2017 New To You Wine Challenge: Enjoying Orange Wine
It is 29 days into the new year and how are doing with your new year’s resolution? Are you rocking it out? I know you are! I know you are among that 64 percent that will make it beyond January. I am happy to report I am on the success train with you. I tried three New To You Wines this month.
I challenged my team and myself to try three wines each month. An attempt to move us out of our comfort zone and find new treasures. Specifically, we had to try three new varietals and/or styles of wine. At first look, this does not appear to be a challenge for a wino like myself. But, it is. Primarily enjoying local wines, I have tasted many varietals produced from this region. The quest has been equally as fun as trying the wines. Here are the discoveries for this month.
Fridays Creek Winery (Calvert County, MD) produces a Chardonel. When you first hear the name, you think someone mispronounced Chardonnay. It is not a mistake. It is a hint to the grape’s lineage. Chardonel is an American hybrid grape. A cross between a Sevyal and Chardonnay. The Chardonel is reminiscent of Albariño produced in this region. Beautiful straw yellow color, citrus and woody aromas, crisp medium acid, and mild tropical flavors like mango and pineapple. The Chardonel is intriguing.
Alius is Maryland wine produced by Old Westminster Winery (Carroll County, MD). Alius is a Pinot Gris. Alius makes the Challenge list because it is an orange wine. This is an alternative method of making Pinot Gris wine, known as orange wine. Pinot Gris grapes are not pressed immediately after harvest during the orange wine process. The skins remain on during the fermentation process. The Pinot Gris skins influence the wine’s color giving it an “orange” affect. The skins also influence the wine’s body and tannin. Alius has delicate floral aromas. It is a robust wine, with a structure and fullness. It is in a class by itself. View Periscope video on Alius tasting.
2013 Lab of Portugal Vinho Regional Lisboa
Lab is a red blend of Castelão, Tinta Roriz, Syrah, and Touriga Nacional grapes. As you can see, these are not regional grapes. It is a beautifully blended Portuguese table wine. Portugal is known for its fortified wines, but this table wine is a good representation of its dry wines. Lab has intense flavors, but does not overwhelm your palate. You get chocolate, blackberries, and currant on the nose. Dark cherries, and plums, and hint of vanilla on the palate with a medium finish.
The search is on for February’s wines. If you have any suggestions, please share them with us. You can join the challenge with us. Here is a wine guide you can use to help you chart your path. Share with us your wine challenge and #NewToYouWine
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Sparkling Wines in Maryland
Sparkling wines are synonymous with celebrations. And this time of year is no different to punctuate your holiday events with bubbles. Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco immediately come to mind when you are making your wine selections. Wait… before you grab an European selection, look a little closer to home. Maryland sparkling wines are available in various styles.
“Elk Run Vineyards, Bordeleau Vineyard & Winery, Great Shoals Winery Old Westminster Winery each offer a Blanc de Blanc (traditional dry sparkling wine), while Cygnus Wine Cellars produces a Blanc de Blanc plus four other sparkling wines in various styles. Knob Hall Winery offers white and rosé versions, and Crow Vineyards offers a Sparkling Vidal. Slack Winery offers five different sparkling wines, Fiore Winery offers a Prosecco and St. Michaels Winery has introduced Bubbly Wobbler, a sparkling addition to its Gollywobbler line of sweet wines.” according to Ms. Rebecca Dulka, Maryland Wine Association representative, in 2015 Maryland Offers Wide Variety of Sparkling Wines article. Old Westminster Winery introduced a Gruner Vetliner sparkling this year, a departure from the traditional grapes used in Maryland.
Sparkling wines are not limited to grapes. Maryland’s cider producers are making noteworthy bubbles. Distillery Lane Ciderworks makes a delightful Apple Cherry wine. A must try and welcomed addition.
Where You Can Find Maryland’s Sparkling Wines & Ciders*
- Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery, Eden: bordeleauwine.com
- Crow Farm and Vineyard, Kennedyville: crowfarmmd.com
- Cygnus Wine Cellars, Manchester: cygnuswinecellars.com
- Distillery Lane Ciderworks, Jefferson: distillerylane.com
- Elk Run Vineyard and Winery, Mt. Airy: elkrun.com
- Fiore Winery, Plyesville: fiore.com
- Great Shoals Winery, Princess Anne; tasting room, Silver Spring: greatshoals.com
- Knob Hall Vineyard, Clear Spring: knobhall.com
- St. Michael’s Winery, St. Michael: stmichaels.com
- Old Westminster Winery, Westminster: oldwestminster.com
- Slack Wines and Vineyards, Ridge: slackwine.com
- Springfield Manor, Thurmont: springfieldmanor.com
*Not a complete list
Tour Ambassadors of Vino 301 Wine Concierge are raising their glasses to support of the Alzheimer’s Association with the sponsorship of a charitable wine tour to the Westminster Wine Region.
The event is scheduled for March 6, 2016 at 10:00 am, and will include tours to the Old Westminster Winery and Springfield Manor Winery. Many of the vineyards featured on the tour are grown in Bordeaux style. Lovers of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Grigio, or Vidal Blanc will especially relish this tantalizing treat.
According to statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association, there is an estimated 5.1 million people 65 years and older in the United States living with Alzheimer’s. Approximately 200,000 individuals below the age of 65 are afflicted with the disease.
Vino 301 Wine Concierge is the one of the latest sponsors to join forces with the organization in the fight against the disease. The company was asked to host the tour by a former tour guest, Ms. LeeAnn Charpentier, whose grandmother had the disease and died. LeeAnn wanted to do something to honor her grandmother’s memory and raise funds for Alzheimer’s research.
Discussing Vino 301 Wine Concierge’s response to Ms. Charpentier’s request, Managing Director of the company, Leslie Frelow said: “We thought it was a great idea and were eager to help. Ms Charpentier has been a tremendous supporter of Vino 301. We hope our contribution will further research for a cure for this debilitating disease.”
Net profits will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. For further information or to register for the tour, visit: Charitable Wine Tour for Alzheimer’s.