There are all sorts of boozy events coming up:
Toast to Frederick wine festival- April 21st and 22nd at the Frederick fairgrounds
The Maryland Craft Beer Festival at the Frederick fairgrounds. May 12th from noon to six.
Frederick Beer Week- May 12-19th. Events all over the Frederick area.
Wine in The Woods- May 19 and 20th at Merriweather Post Pavillion.
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 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?
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.
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.
Drank the 2006 Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Les Princes Abbes with Easter dinner on Sunday. A good solid wine but didn’t blow me away, especially at $20 a bottle. Had a typical petrol nose with flavors of pineapple and kiwi. Very, very dry finish. I would rate it a solid 85. When I took the first sip after pouring I was really not impressed. As the meal wore one I came to enjoy it more and more. It really enforced what I’ve come to realize with Rieslings: they are truly food wines, especially the dry ones. What I mean by that is often when you just drink them by themselves they don’t come across as all that good. They don’t reach their full potential until you drink them with your meal. The food really seems to play off the flavors and harmonize some of the weirder notes that can be off-putting when they are on their own. What do you think?
Was this past weekend. Anyone go? I have not heard any feedback about this event. Didn’t even see a write up of it in the FNP come to think of it. Let me know.
Well it looks like a limited form of direct shipping is going to become law in Maryland. Ultimately a watered down version of the proposed legislation passed and is awaiting the governor’s signature. If signed the new law will take effect on July 1st and allow wineries to ship their products directly to Maryland consumers. With each consumer being limited to eighteen cases of wine per year.
Unfortunately the provisions allowing direct shipping from out-of-state retailers or on-line specialty Web sites as some consumers (me included!) had hoped failed. There was apparently enormous pressure from the alcohol wholesalers lobby who want to keep their monopoly. Both Virginia and West Virginia allow direct shipping from retailers to consumers and the sky has not fallen there. In anticipation of the new law I went online and signed up for half-dozen wineries’ mailing lists. I went a little nuts and if they all come through I’ll have to get a second job. And although proponents of direct shipping are vowing to push for expansion of the law next year I am also researching (purely for informational purposes, of course) where the nearest mailboxes etc type store is in Va or Wv.
UPDATE: Governor O’Malley signed the bill into law on April 13th.
I’ve been banging the prosecco drum on this blog for years but it now appears that I am not really saying anything that Americans don’t already know. Imports of sparkling wine from Italy to the United States are up 73.1 percent from 2005 to 2010, according to Impact Databank. That translates to 2.58 million cases brought in in 2010.
For direct shipping in Maryland. This article in the Baltimore Sun got my hopes up. According to State Senator Joan Conway, chair of the Senate committee that oversees this issue , there will “probably” be a bill passed to let Marylanders receive shipments of wine this session. Her counterpart in the house has also pledged his support. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!
For me a little oak goes a long way. I’m especially sensitive to the amount of oak in white wines as all too often the oak seems to overpower the flavors. Regular readers will know I have a strong dislike of the big, buttery, oaky California-style Chardonnay. As far as I am concerned if I wanted that much oak I’d just chew on a stick. So when I’m choosing a white I usually tend to gravitate towards to unoaked bottlings. If your palate is like mine I’d like to recommend the 2009 Tangent Paragon Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. From the Edna Valley in California this wine looks away from the new and towards the old world. This is the second vintage of theirs that I have tried and I think this one is better than the ’08. Lots of tangerine and lemon flavors, all wrapped inside nice flinty acidity. Delicious and right what I am looking for in a white.
I paid $14.99 for this from the Frederick Wine House. I rate it a solid 90.
After three years of talking about this stuff I don’t think there is much to add upon the passing of this year’s third Thursday in November. My past bits can be found here. Anyone have any tasting notes they care to report for the 2010 vintage?
Wine Spectator is making their website free (you know how I love THAT word) from November 15th through the 28th. I think they normally charge around $50 a year for access. They are doing this so that people can see the unveiling of their top 100 wines of the year. The real attraction to me is that you can check out their searchable database of over 236,000 wine ratings.
Filed under Reading, Wine
Just wanted to make quick post to let everyone know how I had a wine Sunday evening that we both loved. It was the 2009 Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling from the Columbia Valley in Washington State. I would call this wine off-dry as it had some sweet notes but definitely not too much. It looked as pale as water in the glass but the explosion of fruit was awesome with tons of peaches and apricots. The finish lingered on and on. A delicious wine and a really great value. I really enjoyed just sipping it on its own. We scored it an 89-90.
They make a lot of this so you should be able to buy this almost everywhere for about $10. Just make sure its the 2009. Also don’t confuse it their other Reislings: Dry Riesling and Harvest Select Riesling which I haven’t tasted.
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
Hungover this morning, politically speaking I mean. Still trying to figure out what the turnover in the Maryland Legislature means for the prospect of direct shipping of wine. I’ll let you know when I figure it out. Actually let’s be honest: more likely when I read something about it from more politically astute minds than I!
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.”
Had the best rose I’ve had all season, but I’m not going to post it here until I go buy a few more bottles. I learned my lesson after the Tapena incident.
Regular readers know what a fan I am of good rose wines. They are the duct tape of the wine world: with their unmatched versatility you can use them in all sorts of situations: sipping on the patio, paired with barbeque or just about any summer fare, as base for sangria, to name a few. In our house they are the quintessential summer wines. So I’d like to share with you a wonderful rose we had the other night: 2008 Tapena Vino de la Tierra de Castilla. I got this from the Frederick Wine House for around $10. It was a really bright ruby red color. It had vibrant flavors of strawberry and cherry kirsch with a hint of tropical fruit. Medium acidity. Served refrigerator cold it was great. Both of us felt it was a fun rose and a decent value. I gave it a solid 88. I’m also going back to get a few more bottles.
UPDATE: went back to get a few more bottles and they were sold out. Note to self: must buy the bottles BEFORE I blog about it. The owner said he thought they would get some more in.
The youngest Fredling is very musical. He loves to sing. The other night we had all been listening to REM. He went around and around the house belting out “It’s the end of the world as we know it.” Unfortunately that’s all he knew of the song so that’s all we got. A Cava I recently tried: Dibon Brut Reserve (NV) was a lot like that. It wasn’t bad, just pretty much a one note wonder. In this case it was apples. I kept hoping for at least an “and I feel fine” part either in the song or the wine, but neither ever materialized. It also had very coarse, but plentiful bubbles . As I said not bad, but there are others I like more for around the same price. I picked it up at Frederick Wine House for $10.99. It had a tag around the neck saying the Wine Enthusiast gave it 88 points but I would go 3-4 points lower. It would be really nice if you were going to use it as a base for some sparkling punch.
Just a reminder that the Toast to Frederick Wine Festival will be this weekend. There is some more information here but not a whole lot. I’d like to know who will be there and how many vendors etc. I suppose the usual Frederick County wineries will be there. I’d really like to go but unfortunately this is just one of those weekend where it seems like everything is scheduled and I am planned almost down to the minute. I anyone goes and wants to let me know how it was, or has a link to a review I’d be happy to post it.