Guide to Champagne and Sparkling Wine
|Champagne, Sparkling Wine|
|The other day a friend and me were talking about New Year’s Eve. She said, “Should I serve Champagne or sparkling wine”? My immediate response was, “Champagne is a form of sparkling wine. It all depends upon what you like.” She gave me a puzzled look, and said “oh ok.” Thinking about my response I should have provided a better explanation. I realized she did not know Champagne is among the sparkling wine family. She thought Champagne is different from sparkling wine. Champagne has become the brand name for requesting sparkling wine. It is like when you ask someone to hand you a Kleenex®. You are really asking for a tissue and not the brand Kleenex®. The brand name has been ingrained in everyday vernacular.
Champagne has very distinctive characteristics, fermentation methods, and regional restrictions. Here is the Reader’s Digest® version about Champagne. Champagne is made from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. There is a double fermentation method known as Methode Champenoise. Lastly,and most importantly to the French and legally, only sparkling wine produced in the La Champagne region can be called Champagne (except for a few California vineyards. That is another blog).
Now you know, what do you serve? You have a variety of sparkling wines to select. In addition to Champagne, there are other sparkling wines styles like Cava and Prosecco. Cava is from Spain. Prosecco is from Italy. Each of these regions have unique grapes that make up the composition of these wines.
Regardless of the country, there are common descriptions you will see on the label. Here are the most common:
Your sparkling wine does not have to be international. When you are in your local wine store ask for Maryland sparkling wine. It is not too late for the wine shop to order it from the vineyard.
2016 Maryland Passport Experience Guided Tour FAQs
- What comes with your Passport ticket? Ticket holders will be privy to a free wine tasting and behind-the-scene experience at each winery, a commemorative wine glass and 10% off all bottles that are just too good to leave without. It also gets you discounts and promotions to several local attractions, hotels, restaurants and shopping centers so you may fully immerse yourself in all that each region has to offer.
- How often can I use the Passport ticket? You can use the Passport on all four days.
- How much is Passport ticket? $25.00 per person. You buy your Passport ticket directly from the Maryland Wine Passport Experience. The ticket grants you access to all participating vineyards and wineries over both weekends.
- Will I have to buy a Passport ticket and Vino 301 ticket? Yes.
- What is the difference between the Passport ticket and Vino 301 ticket? Passport ticket is your tasting pass. The ticket grants you access to all participating vineyards and wineries over both weekends. Vino 301 is your transportation and guided tour pass.
- What do I get with the Vino 301 ticket?
- Transportation to ALL 6 wine trails
- Knowledgeable and fun Tour Ambassador & driver
- Light snacks & beverages
- Does Vino 301 have weekend passes? Yes. You can buy a single day or weekend pass.
- Can you mix trail passes when you purchase a Vino 301 weekend pass? Yes. For example, you can go along the Patuxent Wine Trail on Saturday and Chesapeake Wine Trail on Sunday.
- How long is the Vino 301 wine tour? 12 noon – 6 pm
- Will Vino 301 go to all 6 Wine Trails? Yes
- Where are the pick up locations?
- Big Cork Vineyard (Antietam Highlands Wine Trail)
- Linganore Wine Cellars (Carroll Wine Trail)
- Clovelly Vineyard (Chesapeake Wine Trail – Saturday)
- Casinelli Vineyard (Chesapeake Wine Trail – Sunday)
- The Winery at Olney (Frederick Wine Trail)
- Port of Leonardtown (Patuxent Wine Trail – Saturday)
- Fridays Creek Winery (Patuxent Wine Trail – Sunday)
- Boordy Vineyard (Piedmont Wine Trail – Saturday)
- Fiore Vineyard (Piedmont Wine Trail- Sunday)
- What time should I arrive at the pick up location? We recommend arriving at the pick location between 11:00 am and 11:30 am. You can begin your tasting at the first location before we depart to the other vineyards. We will be departing at 12:00 noon.
