Welcome to DCBlog Readers!

I wanted to give a quick thank you to Restaurant Refugee for the compliments and the link on today’s DC Blogs Noted.  The Restaurant Refugee and I have had a chance to comment back and forth on each other’s blogs over the last few weeks, so it was a pleasant surprise to see A Glass After Work mentioned earlier this morning.  Thanks!!

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Cheers!

TTT&T: Clarity in Your Wine

When you try to determine the clarity of your wine, you’re really looking for two things—how clear the wine is and if there is any sediment. 

First, and this may seem obvious, your wine should be clear.  Depending on the depth of the color of your wine, this may be difficult to determine, but make sure that you are judging the wine on whether it is dull or murky looking and not on the depth of the color.  A clear wine can be deep colored.  However, if a wine is cloudy, you know it’s likely flawed. 

If you’re having trouble determining the clarity of your wine, remember to tilt your glass.  As you do that, look through the liquid that is closer to the rim, rather than looking through the center of the glass.  You should be able to determine clarity with the wine glass in this position. 

Second, you should check your wine for sediment, not because the sediment is a bad thing (it’s not), but because it gives you some information about the wine.  The most common forms of sediment are caused by aging (mostly in red wines), by lack of filtration, or by tartrates (mostly in white wines).  As wines age, there is a breakdown of pigment and tannins that collect at the bottom of the bottle.  This sediment, which is like the sediment you will find in an unfiltered wine, can be bitter tasting, but is completely harmless.  If you have crystals that look like shards of glass in your white wine, or like red sugar crystals in your red wine, don’t panic!  These are tartrate crystals and indicate that the wine was exposed to cold temperatures after it was bottled.  These crystals are also harmless.  As a slight aside to help with your next game of Trivia Pursuit, these tartrate crystals also form on the inside of barrels during the wine making process.  When this happens, they’re scraped off and turned into cream of tartar.  

Singing with My Grüner Veltliner

Last week was an exciting workweek for me.  Sure, the recent flood of meetings continued, but a little excitement was interjected into it all when I went to a mid-week, early-morning briefing.  I admit it; I was grumpy when I was handed the invitation to the breakfast.  Immediately, I noticed that I had to wake-up earlier than usual and schmooze with people before I had a chance to have coffee number 3 for the day.  Plus, the topic of the briefing really was only tangentially within my area of expertise, so that of course made me a little edgy (one doesn’t want to look stupid in front of her colleagues).  It wasn’t until I arrived and the first speaker was introduced that I realized Goldie Hawn was one of the panelists!  Luckily for me, part of why I was there was to talk to one of the other panelist, so when I went up to say hello to him, he quickly introduced me to Ms. Hawn.  In an effort to remain professional, I didn’t have a chance to take a picture with her.  Truthfully, I didn’t have a chance to do much more than shake her hand, but it was still an exciting and out-of-the-ordinary way to start the day! 

Since my day started with a twist of something different, I decided that I wanted to end it with a wine that continued the trend of being out-of-the-ordinary, or at least out-of-the-ordinary for me.  Being that it has been incredibly hot here, the 2007 Laurenz und Sophie Singing Grüner Veltliner (vineyard, snooth) looked like it would be both something different and something refreshing. 

The Singing Grüner Veltliner was a clear lemony yellow. The wine had fresh, wet stone aromas that were followed by hints of green apples and green grapes.  In the mouth, the wine had very minerally flavors, with only a touch of fruitiness—some apricots, along with the green apples and green grapes I found on the nose.  A crisp acidity played well with the dryness and the alcohol to give the wine a pleasant balance.  The flavors lingered in the mouth a little longer than I expected, particularly because the wine was so light. 

Is this worth a glass after work? If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $14, this wine is a nice, easy drink.  In the description on the back of the bottle, there is a question about why the wine is called the Singing Grüner Veltliner, although the question is left unanswered, saying that the drinker should come up with the reason.  After experiencing this wine, I think that it’s called the Singing Grüner Veltliner because it leaves your wallet and your taste buds singing for joy because you didn’t have to spend a fortune on a quality, approachable, and enjoyable white wine.


