Top 5 Red Wines for Thanksgiving

I’m lucky, and I know I’m lucky.  As we head into the busiest travel week of the year, I don’t have to plan overnight travel or have to prepare for out-of-town guests.  Hubby and I live in a city, so our condo is too small to host a big feast, which means that we head to family for the holidays.  Fortunately, though, my in-laws live an hour away, which means that we’re close enough to go for dinner, but far enough away that they don’t visit us unexpectedly.  Plus, my mother-in-law is an amazing cook, and because she knows how much I love her sweet potato casserole, she makes us a little extra to go with the leftovers that she always sends Hubby and I home with.

The other interesting thing about having Thanksgiving at my in-laws house is that almost no one there drinks wine, which means that when I pick out the wine selections, I’m really picking wine for myself.  I’m not sure which I enjoy more, turkey feasts with a beautiful Pinot Noir or ones with a bold Zinfandel, so I’ll probably end up bringing a bottle of both with me this year.


2007 Edna Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir

2007 Edna Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir

The Edna Valley Pinot Noir (vineyardsnooth) tastes like it was made for a Thanksgiving feast.  It’s full of cherry, raspberry, and pomegranate characteristics that are mixed with cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla.  It pairs beautifully with less spicey foods, which is perfect for a turkey dinner, as long as the family tradition doesn’t involve Cajun seasoning on the bird.  I gave the wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $23.


2006 Domaine Besson Les Grands Pretans Givry 1er Cru

The Domaine Besson Les Grands Pretans Givry 1er Cru (snooth) is beautiful Burgundy, which means made from Pinot Noir grapes.  The wine was full of raspberries, and sour cherries, with just a hint of nutmeg and roasted meat, which shows how nicely this wine has aged.  Just like with my Thanksgiving white wine recommendations, the low tannins and high acidity make it a nice match for both the turkey and the side dishes.  I gave the wine 4 corks and purchased it for $28.


2009 Storybook Mountain Vineyard Mayacamas Range Zinfandel

2009 Storybook Mountain Vineyard Mayacamas Range Zinfandel

Zinfandel’s were made for Thanksgiving dinner, and the Storybook Mountain Vineyards Mayacamas Range Zinfandel(winery) is no exception.  The spice and earthy characteristics blend nicely with the black and red fruits in a way that will blend nicely with the turkey seasoning and stuffing.  It will be perfect for over a meal while talking, as well as for lounging around afterwards.  I gave the wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $35.


2005 Lolonis Zinfandel

Zinfandel (winerysnooth) is a wonderful option if you’re looking for a California Zinfandel, as the wine big, bold, and beautiful red with high alcohol content to help make the family dinner a little easier.  I gave the wine 4.5 corks and, while it was given to me as a gift, I’ve found it for $18.


2009 Vivi Primitivo

2009 Vivi Primitivo

Vivi Primitivo (winerysnooth)  is perfect if you’re looking for an inexpensive red that is a little different.  I actually paired it with turkey when I reviewed it, so I speak from experience when I say that it was a delicious match.  I gave the wine 3 corks, and while I received it for a sample, the suggested retail price is $10.

Question of the Day:  Are you traveling for Thanksgiving or do you get to host?

Top 5 Memorial Day BBQ Wines

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is always the start of cookout season in the A Glass After Work household.  This year, while we’re not hosting our own BBQ, we are heading out to several, so Hubby asked me what wines I was planning on bringing.  Admittedly, I didn’t have a list put together, but his asking seemed like the perfect opportunity to go through some old posts.  Here are 5 crowd pleasers that go nicely with hot dogs and hamburgers without breaking the bank.


2005 Lolonis Zinfandel

The 2005 Lolonis Zinfandel (winery, snooth) is made with organically grown Zinfandel grapes and the winery uses ladybugs for pest control.  If you’re headed to a cookout, you can’t go wrong with a California Zinfandel, as the wines tend to be big, bold, and beautiful with high alcohol content.  The Lolonis is no exception. I gave the wine 4.5 corks and, while it was given to me as a gift, I’ve found it for $18.

