Just saw in the Frederick News Post that the County Liquor Board approved a wine and beer license for a new wine store. The board’s minutes are not yet posted on their website, but the paper reports that the store will be named Viniculture and will be located at 20 North Market Street. It seems like the downtown wine market is really getting saturated. Right now you have the dedicated wine stores Viniferous, Shab Row Bistro wine shop and Spin the Bottle within a few block radius. There are also several other establishments that sell wine: Firestones Market, Classic Cigars and Goodies and Juliets market come to mind.
PS Been to Spin the Bottle twice and really liked it. Review coming soon.
I have to admit that I am such a geek that I regularly read the liquor board minutes. Having attended a few hearings in my other capacity I am always stunned by how antiquated the laws and procedures are. It offends the libertarian in me how controlled the process is (and that other owners can get up there and protest the issuance of a new license because there are already other stores in the area). However as an avid beer wine and liquor consumer you can find some interesting tidbits in the minutes. From the most recent hearing on February 11th, 2013 besides the usual transfer requests I did note the following items:
A store called Spin the Bottle was granted a conditional license for 220 East Patrick Street. Another store called Viniculture put their license application on hold because they could not come to terms with the landlord at their proposed 57 East Patrick Street location. If memory serves that was the location of the old Deli?
Lastly a conditional license was issued for a new store down in Urbana in the Fingerboard Plaza shopping center (same place where Mangie e Bevi is located). The name on the application is Orion Wine and Spirits.
Filed under Beer, Booze, Stores
I went by Frederick Wine House yesterday and they are all out of Alexander Valley Dry Rose of Sangiovese. The horror. I spoke to the owner and he said they can’t get anymore. I’m kicking myself for not buying a case. When I find something that I love as much as that I should just know to stock up. When will I learn? Consoling myself I bought a couple of different roses and I will report here when I drink them. I have to say I find my tastes changing. I really used to be a 100% red wine guy. I’ve found that I come to enjoy whites and roses much more, especially in the summer. It reinforces how important it is to get out of your wine comfort zone. It’s a big exciting world of wine out there. Explore! So I guess that’s the silver lining to this story. Comments?
Since some of you have asked here are my top five places to buy wine in and around Frederick. Since I work downtown, I primarily shop around the city area so there may be some worthy stores in farther flung locales that I am not aware of. In order of preference:
1. The Frederick Wine House. I like this place because of its love of wine is apparent from the moment you walk in. They have a friendly, knowledgable staff that often has tasted the wine you are interested and can steer you towards what you want. I trust them so much that when pressed for time I just walk in, tell them what I am eating for dinner that night and how much I want to spend. They hand me a bottle, I pay for it and walk out the door confident that I am going to have a great wine. I also like that they make a terrific effort with their frequent tastings, and their live video tastings with winemakers. Guy the beer guy is an encyclopaedia of beer as well. All this helps to make it my go-to place and favorite store in Frederick.
2. Spirit Shoppe. They have, arguably, the best wine and beer selection in Frederick so that’s why I list it here. They have depth from all around the world and their selection of bargain priced wines is worth exploring and changes frequently. If you read about something in a magazine and want it this store is your best chance for finding it around here. What I don’t like is that their service is sub par. I have been going very regularly for 21 years and can count on one hand the number of times I have been asked if I need help. The people that work there spend 95% of their time behind the counter and I have no confidence that they have any knowledge about wine.
3. Viniferous. Since my first review of this store I have been back many times. I have found the owner to be enthusiastic and knowledgeable. They may not have the breadth of selection of numbers one or two but they have a nice quirky collection of wines that you do not see anywhere else. I also like that they have everything from super expensive wines right down to the lower end. I never walk out of there empty handed. They have an active Facebook page that gives notice of their tastings and specials. As a postscript ranking this was a tough one. I hemmed and hawed whether they should be second or third on this list. I’m still not sure. Maybe just call it a tie for second?
4. Westridge Liquors. (No web site that I am aware of) Good selection but with indifferent, liquor store service attitude. Pricing in line with 1,2 and 3. Never seen sale here. On the plus side they have great depth in French wines.
5. Old Farm Liquors. While this place may lack the depth of some of the places above they do have some off beat selections and by far the best pricing out of all of the stores listed here. They have good sales from time to time. They also have the largest selection of prosecco in the area. If I need half a dozen bottles of prosecco or cava for a party this is the place I go.
