my annual review. No matter how good one feels about his/her job or boss, review time is always nerve-wracking. This year, though, I actually outlined a few new things in my self-evaluation that will expand my role in the association, push me outside my comfort zone, and, hopefully, provide some good career growth. Thankfully, not only to the Big Boss have great feedback about my performance, but also he was very supportive of the goals I outlined. Now, the hard part will be implementing it!

After my review, I was off to meetings with Senate staff for most of the day. Then, I finished things off with a killer spin class at my local spin and barre studio. By the time I walked home, Hubby had dinner–Pinch of Yum’s creamy chicken quinoa and broccoli casserole–in oven, so all that was left was to open a good bottle of wine.

Laurent-Perrier Demi-Sec – At $40, this Champagne from France dances in the glass and in your mouth.  The cost makes it a more of a splurge, but the beautiful flavors, and food-friendliness can’t help but bring a smile to your face. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Laurent-Perrier Demi Sec

The Laurent-Perrier Demi-Sec (winery) is a sparkling wine from the Champagne region in France and is made with a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes. The bubbly had a medium yellow color with a lot of small, persistent bubbles that danced in my glass. The characteristics on the nose and in the mouth with similar–juicy white peaches mixed with lemons and brioche. The wine had a medium body with medium-to-high acidity and a hint of sweetness.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this sparkler in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At an SRP of $40, it is definitely more of a weeknight splurge, but I thought that a good review was qualified. And, since I’d actually enjoyed this Champagne for the first time a few weeks ago, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. Sometimes, I find that Champagne can be almost too subtle, but this bubbly has enough going on that I’m aware of it without it drawing my attention away from conversation or food every time I take a sip.

Admittedly, I enjoyed several glass over the course of the evening. My first was while Hubby finished making dinner. It was a lovely choice for catching up about our day, although it admittedly went down so smoothly that I was ready for my second glass by the time dinner was served. The acidity and bubbles were perfect for cutting through the cheese in the casserole, and the more delicate flavors matched nicely with the lighter seasoning of the chicken and quinoa in the casserole. After dinner, I poured by third glass, grabbed my latest knitting project, and watched a few episodes of Call the Midwife, my latest Netflix addiction.

Question of the Day: What is you’re under-$50, but still a splurge go-to sparkling wine?

Suggested Retail Price: $40
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks

The Holiday Season Arrived with “L’Ancien” Beaujolais Nouveau

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau – At $16, this light-bodied red wine from France is a food-friendly wine that will please almost every wine drinker.  So, as you’re starting to think about holiday parties and dinners, this is one to keep in mind. Rating 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau

The third Thursday of November is one of the best faux holidays of the year—Beaujolais Nouveau Day! And, for me, it’s the real start of the holiday season.

Long time readers know how much I enjoy the day, but for the uninitiated, Beaujolais Nouveau is a light-bodied, French red wine. The wine is harvested, fermented, bottled, shipped, and opened by wine drinkers all within a 6-8 week period. Beaujolais Nouveau is not to be aged, but rather enjoyed within the couple of months of when it’s released, while the wine is fruity and immature. Think of it as a preview of what to expect when the aged Beaujolais wines are released. And, that’s exactly what had me excited about the one I opened on Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

Admittedly, the Thursday before Thanksgiving was a very quiet workday. I had a fundraising call with my boss, lunch with a Congressional staffer I’ve been playing tag with for months, and a coalition conference call. Congress was still focused on figuring out plans for the lame duck, so everything else was mostly quick conversations or emails to remind staffers about my organization’s priorities for this period. Everything was very low-key, which was the perfect end to my four-day workweek. On my walk home, I went to a new-to-me wine store and bought a new-to-me Beaujolais Nouveau.

The 2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine from Beaujolais, France and was made with 100% Gamay grapes.  On the nose, there were strawberries and cream mixed with hints of late bloom rose petals. In the mouth, there were tart strawberries and raspberries, as well as hints of cranberries and roses. The wine is light-bodied with light tannins and a good acidity.

