Monday, August 22, 2011

Best in Show

Now, I love French wine. Yup, I said it! I love drinking it, talking about it, and writing about it.
But I’m diverse, I drink other things too. This week we’re going local with the wine region and
highlighting the wines from the state of Maryland. How did I make the leap from Beaujolais
to Maryland you ask? I was one of 15 people that had the honor to be judges for the Maryland
Governors Cup Wine Competition. We sat down one Sunday morning and drank through 150
wines to decide who gets Bronze, Silver, Gold, Best in Class and Best in Show. It was tough
work, but someone had to do it!

It’s said that wine was first made in Maryland in 1648. Interesting, that’s over 350 years ago
but people still haven’t heard much about or even tasted a Maryland wine. The state is broken
up into four distinct wine regions with over 450 acres of grapevines planted: Piedmont Plateau,
Eastern Shore, Southern Plain and Western Mountains. The majority of the vineyards are planted in the Plateau region located in Central Maryland. The all-stars of the region are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.

Being a judge in this competition gave me the opportunity to taste a whole lot of MD wine in a
short period of time. I was at a table with 4 other judges and we were served 7 flights of wine
before lunch, and 4 after. For each wine we tasted (of course) then discussed it and voted on
gold, silver, bronze, or maybe next year. In the midst of the Chardonnays and Pinot Grigios we
tasted, my group had a cider and a mead flight. It was a refreshing change of pace and one of the
ciders was the first gold our table awarded. After lunch were the red flights, with the
Chambourcin blends being a big hit as the grape grows extremely well in Maryland. After the 1st
round of tasting was complete, they brought out all the Gold Medals for us to taste again. I tweeted a picture of the view from my seat…overwhelming in a word. About an hour later, we
had our Best in Show. Wonder what it is? Head over to Maryland Wine and find out!

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