Martinshof Lobster Love

On Friday, August 17th it was official.  I was in my office when my cell phone rang and it was the HR person from the association where I was interviewing.  My background check was complete.  My drug test was clean.  And, the last of my references had been reached.  They were ready to make a final offer and discuss my start date!  Since it was almost 5pm on a Friday, I decided it was best to keep the exciting new to myself for the weekend rather than give my notice and ruin my boss’ weekend.  The fact that Hubby and I were going to keep the celebration low key since it was still a secret didn’t stop me from going to a new local wine store and grabbing a bottle of wine, though!

2011 Martinshof Grüner Veltliner

2011 Martinshof Grüner Veltliner

The 2011 Martinshof Lobster Grüner Veltliner (winery) is from the Weinviertel region of Austria, which is part of Niederosterriech (Lower Austria).  The wine had a light greenish-yellow color.  On the nose, there were ripe peaches mixed with limes and grapefruit.  In the mouth, there were limes, grapefruits, nectarines, and a hint of white pepper and wet stone.  The wine had a light-to-medium body with good 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 $16, this bottle had everything I look for in a Grüner.  It was light with good acidity.  It had the luscious stone fruits mixed with the tart citrus and the spicy white pepper.  It offered a little something extra, while still being food-friendly enough to take a back seat to the dinner Hubby made.

If I’m being honest with you, though, it was the label that had me at hello.  The moment I saw it, I knew it was the Grüner for me.  Hubby was making lobster cakes and sautéed corn for dinner, so how could I pass up a bottle of one of my favorite white grapes when it had a lobster on the front label?  And, the wine worked well with the dinner.  It was the perfect way to quietly celebrate my job offer.

Question of the Day: Do labels sway your wine buying decisions?  

Price: $16
Purchased at Grateful Red Wine Shop
Overall: 3.5 Corks

More Gmörk

The week after Fourth of July was supposed to be very quiet at work.  I was looking forward to dressing casually at work and tackling my overloaded email inbox.  Instead, I ended up having to wear suits in the over-100 degree weather and put together a last minute project that was being given to the Big Boss.  It was a crazy workweek that felt significantly longer than 4 days.  By the time Friday arrived, I was completely worn out.  Hubby headed out with some of his friends, and I decided to come home. I grabbed myself some cheese, a personal-sized baguette, and a bottle of Grüner Veltliner before settling in for a night of reading and the start to my Harry Potter movie marathon.

Anton Bauer 2009 Gmörk Grüner Veltliner

Anton Bauer 2009 Gmörk Grüner Veltliner

The Anton Bauer 2009 Gmörk Grüner Veltliner (winery, snooth) was a nice yellow with the slightest touch of spritz.  On the nose, there were limes, peaches, chalk dust, white pepper, and wet stones followed by a hint of white flowers.  In the mouth, there were peaches and lime zest mixed with some minerality and white pepper. The wine had nice acid and light 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 $11, this wine didn’t have a lot of complexity, but for this price range, it had nice flavor and was very refreshing.  Plus, it paired nicely with the mozzarella cheese and the bread that I had for dinner.  All in all, it was a solid wine and a good option for opening up by myself as I settled in the weekend after a long, very hot workweek.

Question of the Day: Do you have a favorite “bread & cheese” wine?

Price: $11
Purchased at Calvert Woodley
Overall: 3 Corks

In Love With Paul D

Last week was a big week for me—full of late nights at the office, soup and heated leftovers for dinner, and alarm clocks that buzzed too early in the morning.  There was added stress to the week because the project I was working on was one of the biggest that my immediate supervisor will work on this year, and it was the first time that I was running a project like this one.  If things didn’t work properly, I would be responsible for making both my immediate supervisor and myself look bad.  So, I spent the last few weeks preparing, making sure that I worked out all of the nitty gritty details, could answer obscure questions about the project, and was prepared for the unexpected.  My coworkers assured me that the controlled chaos before a big project like this was normal, and they all were amazing in how they helped me when I needed it.  All in all, I think The Big Boss was happy with the results, and by Thursday night, the last day of this stage of the project, I was exhausted.  All I wanted to do was to come home, get in my day’s run, eat dinner, and relax with Hubby and a glass of wine that I was sure would hit the spot—a 2008 Paul D Grüner Veltliner.

2008 Paul D Grüner Veltliner

The 2008 Paul D Grüner Veltliner (winery, snooth) was 100% Grüner Veltliner.  The wine was a medium gold color with some visible bubbles.  On the nose, there were peaches, Lifesaver candies, limes, oranges, and a hint of pineapple.  In the mouth, there were limes, mandarin oranges (not the syrup, just the oranges), and Lifesaver candies.  The wine had a light body, bright acidity, and a touch of spritziness that adds to the freshness.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $10, this wine was a steal.  It not only was perfect to pair with a light meal, but also deliciously enjoyable on its own.  I first tasted this wine when preparing for the “World Tour of Wine” tasting I put together for work, and I fell in love with it immediately.  Since then, I brought it a party, where my friend and her husband couldn’t get enough of the wine, saying several times how easy it was to drink because it was fresh, fruity, and didn’t taste like drinking an alcoholic drink.  I have also opened a few bottles at home for my own enjoyment, and the bottle I opened on Thursday night was a nice compliment to the lemon pepper chicken with steamed carrots and green beans that Hubby made for dinner.  If you see this wine, you should definitely grab it.  You won’t be disappointed.

