Wine.com White Haul

Happy #WineWednesday!  Today, I’m unboxing my Wine.com case of white wines. Plus, I’m going to taste the Hugel Classic Pinot Gris with you. Cheers!

The wines mentioned in the video were:

Question of the Day: Are you a white wine drinker? Do you drink it year round with certain foods or do you tend to drink it more seasonally?

5 American White Wines for July 4

5 American White Wines for July 4 – July 4 cookouts are mean lots of good food, friends, and alcohol...and many people enjoy a nice glass of white wine. However, finding one that fits a BBQ atmosphere can be difficult. These wines are good options for all levels of wine drinkers. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

5 American White Wines for July 4 – July 4 cookouts are mean lots of good food, friends, and alcohol…and many people enjoy a nice glass of white wine. However, finding one that fits a BBQ atmosphere can be difficult. These wines are good options for all levels of wine drinkers. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Earlier this week, I posted some suggestions for American sparkling and rosé wines to open over this upcoming holiday weekend. Today is all about the white wine options, as white wine and warm summer weather were practically made for each other. I will apologize upfront to the Chardonnay lovers for not having one on the list. I normally would have at least one, but these other wines were really the ones that were striking my fancy for the Fourth of July. And with that, 5 white wine suggestions of your cookout:

2014 Lilly's Viognier from The Winery at Bull Run– This $29 bottle of white wine from Virginia is a little pricey, but it’s beautiful. It’s the type of wine that’s meant to be sipped slowly with friends on a hot summer day. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Lilly’s Viognier from The Winery at Bull Run

The 2014 Lilly’s Viognier (winery) is a beautiful white wine from Virginia. It’s a light lemon color with a bright floral nose. In the mouth, thee are apricots and white pepper mixed with hints of grapefruit and honeysuckle. Considering my iffy feelings about Viognier, I was surprised how much I loved this wine. At first I thought it might have been because I tasted it during a visit to the winery, but I bought a bottle that I opened at home and enjoyed it as much, if not more, than I did during my winery visit. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and purchased it for $29.

Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc - This $8 white wine from California is not a complex wine, but it’s easy to drink and has a great quality-price ratio. If you’re having a lot of people over, this is a wine people will be happy to drink…especially outside on a hot summer day. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc

The Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc (website) is a white wine from California. This wine is like drinking summer in a glass. It’s light and full of honeydew melons, nectarines, and limes. It’s not a complex wine, but it’s easy to drink and has a great quality-price ratio. If you’re having a lot of people over, this is a white that people will be happy to drink…especially outside on a hot summer day. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the SRP is $8.

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)is a white wine from Washington state that has a touch of sweetness, nice acidity, and is incredibly drinkable. The wine has aromas and flavors of ripe peaches and apricots mixed with honey and a hint of ginger. It’s refreshing and will pair nicely with the summer salads and cold fried chicken, or can be enjoyed all on it’s own. I gave this wine 4 Corks and purchased it for $20.

This $13 bottle of white wine from Idaho is full of tropical and stone fruits mixed with Lemonheads candy, honey, and flowers. The touch of sweetness mixed with the acidity should make it a nice pairing with the ham, lamb, or turkey. Rating 4 out of 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Sawtooth Riesling

The Sawtooth Reisling (winery, amazon) is one of my summer house white wines. It’s full of tropical and stone fruits mixed with Lemonheads candy, honey, and flowers. There’s also a hint of ginger. The touch of sweetness mixed with the acidity should make it a nice pairing with hot dogs and steamed crabs. A sign that I’m live fairly close to the Chesapeake is I find there are few things as enjoyable as pairing this wine with something that has been seasoned with Old Bay. I gave it 4 corks and usually purchase it for about $13.

Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris - This $30 white wine from Napa California is a little pricey for an everyday wine or a large gathering, but is a perfect palate-pleaser for a more intimate gathering. It’s an enjoyable sipper that is worth the extra cost. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris

The Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris (winery) is a light-to-medium bodied white wine from Napa, California. The wine has a nice lime, grapefruit, and tart Granny Smith apple characteristics that mix with hints of nectarines and thyme. It’s a little pricey for a large gathering, but if you’re doing something a little more intimate, this Pinot Gris is sure to be a guest-pleaser. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $30.