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau & the corn husk charms from the "Tom Turkey" Simply Charmed magnetic wine charm set

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau & the corn husk charm from my “Tom Turkey” Simply Charmed magnetic wine charm set

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $16, this wine is incredibly food friendly and has surprising structure to a wine that is so young. I’m a fan! What is particularly notable about this wine is that unlike many other Beaujolais Nouveau producers, they don’t use carbonic maceration, which can give the wines a bubble gum characteristic. So, as you’re starting to think about holiday parties and dinners, this is a budget-friendly wine that will please almost every wine drinker.

(Also pictured is one of the Simply Charmed “Tom Turkey” magnetic wine charms I received as a sample. Click here for details on the giveaway I’m doing where you can win a “His & Hers” set, which has 12 charms and is a $28 value. There are several ways to enter, but you have do to it fast, as entries are only accepted from November 26 until 11pm on December 4th)

Question of the Day: Have you ever participated in Beaujolais Nouveau Day events?  What are your thoughts on the faux holiday?  What about your thoughts on the wine?

Price: $16
Purchased at Chat’s Liquors on Capitol Hill
Overall: 4 Corks

14 Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

14 Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner – Here are mix of sparkling, rosé, white, and red wine options that would be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving Day feast. Plus, 10 of these Thanksgiving wine pairing options are $20 or less, so there is no need to worry about spending a fortune for good wine. Cheers…and Happy Thanksgiving! | AGlassAfterWork.com

14 Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner – Here are mix of sparkling, rosé, white, and red wine options that would be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving Day feast. Plus, 10 of these Thanksgiving wine pairing options are $20 or less, so there is no need to worry about spending a fortune for good wine. Cheers…and Happy Thanksgiving! | AGlassAfterWork.com

It’s hard to believe that it’s Thanksgiving time.  Hubby and I are running the SOME Turkey Trot for Hunger 5k before we head to his mother’s, as we usually do.  While there is a lot to be thankful, our holiday festivities will be a lot smaller than previous years.  My sister-in-law moved to the West Coast, so she and her boyfriend won’t be joining.  Hubby’s cousin recently had a baby and decided to host, which means we’ll be missing both his cousin, her husband, and their baby girl, as well as her parents.  And, his grandmother passed away at the end of the summer, so there will be an obvious absence at the table.  Except for his grandmother’s passing, the smaller holiday is actually because of happy reasons, and I’m excited to see our families expand and be successful.  At the same time, though, I will miss the hustle and bustle of the larger dinners that I’ve gotten used to over the years.

That said, smaller numbers means more wine for me!  I’m still debating between a Zinfandel and a Petit Sirah as my big red wine of choice.  If you’re still trying to figure out what to bring, maybe this list of suggestions will inspire you:

Gruet Blanc de Noirs – This $13 bottle of sparkling wine from New Mexico is dry with beautiful, persistent bubbles. The bubbly tastes of berries, baked pears with hints of toast, cream, and vanilla. It’s delicious on its own or mixed with your favorite fruit juice for a champagne cocktail. Rating 4 out 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Gruet Blanc de Noirs

The Gruet Blanc de Noirs is full of berry and baked pear flavors mixed with a hint of toast, cream, and vanilla.  It’s a sparkling wine that I’m constantly recommending because it’s available throughout much of the country, is a big crowd pleaser, and is very affordable. In this case, though, it’s a particularly nice choice because it pairs will with Thanksgiving dinner. It compliments the turkey, while the bubbles and acidity cut through some of the heavier dishes like the mashed potatoes or green bean casserole. Plus, how often do you get to drink a wine from New Mexico?!? I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $13.

Biutiful Brut Rosé Cava – At $14 a bottle, this sparkling rose wine from Spain is perfect for any season. Whether it’s opened during a summer picnic with friends over a basket of prosciutto and cheese or during a Thanksgiving feast with family, this food-friendly bubbly is easily drinkable and is full of festivity and fun. Ratings 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Biutiful Brut Rosé Cava

The Biutiful Cava Brut Rosé (snooth) is a Spanish sparkling wine from Spain with tart raspberries and strawberries characteristics that mix with hints of peaches and cream. The wine had a light-to-medium body, has good acidity, and goes down very smoothly. It would go nicely with appetizers like a crab or spinach dip, as well prosciutto and cheese plates, while being able to transition nicely into a dinner time sparkler to pair with the turkey dinner, particularly if you’re having fried turkey. All in all,  this rose Cava is easily drinkable, food-friendly, and very affordable. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and purchased it for $14.

