Marathon Monday with a Michel-Schlumberger Wine

Let’s be honest…last week was a crazy week in the United States.  Mid-way through the week, I sipped on some wine and tried writing a post about Marathon Monday’s bombing.  I mean, I’m a runner who knows the ups and downs of training for a long race, although I will never been fast enough to run Boston.  I know the joy of seeing the finish line in the distance, the relief of crossing it in one piece, and the ecstasy of the beer going down while I ice my legs and put on compression socks once it’s all over.

I’m also someone who has been a rabid spectator of friends who run marathons.  So, I know the laughter and love that goes into putting together the signs that cheer on runners as they go by (as well as how much the runners actually enjoy those signs during the race).  And, I know the excitement of watching “your runner” breakout into a huge smile when s/he sees you on the sidelines when only a moment ago they looked like they were ready to collapse in defeat.

And, I’m a New Yorker who was living in DC during 9/11, so I know firsthand how a perfect day can turn into a nightmare.

Maybe knowing all those things makes my heart break that much more for those people who were in Boston during the bombing…maybe not.  But, my heart does break for them.

I wrestled whether I should even write a post about the Boston Bombing, since I wasn’t there to experience it and I hate the idea of the wine being associated with something so horrible.  I’ll leave the description of what it was like to actually be only a block away from the race to fellow blogger Shelby from Eat, Drink, and Run, as I wasn’t there.  However, not all wine is opened at the end of a good day, so I ultimately decided to blog about last week.

Selfishly, I was relieved that by Monday evening I had heard from everyone I knew running the race and living in Boston. They were all safe.  Very rattled, some stranded in the city…but everyone was safe.  When Hubby came home, I immediately gave him the list of who I heard from and then we just sat on the bed sharing the details we each knew.  Afterwards, Hubby helped me open a bottle of wine and carry it to the couch, since that’s a precarious thing to do on crutches, and we settled in just in time for the President’s press conference.  From that point on, I spent Monday night glued to the news with a glass of Michel-Schlumberger Pinot Blanc in my hand.

2011 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc

2011 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc

The 2011 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc (winery, amazon) is from the Dry Creek Valley area of California.  The wine had a pale, lemon-yellow color.  On the nose, there were apricots, pineapples, and grapefruits mixed with a hint of lemongrass.  In the mouth, there were apricots, pineapples, and yellow grapefruits with hints of limes and white flowers.  The wine had a light 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 $17, this wine is perfect for after work, particularly as the warmer weather starts rolling in.  Admittedly, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to long-time readers that I loved this wine, as I’ve reviewed a number of Michel-Schlumberger wines and I always enjoy them, but their wines are reliably enjoyable.  I’ve even reviewed past vintages of the Pinot Blanc–both 2008 and 2010.  The exciting thing for me, though, is the wine has inched slightly down in price, so that it makes it more of an affordable daily wine.

As for last Monday night, this wine was exactly what I needed. It paired well with the dinner Hubby made—chicken sautéed in peanut oil and garlic with steamed fresh green beans—as both the dinner and the wine were fairly subtle.  After dinner, went we went back to the news, it isn’t so complex that it distracted me from the serious events of the day.  At the same time, though, it was reassuring, familiar, and delicious.

Question of the Day: Did you know anyone at the Boston Marathon last Monday?  Is everyone you knew ok?

Price: $17
Purchased at Lot18
Overall: 4 Corks

Going with a Goldwater

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

Stelvin closure for a 2011 Goldwater Sauvignon BlancThis week was an interesting one for me, as I went back to work part-time…crutches and all.  The Boss has been wonderful about the whole surgery situation.  He’s more concerned about my healing properly than about my pushing too hard.  This past Wednesday was a perfect example.  I had planned to be in the office for half days all this week.  However, after two days of being up and around, my leg was pretty swollen and my hip was begging for a day of lying on the bed with some extra rest and ice.  Not to mention that I’ve also started going to physical therapy twice a week, and even though my sessions are scheduled for an hour, they usually take closer to an hour and a half.  So, combine the increased daily activity with rehab exercises and a significant scaling back of the pain medication and I was feeling it.  I emailed The Boss on Wednesday morning to ask if it was ok for me to work from home, as that is not something that is automatically allowed in my office.  He responded with an “absolutely” almost immediately.

My at-home workday was full of reading for my current project, emails, and phone calls, which was just my speed.  Admittedly, I did take a little time during lunch to walk around the block in our neighborhood, as the unseasonable 90-degree weather in April and all the cherry blossoms in bloom were too much to resist, but otherwise, I took it easy.  By the time Hubby walked in the door, I was shutting down for the evening and ready for a cool, crisp summer white wine.

