Snowzilla Day 3 – Morning Sun & a South African Chenin Blanc

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

Snowzilla Day 3 - A view of people walking in the middle of the street from the balcony

People walking in the middle of the street

**Here is my blog post about Snowzilla Day 1 , Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 1), Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 2), and Snowzilla Day 4**

By Day 3 of Snowzilla, most of the snow had stopped. We woke up in the morning to 2 feet of snow, which required some final shoveling, particularly when it came to digging out the car. However, for the most part, that Sunday was about enjoying being snowed in without snow falling and walking around the neighborhood. Hubby and I had a leftovers from the two big meals he made at the beginning of the storm, not to mention cheese and prosciutto left. Instead of going for another red, though, the warmer weather and sunshine called for a white wine to go with the historic snowfall we were digging out from.

Hubby in yellow digging out the car from 2 ft of snow

Hubby in yellow digging out the car from under 2 ft of snow

The 2014 De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc (snooth, winery) is from Stellenbosch, South Africa and is made with 100% Chenin Blanc grapes. The wine was a medium lemon yello color. On the nose, there were white flowers and peaches mixed with a hint of honey, pear, and ginger. In the mouth there were pears, flowers, peaches, and apricots with hints of honest and ginger. This wine is medium-to-full bodied, with nice acidity and a long finish.

2014 De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc – At $35, this white wine from South Africa is a dry, but luscious wine that is incredibly food friendly and easy to sip. The flavors are all flowers and peaches with hints of ginger, and it’s long finish lingers in the mouth bringing a smile to the face. Ratings 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At an SRP of $35, this wine is probably a little price for an everyday wine, but this is a wine to grab for a nice Friday or Saturday night dinner or to open at the start of a night with friends. It’s incredibly food-friendly and easy to sip.

The snow stopped, but 2ft piled up against our back door, which turned our back patio into a "snowbox."

The snow stopped, but 2ft piled up against our back door, which turned our back patio into a “snowbox.”

According to the website, DeMorgenzon  means “the morning sun.”  While I didn’t know that when I opened the bottle, it was perfectly named for when I opened it.  The sunny, cloudless morning made for a beautiful winter day, and the Chenin Blanc made for a beautiful wine.  It brought a smile to my face…particularly nice a cold walk, in front of a warm fire, and cuddled up with Hubby.

Question of the Day: Do you tend to spend less on wine that you buy to open during the week than on the wine that you open over the weekend?  What’s your price range for an weekday bottle of wine?   

 

Suggested Retail Price: $35
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Bartinney’s Cab is a Captivating Dark Angel

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

Halfway through 2015, work changed our vacation policies, leaving me with vacation days left that I needed to use by the end of the year or I would lose them. But, with the fall being as busy as it was at work, I didn’t have time to take advantage of the vacation days. Instead, I waited until December. After the legislation I had been working on since 2007 was signed into law on December 10, I began closing things out for the year, and my last day of work in 2015 was December 17. Unfortunately, since Hubby has been at his job for less than 3 years, he still doesn’t have much vacation time. So, instead of escaping DC at the end of the month, I had a 16-day staycation. On December 30, towards the end of my staycation, I scheduled a spa day for myself. After a day of much needed pampering to close out the year, I came home to open up a big red wine with the idea of just sinking into it for the evening.

2011 Bartinney Cabernet Sauvignon - This $20 red wine from South Africa is food-friendly, captivating, and the perfect glass of wine to end a work day.  Rating = 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2011 Bartinney Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2011 Bartinney Cabernet Sauvignon (winery) is made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The vineyards are located on the slopes of the Helshoogte (“Hell’s Heights”) Pass, overlooking the Banghoek Valley. The wine was a deep purplish ruby color. On the nose, there were plums and blackberries mixed with a hint of tea leaves, mint, chocolate, and cedar. In the mouth, there were dark plums and blackberries with hints of spice, black tea, and cedar. The wine was full-bodied with strong 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 an SRP of $20, this wine delivers everything I look for in an everyday Cabernet…and I was surprised. While I love South African wines, I tend to gravitate towards the wines that are more unique to the country like Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, and this Cabernet is proof as to why I shouldn’t do that. It’s an affordable wine that was the perfect way of ending a day of spoiling myself, but without breaking the bank to do so.

Question of the Day: Do you drink wine from South Africa?  If so, are their certain types of South African wine that you gravitate towards?

Suggested Retail Price: $20
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks

A Super Superbowl Red Wine

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

Rib Shack Red CapNeither Hubby nor I are big football fans, so Superbowl Sunday around our house tends to be just another Sunday.  This year, though, I think I spent too much time browsing Pintrest and Facebook because when we went grocery shopping on the Saturday morning before the big game, I told Hubby we needed to make crockpot chili.  I blame all those Pintrest pictures of delicious looking Superbowl-themed appetizers and all my friends who spent the football season bragging about how their houses were filled with the wonderful aromas of slow-cooking chili.  I just needed Superbowl food, even without the actual Superbowl.  So, Hubby indulged my request, making the best chili I’ve ever had, while I baked some cornbread and opened a bottle of red wine.

The 2012 Rib Shack Red (winery) is from the Western Cape in South Africa and is made with 60% Pinotage and 40% Merlot grapes.  The wine was a dark ruby with flecks of purple.  On the nose, there were blackberries, cedar, and cumin with the slightest hint of nail polish.  In the mouth, there were blackberries, pomegranates, and smoke with hints of cumin and vanilla.  The wine had a medium body, medium tannins, and medium acidity.

