This past weekend I had an opportunity to visit Knob Hall Winery. Located in North Western Washington County, the owner, Dick Seibert, has taken 30 acres of his 200 acre family farm and planted a number of different varieties of grape. The tasting room is situated in an 1860′s post and beam barn. I have a thing for old barns so I loved to look at the woodwork. However, I will have to admit it was quite rustic. Currently they have plans to renovate and update the tasting area though.
Quite frankly I do not care what the tasting area looks like as long as the wine is good. I did get to taste all of Knob Hall Winery’s current releases. As usual with my Maryland wine tasting adventures I am always pleasantly surprised, uncovering wines that can hold their own against others from better known areas. My two favorites were their Chambourcin and their semi-dry rose. The rose was only slightly sweet and had nice fruit and acidity. The Chambourcin was full bodied and very interesting, with lots of sour red fruit and hints of earth and leather. It is unusual to see a single varietal made from Chambourcin, a fairly obscure grape, and I was excited to try it. Defintely worth a trip and bringing home a bottle or two as well.
Knob Hall Winery is located at 14108 St. Paul Road in Clear Spring, Maryland. Their phone number is 301-842-2777.
The third thursday in November is tomorrow and that means beaujolais nouveau. Loyal reader(s) will know my conflicted feelings on the issue. As usual I will sample some and let you know. I am not aware of any special festivities planned for the Frederick area. Anyone have any news?
Previous thoughts on this event for 2010, 2009, 2008, more 2008, and 2007.
The Senate’s bipartisan plan to shore up the postal service’s shaky finances includes a provision to allow the USPS to ship wine and beer. Currently only UPS and FedEx do so. Sen. Lieberman is quoted as saying the plan would pull the mail service ”back from the brink of bankruptcy.” Alcohol has certainly saved me from the brink a few times so why not the mail?
Full article here.
Is this the future of the USPS?
Wherein I break my own rule and review a chain restaurant. I know this does not really fit my criteria of a chain: there is one Wine Kitchen in Leesburg and they opened one in Frederick last month. If you have been paying attention to my twitter feed you would know this review was coming. First impressions were very good: the space is tastefully decorated in what I’d call semi-modern style with lots of wood and metal. Plenty of tables overlook Carroll Creek and in the other direction the open kitchen. There also was a private room which looked like it could easily seat twenty or so. When I was there is was still under construction.
The food was very good. I started with the butternut squash soup which turned out to be the highlight of my meal. Rich creamy soup with fried goat cheese balls and a drizzle of olive oil. I came close to licking the bowl on that one. I also sampled the sheep’s milk agnilotti, the heritage pork belly and the Border Springs Farm lamb flatbread. All three of which were delicious. I cannot stand overcooked pasta and I am happy to report that the agnilotti was cooked perfectly. The pork belly had a nicely crisped exterior and a juicy inside. The menu is not huge, but there is plenty to choose from.
Of course, like the name implies this place is about wine. The best way to enjoy this is get one of their flights. These are groupings of three wines, thematically tied together. They come in high quality glassware and each flight was accompanied by a little set of cards explaining the three different wines. I ordered the Italian Renaissance, which was the only flight that had both white and red wine. I had the white (Fuso Verdicchio) with the soup, which made for a terrific pairing. The other two were reds. The only down note was that I felt like the last wine of the flight, the Marabino Noto Nero D’Avola, was a little old and flat tasting. I always have a little bit of a concern about freshness in places that have a lot of wine by the glass available on the menu, yet just keep the partially full bottles out on the counter with the corks stuffed in them. On the plus side there are lots of interesting flights to try: Pinot Evil and a flight of three bubblies caught my eye.
The service was good and the lunch with appetizer, entrée and a flight of wine each came to about $40 each including tip. All of us agreed that it is well worth a return trip. On the way out we noticed a nice set of leather sofa surrounding a fireplace. That would be the spot to while away some time while sampling their wines!!
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.
The Washington Post did a neat article on Maryland Wine in their food section yesterday. They report a couple of interesting tidbits. First that Maryland wineries are up from 15 in 2000 to 52 today, with 15 additional applications pending. I also liked the information that Black Ankle Vineyards was the first Maryland winery that sought out land (poor, rocky soils on relatively steep slopes) specifically for grape growing rather than planting on a previously owned farm. Exciting times and you as a Frederick County resident are living in the center of Maryland’s wine country.
Just saw an article that nearly 300 wineries are now signed up or in the process of signing up for direct shipping in Maryland. Check out the list, as of August 11th, here.
Per reports, even though Maryland’s new direct shipping law goes into effect on Friday, only eleven wineries have signed up so far. Most of them appear to be Maryland wineries. I wonder if more will sign up as this law becomes widely known?
Happy Maryland Wine week everybody! Apparently June 3rd through June 12th has been declared Maryland Wine Week by Governor O’Malley. Havent really heard of any special events in our area in response to this. Have you?
Just had a kick ass new white I’d like to pass along- Broadbent Vinho Verde NV. This non-vintage Portuguese offering comes from the noted British wine critic Michael Broadbent along with his son Bartholomew Broadbent. The Broadbents act as negociants- i.e. they don’t grow the grapes themselves but buy them and blend them to their satisfaction. Their website states that they ship all of this wine in refrigerated containers to ”enable the wine to taste as fresh and spritzy as it would ever taste in Portugal.” Boy did they succeed. Someone once coined the term ‘picnic wine’ and I think that beautifully captures the essence of this bottling. It has biting acidity, and big flavors of lemon and lime. Slightly effervescent it is just a superb summer wine. It may not be complex or profound but it does what it is designed to do and does it perfectly. Serve cold and enjoy! Heck I wouldn’t even be adverse to dropping an ice-cube or two in it.
At 9% alcohol the wine is a blend of Loureiro, Trajadura and Pedernã. I purchased it at the Frederick Wine House for $8.99 but it shouldn’t be hard to find as they make several hundred thousand cases of this a year. Get a case and make it one of your go to whites for the summer. Vinho Verde is meant to be drunk young. The Broadbent is bottled as a non-vintage wine, but if you look in the upper left corner of the vinho verde stamp of authenticity on the back of the bottle you can see the year it was bottled. Right now you should be drinking the 2010′s.