Return of Wine Blogging Wednesday with a Storybook Rosé

While I can’t wait to tell you about the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA I tasted yesterday, I’m taking a break from DC Beer week because, after almost a year hiatus, today is the return of Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW)! The theme for WBW#80 is dry rosé.

Wine Bloggin Wednesday GlassFor the uninitiated, WBW it’s a designated day for wine lovers everywhere to write a post (or blog comment, tweet, pin, etc.) on the same wine-related theme.  You don’t have to be a wine blogger to participate, just a wine lover that wants to share what you’re enjoying (or not enjoying) with others, although your post should obviously be about the month’s topic.  Truthfully, WBW is one of my favorite times of the month both as a blogger and a wine lover because it gives me a chance to not only learn about new wines, but also see the different ways wine lovers approach the same theme.  I’ve participated in a number WBWs over the years, and it’s always fun. So, welcome back Wine Blogging Wednesday!

And with that WBW introduction, I’m onto the important part…the wine.  Long-time readers know about my love affair with Storybook Mountain Vineyards, and in particular, their Zinfandel.  Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I couldn’t restrain myself after receiving an email saying they had a Zin Gris Rosé for sale.  It was the first time I’d seen a rosé made from their luscious Zinfandel grapes, so I scooped up several bottles immediately.

2012 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zin Gris -- This $19 rosé wine from California is great with food or perfect for sipping solo on a hot summer day.  It's fresh and flavorful, without overpowering your meal. Rating = 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zin Gris

The 2012 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zin Gris (winery) is made with organic grapes grown in the Calistoga area of Napa Valley, California.  The wine is a medium-to-dark salmon pink.  On the nose, there were strawberries, cranberries, and a hint of limes and thyme.  In the mouth, there were cranberries, limes, and hints of strawberries and thyme.  The wine had a light body with bright acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for?  At $19, this is my kind of rose.  The website explains that the wine is made from “fully mature grapes [that] are slowly barrel fermented to dryness in cool century-old caves,” and I feel like I could taste everything wonderful about those grapes.  The wine was full of flavor, but yet still light and refreshing.

I opened the first bottle at the condo association’s summer cookout on our building’s rooftop.  It was a hot July day, and the wine was a perfect way to stay cool.  Plus, it paired nicely cookout food because the acidity helped to cut down on the grease and heaviness of the hot dogs, hamburgers, and snacks.  Admittedly, I only had a chance to pour myself one glass because the bottle was gone by the time I went back for a second.  I was clearly not the only one who enjoyed the rosé.

I opened the second bottle for “date night.”  Before heading to Wolf Trap for a night of Video Game Live with the National Symphony Orchestra, Hubby made a chorizo and penne pasta dish with a salad, which was a nice pairing because the wine didn’t overpower the strong spiciness of the pasta dish while still complimenting both the meat and the salad nicely.  I actually enjoyed this bottle for another couple of days, pairing it with Hubby’s homemade crab cakes for dinner one night and with my knitting and So You Think You Can Dance on the other night.

I’m saving my third bottle of this Zin Gris for the end of grilling season. I will probably gather the Wine Ladies on the rooftop deck, so we can say goodbye to summer in style and with good wine.

All in all, the Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zin Gris was everything I hope for in a rose—under $20; crisp and flavorful, but not overpowering; and perfect for sipping and relaxing.

Question of the Day: Have you had a dry rosé recently?  Give us the scoop!

Price: $19
Purchased at Storybook Mountain Vineyards website
Overall: 4.5 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?

Steak & Storybook

I’ve mentioned before that this year started off being a bit crazy.  Even though we’ve gone through only one of us having a job before, having Hubby  and me go through job instability at the same time put us both on edge.  At the end of January, right after we heard that I was going to keep my job, Hubby was asked to interview at a new company.  The interview itself was long, but all the pieces seemed to fall into place quickly, and before the day of his interview was over, a friend who already works there told Hubby to expect an offer.  Since then, it’s been a whirlwind as he gave notice, closed out his projects, and got things ready to embark on a new adventure.

2008 Storybook Mountain Vineyard Eastern Exposure Zinfandel

2008 Storybook Mountain Vineyard Eastern Exposure Zinfandel

His coworkers threw him a farewell party last Wednesday, so I was on my own for dinner.  I’d been having a particularly busy day at work, so after coming home late, I opened a bottle of Zinfandel and made myself a filet mignon with Savory Sweet Life’s Asian inspired marinade, which I found on Pintrest.

The 2008 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Eastern Exposure (winery) was mostly Zinfandel grapes blended with a touch of Viognier grapes.  The wine had a deep ruby color.  On the nose, there were blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and cedar with a hint of anise and nutmeg.  In the mouth, there were blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, anise, nutmeg, and hints of pine needles.   The wine had a medium body, medium tannins, and medium 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 $45, this wine is a little on the pricey side for an after work wine, but it’s definitely worth the cost, particularly if you’re having steak for dinner.  Savory Sweet Life’s marinade was delicious, and it was an amazing pairing with the Storybook Zin.  In fact, it was one of those meals where I savored every bite, so much so that it helped melt away the stress of the day itself.  I was truly sorry that Hubby missed such a fantastic dinner.

Price: $45
Purchased at Storybook Mountain Vineyards website
Overall: 4 Corks

Knitting & Storybook: A Perfect Pair

The package I received for the yarn & wine swap

The package I received for the yarn & wine swap

I admit it…I’m a knitter, or at least I’m an aspiring knitter.  Most of the time when I tell people I knit, they make some sort of joke about how I’m not old enough or how only grandmother’s knit.  It’s true that my Nana knit, and I am sadden that I didn’t decide to knit until after she passed away, but knitting isn’t what it used to be.  In fact, I’m part of a wonderful online knitting community (Ravelry) that indulges me in my desire to talk about squishy yarn or difficult patterns, as dorky as it is, and I just don’t see Nana being part of an online knitting group.  What’s particularly nice about this community is that there is a smaller group of us that not only likes to talk about yarn, but also likes to talk about (and drink) wine—the Winos!