- What wineries and vineyards are participating?
Antietam Highlands Wine Trail (Washington County)
- Big Cork Vineyards
- Distillery Lane Ciderworks
- Orchid Cellar
- Winery Knob Hall Winery
- Red Heifer Winery
Carroll Wine Trail (Carroll County)
- Cygnus Wine Cellars
- Serpent Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Chesapeake Wine Trail (Kent, Cecil, Queen Anne, and Talbot Counties)
- Cassinelli Winery
- Clovelly Vineyard
- Crow Farm
- Layton’s Chance Vineyard
- St. Michael’s Winery
- Triple Creek Winery
- Turkey Point Vineyard
Frederick Wine Trail (Montgomery and Frederick Counties)
- Great Shoals Winery
- Linganore Wine Cellars
- Rockland Farm Winery
- The Winery at Olney
Patuxent Wine Trail (Prince George’s, Calvert, St. Mary’s Counties)
- Cove Point Winery
- Fridays Creek Vineyard & Winery
- Perigeaux Vineyard & Winey
- Port of Leonardtown
- Romano Vineyard & Winery
- Running Hare Vineyard
- Slack Vineyard
- Solomons Island Winery
Piedmont Wine Trail (Baltimore and Harford Counties)
- Boordy Vineyards
- Dejon Vineyard
- Fiore Winery
- Harford Vineyard & Winery
- Millstone Cellars
- Royal Rabbit Vineyards
- Woodhall Wine Cellars
Still have questions not answered here. Do not hesitate to post them on our blog, or email us at info@vino301. We will respond timely. You can also Tweet your questions to #ASKMDWine.
Hopefully, we will see you along one of MD’s wine trails. Cheers!
This summer I fell in love. I didn’t think it was possible, but I did. I fell in love with most amazing wine gadget. In this industry you come across a lot of wine gadgets.. some good, mostly bad. You become enamored, but not in love.
At the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference, I witnessed an impossible feat. Well, what I thought was impossible. Pour a glass of wine without removing the cork. Yes, you read it correctly. The wine bottle opener permits you to pour wine with the cork remaining in the bottle. What wine bottle opener allows you to perform this action? It is a Coravin Wine System. Witness how the Coravin works.
I know this sounds like an infomercial, but it is the ultimate tool for a wine lover. Wine typically last 3 to 5 days once you remove the cork. The Coravin allows you to enjoy the wine longer. The wine is not exposed and your consumption time is lengthen. I fell in love when I learned this fact. I could enjoy a bottle of wine without worrying about it expiring. You had me at Coravin.
The Coravin can only be used on natural corks and not synthetic corks or screw tops. Also, avoid using the opener on sparkling wines. The Coravin retails at $299.00. It is an investment and cannot be compared to your typical wine bottle opener. The wine bottle opener is worth the investment for those who invest in their wine.
Treat the wine lover in your life, which may be you. You are worth it.
Win a wine tour to Maryland’s wine country. Upload a your favorite vineyard picture on Twitter or Instagram from December 2 – January 1, 2016. Add #ilovevino301 @vino301 to your post. Share everywhere – the most likes win. Winners selected weekly.
Best Wines for Thanksgiving
Regardless if you are hosting or you going to someone’s home you are probably trying to decide what wine should be paired with dinner. People frequently ask, “What is the perfect wine to serve with Thanksgiving meal?” Answer: There isn’t a perfect wine. There are so many rich and varying flavors, it is impossible to select just one wine. However there are wines that pair better with thanksgiving. What are the best wines for Thanksgiving?
Start at your local fine wine store. Wine stores offer wine tastings on a weekly or daily basis during the holiday season. You can call or go on their website to find out what days the tastings are available. These tastings are often free. The store will pour between 4 to 6 wines. This is great opportunity for you to try different varietals.
Bring your dinner menu with you. The wine representative can offer suggestions on what to pair with the wine. You may find your new favorite wine.
