Sunday Baking: Montes Alpha Carménère & Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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

2012 Montes Alpha Carménère & Chocolate Crinkle Cookies – At $20 a bottle, this red wine from Chile is big, bold, and full of flavor. Plan on opening it for dinner and grabbing a second glass afterwards for a relaxing evening, whether it’s a school night or not. Cheers! Rating 4 out 5| AGlassAfterWork.com

TheA glass of Montes Alpha Carmenere and chocolate crinkle cookies second weekend in January was all about trying to get back into the normal routine of things. Saturday was meal planning, grocery shopping, laundry, and making cookie dough. Sunday was a little bit of relaxing, the first meeting of my new book club where we read Lost in the City by Edward Jones, and baking cookies. Since I wanted something warm and chocolate-y, I went with chocolate crinkle cookies. To go with the dance party that is often my Sunday evening cookie baking, I opened a bottle of Chilean red wine.

2012 Montes Alpha Carménère & Chocolate Crinkle Cookies – At $20 a bottle, this red wine from Chile is big, bold, and full of flavor. Plan on opening it for dinner and grabbing a second glass afterwards for a relaxing evening, whether it’s a school night or not. Cheers! Rating 4 out 5| AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Montes Alpha Carménère & Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

The 2012 Montes Alpha Carménère (winery, snooth) was a deep ruby with hints of purple that clung to the glass. The wine was made with 90% Carménère and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. On the nose, there were blackberries and tobacco with hints of vanilla, earth, and menthol. In the mouth, there were blackberries and plums with hints of vanilla, tobacco, and chocolate and mint on the finish. The wine was full bodied with smooth tannins and high acid.

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 was big, bold, and very enjoyable. However, I wish it was just a touch better integrated. The alcohol and acid distracted me from the beautiful flavors. Letting the wine breath a little definitely helped, but ultimately the balance was the difference between me really liking this wine and my loving it. Of course, none of that stopped me from dancing around the kitchen and having a fun time with the wine while I was baking.

The cookies were big and fudgey, and exactly what I was hoping for. My coworkers gobbled them down, and my sister-in-law later mentioned that they were her favorite for the month of January.

Overall, the pairing of the Carménère and the chocolate crinkle cookies was perfect for a rainy, January day. The cookies helped tone down the alcohol and acid in the wine, and the chocolatey-ness of the cookies paired nicely with flavors in the wine. Both the wine and the cookies will be repeats for me.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite chocolate cookie?

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Print Recipe
Chocolatey cookies rolled in powdered sugar and baked to fudgey, chewy perfection
Servings
2 dozen
Servings
2 dozen
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Print Recipe
Chocolatey cookies rolled in powdered sugar and baked to fudgey, chewy perfection
Servings
2 dozen
Servings
2 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt .
  2. Combine the unsweetened chocolate and butter in a bowl. Microwave on low (or at 50 percent power), stirring occasionally. It should take about 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is melted.
  3. In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg and vanilla on high speed.
  4. Add chocolate mixture until just combined.
  5. Slowly add flour mixture, just until it is combined.
  6. Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
  7. When ready to bake, remove cookies from the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  9. Place the granulated sugar and powdered sugar in separate shallow bowls.
  10. Take a rounded tablespoon of chilled dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1-inch balls. Roll the shaped dough in the sugar mixture until coated. Slightly flatten cookies with the palm of your hand, if desired.
  11. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until cookies are puffed and cracked. The edges will look as if they're finished, but the middle will look soft and gooey.
  12. Let cookies set on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire cooling rack to completely cool.
Recipe Notes

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

A Friday Night of Cookies, Pizza, and a Montes Syrah

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

2012 Montes Alpha Syrah – At $20, this big, bold, and beautiful red wine from Chile is a great choice for unwinding on a Friday night. Enjoy it on its own or drink it with a dinner of lamb chops, BBQ ribs, or even a juicy burger. Either way, you won’t be sorry you opened it. Ratings 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Montes Alpha Syrah

On the left is the gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough and on the right is the regular dough.

On the left is the gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough and on the right is the regular dough.

Friday, February 5 was the last day I had to prepare for Hubby’s birthday, so there were a number of things I needed to accomplish but, considering it was a workday, the time I had to do everything was very limited.  Friday started with a conference call and a couple of meetings downtown, after which, instead of heading to lunch, I ran to Harris Teeter to get a few last minute supplies to make homemade birthday ice cream sandwiches.

After the store, I went home to make cookie dough — regular chocolate chip for Hubby and gluten-free dough for me.  Since the cookies were really just the vehicle to eat the ice cream, I decided to use the Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe with a few minor tweaks.  I halved the whole thing because Hubby and I didn’t need 10 dozen cookies, then doubled the vanilla and halved the butter.  For my cookies, I used my batch of Minimalist Baker’s gluten-free flour blend (without xanthan gum) instead of all-purpose flour.  Amazingly, whipping together the cookie dough and getting everything chilling didn’t take much time.  And, as soon as I was done, I headed back to work for my afternoon of marathon meetings on Capitol Hill.