Storybook Mountain Zin Gris- At $25, this dry rosé wine from California is everything a pink wine should be. It’s a nice mixture of cranberries, limes, and thyme; it’s food-friendly; and it’s easy to drink. It would be the perfect wine for any picnic or cookout. Rating: 4.5 Corks out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Storybook Mountain Zin Gris

The Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zin Gris (winery) is Zinfandel rosé that is not a “White Zinfandel.” It’s a dry wine that’s full of cranberry, lime, and thyme flavors, which will mix nicely with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner side dishes like stuffing and cranberry sauce. Plus, the bright acidity of the wine will help cut through some of the more butter-laden goodness like macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes without overpowering them. I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it online through the vineyard for $19.

2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé – At $15, this California rosé wine is a perfect summer porch sipper with a nice quality/price ratio. Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé

The 2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé (winerysnooth) is a light bodied wine that is beautifully fresh tasting, with lots of grapefruit characteristics mixed with hints of tart raspberry and flowers. This wine is an easy sipper that would compliment both appetizers and the main feast, particularly for the wine drinker that prefers lighter, crisp styles. I gave this wine 4 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has a great quality/price ratio with an SRP of $15.

2015 Vasco Urbano Wine Company – At $24, this California rose from the Livermore Valley is light bodied and nicely balanced. It’s perfect for a cheese board or some porch sipping, and it will carry over nicely into the fall. You might even want to consider it for your Thanksgiving table. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Vasco Urbano Wine Company Grenache Rose

The Vasco Urbano Wine Company’s 2015 Ghielmetti Vineyards Grenache Rosé (winery) has quickly become one of my favorites. It’s light body, bright acidity, and beautiful balance makes it a wine that is enjoyable both on its own and with food. It’s a particularly nice option for Thanksgiving because it will compliment the turkey, while keeping your mouth fresh and ready for the next bite. I gave it 4.5 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has an SRP of $24.

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)has the slightest touch of sweetness, but when combined with a nice acidity, the wine is refreshing and incredibly drinkable. The wine has aromas and flavors of ripe peaches and apricots mixed with honey and a hint of ginger., which will bring warmth to the turkey dinner and all it’s dishes. The wine would be particularly nice with a fried turkey. I gave this wine 4 Corks and purchased it for $20.

2014 Clarksburg Chenin Blanc – This $18 white wine from California would be good any time of year and is absolutely wonderful on its own, but makes a particularly delicious addition to a Thanksgiving feast. It’s the epitome of what every Thanksgiving Dinner pairing should be! The magnetic wine charm is by Simply Charmed and part of the “Tom Turkey” set. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Clarksburg Wine Company Chenin Blanc and Simply Charmed magnetic wine charms

The 2014 Clarksburg Chenin Blanc (winery) is everything I want in a Thanksgiving Day wine. I’m actually sorry that I opened my final bottle last week because it means I won’t have another to open when Hubby and I do our own Thanksgiving. That said, I did enjoy my bottle with turkey-stuffed acorn squash, and the pairing was out-of-this-world. The juicy stone fruit combined with hints of melon and wax enhanced the sweetness of the squash, while nice acidity of the wine helped keep the turkey and rice mixture inside the squash from being too heavy and dense tasting. It was the type of pairing where I was literally alternating between a bit of dinner and a sip of wine. So grab this wine today! I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $18.

(And as a side note, while I’ll be doing a separate blog post that will include a giveaway to one lucky reader, if you’re looking for fun, magnetic wine charms to help with glass identification when you’re entertaining or if you’re just feeling festive and want to fancy-up your wine glass, I highly recommend Simply Charmed. My glass of Chenin Blanc is rocking one from the “Tom Turkey” charm set that I received as a sample.)

