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

Getting My Viggy on with Fess! (Wine Blogging Wednesday #78)

Let’s be honest, I’m not a huge Viognier fan.  I try.  I really do, particularly because it’s Virginia’s signature grape and I try to support the local wineries.  But, Viognier just never does it for me.  Flame away, Viognier lovers, but I prefer other white wines like a Verdejo or a Grüner Veltliner.  And, when it comes to Virginia wines, I much prefer a Virginia Cabernet Franc or Petit Verdot.

Considering my tumultuous relationship with Viognier, I was torn on whether to participate in this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW #78): Get Your Viggy On. The whole idea of buying a wine that wouldn’t wow me just to participate in WBW seemed like a waste of wine.  At the same time, my whole goal with the blog is to taste new wines…explore new horizons…push myself beyond my wine comfort zone.

So, when Hubby and I went grocery shopping, I decided to just take a look at the Viogniers to see if one caught my eye.  Low and behold, there was a 2009 Fess Parker Viognier…and I like Fess Parker wines.  Plus, I like Frank from Drink What YOU like, who is hosting WBW #78, and I like participating in Wine Blogging Wednesday.  So, I bought it, and on Sunday afternoon, as I was doing my weekly blogging and awaiting this week’s True Blood, I decided to get my Viggy on…and I’m so glad I did!

2009 Fess Parker Viognier

2009 Fess Parker Viognier

The 2009 Fess Parker Viognier (winery) is from Santa Barbara, California and is made with 80% Viognier, 13% Marsanne, 5% Grenache Blanc, and 2% Roussanne grapes.  The wine was a light lemon yellow.  On the nose, there was honeydew, white nectarines, champagne mangoes, and hints of pineapple and vanilla.  In the mouth, there were white nectarines, champagne mangoes, and hints of drawn butter, pineapple, vanilla, and wet stones.  The wine was well-balanced with a medium body and medium acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $18, this wine is a delightful summer white that will be perfect for Friday evenings up on our roof deck (notice I said “will be,” as I expect the Wine Ladies and I will be drinking this white again in the near future).  It is food-friendly—maybe some guacamole and chips or some manchego cheese and prosciutto to snack on while on the roof deck—but also the perfect sip-and-type wine to accompany me on my afternoon of blogging.  My one word of warning is that the wine has 14.5% alcohol, so it definitely backs a wallop without tasting like it.  If you’re gonna get your Viggy on, this is the wine do it with!

Special thanks to Frank for hosting this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday.  Clearly, I wouldn’t have picked up this wine without the WBW excuse, and I would definitely have been missing out.  Cheers!

Question of the Day:  Are you a Viognier fan?  What one would you suggest for a wine lover who has a questionable relationship with the grape?

Price: $18
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Wine Blogging Wednesday #77 Wrap-Up: Lots of Glasses After A Bad Day At Work

Doing the Wine Blogging Wednesday wrap-up took me a little longer than expected because I wasn’t able to get the post up before Hubby and I left for vacation.  However, we’re back and I’m ready to jump back into blogging.

This WBW prompted not only blog posts, but also comments on Twitter, Facebook, and my blog.  So, without further ado, suggestions for “A Glass After a Bad Day at Work:”

  • Lisa from 110 Pounds and Counting commented on the initial WBW #77 post and suggested Trader Joe Coastal wines.  I haven’t had the chance to try one yet, but the conversation prompted me to pick-up a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc!
  • Romance novelist Suzanne Ferrell shared on Twitter that she’s a White Zinfandel sort of girl, but that she would also consider a peach Bellini.
  • Wine lover Elizabeth DeHoff tweeted that she would open a Vinho Verde “because it’s light and refreshing and makes me happy!”
  • The Brix Chicks were clearly having a rough go of it.  Brix Chick Heidi had two bad days in a row to test out good wines for after a bad day.  While her philosophy is to grab something “pink with a screw cap for quick access, and chilled to cool me off (or down),” the bottle she opened after her first bad day didn’t do the trick.  After bad day #2, though, she opened the 2011 Quivira North Coast Rosé, which sounds like it hit the right spot.
  • Work was already giving Brix Chick Liza lots to drink about when WBW #77 was announced, so she was already into her 6-week experiment with the Ocatvin 3L Big House Red.
  • The Wine Predators had several thoughts on what to open after a bad day at work, and it sounds like Art Predator, Que Syrah Sue, Bacchus Schmacchus, Ima Zinner, and Annie AnyDay had quite the gathering to taste test all of the options.
  • Wine Muse was inspired by not just a bad day, but a bad week, and used WBW #77 as a chance to pop open some Ayala Zero Dosage Champagne.
  • Talk-A-Vino explained that he looks for four criteria in his “pick me up” wines—that the wine is ready to drink, familiar, has a great smell, and is, well, good.  He also shared four examples that fit the bill.
  • As someone who goes for the big, brooding wines after a bad day, I opened the 2008 Ottimino Rancho Bello Vineyard Zinfandel.