Overall: 4.5 Corks

Work “World Tour of Wine” Tasting

For those of you who are Facebook fans, you already know that, at the end of May, I was working on a wine tasting for work.  After having put together a Spanish wine tasting for coworkers during our April slow period, one of my colleagues talked to The Big Boss about my wine experience and about our staff bonding event.  He was thrilled, and, as a wine lover himself, thought it would be fun to have a wine tasting for the staff in both of his DC offices.  The tasting was held the Tuesday before Memorial Day.

Half of the people attending the wine tasting were at my Spanish wine event, so I decided that instead of doing a second Spanish-focused tasting, this one would be a “World Tour of Wine.”  As the fun part of a tasting is being able ­to try new wines and broaden wine horizons, I wanted to focus on wines that moved away from the typical Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, and Chardonnays by presenting varietals that are easy to find in wine stores, but that many inexperienced wine drinkers might shy away from buying.  Additionally, since I was expecting 30+ people at the event, I wanted to make sure that I covered a range of wine styles.

With all of that in mind, I decided to begin the tasting with a traditional French Champagne—Montaudon Extra-Dry (snooth).  The palate cleansing & revitalizing sparkler was followed by two white wines—a 2008 Paul D Grüner Veltliner (winery, snooth) from Austria and a 2009 Spy Valley (winery, snooth) from New Zealand.  Following the lighter white wines were a South African Pinotage—2008 Painted Wolf (winery, snooth)—and a California Zinfandel blend—2008 Orin Swift’s “The Prisoner” (winery, snooth).  The tasting finished with a Spanish Sherry—Nectar by González Byass (winery, snooth).

Everyone enjoyed the Champagne, which was no surprise to me or to them.  However, the other wine that received the most questions and the most refill requests was Orin Swift Cellers’ The Prisoner, followed closely by Paul D’s Grüner Veltliner.  The wine that received the most mixed reviews was González Byass’ Nectar, although everyone was happy to have tried it as almost everyone mentioned that it was not a wine they would have tasted on their own.

The Big Boss was very happy with event, particularly as he found a new wine that to enjoy.  My coworkers tasted some wines that they loved, as well as some wines that they didn’t like, but there was a lot of conversation about those wines, as the likes and dislikes varied greatly.  All in all, it seemed like everyone had a good time and that the tasting was a huge success.

***As a note, while the wines above are the ones I planned to offer and prepared tasting notes for, the wine store was actually sold out of the Spy Valley on the day of the tasting.  Therefore, I used a 2009 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc (winery, snooth) as a fallback.  I will do a separate review for the Oyster Bay, but wanted to keep the Spy Valley as part of this tasting, as I thought it was a slightly better wine.

Singing with My Grüner Veltliner

Last week was an exciting workweek for me.  Sure, the recent flood of meetings continued, but a little excitement was interjected into it all when I went to a mid-week, early-morning briefing.  I admit it; I was grumpy when I was handed the invitation to the breakfast.  Immediately, I noticed that I had to wake-up earlier than usual and schmooze with people before I had a chance to have coffee number 3 for the day.  Plus, the topic of the briefing really was only tangentially within my area of expertise, so that of course made me a little edgy (one doesn’t want to look stupid in front of her colleagues).  It wasn’t until I arrived and the first speaker was introduced that I realized Goldie Hawn was one of the panelists!  Luckily for me, part of why I was there was to talk to one of the other panelist, so when I went up to say hello to him, he quickly introduced me to Ms. Hawn.  In an effort to remain professional, I didn’t have a chance to take a picture with her.  Truthfully, I didn’t have a chance to do much more than shake her hand, but it was still an exciting and out-of-the-ordinary way to start the day! 

Since my day started with a twist of something different, I decided that I wanted to end it with a wine that continued the trend of being out-of-the-ordinary, or at least out-of-the-ordinary for me.  Being that it has been incredibly hot here, the 2007 Laurenz und Sophie Singing Grüner Veltliner (vineyard, snooth) looked like it would be both something different and something refreshing. 

The Singing Grüner Veltliner was a clear lemony yellow. The wine had fresh, wet stone aromas that were followed by hints of green apples and green grapes.  In the mouth, the wine had very minerally flavors, with only a touch of fruitiness—some apricots, along with the green apples and green grapes I found on the nose.  A crisp acidity played well with the dryness and the alcohol to give the wine a pleasant balance.  The flavors lingered in the mouth a little longer than I expected, particularly because the wine was so light. 

Is this worth a glass after work? If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $14, this wine is a nice, easy drink.  In the description on the back of the bottle, there is a question about why the wine is called the Singing Grüner Veltliner, although the question is left unanswered, saying that the drinker should come up with the reason.  After experiencing this wine, I think that it’s called the Singing Grüner Veltliner because it leaves your wallet and your taste buds singing for joy because you didn’t have to spend a fortune on a quality, approachable, and enjoyable white wine.

Overall: 3.5 Corks