Grocery stores seeking way around alcohol sales ban. I have mixed feelings about this. Comments anyone? I do admit that I stop at the Leesburg Costco from time to time to get wine.
Good op-ed piece in the Sun on this issue by Adam Borden president of MBBWL.
And finally on Monday I posted about the best rose I have had in ages. Well it seems that I am not the only one who feels this way. In today’s wine column in the Washington Post Dave McIntyre gives the Alexander Valley Vineyards Dry Rose of Sangiovese the highest rating out of all the rose he reviewed. Refined palate or just plebeian tastes? I know which theory I’m going with.
Filed under Booze, Stores, Wine
Nice article on Frederick County’s newest winery, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, in the Frederick News Post. I can’t think of any other business where so many people go into the business out of sheer love for the product. Of course talking to Maryland winery owners you would be delusional if you were getting into it for the money. I look forward to sampling their wines.
West Frederick Farmer’s Market re-opens Saturday May 5th for the season!
Not trying to get all paparazzi on you but here is a recent picture of Chef Voltaggio at the West Frederick Farmer’s Market shopping. It’s not my picture so I’ll just link to it.
This serves as a great reminder to get out there before its over! I was there two Saturdays ago and just blown away by the abundance. All the fall glory with some of summer still hanging on as well. This really is the best time of year to go. Among my scores were some amazing apples, my favorite vegetable of all time: brussels sprouts and got a huge bunch of rainbow chard on impulse. Mrs. F displayed her strong knife skills (Shout out to Chef Christine and the Kitchen Studio!) by julienning the leaves and dicing the stems. Sauteed the whole thing in olive oil and served it with a sprinkling of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. Amazing!
This picture does not do it justice!
Mionetto prosecco frequently pops up on lists of value bubblies. I’ve had it a few times over the years and enjoyed it but it hasn’t been in our regular rotation here at home, which was frustrating since I know its very widely distributed. It turns out it’s just really a matter of going to the right liquor store, and I found it this past week at Old Farm Liquors. It was on sale for $9.99. To be precise, since they make several varieties, I am talking about Mionetto Prosecco Brut D.o.c. I found it to be moderately bubbly, with lots of golden delicious apple flavors with a hint of pear. It winds up with a nice, crisp dry finish. It also had a little bit of champagne-like undertones that elevated it a notch above the usual prosecco. Had it with ham and cheese (Gruyère) crepes and it was excellent.
If you are as fond as I am of this store then this headline probably gave you a heart attack, but its true. Today after their customary Friday tasting they will shutter their doors at the 7th street location for good! Boy am I feeling evil. As Paul Harvey would say: now for the rest of the story. They are only closing to move their store for their long-planned relocation to the Wegman’s shopping center on Route 26. Word from them is that they will reopen by next Friday (5/27). The owner says they will have an increased selection of wines and are adding an extensive beer selection to their line up. I can’t wait! Loyal readers will know that this is my favorite wine store in Frederick. You can bet I’ll post a full report as soon as I can visit.
The new Wegmans is getting ready to open June 5th. They say that they anticipate 12,000-15,000 people (!!!) to show up for opening day. I’m definitely excited having never set foot in one before. I promise to report back here on my impressions when I do go, but there is no way you could pay me to go near that place on the first day. I’ve been to the Lowe’s that opened in the same shopping center and I can’t imagine how they will accommodate that kind of crowd.
Reminder:- the West Frederick Farmer’s Market kicks off its 2011 season this Saturday, May 7th at 10:00 am. It is at the same location (110 Baughman’s Lane (Potomac Physicians Parking Lot), Frederick, MD 21702) as it has been in past years. It will be interesting to see what the vendors have. It seems to me that it has been a wetter and colder spring growing season so far. I know my garden is a couple of weeks behind last year. No matter what is there I am looking forward to it. It’s sort of Foodie/locavore opening day? Also due to the recent legislative change wine tastings will be allowed at Farmer’s Markets. I hope that is in the cards for the West Frederick Market. How cool would that be?