2012 Rib Shack Red

2012 Rib Shack Red

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 SRP of $10, the quality-price ratio on this wine is difficult to beat.  Admittedly, on its own, Rib Shack Red is a solidly average wine—good, but nothing that stands apart from other wines.  Paired with food (particularly red meat), though, this wine just sings.  Whether it’s something straight from the smoker, a juicy burger off the grill, or Hubby’s spicy slow-cooker chili, this is definitely the wine I want.  Our condo building has a holiday party every year that is catered by Red, Hot, and Blue BBQ, and since I’m in charge of the wine, I can tell you 9 months in advance that the Rib Shack Red will be making appearance in 2014.  It’s structured, food-friendly, and beautiful.  It’s affordable, but still good quality.  And, for those of you who are environmentally conscious, the grapes are all sustainably grown.  What more could I ask for in an everyday wine?

Question of the Day: I know it’s a little more than a month ago, but did you watch the Superbowl?  Did you go for wine, beer, or something else?

The 2012 Rib Shack Red and Hubby's chili...the perfect Superbowl wine pairing

The 2012 Rib Shack Red and Hubby’s chili…the perfect Superbowl wine pairing

Suggested Retail Price: $10
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks

Summer in a Glass with The Beach House

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

There are some people who build up vacation time at work but never use it.  I’m not one of those people.  I love vacations.  I love vacation planning.  Before I’ve finished doing the laundry from one vacation, I’ve already started planning the next.  This year was a little different, though.  Instead of planning a vacation when Hubby and I returned from a January trip to St. Lucia, I scheduled my hip surgery.  The surgery put a kibosh on our plans to go to Iceland at the end of May because not only wouldn’t I be able to sit for that long on the plane, but also there was no way I would able to ride Icelandic horses on the glaciers or go hiking through the lava fields.  In fact, it took me until early-July to decide that I could sit in the car long enough to head down to the Outer Banks for a week.  Once I made that decision, though, the planning went into full gear.  On the Saturday after July 4th, I opened a bottle of white wine to help with the inspiration and researched beach houses in Duck, NC.

2012 The Beach House White

2012 The Beach House White

The 2012 The Beach House White (winery) was a blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillion grapes and is from the Western Cape of South Africa.  The wine had a light golden yellow color.  On the nose, there were gooseberries with hints of pink grapefruit and tangerines. In the mouth, there were gooseberries with hints of apricots, pink grapefruit, tangerines, and honeysuckle.  The wine had a light 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 an SRP of $10, you this wine has an amazing quality/price ratio.  It’s very drinkable, refreshing, and affordable…the perfect wine to open when you get home from work, particularly on a hot summer day.  It’s food-friendly, leaving me wishing I had a dozen oysters, some sushi, or a salad with seared tuna steak to go with the wine.  Every sip just screamed summer and seafood, which made it the perfect wine to drink while Hubby and I searched for our own summer beach house.

Question of the Day: Are you a person who builds up your vacation time or do you end up using it all throughout the year?

Suggested Retail Price: $10
Received as a sample.
Overall: 3.5 Corks

MAN’s Pinotage with Giraffes

My birthday is at the end of May, and since this year was a big one, Hubby suggested that we head to Walt Disney World to spend the week forgetting about age and just being big kids.  I thought it sounded like a great idea, but it wasn’t until we started planning that I realized how perfect the idea really was.  As it turned out, our week in Disney coincided with one of the Star Wars weekends, and anyone who is a Stars Wars fan knows that this year was also a milestone birthday for the first movie, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  Yes…Memorial Day weekend, 35 years ago (in a galaxy not far far away), Star Wars and I were both introduced to the world!  And, what better way to celebrate 35 yearsthan with Darth Vader and Pirate Goofy in the land where dreams come true?

So, Hubby and I went all out.  We spent 7 days/6 nights at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL), which is in the middle of Disney’s wildlife preserve.  The resort was African themed, so the restaurants at the hotel served African-inspired food and there was a plethora of South African wine in the restaurants, at the gift shop, and during the Kilimanjaro Club happy hour.

One of the main reasons we decided on the AKL was because we could stay in a room that overlooked one of the savannahs, and the idea of waking up to giraffes before heading out to ride Space Mountain or coming home to zebras after dinner and the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks seemed to sum up the fantastical experience we were looking for.

Can you see the giraffe in the background?

I won’t bore you with all of the details of our trip.  However, even on a vacation to Walt Disney World, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to do some wine tasting.  Our room overlooked the Arusha Savannah, so I spent our downtime before dinner out on the balcony having happy hour with the giraffes.

2010 Man Vintners Pinotage

2010 Man Vintners Pinotage (with a blurry giraffe in the background)

The 2010 MAN Vintners Pinotage (winery) was from the Agter-Paarl region of South Africa and had a dark purplish ruby color.  On the nose, there were strawberries, cinnamon, and a touch of vanilla and band-aid.  In the mouth, there were strawberries, raspberries, vanilla, and hints of band-aid and nutmeg.  The wine had a light-to-medium body and tannins with 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 $13, this is a perfect everyday wine.  It’s not expensive, it is good quality, and it offers something a little unique.  Granted, I opened it after spending a hard, 8-hour day of playing at an amusement park in 95+ degree weather, which isn’t quite the same as drinking it after a hard, 8-hour day of work, but I think it would be perfect for that.  I also think it would be food-friendly, particularly with pizza or curry dish.  All in all, this is a nice Pinotage and offers something a little different from the everyday wines that many of us drink.

Question of the Day: When you’re on vacation do you tend to drink wine or other types of alcohol?

Price: $13
Purchased at Animal Kingdom Lodge Gift Shop
Overall: 4 Corks