Question of the Day:  What’s your favorite white wine for a cookout or picnic?

Sunday Baking: Pinot Gris and Snickerdoodles

While my coworkers all enjoyed the novelty of the Candied Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies, they were clearly not the success I hoped they would be because there were still cookies left in the tin at the end of the week. Normally, all the cookies are gone by mid-day on Monday. It’s a rarity for cookies to even make it until Tuesday. During my whole year of baking cookies for my office, the only time I’ve had to take cookies home with me on a Friday was during heavy vacation/holiday weeks. So, clearly, these were a bust. In order to win back my fans, I decided to go with something simple and traditional…the Snickerdoodle.

Sunday BakingThe baking process is usually pretty routine for me. I pick out cookies for the week on Saturday before Hubby and I go grocery shopping. Then, Sunday is all about the baking. Whether it’s a lounge-around-at-home or an errand day, one of the first things I do is make coffee and set out to work on the dough so that it can chill in the refrigerator for several hours while I go about the rest of the day.

This past Sunday was pretty quiet. Saturday had been very busy trying to get our condo ready to rent. In fact, we hit more than a few snags in the work we were doing, which meant the projects we were on were delayed, so by the time Sunday rolled around, Hubby and I were tired, frustrated, and wanted nothing to do with home improvement activities. That said, we still have a lot of settling in to do in the new house, so we took the time at home in the new place to hang a few paintings on the wall and put together our new grill, which we promptly used.

Thankfully, the Pinot Gris I opened to enjoy with the hot dogs with mac & cheese, lasted me through the end of the book I was reading and into my Snickerdoodle baking.

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris and Snickerdoodles

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris and Snickerdoodles

The 2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris (winery, snooth) is a from Napa Valley, California and is made with 100% Pinot Gris grapes. The wine had a light-to-medium straw yellow color. On the nose, there were nectarines, Granny Smith apples, and hints of honey. In the mouth, there were limes, grapefruits, tart Granny Smith apples, and hints of nectarines and thyme. The wine had 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 $30 a bottle, this wine is a little on the high end for an everyday wine, but it offers something a little different in a white that I think makes it worthwhile. It’s easy to drink both on its own and with food. The acidity helped cut through some of the fattiness of the hot dogs and mac & cheese without overpowering the food, which was perfect. Admittedly, the Pinot Gris didn’t pair with the cookies as well as I hoped. I thought the lighter flavors and the acidity would go nicely with the lighter cookie, but the citrusy notes clashed with the cinnamon from the cookie. Oh, well…lesson learned.

Bouchaine Vineyards Cork and SnickerdoodlesOverall, one coworker said to me on the way to our staff meeting that “Normally, [he doesn’t] think one way or the other about Snicerkdoodles, but these are damn good ones.” And, as if to prove the point, all 3 dozen cookies were eaten within 3 hours of my bringing them to the office. It confirms that I think I perfected my Snickerdoodle recipe. So, my Sunday Baking seems to have been an all-around success, even if the wine-cookie pairing itself wasn’t very good.

Question of the Day: What do you do when you create a bad food pairing…do you stop drinking the wine with the food or do you just push through and hope for better next time?

 

Snickerdoodles

(*adapted from Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe)
Yields: 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (for coating)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (for coating)

Directions

  • In medium bowl, mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  • Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  • On low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just blended (about 30 seconds).
  • Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats and place in refrigerator to chill.
  • In small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon for coating.
  • Remove one of the dough halves to begin shaping cookies.
  • Take a rounded tablespoon of chilled dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1-inch balls.
  • Roll balls in the cinnamon and sugar mixture until coated.
  • Place cookies on lined, chilled cookie sheets. Keep cookies about 2 inches apart and press them down so that each is about 1/2 inch high.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack
    Remember to chill the dough and cookie sheets between batches.

