Boli & Gull

When in Iceland, drink what the Icelandics brew! The first night in Iceland we hit Happy Hour at HVER Restaurant at the hotel. These hours, we found, can vary a lot place to place, and often end early. This bar had it from 4pm-6pm. Jumping way forward, one place had it for 1 hour only, making that hour totally happy, from 9pm-10pm. That’s way too late. Most of the time beers were 50% off during Happy Hour, bringing the price of a pint down to around a ‘reasonable’ $8.

So, back to this one, we opted to try Gull and Boli, both on tap. The Gull was pretty light, nothing too exciting. Better than Bud, but not something I’d get every day. The ABV was 5.0%. The Boli had a bit more weight to it, more color to it, a bit more taste. It was a lager, and came in with 5.6% ABV.

Nonetheless, these were a great kickoff for vacation. They were enjoyed after walking around Hveragerði and seeing hotsprings. These are what the town is known for.

BÓNUS

I read through a book some friends gave me about traveling to Iceland (Cheap Iceland: How to Travel This Expensive Country on a Tight Budget) and several times it mentioned the store BÓNUS. It’s a discount store, sort of like ALDI. That book was great, but that guy sounded like he had no money. He provided some nice tips, though.

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There was one right near the first hotel so I had to go check it out. Helps that I love going to grocery stores, too. Pretty traditional grocery store stock, of course with some local food. Prices weren’t too bad; I was expecting stuff to be very high. We did pick up stuff to use during the week instead of needing to eat out for every meal because I read via the book that it was expensive to do so.

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HVER Restaurant, Hveragerði, Iceland

Recently traveled to Iceland and Greenland for vacation. Landed in Reykjavik early in the morning and then starting driving east. The first place we were staying was Hveragerði. Upon arrival mid-day, it was high time for lunch. We opted to simply grab something at the hotel (Hótel Örk) at the HVER Restaurant.

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There was a nice sounding soup on the menu — Langoustine soup, garlic marinated langoustine and saffran cream. (2.150 kr.)

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Then also the Salmon — Cured salmon tartar, toast and honey dressing. (2.200 kr.)

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Adding the prices here because I’d heard Iceland was pricey. Basically these were $21 for the soup and $22 for the tartar.

Apparently the soup was quite good and the salmon was delicious. This was the start of the trip, so I was not yet aware that this was a delicacy to have veggies. Great way to kick things off.

Bistrot du Coin

Recently visited Bistrot du Coin in Washington, DC in the Dupont Circle area. They coin themselves as ‘The Original French Bistrot in Washington DC.’ The restaurant will turn 17 years old this year and offers a nice open space with high ceilings and opportunity to almost sit on Connecticut Ave when the front doors/walls are open on gorgeous days. They are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

We went on a Tuesday night, fairly early, 7ish. Was easy to get a table. By the time we left around 8:30pm, it was busy. The service was extremely slow. Took a long time to get simple things like water and drinks.

Looking over the menu, a decent selection of French food. What ended up coming to the table (along with some Stella Artois and Alsace wine).

Salade Niçoise façon Bistrot
Bonito tuna,hard boiled egg, Anchovy over mixed greens, Vegetables, black olives $17.95

While it was good, why do they have to used canned tuna? I would love some nicely grilled stuff.

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Moules Marinières
Steamed mussels in white wine with onions, shallots, garlic and parsley $13.95/$23.95

These were done nicely and the tasted delicious.

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Onglet à l’échalotte
Hanger Steak with French Fries served with compote of shallot, red wine sauce
(Chef recommends med-rare or rare) $25.95

Very traditional. Now it was ordered medium rare and came out pretty much bright pink in the middle. We did have to send it back because there is a difference between pan-searing it momentarily and letting it cook for a couple minutes. When it came back it out, apparently it was quite good.

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Overall, a decent dinner, but as commented initially, extremely slow service. Just getting refills on the water was challenging. So, glad I went, but not a restaurant I need to check out a lot, but also not one I would have a problem going back to.