Several folks went outside the box and picked A Glass After Work that wasn’t actually wine, which was a lot of fun.

Thanks to everyone for participating!  You helped make my first Wine Blogging Wednesday a success.   I put together a WBW #77 board on Pintrest, this way you can keep these suggestions handy should a bad day at work strike.

Finally, Frank from Drink What YOU Like just announced Wine Blogging Wednesday 78 – Get Yo Viggy On!  So, you have until June 20th to get your hands on a bottle of Viognier for WBW #78.

Cheers!
–Alleigh

Nothing Little About Ottimino Zinfandel (Wine Blogging Wednesday #77)

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

On April 30th, I announced I was hosting this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday.  And, yes, folks…today is the big day, the day wine lovers everywhere are posting on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram, and right here in the comment section about “A Glass After a Bad Day at Work.”  In few days, I’ll have a WBW #77 wrap-up post, so don’t forget to drop me an email (or comment on this post, on my Facebook wall, or on Twitter). And if you are posting about WBW on Twitter or Pintrest, be sure to use the #WBW77 tag, this way we can all see it.

In the meantime, here are my thoughts for this month’s theme.

Last week was a pretty good week at work, so thankfully, as I thought about the WBW theme, it was all hypothetical for me.  Still, the drama queen in me knows that when I come home feeling moody, I want a wine that is moody with me, A wine that will let me embrace my grumpiness, but at the same time be brooding enough to distract me from me stormy mood.  Nine times out of ten, that means I will grab a Zinfandel.

The 2008 Ottimino Rancho Bello Vineyard (winery) is from the Russian River Valley in California.  The wine had a deep ruby color with the slightest fleck of dark purple.  On the nose, there were blueberries, black cherries, pomegranates, and raspberries mixed with cinnamon, cloves, and a hint of vanilla.  In the mouth, there were blueberries, black cherries, pomegranates, and hints of cloves, vanilla, and white pepper.  The wine had big tannins, good, acidity, and high alcohol.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for?  At an SRP of $30, this wine is one the high end for opening after work, but it is worth it, particularly on those nights where you’re looking for something that is big and bold. It’s exactly the type of wine I would want to open after a bad day because there is so much complexity in the wine, I could spend the evening just sipping it and losing myself in the lusciousness.  At the same time, the great balance makes it enjoyable a good, food-friendly wine, even on those days that aren’t so bad.

Question of the Day: What wine would you open after a bad day at work and why would you picked that wine to wash away your bad day (obviously)?

Suggested Retail Price: $30
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Ball Buster for The Barasso Boomerang

When I first started blogging, Australian wines frequented my wine glass.  However, I slowly started replacing my Australian Shiraz cravings with juicy California Zinfandels, and the next thing I knew, there wasn’t a wine from down under to be found in my wine rack.  Clearly, I’m not the only one who started leaving Australian wines behind because that was the topic Wine Blogging Wednesday #76—Australian Comeback Kid-The Barossa Boomerang.

WBW turned out to be the perfect opportunity for me to fix my lack of Australian wine tasting.  Unfortunately, while I drank the wine, took pictures, and put together my notes, a ridiculously annoying cold left me with little energy to actually write the post, and WBW #76 came and went without a post from me.  Still, I wanted to share, so here is what should have been my post last Wednesday…

2009 Tait The Ball Buster

2009 Tait The Ball Buster

Sunday evening, after a morning of grocery shopping and an afternoon with finishing my first sweater at my monthly knitting group get together, I came home to a night of blogging, more knitting, and watching my favorite Sunday night TV shows.  Hubby said he was making a beef stir-fry for dinner, so I twisted off the top of my Australian Shiraz and settled in.

Tait The Ball Buster 2009 (winery) was from the Barossa Valley, Australia.  The wine was made from 73% Shiraz, 15% Merlot, and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and had a dark, purplish-ruby color.  On the nose and in the mouth, there were blackberries and black cherries with hints of chocolate dust, prunes, and molasses.  The wine was medium-to-full-bodied with solid tannins and good acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable glass of wine.  At $16, this wine was both food-friendly and Game of Thrones-friendly.  As a matter of fact, it turned out to be an appropriate pairing for last week’s episode, which was a real ball buster in itself.

That said, The Ball Buster didn’t quite live up to my expectations.  On the back label, Bruno Tait described the wine as “broad-shouldered, built like a stallion, and she packs an intensity of flavor,” so that is what I was expecting.  Unfortunately, though, I just didn’t find it.  The wine didn’t have enough body to be the “big, thick, juicy” wine Tait was trying to deliver.  So, while The Ball Buster was good, it just left me wanting more.

Question of the Day: Are you an Australian wine fan?  Have you noticed a change in your Australian wine purchasing habits over the last few years?

Price: $16
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 3 Corks