Price: $30
Purchased at Bouchaine Vineyards Website (through the wine club)
Overall: 4 Corks

Another Great Bouchaine

Thursday morning started off with my review.  The Boss isn’t the same guy that hired me.  In fact, The Boss is only started at my organization 6 months ago.  But, in that short amount of time, he’s proved to be one of the best manager’s I’ve had.  He’s well-known and well-liked in the industry.  He will say he disagrees with a decision without making the person feel stupid or incompetent.  And, he has an open door policy, so whether it’s a suggestion on how to make things run better, a question on the best way to proceed on a project, or just wanting to touch base, The Boss is very welcoming.  Therefore, even though I found it incredibly awkward to write my review, I wasn’t actually nervous about talking to The Boss about it.

The meeting was about 30 minutes, and unlike previous reviews I’ve had, we actually went through the document.  The Boss pointed questions about how I felt things were going now that I’ve been with the organization for a year.  We talked about a few challenges I’m facing and some ideas on how to make things work a little smoother, which was all very positive and constructive.  And then The Boss outlined several things he thought I did really well, and that was that.

The rest of the day was busy and went fairly quickly.  I actually ended up getting home a little late, so Hubby had already headed to the gym to get in his run.  I had to wait a little, since the gym was full of people avoiding the cold and sticking to their New Year’s Resolution.  Thankfully, my Thursday night runs are flat 5-milers, so once the treadmill opened up, I was able to do my run in less than an hour.  By the time I got home and showered, Hubby was putting together some pesto shrimp for dinner.

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris

The 2012 Bouchaine Estate Pinot Gris (winery) was from Napa Valley, California.  The wine had a light-to-medium lemon yellow color.  On the nose, there was limes and grapefruits, with a hint of thyme.  In the mouth, there were grapefruits and thyme.  The wine had a light-to-medium body and medium-to-high 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 $30 (or $24 for wine club members, of which I am one), this wine is food-friendly and perfect for sipping.  In fact, it is exactly the time of wine I enjoy with seafood—good acidity; subtle, but still flavorful; and not so strong that it overpowers the dish.  After several days of heavier meals and wines, this Pinot Gris paired with the pesto shrimp was the perfect way to lighten things up a little.  I know a number of you are Pinot Grigio fans, so if that is a style you enjoy, definitely consider trying a bottle of Bouchaine’s Pinot Gris.

Question of the Day: Do you have a particular wine that you enjoy drinking with shrimp dishes? 

Price: $30 (or $24 a bottle for wine club members)
Purchased at Bouchine Vineyards
Overall: 4 Corks

Reds, Whites, and Bios! Oh, My!


As if working full time in a 50-60 hour a week job and taking wine classes isn’t enough to keep me busy, I’m also on the Board of Directors for my condo association. One of my BOD responsibilities is chairing the social committee, which clearly meant organizing a wine tasting! After contacting almost all of the wine stores in Arlington about holding the event, I only received responses from two—Grand Cru Wine Bar & Euro Café was by far the easier store to work with. I outlined the association’s budget, and they worked with Republic National Distributing Company wine specialist Andy Hoyle to pick out wine options for our tasting. The BOD decided on 4 wines, although Andy surprised us with several extras, including the Signaterra wines by Benziger.


While I’ll share short overviews of all the wines we tasted, I can’t help but focus on the Signaterra wines. According to Andy, Benziger has been selling limited quantities of these wines onsite, but it’s only recently that they’re appearing in restaurants and wine stores. Therefore, while the wines may not be available at your wine store yet, start asking for them. Besides being unique and tasty, Andy explained that attendees at last night’s wine tasting were among the first in Virginia to try these wines. That was a double bonus for us!


Signaterra uses organic and biodynamic viticulture methods. Biodynamic viticulture is based on the ideas of Austrian philosopher/scientist Rudolf Steiner, and The Wine Anorak has an interesting and thorough explanation of the process, if you’re looking for more information. The Signaterra website describes the philosophy well, though, as they say the wines are about “integrating the right resources of the Earth, the inescapable forces of Nature, and the attentiveness of Man into a distinctive wine. Admittedly, I’m skeptical about the idea that biodynamic methods produce better quality wine, but regardless, all three of these are delicious. I actually ended up buying a bottle of each at the event.


