Vino 301’s Summer White Wines Picks
Crossing the Bay Bridge and seeing all the boats in the Bay lets me know it is official. Aww finally, summer is here. It is the start of lots of grilling, freshly made salads and really yummy desserts being served. And, let’s not forget to mention the crabs. I know it is still a little early to have Maryland’s blue crabs. But you cannot talk about summer without mentioning Maryland’s caviar. You must have wine with all this summer goodness. Here are Vino 301’s suggestions for summer white wines.
Sipping a cool glass of wine on the deck or rocking on the porch swing is quintessential summer fun.
Rosé, Great Frogs
Rosé was known as a transition wine bridging winter and summer seasons. A go to wine to drink in the Spring. However, Rosé popularity has emerged recently and is enjoyed year-round. Great Frogs Rosé is perfect to help make Maryland’s humid days tolerable. The Rosé is refreshing and fruity dry wine. Red fruit, like strawberries and raspberries will dance on your palate. A mild tart finish completes your sip.
Riesling, Basignani Vineyard
Basignani’s Riesling hits the spot when you are sipping wine at your favorite concert. The color is a beautiful pale straw. Notes of melon and honeysuckle are on the nose. It is a semi-dry wine, that is not syrupy sweet or overwhelms the nature flavors of the Riesling grape. It is a well-balanced wine that is best served cold.
Grilled Veggies and Summer Salads
My maternal grandmother made the best tomato salad. She used fresh tomatoes, spring onions, vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and finished with salt and pepper. I try to make it whenever I can get Eastern Shore tomatoes, usually when I do the Chesapeake Wine Tour. Some of the vineyards have fresh produces for sale.
Albariño, Serpent Ridge
Summer salads, like my grandmother’s salad, is complemented by Albariño. Albariño is becoming Maryland’s go to white wine. It is a Spanish grape that grows very well in the state. The first time I had Albariño was at Serpent Ridge five years ago. It is still consistently good after all those years. You will detect aromas of crisp green apples on the nose. You will taste peaches later followed by mild citrus fruit. Bright acidity on the finish is what makes it pair so well with summer salads. It will not overpower or detract from the foods flavors.
Franc Blanc, Thanksgiving Farms
Grilled vegetables are sometimes difficult to find the right wine to serve with it. The smokiness and charred flavors along the vegetables bright notes can be challenging. Franc Blanc accepts the challenge. It is a white Cabernet Franc. Franc Blanc is a full body wine white that has a floral nose. You will enjoy stone fruit flavors like apricots. Mild citrus flavor like kumquats will come across. The low acid and fullness of the wine is a good grilling partner.
Seafood and Crabs
An unoaked Chardonnay is the preference for many seafood lovers. I would challenge you to try a Vidal Blanc. Vidal Blanc style is typically semi-sweet or sweet. However, Hidden Hills has prepared a dry Vidal Blanc which is a delightful alternative to a Chardonnay.
Vidal Blanc, Hidden Hills Farms and Vineyard
It is a medium body wine. Pears and golden apples on the palate and nose. It has minerality and lemon on the finish. The lemon comes forward especially when it is paired with fish and shellfish.
You can purchase the wines online, just visit their websites. You can contact the vineyards to locate where you can purchase the wines at local wine stores or restaurants.
Blue Ribbon Wine Tasting… Hidden Hills Farm and Vineyards
Before Christmas, I had an early Christmas present. I visited and enjoyed a wine tasting at Hidden Hills Farm and Vineyards. The wine tasting was a blue ribbon experience. Hidden Hills is one of Maryland’s newest vineyards. Located in Mount Airy, Maryland, Hidden Hills is a gorgeous 103 acres property nestled in the very rich grape growing region. This region is home to popular vineyards like Linganore Winecellars and Black Ankle Vineyard. Another interesting wine nerd fact about this region, it is the Linganore AVA. “An American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the United States Department of the Treasury”, according to TTB. There are only three AVAs in Maryland (Catoctin AVA, Cumberland AVA and Linganore AVA) .
Hidden Hills Farm and Vineyards started as a horse training and riding facility. The rolling hills and open landscape epitomizes Maryland’s horse country. The property is breath-taking. The property was stunning in early winter. I can only imagine how beautiful Hidden Hills will be during Spring and Summer when the vineyard is lush and in full bloom. Robin and Art Sagoskin, Hidden Hills proprietors, are just as passionate about equine and as they are about wine. They encourage their visitors to experience the horses, the vineyard and the wine during their visit. When possible Robin or Art will take you to the barn to view the horses. This is truly a Maryland experience…horses and wine. It was an unexpected highlight of the visit.
Robin and Art always had a love for wine. Traveling to different wine regions, they were passionate about bringing their travel experiences and their knowledge they gained to Maryland. Their Maryland wine journey begun in 2013 with planting Sauvignon Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Chambourcin, and Cabernet Franc. The vines are still very young and probably will not produce Hidden Hills first harvest until this year. In the meantime, they buy fruit from local grape-growers. There is an old saying, good wine starts with good grapes. This is a Hidden Hills wine truism. The locally sourced grapes are the start to very good wines.
Hidden Hills has four wines on their tasting menu ( Vidal Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc). All the wines are dry and are aged in stainless steel except for the Cabernet Franc.
The tasting begun with a 2014 Vidal Blanc. The Vidal Blanc was very aromatic with honeysuckles, fresh blossoms on the nose and pear on the palate. It is a very well balance with moderate sweetness on the finish. The 2015 Pinot Grigio stood out among the white wines. It is a pale orange when the wine is first poured and slowly transforms to a pale yellow. As to say look at me, look at me; I’ve finally arrived. There is some contact with the skins during the processing, but not enough to be notable or influence the flavor. The Pinot Grigio possesses aromas of fall spices. Grapefruit and melon are on the palate with medium acid and finish. The 2015 Cabernet Franc is the only red wine. It is in a category by itself. It is jammy, and fruit forward and I love that in my Cabernet Franc. Not everyone appreciates these characteristics, and too bad for them. You will also experience hints of black pepper and clove.
Hidden Hills opened its tasting room in October 2016. You must make an appointment to enjoy a wine tasting. They cannot accommodate walk-ins. You will experience a very personal and educational tasting. You will not be disappointed. The wines are in limited production, similar to many Maryland boutique vineyards. If you are interested in purchasing wine, you should contact the vineyard directly.
Welcome Hidden Hills to Maryland wine. Hidden Hills is will not remain hidden for long. They offer a unique tasting experience that is inviting, intimate, and extremely pleasing to the palate.
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