Mercer Wine Estates

Another winery visited in the general Yakima Valley area was Mercer Winery. Their physical location is in Prosser. Their first vintage was in 2005 and six years later the owners received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.

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We opted for the basic tasting for $5 (vs. $10 for reserves).

2016 Estates Rose
This bone-dry Rosé is perfect pool-side, brunch-side, or wedding-side. We also, just love it glass-side. A great wine for a wide variety of people and dishes, it’s pretty, pink, and delicious. Notes of fresh strawberries, white tea and cranberries combine with a beautiful balance of acidity and alcohol. Price: $15.
Horse Heaven Hills AVA|Blend: 100% Grenache|Alcohol: 12.5% |T.A.: 0.61g/100mL | pH: 3.22|Dry
*Very crisp, definitely a summertime wine.

2013 Chardonnay
Notes of vanilla, creamsicle, juicy pear and pineapple greet you on the nose. The voluminous fruit continues in the mouth with flavors of sweet pineapple juice and fresh pear with a drizzle of sweet butter. The lush fruit is balanced by clean, bright acidity that leads into a long, lingering finish. Price: $13.
Columbia Valley|Blend: 96% Chardonnay, 4% Viognier|Alcohol: 13.9%|TA: 0.6 g/L|pH: 3.53
*1/2 oaked, 1/2 un-oaked. Nice and crisp. Really liked this one.

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2014 Mercer Canyons Riesling
This off-dry Riesling (about 1.5 residual sugar) explodes with beautiful aromas of lychee, orange blossom and tangerine from the glass. The palate is full with apricot and peach notes drizzled in honey. The finish is refreshing with enough bright acidity. Price: $13.
Yakima Valley | Blend: 100% Riesling | Alcohol: 13.3% |T.A.: 0.68 g/100mL |pH: 3.02
*I got lots of honeysuckle on this. Yes, it’s a Riesling.

2013 Estates Merlot
Cherries and blackberries mingle with warm baking spices on the nose. Touches of oak, coffee and cocoa with lush fruit and velvety tannin on the palate. One of our favorite wines–enjoy with any red meat dish, tomato based pasta dishes, or just as a perfect sipping wine next to a warm fire. Price: $25.
Horse Heaven Hills |Blend: 80% Merlot, 17% Syrah, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon |
Alcohol: 14.5%|TA: 0.59g/100mL|pH: 3.68
*This had some definite chocolate notes to it. Very nice wine. There are good Merlots out there.

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2013 Petit Verdot
Whoa-Nelly–this is a big, bold wine! Big jammy flavors of blackberry jam, vanilla, and a hint of pie crust. This wine will age well, or if you need to impress someone with a high impact wine, or have a smoked brisket that needs a ‘pardner’–we suggest putting a few of these in your shopping cart.
Horse Heaven Hills| Spice Cabinet Vineyard| 100% Petit Verdot| Alcohol: 14.4% |
TA: 0.63g/100mL | pH:3.97
*White pepper is what I found to be the most prominent note.

Fun place to visit. I’m sure it’s another one that will keep growing. Love visiting more less-known, Washington wineries. Cheers!

Treveri Cellars

While in the Yakima Valley awhile back, I visited Treveri Cellars, which produces only bubbly. Too bad! Their exact location is Wapato. They have been around for six years and aim to put WA state sparkling wines on the map. They have also been served at US State Department receptions and the James Beard Foundation.

You go to their lovely tasting room and you must sit at a table (vs standing at the bar). They kindly come around and pour your tasting. And, come the end, the tasting is free (so uncommon).

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(note on the dosage — a 0 dosage is SUPER dry)

Blanc de Noirs Brut
Small bubbles give way to a delicate color with a hint of strawberries and brioche on the nose. The minimal dosage allows the true palate complexity of this wine shine through, leaving rich acidity with a creamy finish.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | AVA: Yakima Valley |Vintage: Non-Vintage | Total Acid: 7.5g/L
pH: 3.32 | Dosage: 8g/L | En Tirage: 23.5 months | PRICE: $20.00
*Very crisp, not overly sweet. Prefer this over the Blanc de Blanc. My favorite.