With that introduction…let’s talk about the Signaterra wines—the 2007 Shone Farm Sauvignon Blanc, the 2007 Bella Luna Pinot Noir, and the 2006 Three Blocks.

2007 Benziger Signaterra Shone Farm Sauvignon Blanc
$35
This Sauvignon Blanc had a clean, medium lemon color. On the nose, there were strong fruit aromas—particularly grapefruit, although there was also some lime, peach, and apricot. I found the same fruits when tasting the wine, and they were joined with a hint of wet stone mineraliness that kept the wine from being dominated by fruit. The wine also had a bright, pleasing 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 $35 a bottle, this wine is not only environmentally friendly, but also palate and food friendly.

Overall: 4 corks


2007 Benziger Signaterra Bella Luna Pinot Noir
$55
The Pinot Noir was hands-down the favorite wine of the night.
Several people came up to me to say that they normally don’t drink Pinots, but that this one was very flavorful and enjoyable. At the same time, I also had a couple of people tell me that they were big Pinot fans and that this was among the best they’d tasted. I thought it was interesting that the Bella Luna was able to straddle the Pinot/Non-Pinot lover line.

The color of the wine was a nice intensity that matched the robust strawberry and red cherry aromas. The red fruit was followed by a hint of white pepper and an earthy depth that gave the wine character overpowering the other aromas. In the mouth, the flavors matched what I found on the nose. The medium tannins and low acidity resembled what you would expect from a Pinot, although the wine had a slightly more substantial body and finish than I anticipated.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one! What are you waiting for? At $55, this wine is a little more expensive than many of the “every day” wines that I review, however, it’s worth every penny. This wine is so smooth and inviting that it’s great for drinking on its own, but also would pair nicely with seasoned meat like a pork tenderloin or with a grilled salmon.

Overall: 5 corks



2006 Benziger Signaterra Three Blocks Bordeaux blend
$55
The Three Blocks Bordeaux blend was my least favorite of the Signaterra wines, although I wonder if I needed more time to really sit and think about the wine, as there was a lot happening with it. The Three Blocks is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot, with a deep purplish-ruby color. The wine had strong dark fruit aromas—mostly plums—followed by the smell of powdered cocoa. In the mouth, I found similar plumy flavors, although the cocoa turned into more of a sweet spice taste. The wine had strong tannins, although it was well-balanced. There were some tartrates in my glass, which had some attendees concerned, but, as I mentioned in this week’s TT&T post, tartrates are nothing to worry about.

Overall: 3.5 Corks


The other wines we tasted:

2006 Paso Creek Zinfandel, which I reviewed in March.

2006 Valley of the Moon Barbera (vineyard; snooth), which I will review in a separate post, as I was able to take a leftover bottle home with me.
$18

2006 Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon (vineyard; snooth)
$13
This wine had aromas of burnt tar and blackberry. In the mouth, there were strong tannins that pulled on your gums, but helped contribute to the balance between the bitterness of the tar flavors and the sweetness of the blackberries. This was a big, juicy Cab and would be great with a steak and potato dinner.

Planeta La Segreta Rosso (vineyard; snooth)
$14
This wine had an interesting mix of flavors and aromas, as there was a mix of red and black fruits. The wine is a blend of 50% Nero d’Avola, 25% Merlot, 20% Syrah,5% Cabernet Franc, and had medium tannins and a nice body. Overall, it was good. Not the best wine of the night, but something that is definitely drinkable.

Erath Pinot Gris (vineyard; snooth)
$15
This Pinot Gris smelled and tasted of ripe melons and grapefruit. In the mouth, there was also a hint of mineral. Overall, it wasn’t terribly complex, but it was enjoyable.

2007 Vaca Chardonnay
$14
The Vaca Chardonnay had a strong buttery, tropical fruit smell and tasted like buttered, ripe banana and vanilla. There was a hint of green apple in the finish, but it was very faint. Oaky chardonnay is NMS, so I wasn’t a huge fan. However, the wine was a good quality and had a nice balance, so if it’s a style you like, this is a wine you should check out.