Hubby's homemade birthday ice cream sandwich

Hubby’s homemade birthday ice cream sandwich

Once my meetings finished and the workday was over, I walked home, told Hubby what I was up to, opened my wine, and popped the cookies in the oven.  I made a few extra, this way we could both taste a couple on Friday night, but the goal was really to get the cookies baked and let them cool so I could make the ice cream sandwiches first thing Saturday morning.

The 2012 Montes Alpha Syrah (winery, snooth) was from the Colchagua region of Chile and was a blend of 90% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Viognier grapes.  The wine had a dark purple color with a bright ruby rim and big, drippy legs.  On the nose, there were blackberries and black currants mixed with tobacco and a hint of vanilla and black pepper.  In the mouth, there were blackberries, blueberries, and mocha mixed with hints of vanilla, black pepper, and baking spices.  The wine was full-bodied with good acidity and velvety tannins.

2012 Montes Alpha Syrah – At $20, this big, bold, and beautiful red wine from Chile is a great choice for unwinding on a Friday night. Enjoy it on its own or drink it with a dinner of lamb chops, BBQ ribs, or even a juicy burger. Either way, you won’t be sorry you opened it. Ratings 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Montes Alpha Syrah

Is this worth a glass after work?  Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. A t a $20 SRP, this wine is a great choice for a Friday night when you’re more likely to have a couple of glasses.  It was beautiful on its own while I was waiting for the cookies to bake, went nicely with the homemade white, gluten-free pizza Hubby and I had for dinner, and was amazing with the chocolate chip cookie.  The only problem with this wine was that it goes down very easily, so before I knew it, the bottle was almost empty.

Question of the Day: Do you generally have the same thing for dinner on Friday nights (like beer & pizza night) or do you generally mix things up every week?

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

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.

Reds

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).

Whites

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.

Rosé

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.***

 

Friday Night Malbec

 

**I received this wine as a sample**  

By the time Friday of my staycation arrived, I’d spent a little too much time in the sun.  As the pool area has no umbrellas and no shade, I was forced to spend the day inside.  Thankfully, the weather had cooled off a little, so Hubby and I opened the windows of our condo, and I made myself comfortable in the sunroom, where I enjoyed a nice breeze, while keeping myself out of the sun.  After a tough day of reading my book, Hubby made dinner and I opened a bottle of red wine, before we settled into a Friday night movie.

2007 Kaiken Reserve Malbec

The 2007 Kaiken Reserve Malbec (winery) was 90% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and had a dark, vibrant purple color.  On the nose, there were red fruits, followed by dust, nutmeg, smoke, and cedar.  In the mouth, there were some sour cherries mixed with nutmeg and cedar.  The wine had a medium body, medium acidity, and high alcohol.

Is this worth a glass after work? Eh…if you have a bottle on hand, drink it, but I wouldn’t go searching it out either. At a suggested retail price of $14, this wine just didn’t excite me.  It was overpoweringly “hot,” so the alcohol dominated the wine’s flavors.  Letting the wine breathe and pairing it with the steaks that Hubby made for dinner helped give the wine better balance, but still didn’t give me what I was looking for.  There are just better Malbecs for under $20, and there are other wines by Viña Montes that I would buy before this one.

 

 

Price: $14 (suggested retail)
Received as sample
Overall: 2.5 Corks

Friday Night Rosé

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

2009 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah

The last four weeks at work comprised one of the busiest times I have had since I started working.  My days were full of internal discussions on how to move forward with one of my biggest projects this year, intense meetings with people from other offices who want to work on the project, internal and external phone calls with additional people who are interested in the project, and more emails than I know what to do with.  So, when my boss closed the office early on the Friday before July 4th, I was ecstatic.  I wasn’t able to leave at noon when we officially closed, but I escaped a few hours early.   Since Hubby was going out with some friends, I made a few detours before coming home, where I ate some Thai takeout, opened a bottle of Rosé, and caught up on some trash tv.

The 2009 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah (winery, snooth) was made from 100% Syrah grapes and had a really dark pink color with hints of orange, particularly on the rim.  On the nose, there were bright red fruits with a hint of perfume.  In the mouth, there were strawberries, raspberries, violets, and something a little foresty on the finish.  The wine was very dry, with good acidity, and a light-to-medium body.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $17, this wine pushes the limit on what I’m likely to pay for a Rosé, as I am not generally a huge fan.  However, this wine surprised me.  It is slightly heavy for a Rosé, but that’s part of what I found intriguing about this bottle.  It had nice flavor and a touch of body, but was still refreshing, light, and flirty—what I expect from a good Rosé. Admittedly, my pairing with Thai was probably not the best choice, but the wine was quite enjoyable.

Overall: 3.5 Corks

**I would like to extend my sympathy to everyone at Viña Montes.
I’m sure that Mr. Douglas Murray will be missed by you all.***