Confession time: I hate coffee- dislike the taste so much that I don’t even care for mocha ice cream. My caffeinated beverage of choice is tea and I am nuts about a relatively new place (fiveish months old?) that has opened in downtown Frederick.
The place is Voila! and they have a huge selection of black, green and herbal teas all sold loose by the ounce. The proprietor always has three varieties (usually one of each type) brewed and available for your sampling pleasure. Everything they sell has samples in these cool little magnetic canisters attached to the wall so you can sniff each one to get an idea of their taste. The range of teas is huge and many I have never seen elsewhere (Tea on The Beach is an inscrutable favorite). I have tried about half a dozen varieties over the last couple of months and they have uniformly been excellent. I am also especially enamoured of Wild Grey green which is a green tea version of the famous Earl Grey blend. The costs vary but most are around $8 for two ounces. I get about 12-15 pots out of each two ounce can, so they aren’t that crazy expensive.
Voila: 10 North Market Street, Frederick. 301-663-0704. No web page that I am aware of but they are on facebook.
All sorts of catchy titles and puns come to mind but the bottom line is I love the Lebherz Oil and Vinegar Emporium (LOVE). The place rocks! I finally got around to going in there and I have no idea why I waited so long. They have over 40 different oils and vinegars in stainless steel casks all of which you can try. I was in a rush so I only had time to taste a few samples. I hit the store right when it opened and it was a good thing I was the only one in the store because the vinegars were so good that I may have been a little undignified (obscene?) licking those last few drops out of the sampling cups! I walked out of there with their 18-year-old balsamic and a raspberry balsamic vinegars. Their olive oils were so good it was overwhelming. I’ll go back when I have more time to sample. All the oils and vinegars in casks were available in three sizes of bottles (200, 375 and 750 ml). I also felt their prices were very reasonable .
Located at 214 North Market Street, Frederick and on the web here.
Like someone who always believes there is something better on the channel he’s not watching I can’t resist stopping by new liquor stores when I get the chance. I took advantage of such an opportunity to stop by Riverside liquors today. Boy was I surprised. I had been in there before a couple of years ago and found them to be pretty much the average Frederick County beer and liquor store. They sure have changed since my last visit. In the Spring they took over the space next to them formerly occupied by Blockbusters and doubled their size. They now have a huge selection of wines and a very decent selection of beer and liquor. Prices are in line with other Frederick County prices, but they do have some bottles on sale which you don’t often see around here. I noticed they had an everyday favorite of mine, Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel, on sale for $8.99 a bottle. They also had the largest selection (about 8-12 different varieties) of Prosecco that I have seen in our area.
The only gripe I would have is that they have some of their wine arranged by by region (ie France, Italy etc.) and some arranged by varietal (Zinfandel, Merlot). The also had a section for “Chili Wines” which were not in actuality refrigerated wines, but rather bottlings from the country-Chile.
Riverside Liquors- 1299 Riverbend Way
Frederick, MD 21701
[In the small shopping center in front of the Rt 26 Walmart]
Filed under Booze, Stores, Wine
The Comptroller’s Office is running a survey through September 30th on direct shipping of wine to Maryland. I have been posting here for several years about efforts in the Legislature to get this passed. It always gets shot down by the influence of the alcohol wholesalers. Last year a bill passed that requires the Comptroller to report to the legislature by the end of the year “on the viability and efficacy of permitting direct shipment of wine to consumers in the State.” Please take the survey by clicking here. It takes less than 5 minutes.
So I went back to buy the rose from Frederick Wine House and they were all sold out. I found out this week that it was because MY PARENTS went and bought them out after hearing me rave and tasting it. I’m going to have to up my security level even higher. At least maybe I can drink some on their nickel. In case you are wondering the wine was 2009 Toad Hollow Pinot Noir Eye of the Toad. I gave it a solid 89 points and my notes said: “Very very nice. Orangey- red color. Nose of strawberry with hint of candy. Flavors of tangerine, strawberry, lemon and a hint of minerality. Dry finish. A delicious rose and a good value.”
I’m hoping some readers can help Fred out. We usually buy our seafood from the Common Market and we’ve always been happy with what we have got there. But like a man with the TV remote I’m always wondering if there is something better on some other channel.
So where do you get your seafood in Frederick County? It has to somewhere where the person can clearly explain where it comes from, whether its wild or farmed, and of course it has to be fresh. Is there somewhere better than the Common Market, or just somewhere with a different variety that you like? Let me know.
