Maryland Wine

DC Wine Week: Explore the DC Area Wine Scene

Today marks the kick-off of the 2nd annual DC Wine Week…a week long celebration dedicated to enjoying wine, wine education and an opportunity to help support the DC area’s growing local wineries, wine shops, wine bars, restaurants and merchants.

There are hosted events each night this week, as well as paired menus and special offers from participating bars and restaurants. Learn more about the local wine culture and offerings…including Virginia’s 27 wine trails and 210 wineries, and Maryland’s 45 wineries.

Friday night’s event at the Washington Wine Academy is the perfect event for exploration. Food & Wine Magazine voted the Academy one of the top five places to study wine. Celebrating DC Wine Week and Virginia Wine Month, they’ll be pouring from some of Virginia’s best wineries, including twelve wines from Virginia’s Governor’s Case from 6:30-8:30pm.

At Saturday night’s Opening Party at Sonoma Restaurant and Bar, the wine was flowing. My favorite wine of the night…

Boxwood Winery’s Trellis 2010

  • Variety: 68% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 14% Malbec
  • Aroma: Cherry and spice
  • Taste: Cherry, clove and touch of white pepper on the finish
  • Price: $18
  • My thoughts: This just released wine is a great red blend and example of the fabulous wine you can find in Virginia at a good price point! Enjoy a glass at one of their Tasting Room Wine Bars in the area or you can order it online.

It’s a great week for drinking local during DC Wine Week!

A Tour of Maryland Wine

To celebrate Maryland Wine Week, running through Sunday 17 June, I visited the Annapolis Arts & Crafts Festival on Saturday. The event included a wine festival with over 15 Maryland wineries sampling a selection of their wines. It was a great opportunity to meet some of the winery owners, winemakers and get a sense of the Maryland wine scene. It was definitely the highlight as the tent was crowded with tasters enjoying their pours and the live music.

I focused on tasting dry whites which gave me about 25 to 30 wines from 14 wineries…from Linganore Winecellars, Perigeaux Vineyard and Winery, Port of Leonardtown Winery, Knob Hall, Boordy Vineyards, Woodhall Wine Cellars, Slack Winery, Running Hare Vineyard, Great Shoals Winery, Friday’s Creek Winery, Romano Vineyard and Winery, Cove Point Winery, Cygnus Wine Cellars and Layton’s Chance Vineyard and Winery.

Here’s what I found on my tour…

  • Red and Fruit Majority: Red wines were primarily on offer at about 70% of the mix. On my quest to drink dry white, it was definitely the minority offering. I expanded to rosé which gave me a few more tastings. There were also lots of fruit and sweet wines to chose from, what you often see at festivals as many attendees like the sweet wines.
  • New Grape: Linganore Winecellars was pouring their White Raven wine made from the Cayuga grape. This grape is a hybrid of Schuyler and Seyval Blanc that was developed at Cornell University. Linganore was the test vineyard and winery for it. White Raven was crisp and fruity, a cross between a Pinot Grigio and Riesling in taste and style.
  • Winery Winner: My favorite winery of the day was Knob Hall Winery. I tried fives of their wines (Make Me Blush, Traminette, White Oak and Rosé)  and enjoyed each of them! I brought home a bottle of the Rosé. I also had a chance to meet Dick Seibert, owner of the winery, whose family has farmed and cultivated the land at Knob Hall for over 200 years. Very nice wines and people! I look forward to getting out to Hagerstown to learn more.
  • Wine Winners: In addition to Knob Hall Winery’s wines, here are 3 more wines I enjoyed.
    • Boordy Vineyards Pinot Grigio: a nice crisp citrus version with some minerality.
    • Slack Yellowlegs: a medium-bodied wine with melon and minerality (not sure the grapes on this one).
    • Friday’s Creek Winery 2009 Barbera: I had a great chat with their winemaker Rich Cleary. This is the second vintage of the Italian variety grape they are growing. It had some nice potential and look forward to seeing the next vintage!

This was a small sampling of the state’s 56 wineries but I did find a few nice wines and some with potential. There’s lots of room for growth and development in the state.

For more on Maryland Wine, visit the Maryland Wineries Association. For details on the last three days of Maryland Wine Week festivities, visit the their event site.

Cheers to more opportunities to drink local with Maryland wine!

Celebrate Maryland Wine Week!

Maryland Wine Week kicks off today and runs through next Sunday 17 June. This second annual celebration from the Maryland Wineries Association features festivities across the state showcasing the 56 winery strong industry.

Restaurants and wine shops around Maryland will host winemaker dinners, special wine flights, wine themed menus, tastings and promotions – all about Maryland Wine. New this year is their MD Wine Pop-Up Tastings happening in downtown areas around the state.

Find featured events here. Their Facebook page has lots of great event info, restaurants featuring Maryland wine by the glass, updates and more. Join the conversation on Twitter while you’re enjoying Maryland wine… @MDWine / #mdwine and @MDWineWeek / #mdwineweek.

There are also eight Wine Trails across the state to explore. Take your Maryland Wine Passport you can pick up at any participating winery to keep track of your visits in your passport and online and get rewards like discounted event tickets, access to special receptions, etc…

I’m joining the fun tomorrow at the Annapolis Arts and Crafts Festival…a combination artists and craftsmen collection AND wine festival with over fifteen Maryland wineries sampling wines. I’ll be tweeting what I try.

Cheers to drink local & Maryland wine!

Frederick Cellars: Maryland’s City Winery

We went to Frederick this weekend for antique shopping and by day’s end we were drinking wine, including local Maryland wine. We knew we wanted to check out The Wine Kitchen but walking down North East Street from an antique store, I saw huge steel wine tanks inside an old brick warehouse…the home of Frederick Cellars. So we popped in.

Frederick Cellars’ warehouse dates back to 1904 when it was a Crystal Ice House. Now it serves as wine-making facility and tasting room. Peggy invited us up to the long tall tasting bar for a wine flight with the backdrop of steel tanks and oak barrels. Emily and Charlie own the winery and tend to the vineyards sitting about 12 miles west of Frederick. They also source grapes from other vineyards in Maryland (their website says they source from other U.S. regions as well). One of eight wineries on The Frederick Wine Trail, they’ve been open five and half years.

We tasted five of their wines from Dry White (City Lights) to Dry Red (Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Heritage Red 2009) to Semi-Sweet (Frederick Red and Eye of the Oriole). My favorite out of the five…

City Lights

  • Varietal: Seyval, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminette
  • Aroma: Crisp, fruity
  • Taste: Tart fruit with a nice finish, slight sweet notes
  • Price: $15
  • My thoughts: Great summer wine pairing salads and grilled chicken. 1% residual sugar but sweetness isn’t overpowering.

Unfortunately they were out of the Rosé which I bet is pretty tasty as their Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon have potential. Their labels are gorgeous, all done by local artists depicting local scenes.

Maryland’s wine industry now has 54 wineries producing 400 wines. There are eight Wine Trails across the state to explore. And there’s a new Maryland Wine Passport you can pick up at any participating winery. Keep track of your visits in your passport and online and get rewards like discounted event tickets, access to special receptions, etc…

Cheers to Maryland’s wine scene and the only in town winery, Frederick Cellars!