Overall: 3.5 Corks


Celebration in a Bottle

As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, I was doing “the happy dance” on Tuesday because I received my WSET Level 2 Intermediate Certificate in Wines and Spirits test results, and I passed with distinction.  You could probably tell from my discussions about work that my current career is not within the wine industry.  My boss, however, is nice enough to allow me to leave the office early, once a week, so that I can attend wine classes.  Granted, that means school nights are particularly long days for me, since I leave my house around 7:30am and don’t walk back in until after 10pm, but it’s worth it, particularly when I receive good test results! 


Once I had my results, the big question was what I should open to celebrate.  Tuesday night was a busy one because immediately after work, I had a condo association board meeting.  As I’m a member of the board, I not only had to stay for the open session that residents could attend, but also the closed executive session that occurred afterwards.  It was an intense night, as there was significant disagreement between board members on a few hot-button issues.  Ultimately, I didn’t get home until almost 9:30pm, but that wasn’t going to stop my personal celebration.


During the first course, I was introduced to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and my love affair with this Southern Rhône Appellation bloomed.  Because of that, it seemed only appropriate for me to celebrate my results by opening a bottle of 2005 Perrin & Fils “Les Sinards” Chateauneuf-du-Pape (vineyard site, vineyard blog, snooth).  This blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre had a beautiful ruby color.  On the nose, there were strong red fruit aromas, mostly strawberry and raspberry, followed by a nice savoriness—a mixture of leather and sweet cooking spices.  In the mouth, the raspberry flavors were more prominent than the strawberry, but they both blended nicely with the taste of cloves and leather.  There was also a hint of spicy white pepper that helped give the wine character without dominating or becoming distracting.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $38 a bottle, this wine might push the limits of what some readers may be willing to spend on an everyday wine.  However, it’s a nice, maturing wine that will offer a solid flavor that you can sink into without being overwhelmed by it.  Plus, while I did open this bottle up for a special occasion, I can attest to its ability to be enjoyable after a long, tiring day.  In terms of food pairings, while I didn’t actually drink the wine with dinner, I think it would make go well with a roasted chicken or a seasoned pork tenderloin.

Overall: 4 Corks


Bliss with Barefoot & Bubbles

If you follow me on Twitter (@Alleigh), you know that last week was a ridiculously busy week in my office.  Every year, we hold a breakfast reception for people who come into DC, and we choose the date by looking at the popular Spring Break weeks for K-12 schools.  The purpose of picking the date this way is because there will be more families travelling, so we can see more people.  This year’s reception was last Wednesday, and it was the biggest one my office has ever had—over 250 people!  Now, that may not seem like a lot to people who are used to those types of big events, but as this is only a one-time-a-year reception, it is not something that my officemates and I are used to. 

For me, the reception meant a lot of talking, a lot of standing on my feet, and a lot of just “being on” all the time.  It also meant an overall increase in meetings, since people who attend the reception usually want to set up private meetings at another time.   All in all, it was a very successful week, but I was ready to collapse on Friday night when I got home.  I walked in the door, chilled a bottle of Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvee (vineyard, snooth), and plopped down on the couch to decompress w/ Hubby. 

Admittedly, I’m not the first to review the Barefoot Bubbly.  In fact, some of the blogs that I read regularly, like Wines by Benito, 1 Wine Dude, Brix Chicks, and The Wine Whore, have great thoughts to share on this sparkler.  Despite the diverse coverage, I still wanted to share my thoughts because, well, this wine fits perfectly into what A Glass After Work is all about.  As I read through the posts by other bloggers, what was most interesting to me is that while the wine was consistently described as not complicated, everyone gave it a thumbs-up—and I completely agree. 

The sparkling wine had a nice, medium lemon color, with big, strong bubbles rising to the top of the glass.  On the nose, there were pleasant green apple aromas.  In the mouth, the bubbles just danced off my tongue.  Again, there were green apple flavors.  There was also the slightest hint kiwi. 

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $8.99, this wine is pure, uncomplicated happiness in a bottle.  It’s the type of wine that doesn’t require a lot of studying, but rather is just meant to drink up and enjoy.  The Barefoot Bubbly is very drinkable on its own, although I paired it with a tortellini and shrimp in an alfredo sauce, and it was a great match.  The Barefoot Bubbly wasn’t anything fancy, and certainly not something that I would say was a special occasion sparkler, but it was perfect to open after a crazy day (or week) at work and just settle into and relax while you sip.   

Overall: 3.5 Corks