2008 Big House Red

The 2008 Big House Red 3-liter Octavin Home Wine Bar (winery, snooth) is a blend of 13 different red grapes.  The wine is a solid, oaked red, so if you see it in a regular sized bottle, don’t hesitate to grab one. I’ve brought the Octavin Big House Red to several parties, and while people are sometimes hesitant to try a boxed wine, once they have a glass, they always come back for more.  I’ve never left a party where the box wasn’t empty.  I gave the wine 3 corks, and while I received it for a sample, the suggested retail price is $20 for 3 liters (which works out to be $5/bottle).


2008 Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio

The 2008 Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio (winery, snooth) is the epitome of a great BBQ wine.  It is bright, fruity, and refreshing.  It is inexpensive.  It is very food friendly.  And, it has a winery name and label that could be a fun conversation starter.   I gave the wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $9.


2007 Martin Codax Albariño

The 2007 Martin Codax Albariño (vineyard, snooth) is a very aromatic wine that has a nice blend of limes and flowers, with a hint of honey.  The wine is crisp and refreshing without being too acidic, which makes it easy to drink.  It would pair particularly well with both regular and pasta salads.  I gave this wine 3 corks and purchased it for $13.


2009 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah

The 2009 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah (winery, snooth) was made from 100% Syrah grapes and is a perfect wine for a Memorial Day BBQ. Don’t be fooled into think that because this wine is a Rosé that it’s sweet.  This wine is what I expect from a good Rosé—nice flavor, good acidity, and a light-to-medium body that was refreshing and flirty. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and while I received this wine as a sample, the suggested retail price is $17.

***While I know it’s not quite Memorial Day, as we are about to enter into the holiday weekend,
I would like to take a moment to remember the amazing men and women who lost their lives while defending America
and send my thoughts to their families.***


Back to Work with a California Zin

2010 has started off as a crazy, but fun year. The first week of the New Year was a busy one at work because everyone was ready to jump right into the next big set of projects after having time off for the holidays. After that first week of planning, though, I was out of the office on vacation. Hubby and I went to Antigua for a week of warm, tropical weather and beautiful, sandy beaches. We had a great time relaxing, reading, sightseeing, and, in the middle of it all, celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary. I even had a chance to taste 3 of Sandals (& Beaches) resorts limited edition wines, which I’ll review in a separate post. Unfortunately, since Hubby and I haven’t won the lottery and we’re not independently wealthy, we were both back to work yesterday. I came back to work to find an overloaded email box, reports that need to be read and commented on, meeting requests that need to be answered, and several speaking engagements that require preparation. I absolutely love my job, but no matter how much I love it, the first day back from vacation was simply not fun. I ended up staying a little late to make sure things were organized, but, after that, I was ready to go home, open a comforting bottle of wine, eat dinner, and just crash on the couch. My bottle of Lolonis Zinfandel was practically calling my name.

The 2005 Lolonis Zinfandel (winery, snooth) was made with organically grown Zinfandel grapes, where ladybugs (not chemicals) were used for pest control. The wine had a medium-to-dark ruby color with big legs that clung to the side of the glass. On the nose, there were big, juicy blackberries and dark plums, followed cedar, smoke, and a touch of earthiness. In the mouth, the wine had a spiciness that turned into blackberry jam, with a touch of smoke on the finish. The wine was very dry, with low-to-medium acidity and medium tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one! What are you waiting for? At $18, the Lolonis was a solid, affordable Zinfandel that perfectly paired with grilled steak. On its own, it was enjoyable, although it could have used a touch more body. However, when paired with a soy-sesame marinated steak (the marinade recipe is from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything), and the wine left me practically giddy with happiness. It was the perfect pairing, as the combination toned down a little of the spiciness in the wine, while helping make the berry flavors in the wine and the soy sauce flavor of the marinade stand out.

A special thanks to my in-laws for introducing me to the wine! The bottle was part of my Christmas present, and they definitely picked a wine that I will buy again.

Overall: 4.5 Corks