2011 Goldwater Sauvignon BlancThe 2011 Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc (winery, amazon) is made with 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Wairau Valley of Marlborough, New Zealand.  The wine had a very pale golden-yellow color.  On the nose, there were gooseberries and passion fruit, with hints of white pepper, green bell peppers, and honeydew melon.  In the mouth, there were gooseberries and green bell peppers mixed with hints of passion fruit, white pepper, and ginger.  The wine had a light body and crisp, 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 $18, this NZ Sauvignon Blanc offers a little something different, while still holding true to the gorgeous freshness that so often is found in New Zealand versions.  The complexity is perfect for lingering over a glass on a 90+ degree summer day.  But, don’t let that stop you from pairing it with food.  The wine is goes just as well with a lighter summer meal like the seared tuna steak salad Hubby made for dinner.  So, all in all, this was a good white wine on a day where I needed to be off my feet and relax, particularly in the hot April weather.

Question of the Day:  What was your weather like this past week?  Did you go for a seasonal wine change?

Suggested Retail Price: $18
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks

Running & Hoptober to Get Back Into the Swing

I’m so behind in blogging it’s embarrassing.  There are a lot of reasons for it, but I miss sharing what I’ve been drinking, particularly as there have been some fabulous things to share.  So, instead of allowing myself to continue being overwhelmed by the backlog, I’m taking the stack of purple index cards I use for tasting notes and diving in.  It will take me a while to catch up, so expect to see a mix of reviews from a  few weeks (or months) ago mixed in with what I’m drinking now, but hold onto your glasses because I’m back to your regularly scheduled blogging!

To get myself back on track, I’m actually going to blog about what I’m drinking tonight (Sunday night)…New Belgium Brewing Company’s Hoptober Golden Ale.   Since running my first half marathon in Nashville back in April, my running has been sporadic.  I ran a few 5ks, logged about 12 miles a week, and just couldn’t get my running legs back under me.  As someone who has only been running for about a year and a half, that’s probably not too surprising, but I needed something to get me motivated again.  So, when my friend suggested that I join her for the MCM10k, it was just the incentive I needed, and by Labor Day, I was in full training mode.

Sunday morning was the race.  I was up before the sun and headed out to the National Mall to meet the two girlfriends I was running the MCM10k with.  It was a cold 34 degrees Fahrenheit and still wet from Saturday’s unusually snowy weather.  We all started off strong, but fairly soon into the race we were headed off the Mall and onto the 14th Street Bridge, which was a sheet of ice.  We ended up doing a mix of running/shuffling and fast walking for the next mile or so because it was impossible to avoid slipping while actually running.  After that, it was a tough run, but felt good. That last .25 mile uphill, which was a killer way to end, but having the Marines there cheering us on was really motivating.  I felt bad for the full marathoners who had to go up that hill after running 26 miles, as it was hard enough doing it after 6 miles.  All in all it was a good race, and it left me feeling tired, a little sore, and all-to-ready for a good beer, my must-have after running drink.

New Belgium Brewing Company Hoptober Golden Ale

New Belgium Brewing Company Hoptober Golden Ale

The New Belgium Brew Company’s Hoptober (brewery) was a light-to-medium topaz color, but it was bright and clear.  On the nose and in the mouth, it was a little malty with the tiniest hint of citrus, but no overpowering flavors or aromas.  It was medium-body beer with a thick, foamy head.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $10, this beer was the perfect for a relaxing Sunday afternoon.  Admittedly, I wanted to fall in love with this beer, partly because it was my after race drink and partly because New Belgium Brewing Company just started distributing in the DC Metro Area.  So, the fact that it was well-balanced and enjoyable obviously worked in its favor, but there also felt like there was something missing…some sort of pizzazz or personality that just wasn’t there.  Overall, if you see this beer, grab it before it’s gone because I’m sure it will be hard to find after October  But,  if you miss it, that’s probably ok too.

Question of the Day: Is there a particular food or drink that you look forward to indulging in after a particularly good workout?

Price: $10
Purchased at Harris Teeter
Overall: 3.5 Corks

A Storybook With Vampires

2007 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Eastern Exposure Zinfandel

Sunday was one of those unfortunate days where I spent much of my day off working.  I thought last week would be the end of my crazy work schedule, but Friday before I left work, an unexpected issue came up, and suddenly Sunday turned into almost a full 8-hour workday.  By the time the evening came around, I was exhausted and looking forward to an evening of cuddling on the couch with Hubby while watching the one TV show that we watch together, our embarrassing guilty pleasure—True Blood.

The 2007 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Eastern Exposure (winery, snooth) was a dark, vibrant purple.  On the nose, there was a spiced berry jam, reminiscent of Hostess fruit pie filling. In the mouth, there were blueberries, blackberries, cooking spices, and a hint of strawberries and flower petals.  The wine had high acidity, high alcohol, medium tannins, and a 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 $45, this wine is on the pricey end, but worth the cost.  It paired perfectly with Hubby’s steamed shrimp spiced with Old Bay seasoning, while also holding its own through a steamy night with Vampire Bill, Eric Northman, and Sookie Stackhouse.  The bad things on True Blood are right out of a novel, but only good things were coming from the bottle of Storybook.  And both were incredibly enjoyable and exactly what I need at the end of a long Sunday before the start of a busy week.

Overall: 4 Corks