2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay – At $18, this California white wine is very smooth and is a perfect food wine. Rating: 3.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay

The 2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay (winerysnooth) is a smooth, food-friendly wine that embodies the nice balance a Chardonnay should have. It’s full of apple and pear flavors, but only has a touch of oakiness that is reminiscent of chewed on Popsicle stick (but in a good way). People often love or hate Chardonnay, but I would say that regardless of which category you fall into, this is one that is worth trying this Thanksgiving, especially as it will be a nice pairing with buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. I gave it 3.5 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has an SRP of $18.

2014 The Whip– At $24, this white wine blend from California will blow you away. It’s nicely balanced, easy to drink, and is a perfect pairing option for appetizers, dinner, or just talking with friends and family. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 The Whip

Murrieta’s Well 2014 The Whip (winery) is a gorgeous blend of grapes. This is a wine that will blow away your Thanksgiving Day guests as it’s a nicely balanced, easy-to-drink wine that has a tart citrus flavor mixed with a hint of creamy sweetness that is unique, but homey all at the same time. The wine is full of flower blossoms, limes, stone and tropical fruits, and honey dew melon and would be a great way to start off the festivities. I gave it 4 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has an SRP of $24.

Albinea Canali Lambrusco “FB” Metodo Ancestrale -- This $20 bottle of sparkling wine from Italy is a dry wine, although the strawberry flavors are juicy and sweet. It would make a perfect pairing with Easter ham or Thanksgiving turkey. Rating 4 out of 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Albinea Canali Lambrusco “FB” Metodo Ancestrale

The Albinea Canali Lambrusco “FB” Metodo Ancestrale is a semi-sparkling, dry Lambrusco with a medium pink color rather than the sweeter, inky purple wine people often associate with Lambrusco. The “FB” has juicy strawberry flavors mixed with hints of bread crust and touch of tartness that will make a nice pairing with turkey. I gave it 4 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the suggested retail price is $20.

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau – At $16, this light-bodied red wine from France is a food-friendly wine that will please almost every wine drinker. So, as you’re starting to think about holiday parties and dinners, this is one to keep in mind. Rating 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau

No Thanksgiving celebration is complete without at least one bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau. I haven’t had a chance to open my bottle of Georges Duboeuf yet, but I did taste the 2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau and was a fan. A nose full of strawberries and cream mixed with hints of late bloom rose petals. In the mouth, there are tart strawberries and raspberries, as well as hints of cranberries and roses. The wine is light bodied with light tannins and a good acidity that makes it food friendly and gives surprising structure to a wine that is so young. It also makes we want to try the winery’s regular Beaujolais, which I’m sure would also make for a nice addition to the Thanksgiving table. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $16.

2015 Altovinum Evodia Garnacha - This red wine from Spain can be found for under $10, but your guests will never guess because it is a luscious, versatile wine. Whether opening it over appetizers, a dinner of white or red meat, or just open a bottle in front of a cozy fire with friends, it’s hard to beat this quality price ratio. Rating: 4 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Altovinum Evodia Garnacha

The 2015 Altovinum Evodia Garnacha is one of the more versatile wines I’ve had, as I think it would pair nicely with white or red meat. In the case of Thanksgiving, the cherry, raspberry, and cranberry characteristics blend nicely with cinnamon, rose petals and hints of tobacco to make a wine that is exactly what you want to pair with turkey and cranberry sauce. It’s also a wine that has a wonderful quality/price ratio. I gave it 4 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the suggested retail price is $11, but a little research makes it look like you can find it for under $10.

2013 Valle Dell'Acate "Il Moro" Nero d'Avola - This $17 red wine from Italy is a little sharp to drink on its own, but it pairs beautifully with some homemade Italian cooking or a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Rating: 3.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Valle Dell’Acate “Il Moro” Nero d’Avola

The 2013 Valle Dell’Acate Il Moro Nero d’Avola (winery) is a wine that was definitely meant to pair with food. While I was not as much of a fan of drinking it on its own, it was absolutely outstanding with the turkey-stuffed acorn squash that Hubby made for dinner last week. The nice tart blackberries and licorice mix with hints of blueberries and cedar in a way that would be a perfect pairing for sweet potato casserole. I gave this wine 3.5 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the suggested retail price is $17.