Blanc de Blancs Brut
The most well-known of sparkling wines, our Blanc de Blancs captures hints of green apple and brioche, balanced out by a cool, crisp finish.
Blend: Chardonnay | AVA: Yakima Valley | Vintage: Non-Vintage | Total Acid: 8.2g/L
pH: 3.3 | Dosage: 12g/L | En Tirage: 24 months | PRICE: $15.00
*Traditional ‘champagne’.

Sparkling Rosé
Crisp and complex, Treveri Cellars Sparkling Rosé boasts hints of berries and citrus, creating a blend of delicious and enticing flavors. Rosé pairs well with any dish, and its versatile profile is sure to lavish your meal with luxury and class.
Blend: Syrah/Chardonnay | AVA: Yakima Valley | Vintage: Non-Vintage | Total Acid: 8.1g/L | pH: 3.32 | Dosage: 22g/L | En Tirage: 24 months | PRICE: $18.00
*Very sweet.

Brut Rose (not on the tasting list)
No details on it other than – Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Dosage: 6g/L
*Nice and dry!

Sparkling Gewürztraminer
A delightful combination of spice and exotic fruit aromas, Treveri Sparkling Gewürztraminer ignites a spark of variety with every sip. Easy to recognize but hard to put down, this bubbly will captivate your senses and enlighten your experience.
Blend: 100% Gewürztraminer | AVA: Yakima Valley | Vintage: Non-Vintage
Total Acid: 7.5g/L | pH: 3.34 | Dosage: 35g/L | En Tirage: 24 months | PRICE: $17.00
*Almost beer/cider-like.

Sparkling Syrah Brut
With devotion, care, and careful attention, Treveri sparkling Syrah exudes sophistication and elegance, making it a paradigm of perfection. Red effervescence cascades through this sparkling, matched equally by dark fruit and complex yeast tones.
Blend: 100% Syrah | AVA: Yakima Valley | Vintage: Non-Vintage | Total Acid: 7.5g/L
pH: 3.38 | Dosage: 12g/L | En Tirage: 24 months | PRICE: $20.00
*Not as many bubbles as the whites. Very smooth for a Syrah. Light but syrupy. Too grape-y. Not my favorite sparkling red, and I seek these wines out.

This winery has great potential. Many options, fair prices and amazing tasting room if you’re on site. Look forward to seeing them grow and glad I was able to visit them.

Terre de Marco Prosecco

Found a new Prosecco at a tasting last week — the Terre di Marca. Fairly dry with a unique sweetness that’s not overkill. Has some apples and pears to it and a tiny bit of honey. Great to enjoy during the summer. And the bottle is unique, sort of stubby, vs. the traditional bottle. Was in the low-mid teens, price-point wise.

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Chateau Larose Perganson

It was one of those beautiful nights in DC recently and I just wanted to sit on my deck and enjoy a nice dinner and red wine. So I picked through my wine rack and pulled out one that looked good. It was a French wine, but I know I didn’t buy it in France directly because of some of the notes on the label. It was the Chateau Larose Perganson 2009 Haut Médoc Cru Bourgeois.

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Opened it and poured some in my glass with the aerator. WOW.  Why have I waited so long to open this?

Per the site, its tasting notes are:

Intense ruby color with violet hues. The nose is quite powerful, a true symphony of spices: milk caramel and vanilla, of jammy fruits: ripe plums, black currants, blackberries, as well as aromas of roasted coffee, toasted bread and dark chocolate. Perfect roundness from a combination of opulent fruit and good oak ageing which provide superb balance and complexity. 100% cold pre-fermentary maceration. A fabulous wine! Please decant two hours before tasting.