If the store is not offering a tasting, you still may have an opportunity to try an instore tasting. You may ask the sales person to uncork the wine you are serious about purchasing. Some stores will uncork the bottle for you.
If you cannot attend an instore tasting, there are no fail wine selection tips you can employee.
TIP #1 – Go with sparkling wine. Everyone likes a sparkling wine (well almost everyone). Sparkling wine is the most versatile wine. It is the little black dress of the wine world; it is good for any occasion. It can be paired with almost any meal. Try a dry sparkling wine, a brut, with your meal and a demi-sec, sweeter sparkling with dessert. Great Shoals, 2012 Cuvee Blanc Sparkling Wine, is a Maryland sparkling that is a blend of Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc in a brut style. It is a great way to begin your meal.
TIP #2 – Some like white, some like red, offer both. Rarely will all your guests like only white wine or only red. Offer them a choice. You will look like a very sophisticated host.
TIP #3 – Vidal Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Albarĩno are great complements to side dishes. Stay away from oaky Chardonnay; it can overwhelm your meal. You can locate Albarĩno at local vineyards like Black Ankle Vineyard and Serpent Ridge.
TIP #4 – Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel complements your hearty and savory dishes. You also can try red blends. Red wine blends, like Meritage and Bordeaux, are excellent with turkey legs and dark meat.
Have a very, very safe and happy Thanksgiving! Vino 301 Wine Concierge is thankful for your continued support and we wish you well during this holiday season. Cheers!
Vino 301 Wine Concierge’s first endeavor was a self-guided tour of Maryland’s vineyards and wineries. For a flat fee, a person could go to all of the participating wineries across Maryland and enjoy a wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres. Great project … right? Well, not so much. Vino 301 just started and no one knew who we were. No one was interested in taking a chance on a new company. It was a challenge convincing vineyard owners to take a chance on us.
There was one vineyard that stood out during that time. They were fairly new too. They just opened their tasting room and were abundantly cautious about participating in our project. They had their own woes of being a new business. Several calls were placed; selling the merits of this endeavor to the General Manager, Drew Baker. Mr. Baker finally agreed to Old Westminster Winery participating. I would love to say the event was a huge success. It wasn’t and we had to cancel it. However, it was the beginning of partnership between our organizations.
What a difference three years makes. Since that time, Old Westminster Winery has grown and experienced tremendous success. Old Westminster officially opened a newer and grander new tasting room earlier in this month. “It looked like someone’s home, with a huge front porch and beautiful lights, just begging you to come in and have a drink”, is how someone described Old Westminster’s newly opened tasting room. The building is airy with vaulted ceilings, and plenty of space to socialize. Outside is beautifully landscaped. Most of the construction was completed by the family, which is not surprising. Old Westminster Winery is synonymous with family. Each member of the Baker family contributes to the success of the vineyard.
Old Westminster is a must visit. You can bring a picnic with you, but they do have food to purchase. You are always greeted by warm and friendly people, who are extremely knowledgeable about the wines they are pouring. The staff is always happy to answer any questions you have, even the geeky questions, like what was the growing elevation for these grapes. On the weekends, they have live entertainment.
Most importantly, you have to sample the wine. Old Westminster is known for its award winning wines. Our new favorite is the 2014 Farmer Fizz. Just in time for the holidays. It is a sparkling wine. Chardonnay-dominated blend. It has crisp apple and citrus flavors, followed by a touch of apricot. It is youthful, fresh and crisp.
Congratulations Old Westminster Winery and much success. We look forward to our continued partnership.
What is better than chocolate and wine? Enjoying chocolate and wine for charity! Vino 301 Wine Concierge is participating in Wine Tourism Day on November 7, 2015. For the third annual Wine Tourism Day, Vino 301 Wine Concierge will be donating portion of its Chocolate and Wine Tour proceeds to the Bowie Food Pantry Bowie Food Pantry provides emergency financial assistance and food.