The group moderator organizes a quarterly wine and yarn swap, which gives us all the chance to share our two loves even though we’re spread all over the world.  Each participant has to spend a minimum of $35 and each package has to include at least one skein of yarn and one bottle of wine.  Most people also send  a pattern to go with the yarn, wine or knitting gadgets,  something regional like food, and other goodies.

The package I sent for the wine & yarn swap

The package I sent for the wine & yarn swap

Mid-October was our fall swap, and my package just arrived!  I’m so excited that I wanted to share, even though I haven’t tasted the wine yet.  The weather is now pretty cold in the DC area, so I’m sure this Malbec won’t be on my wine rack for long.

As for my swapee, I found some beautiful Neighborhood Fiber Co. yarn at my local yarn store, Fiber Space.  So, I shipped that along with a pattern for the yarn, some chocolates, a Wine Shield kit to preserve any leftover wine, and a of bottle of 2009 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Mayacamas Range Zinfandel.  Storybook is one of my favorite Zin producers and is the only winery wine club I belong to, so I sent this bottle knowing it was going to be perfect for an evening of wine drinking and knitting needle clicking…and I’m so glad I did.  I opened my own bottle last night.

2009 Storybook Mountain Vineyard Mayacamas Range Zinfandel

2009 Storybook Mountain Vineyard Mayacamas Range Zinfandel

The 2009 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Mayacamas Range Zinfandel (winery) was made with 100% organically grown Zinfandel grapes.  On the nose, there were blackberries, pomegranates, cherries, and nutmeg.  In the mouth, there were cherries, pomegranates, baking spices, and a hint of eucalyptus, earth, and boysenberry.  The wine had a medium body, medium tannins, and low-to-medium acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $35, this wine is nicely balanced and full of flavor.  It has some aging potential, which will likely enhance some of the non-fruity characteristics, but it’s also a nice wine to enjoy now.  It’s food-friendly, pairing particularly well with a steak or some lamb chops, but also is really enjoyable on it’s own.  I spent the evening drinking mine while watching a  new TV show—Once Upon A Time—and working on my latest knitting project—a cable scarf.

Question of the Day: Do you have any hobbies that you like to pair with wine (knitting, running, blogging, etc)?

Price: $35
Purchased at Storybook Mountain Vineyards website
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Bartenura’s Kosher Wine is for Everyone

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

Last week, my synagogue sent out the mailing saying it was time to buy Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur tickets.  While I’m not sure where the last year has gone, it’s clear that the High Holy Days are rapidly approaching.  That means I’m beginning my semi-annual quest to find kosher wines that I would be happy to bring to a holiday dinner.

Admittedly, I still have a bottle of kosher Nebbiolo that Wine Chateau sent to me as a sample around Passover.  Shortly after the bottle arrived, the weather in the DC area became brutally hot and humid.  The change immediately limited my red wine drinking, and as Passover became a distant memory, so did my desire to drink a kosher red wine. (For those of you who are new readers, I am Jewish and try to follow some kosher laws during major Jewish holidays, but do not maintain a kosher household year-round) The synagogue’s mailing reminded me about the wine in my rack and that it was time to start thinking about what kosher wines I would buy to ring in the New Year.

I’ve written about wines from Wine Chateau before, and oddly enough, one of the wines I referenced in the post was a kosher wine.  Wine Chateau is actually an online wine store that sells a wide selection of wine, only some of which is kosher.  They started as a brick-and-mortar store more than 40 years and have continued to grow since then.  Their mission is to provide excellent service and low prices on the more than 15,000 domestic and import wines that they sell, and I can say that as someone who has not only received samples, but also ordered and paid for wines from them, they have always been efficient, accommodating, and highly-competitively priced.  Their selection covers every budget, and while they are not an exclusively kosher wine store, they have an impressive kosher wine selection at prices that are almost always lower than what I can find at my local wine stores.

Between the email from the synagogue jump-starting my thoughts about the High Holy Days and the Nebbiolo in my wine rack waiting to be opened, two weeks ago, when there was a lull in the oppressive DC summer weather, I decided to open the bottle of red wine.

2008 Bartenura Nebbiolo

2008 Bartenura Nebbiolo

The 2008 Bartenura Nebbiolo (Wine Chateau) was made with 100% certified organic grapes and was a deep ruby red color.  On the nose, there were cherries, violets, and roses followed by a hint of tobacco.  In the mouth, there were cherries, raspberries, violets, and something almost prune-ish.  The wine had a tingle on the tongue that dissipated quickly.  It also had a medium body, a medium-to-high acidity, and a lingering finish.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At a suggested retail price of $17, this wine is very food friendly and would be the perfect accompaniment for a family meal.  In particularly, I think it would pair nicely with an Italian pasta dish like ziti or with a matzo lasagna, as it certainly went well with the pizza that I paired it with.  I also wish that I could try it with my Nana’s brisket, as I think it would also have been a winning combination.  Overall, when it comes to kosher wines, I try to think of them with the same critical lens as I do all other wines, since I believe they should be held to the same quality standard.  I think this wine holds it own and is worth trying…kosher or not.

Question of the Day: Have you ever had a kosher wine other than Manischewitz?  What did you think of it?

Suggested Retail Price: $17
Received as a sample.
Overall: 3.5 Corks