My comments:

Smooth and then smooth. It was creamy and just slid through your mouth. Fruit and chocolate.

I had to figure out where I bought this because I’m not sure how long I’d had it. After much research, I found it at Rodman’s (in NW DC). It’s about $25/bottle. Can’t go wrong with Rodman’s. And, will definitely be picking up some more.

Chardo…

Was in a local shop working a wine tasting recently and noticed this sign. Something just seemed off about it. I stared at it for awhile (because it was a slow night) and really had to think about it. Then I started staring at all the bottles in its section. No, I wasn’t crazy, the sign really was missing an ‘n’.

Now, what I had the hardest time deciding…do I tell the store owner about this? They have owned the store for over 10 years, it’s also a local sandwich shop, mini grocery store, etc. They know the people well. I couldn’t do it. Maybe regulars would be disappointed if it changed?

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Hogue Cellars (reserve)

When checking out Yakima Valley awhile back, in the Prosser Region, we visited a relatively well known (I assume, because I see it fairly often) winery/wine maker — Hogue Cellars.

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Now jumping ahead a bit, I like splitting tastings because when you hit several wineries a day you’re going to taste a lot and drink a lot. You’re going to lose your taste and obviously have some alcohol… And somebody has to drive. But then, you start talking to these people. It’s a quiet day and they talk and talk, understand your love of wine and say ‘Oh, but you have to try this. And oh, but then…’ You don’t end up splitting a tasting.

We arrived, fairly quiet and opted to split the Reserve Tasting, for $5. You chose 5 of 9 wines you want to sip. These aren’t the wines you see on the store shelves with the label in the logo as noted above. They hold these labels:

We opted for:

2015 Terroir Viognier, Wahluke Slope — Our Viognier opens with fresh flora and exotic fruits aromas. Peach cobbler, citrus and a touch of pineapple intertwined with tropical mango and starfruit. It features a mouthfeel that is clean and crisp with soft acidity. $20 — Very nice nose, a bit sweet, definite starfruit taste (because you know, we know this off the bat because we eat it everyday).

2014 Terroir GSM Lonesome Springs Vineyard — 21% Grenache/40% Syrah/39% Mouverdre.  In the glass, the wine is young purple in color with a tint of red on the rim. Lively aromas of black raspberry, black pepper and spice with touches of vanilla cream. $28 — A bit oakey, chocolatey.

2013 Reserve Merlot Columbia Valley — This wine opens with aromas of wild strawberry, cherry, blueberry and dark meaty plum. Rich and weighty on the pallet with great structure and integrated oak. Flavors of black cherry, raspberry, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg linger with a lasting finish. $30 —  NICE!!!! Bought a bottle for later. Fruit on the nose. Very fresh and fruity on the tongue. I have always avoided this varietal because of the movie Bottleshock and I wish I didn’t have that in my mind. This grape can be good.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain — Our Cabernet Sauvignon has amazing color and depth, along with some unique and exciting fruit flavors. Dried cherry, cocoa, fig and nutmeg balance the huge earthy, minerality Red Mountain wine. $32 — Nice and light for a cab.

2013 Terroir Petit Verdot Horse Heaven Hills — The inky Petit Verdot has a pleasantly massive richness and vibrant acidity. This wine starts out with black fruit, plum and cassis. Gamey undertones, bacon, black pepper and spice round out the mid-pallet along with flavors of dark chocolate and creamy coffee. Silky tannins with a chewy finish. $32 100% Petit Verdot. This is an ooohhhh so smooth wine. Very creamy. I didn’t find that it had a very chewy finish. You tasted this wine from start to finish. Very nice.

These were the first 5 and then I didn’t scribble down notes on the balance of them. We were poured at least 3 or 4 more. In the end, my friend ended up joining the Wine Club, option for the 3 bottle option. With that you get 3 bottles of wine from the exclusive Terroir and Reserve tiers on a quarterly basis. Cheers to that. We also got our $5 tasting fee refunded. Cheers!