According to the blog Grown In Frederick the West Frederick Farmer’s Market is staying put. There was a lot of drama at the end of last year as to whether they would remain at their long-time Baughmann’s Lane location but they have announced that they signed a contract with the property owner and they will be back. Congratulations and I’m sure they’re happy.
The market opens May 1st!
I had a chance to stop by the new wine store, Vinferous, which is located on North Market Street across from Volt. Got to love a wine store (they also sell craft beers) that I can walk to from work. The store is beautiful but clearly still getting on its feet. Not a huge selection yet: they have about 3 dozen different wines on display. I saw all price ranges from $8.99 to $80+. A note about the display: they have the bottles in what appears to be photographer light box -type counters of the sort where the light is in the counter and projects up through an opaque piece of plastic. Very striking and unique, but I assume the owner has fully researched this and the light will not negatively affect the wine. Speaking of the owner (or co-owner actually)- he was very friendly and incredibly enthusiastic. He has a lot of great ideas and is already working with pairing with some of the local restaurants and getting Zoe’s Chocolate to make a chocolate to go with a specific wine for Valentine’s Day. I wish Viniferous all the best and shall certainly return.
Only minor FredFoodie gripe was that the owner tried to sell me an Italian Cava? WTF? As loyal readers will know Cava only comes from Spain. Anyway I gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed that it was just his enthusiasm getting carried away. But really!
Now as you know this writer very much believes that sparkling wines are appropriate all year round but in the spirit of the season the Frederick Wine House is having a free New Years Eve Champagne tasting from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Some nice bubblies including Gosset Brut Grand Rose which goes for $78 a bottle. I’ve never had that particular wine but I have had some other Champagnes from Gosset and they were very very good.
For those who have followed me waxing poetic about the joys of Prosecco over the years here is an opportunity to try a great producer for free. I saw that Frederick Wine House is pouring Riondo Prosecco Saturday, December 12th from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. as part of their complimentary tasting. This is one of the Proseccos we consistently go to as it is delicious and represents a great value.
Frederick Maryland Online (longtime resident on the links list to the right)has scooped me on some news but I thought I would pass it on.
First there is a new restaurant called Magoo’s Pub and Eatery locating at the place where the defunct Jackson’s restaurant used to be. (West 2nd Street) The website looks to be a work in progress. One of the commenters on FMO claims this is Jennifer Dougherty’s new project. Let’s hope the food is better than her last restaurant.
More exciting to me is the report that there is supposed to be a new wine store opening up across the street from Volt. Allegedly they will be opening right after the first of the year. Unfortunate timing if you ask me since I know that, like most retailers, the holiday season accounts for such a large chunk of revenue for liquor stores. I shall definitely check this place out and report back.
Just received word that the magazine Edible Chesapeake is ceasing publication. That’s sad as I always looked for it at the Common Market and enjoyed reading it. From the release:
I will no longer be publishing Edible Chesapeake magazine. The decision is the result of much reflection on how best to balance the needs of my family and myself as a small business owner, with the needs of the local food community of which Edible Chesapeake has been an important part since 2005. The recently published Fall 2009 issue, with the incredibly scrumptious apple cider donuts on the cover, is the last of my tenure as publisher and editor. It is uncertain at this time whether Edible Chesapeake will return under a new publisher.
Frederick Wine House is having a number of interesting looking wine classes over the next month. The Champagne and sparkling wine course looks great!
I don’t blog too much about my favorite farmer’s market, the West Frederick Farmer’s Market. Not because I don’t love it, but because the blog Grown In Frederick (a long time resident of my links list), does such a good job. You should check it out. The market’s last day is next Saturday, but since I will be out-of-town I had to say my farewells this weekend. The drizzle didn’t seem to dampen the turnout. There were roughly eight or nine vendors there and they still had a great selection of apples, pears, fall vegetables, herbs and especially potatoes. Always on the lookout for something different I’m kicking myself for not buying the beautiful bunch of white carrots they had there. The line for the meats must have been 40 people long. It was sad to say goodbye, but I am already looking forward to next year. Thanks to everyone.
Next: the one book you should have if you frequent farmer’s markets.