Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Trails

I am a supporter of Maryland wines! There, I said it. So when they picked the Patuxent Wine Trail to promote this past weekend, I was all in! Especially since it's the trail that's closest to my house. Of the 7 wineries on this trail, I've already been to 2 of them, 1 was just too far to drive since I was hitting the trails alone...which left me with 4 wineries to hit.

1st stop, Port of Leonardtown. This winery is interesting because it's actually a cooperative. They don't grow any grapes on site, instead their 15 members have vineyards that grow multiple grape varieties that they bottle and sell under the Port of Leonardtown Winery label. They do ferment and age a few of the wines on premises however. Of course, they had all of them available for tasting in their tasting room. Starting with their 1634 Chardonnay, which I'd had at the Maryland Wine Festival last month, I still think this wine is amazing. Fermented in French oak, but the toasty oak flavors were smooth and soft not overpowering. The regular Chardonnay (winner of the 2010 MWA Bronze medal) was fermented in stainless steel it has such a crisp apple and pear flavor. There were even hints of lemon on the finish. The grapes from the Vidal Blanc are grow solely in St Mary's County, which works because Vidal Blanc seems to do well in Maryland. Very floral in aroma with red apple and honey on the palate. McIntosh Run is an apple wine, no grapes allowed! It won a Gold Medal this year from MWA and was voted Best Fruit Wine. Light acidity, with flavors of spice and apple (duh!). Very easy drinking, and although still has alcohol it can be enjoyed by those who really may not be fans of wine. The last white, Breton Bay Breeze, was very aromatic. Rose petals, citrus zest, perfume, and in all actuality I smelled grapes. Go figure!

I tasted 2 reds the Captains Table and Breton Bay Shoals. My fav of the whole tasting was probably the Captains Table. A Chambourcin and Merlot blend, it was very earthy on the nose with mushrooms and dark berry/cherry notes. I was told that this would benefit from a bit of decanting and is also aging well in the bottle. Aging a Maryland red, alright! Now back in the car for the next stop.

I read that Solomons Island Winery is best known for its fruit infused varietals wines so I passed on visiting that vineyard and headed to Cove Point Winery in Lusby, MD. Unlimited tasting for $4. I tasted 6 whites, including a cherry wine and vidal blanc blend, 7 reds including an ice-style pinot noir, and 3 of the 15 mist wines. I definitely had to spit at this winery. Of note was their Symphony, a floral white wine with spicy aromas and a sweet citrus finish; Chambourcin, slightly tart with notes of black cherries and plums, I got a little popcorn on the finish; Cab/Syrah (2007), great acidity and tannins with ripe red fruit flavors. I'm starting to get a little hungry, thank goodness I only have one more stop to make. Let me take a quick moment to say that since there was a big promotion of the Patuxent Wine Trail, I did expect a few more people out on the trail along with a few activities. So far, I've been the only one in the tasting rooms and it seemed like any other day at the winery....

Perigeaux Vineyards and Winery in St Leonard, MD was the last winery stop of the day. A sample of every wine they offered was only $3. I handed the gentleman my money and we got started. 5 whites, 10 reds including 2 semi-organic reds with reduced sulfites. They even had a Pinot Gris Blush that was semi-sweet with a crisp berry finish. Since I was the only one tasting I got the story behind the vineyard owners, wine names, and some of the winemaking techniques. That alone was worth the $3 for the samples! Perigeaux sits on a 27 acre estate with 8 acres planted and they produced their first vintage in 2006, wine sales in 2008. Wines of notes here were the 2007 Merlot, flavors of dark berries and oak and the 2007 Chardonnay, ripe apple and pear flavors moved into a creamy finish. Perigeaux did have an artist on site as well as someone from Knit Works and their whole tasting was done outside which was great because the weather Sunday was wonderful!

The sun is starting to go down and my stomach is growling so I headed to Jake & Al's for dinner. Why there? I had a $50 gift card :-) A lot of good it did once they told me it expired in March 2009 and did I have another form of payment. WHAT?! Nothing on the gift card said anything about an expiration date! Of course I ordered like I had $50 to spend... Thank goodness for credit cards.

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