It’s been far too long since I did an always popular wines I drank post, so why not a holiday edition?
First up, we have this lovely Astoria Alisia 2013 Pinot Grigio that Nancy brought over for Mom’s Wine Night on Christmas Eve Eve. Pinot Grigios have grown immensely on me this past year – I used to think of them as flavorless generic wines – which I still think they can be – but I also managed to discover some that weren’t. It is one of the most popular imported wines in this country, but finding a good one can be a challenge because by nature, they are a light bodied, high acid delicate wine. In reading about Pinot Grigios, one writer stated they found that the simpler the label, the better the wine. That is definitely a theory I’m going to be trying out from here on out.
This particular wine was crisp, not too fruity but not too dry either, all in all, a rather lovely wine. I’ve no idea where Nancy got it, but knowing our palattes and what we like to spend on a bottle of wine are similar, I feel safe in saying it is one of those great wines for your money bottles. If you stumble across it, grab it.
Clarksburg 2010 Chenin Blanc. I’ve been drinking quite a bit of this gem lately. It’s on close out at Barracks Road Kroger for a song, so a bottle or two seem to land in my cart every time I run up there for milk. Or butter. Or whatever it is I seem to need that day and Ken waves me down to come say hello.
Ken is the Barracks Road Kroger Wine Guy and he’s wonderful. He really has a lovely wine selection, with a good bit of it priced in my favorite range, which is under $10 a bottle. I find myself going to Barracks Road Kroger more than I used to simply because of his wine section. And locals can attest to how crazy the Barracks Kroger can be – it’s on the tail end of a very busy, popular shopping center, the closest one to UVa (It’s also the closest Kroger to my house and the easiest one to get in & out of). There are times where no matter what, one does not step foot over there (like move in weekend), but it really can be worth navigating. Like that time I went in on a Saturday after a home football game and Ken flagged me down to show me a hidden discount section where I got a half case of really great wines that should have cost me over $100 for about $30.
Anyway, Clarksburg Chenin Blanc. It’s fruity, it’s tart with a nice body to it. It normally runs about $15-16 a bottle, but it’s currently at Kroger for about $7.99 I think. It’s on closeout, so I don’t know how long it will last. It’s a good wine to sip on while you cook dinner, that also pairs well with food. As to which food, I find pretty much any, especially if I’ve been sampling while cooking.
Hardywood Christmas Morning – a gingerbread stout with coffee. Hardywood is a brewery located over in Richmond – Pat was given this as a holiday gift from a coworker and while we didn’t have it Christmas morning, we did have it that afternoon as I was prepping dinner. I love a good stout and this is a good stout, although about halfway through the beer, it got a bit chunky. As in, there seemed to be quite a bit of sediment similar to cowboy coffee. That was slightly disappointing, but it was otherwise a good beer. Pat prefers their Gingerbread Stout to this particular one, but not recalling if I’ve had that flavor, I can’t say the same.
Last, but not least, a 2011 Cajo Rosso Dell’umbria by Terre de Trinci. An Italian blend, this wine hails from the Umbria region in Italy. It is 34% Sagrantino, 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is big, it is rich, it is balanced, it is one of those rare wines you can find on special for under $15 that is worth decanting. I mean it – as it opens up, it gets better. This is not to say it’s not drinkable as soon as you open it, it certainly is. But this wine can sit overnight and be better the next day, which is a magical trick for wine. This is yet another secret shared with me by Ken at Barracks, another one of those specials that seems to land in my cart every time I head over there. It is everything I love in a big red – fruity with hints of tobacco and chocolate and good tannins. I’m gushing I love this wine so much. I shared a bottle with Aunt Jenny over Thanksgiving weekend as well as with Mom’s Wine Night last week. Mom’s Wine Night is where I get together with one of my core groups of mom friends that drink well together while our husbands go out for beers together and the girls get together and watch One Direction things. It works on every level.
There have been a few other red wines I’ve drank this holiday season as well as some incredibly good apple bounce my friend Mark gave us that we enjoyed immensely with Smiley when he was here one evening recently. I’ve realized I’ve been drinking mostly whites this holiday season, as I tend to do this time of year. Maybe because they’re lighter and they compliment some of the rich foods so well? Or maybe it’s just my way of trying to conjure memories of long, light filled summer days this time of year. Either way, I seem to prefer white wines this time of year and not my usual summer whites. Virginia Viognier is a favorite this time of year although I’ve not reviewed one here. I’ll have to fix that soon.