Sunday, September 19, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday

I'm dressed, had a hearty breakfast, and the car is gassed up...I'm all set to head to Westminster, MD for the 2010 Maryland Wine Festival!! I am a total supporter of drinking local wines, especially ones from Maryland. I've visited several MD vineyards, written blog posts, and regularly purchase and request their wines at my local wine shops. So to have all the MD wineries in one place to taste all their wines, YAY!

The weather was perfect! I have a bit of a plan, I wanted to be sure to taste all of the MD Governors Cup Medal winners. A lofty plan I know! So of course as soon as I get past the gate I am sidetracked. I see the sign for Elk Run Vineyards and I want their Merlot. Deep ruby color, tastes of cherry jam, so delicious. Now on to the Premier Tent for the 'special' Maryland wines, but I see tent for Running Hare Vineyards so I have to stop and say Hi to my friend and owner, Barb Scarborough and taste their award winning Malbec and Sangiovese. OK, now I'm really headed to the Premier Tent...if I can find it.

After walking the entire festival, past the funnel cakes, grilled cheese tent, crab cakes, kettle corn, wine glass holders, I find it! There is food, Riedel glasses and the finest Maryland wines, all under one tent. And it's actually under a tent which means shade and a nice breeze! First wine in the tent is the Royele Blanc de Blanc from Cygnus Wine Cellars. 100% Vidal Blanc grapes made in the authentic Champagne style...crisp flavors of apple and pear with a few yeasty notes and hints of sweetness. This is on par with some of the sparklers I've tasted from CA. Another white of note was the Port of Leonardtown Winery's 1634 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. Only the slightest hint of oak but delightful toasty and red apple notes.

Cygnus also had a vertical tasting of their Julian wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc blend from 2002, 1997 and 1995. The hysterical, and extremely knowledgeable, Carole from SE lead us through the tasting...and we agreed with many others that had tasted before us, Maryland wines can definitely age and the 1997 was amazing. Deep, dark fruit flavors and berry notes throughout. We did a Rose battle between Knob Hall Winery's Reserve Rose and Rose (Semi-Dry). Both made from the Chambourcin grape, I liked the dry style of the Reserve the best. Serpent Ridge Basilisk and Vintner's Cabernet, Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard's Circe, EVOE, and Comus Reserve are all wines to look out for at your wine shops and restaurants. I finished the tasting off on the sweeter side of things with Harford Vineyard's Peach Kissed. Delicate, well-balanced floral and peach aromas with a soft mouthfeel. The name is so appropo, I felt like I was kissed by a peach!I had an amazing time at the festival and tasted some old favorites and found some new ones. My only wish is that when tasting wines, I was able to speak with more people that were knowledgeable about the wines...I always happened to get into the line of the festival volunteer. But everyone did have loads of literature out so I was able to find out a lot of information from there. I definitely hope they have the premier tent again next year, it added another level to the festival and provided an opportunity to taste some of the more 'exclusive' Maryland wines.

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