2012 Valletta Barbera d'Alba - This $25 bottle of red wine from Italy is delicate and intense, making it perfect for Easter or Thanksgiving dinner, particularly if you’re serving lamb or turkey. Rating 4.5 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Valletta Barbera d’Alba

The 2012 Valletta Barbera d’Alba (winery) is a red wine I open in my house regularly, as it’s seductive and food-friendly without being overly expensive. It’s a deep ruby color with flecks of garnet that I love looking at in my glass. And, the cherry and plum notes mix with an earthiness and something toasty to make a medium-to-full bodied wine with velvety tannins that just scream to be paired with a Thanksgiving dinner. I gave it 4.5 corks and purchased it for $25.

2014 Portalupi Dolinsek Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel – This $48 red wine from California lingers in the mouth, get more and more flavorful as time passes. It’s a wine meant for enjoying over a leisurely feast with family and friends. Rating: 4.5 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Portalupi Dolinsek Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel

Drinking Zinfandel with a Thanksgiving dinner is like eating peanut butter with jelly…the two are practically made to go together. And, the 2014 Portalupi Dolinsek Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel (winery) is a particularly good option because the medium-bodied wine is full of blackberry, raspberry, and cranberry flavors that hint at pine trees and baking spices. What’s particularly wonderful about the wine is it lingers in the mouth, get more and more flavorful. This Zinfandel will help bring out the deep flavors in the turkey (especially if you’re a dark meat lover), as well as in side dishes like the sweet potato casserole. It’s perfect for eating a leisurely feast with family and friends. I gave it 4.5 stars, and while I received this wine as a present, it looks like it sells for about $48.

Question of the Day:  Have you picked our your Thanksgiving wines?  What are you planning to serve?

Beaujolais Nouveau = Holiday Time!

2015 Beaujolais Nouveau closeupThe third Thursday of November–Beaujolais Nouveau Day–is really the start of the holiday season for me. Yes, it’s a marketing gimmick. And, yes, the wine is not a mature sophisticated wine, but it’s fun, festive, and I always look forward to its release.

In case you’ve never heard of Beaujolais Nouveau, it’s a wine made in the Beaujolais region of France. Unlike most wines, Beaujolais Nouveau is harvested, fermented, bottled, shipped, and (hopefully) enjoyed by wine lovers all within a 6-8 week period. It’s not meant to be aged. In fact, the longer it sits, the less enjoyable it becomes. The whole purpose of Beaujolais Nouveau is to enjoy it while it’s fresh, fruity, and immature with the idea that it gives you a sneak peak at what it’s more mature sibling–the Beaujolais wines–will taste like when released.

2015 Georges DeBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau

2015 Georges DeBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau

The 2015 Georges DeBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (winery, snooth) is made with 100% Gamay grapes and is a deep purple color with a touch of ruby. On the nose and in the mouth, there were strawberries and blueberries with hints of cream and bubble gum. The wine had a medium body, smooth tannins, and low-to-medium 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 $10 a bottle, the quality/price ration makes this wine well worth buying. In fact, it’s the best vintage in recent memory. While very fruit forward, this vintage will make a good food wine. Whether it’s appetizers like a chevre crostini and plate of savory olives, turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving, or your Christmas dinner ham, the 2015 Beaujolais Nouveau would be a nice match.

That said, I didn’t pair it with anything. Instead, I opened it and drank a couple of glasses on the Friday evening after Beaujolais Nouveau Day. It was perfect as I curled up on the couch with Hubby, watched TV, and kicked up a week-long holiday vacation. The only thing missing was a fire, but the weather in DC was just too warm for that.

Question of the Day: What are your thoughts on Beaujolais Nouveau? Are you a fan or is it too gimmicky for you? If you’re a fan, did you try this year’s vintage?

Price: $10
Purchased at World Market
Overall: 4 Corks

Sunday Baking: Lemon Cookies & A French Rosé

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

2012 Côté Mas Rosé Aurore – At $13, this bottle of French wine is a steal, and the pairing with the soft lemon cookies was irresistible. The brightness of the cookies mixed well with the citrus aspects of the wine, while the other characteristics of the wine enhanced the cookie flavors. The one warning I will give is the wine goes down very easily. Cheers! Ratings 4.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Hello loyal readers! I’m sorry for not posting recently, but work has been all consuming. As you may remember, my day job involves working on federal policy and legislation, and a bill I’ve been working on for about 10 years is moving through both the House and the Senate. This is very exciting, but as there are still changes to be made, it also means a lot of early mornings and late nights. Unfortunately, that also means less time for blogging. Thankfully, though, I’ve still been able to open a few bottles of wine that I’ve been eager to share.

The last Sunday in May brought an end to the Memorial Day Congressional Recess, an end to the hottest May on record in DC. Hubby and I went into that weekend without having turned on the air conditioning, but since Sunday also meant baking night, he was convinced that we would cave and turn it on.   I think the only thing that really kept us from giving in was that the heat was supposed to break on Monday…that and the fact that I baked lemon cookies and opened a French Rosé, both of which were bright and refreshing in the humid summer heat.

2012 Côté Mas Sud de France Rosé Aurore with Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies

2012 Côté Mas Sud de France Rosé Aurore with Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies

It didn’t take me long to decide that this week’s cookies would be the Soft & Chewy Lemon Cookies were from Averie Cooks, a website that has become a go-to for cookie ideas.  For some reason, I associated lemon-flavored desserts with summer picnics. The dough seemed like it would be easy, and the cookies didn’t have a long baking time, so it was perfect for trying to make something summery, while having the oven on for as little time as possible.

The 2014 Côté Mas Sud de France Rosé Aurore (winery, snooth) by Domaines Paul Mas is from the Languedoc region of France and is made with 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, and 20% Syrah grapes. The wine was a bright pale-to-medium salmon pink. On the nose there were Bing cherries and tart strawberries and hints of something floral. In the mouth, there were tart strawberries with hints of cream and lime. The wine had a light-to-medium body with good acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At an SRP of $13, this bottle of wine is a steal. It’s a wine that has nice flavors that offer something other than just tartness and acidity, which is sometimes difficult to find in a dry rosé. The one warning I will give is that it goes down very easily, especially in the hot weather.

As for the Soft & Chewy Lemon Cookies, they did not disappoint. They were dense, but still had a slight fluffiness to them in the middle that made the strong lemon flavor a surprise with every bite. I dusted mine with some confectioners’ sugar to add a slightly more polished look.

Overall, the pairing was perfect. The brightness of the cookies mixed well with the citrus aspects of the wine, while the other characteristics of the wine enhanced the cookie flavors without getting lost in them. Normally, I only taste two cookies while baking…one when it’s hot and a second while it’s cooled off and I’m ready for my pairing. There may have been a couple of extras eaten in this batch though!

Question of the Day:  Do you enjoy dry rosé or do you associate all rose with the very sweet White Zinfandel-style?

Soft & Chewy Lemon Cookies
(*adapted from Avery Cooks: Recipes for the Sweet Teeth)
Yields: 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 2 table spoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)
Averie Cooks Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies.

Averie Cooks’ Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies.

Directions

  • In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter (1 minute).
  • Add sugars and combine until pale and fluffy (1 minute).
  • Add egg and lemon extract. Beat until well combined (1-2 minutes).
  • Scrape down sides of bowl.
  • Add lemon zest and honey. Beat until well combined (1-2 minutes).
  • Scrape down sides of bowl again.
  • Add the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  • Add baking soda, keeping the baking soda in a little mound.
  • Add lemon juice directly on top of baking soda. As long as your baking soda is good, it will bubble and foam (if it doesn’t, your baking soda is expired).
  • Beat on low until just combined (1 minute).
  • Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to days. Baking the unchilled dough will cause the cookies to spread, and you will have thinner, flatter cookies instead of slight puffs of lemon baked goodness.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  • Take a rounded tablespoon of chilled dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1-inch balls.
  • Place cookies on lined, chilled cookie sheets. Keep cookies about 1-2 inches apart.
  • Press to flatten slightly.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until edges look like they have set. Overbaking will result in the undersides becoming too brown.
  • Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
  • Once the cookies are completely cooled, you can dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Suggested Retail Price: $13
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4.5 Corks