Wineries, hotels, restaurants, and other wine tourism businesses across North America and beyond are offering special events to the public on this day to celebrate the importance (and fun) of wine tourism. Events are being planned in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Events differ and can range from wine pairing dinners to music events to structured tastings. Organizations that participate in Wine Tourism Day will be donating a portion of their earnings for that day towards a local charity or non-profit of their choice.
The Chocolate and Wine Tour is a fan favorite of our guests. On Wine Tourism day we are headed to Parfections for our Chocolate and Wine Tour. Maryland wine is paired with handmade gourmet truffles and chocolate barks. Vino 301 Wine Concierge will transport you to Parfections store where the tour begins. To learn more about this tour click here
“We believe if the wine tourism industry as a whole is successful, we all succeed as individuals,” says Allan Wright, president of Zephyr Adventures. “This year, we’d like to take it a step further and extend that philosophy into the community, which is why this year’s Wine Tourism Day is focused on giving back to local charities.”
Wine Tourism Day is being supported by a number of industry partners including LocalWineEvents.com, Touring and Tasting Marketing & Media, WineAmerica, Canadian Vintners, Visit Penticton, BeverageTradeNetwork.com, Wine Trail Adventures, The Tasting Panel, WineBusiness.com, Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute, Wine Industry Network (WIN), Wine Institute, CANVAS, and the Wine Tourism Conference in addition to wine and tourism associations in wine regions throughout North America.
To learn more about Wine Tourism Day or to locate activities near you http://www.winetourismday.org/
A thunderous roar was felt in Aldie, Va when the G-burg Vettes rolled into town Quattro Goomba Winery in Aldie, Virginia. The classic Corvette club at held their annual rally Quattro GoombaWinery in July. G-burg Vettes Corvette club located in Gaithersburg, MD.
G-burg Vettes rally showcases the members’ cars. The rally began with a scenic drive along route 15 through Maryland to Aldie, VA on a beautiful Sunday morning. What an entrance… 15 classic Corvettes cruised through the entrance of Quattro Goomba. It was a sight to behold.
The fun begin with introductions and a wine tasting lead by Quattro Goomba staff. Quattro’s sources many of its grapes from local farms and the wine is made on premise. Each wine had an interesting story shared by Quattro’s staff during each pouring. The wine tasting was a perfect backdrop for club members to rekindle friendships and catch up on new gossip! Quattro’s unique frappe Vino was a fan favorite of the women. The fruity frozen cocktail was loved by all of G-burg women.
Aroma of brick oven pizza filled the air. What a great combination with its Italian style wine. Quattro homemade breads and pizza is simply delicious. People’s favorite is the smoked cheddar cheese with bread. G-burgs brought picnic lunch, but its members all enjoyed Quattro’s hand-made brick oven styled pizza.
Summer, sun, and sangria sorbet! Your favorite summertime drink just became your new favorite refreshing summer treat! Sangria sorbet is an easy dessert to make during the hot summer months that will leave your friends thinking you are a gourmet chef. The flexibility behind the recipe allows you chose your favorite fruity wine to add as the main ingredient. Sangria sorbet is a fun way to cool down in the summer! We want to thank Dessert For Two for this tasting recipe.
Makes 2 cups
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup fruity red wine (your favorite Maryland Wine, of course)
⅔ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 3 oranges)
zest from 1 orange
1 tablespoon orange liquor (or peach moonshine)
- In a 2 cup glass measuring cup, stir together the sugar and water. Heat in the microwave for about 1 minute, stir together until sugar completely dissolves.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir together well. Cover and chill completely, at least 4 hours but overnight is best.
- Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s direction. Scrape the churned sorbet into a dish, cover and place in the freezer for a few hours to firm up.
Maryland is proudly home to award winning wines, but it doesn’t end there. Maryland takes pride in producing many unique styles of wine from bubbly fruit wines to sharp elegant red wines and everything in between! There is no doubt that every palate will surely be pleased by the variety of wines Maryland has to offer. We believe the craftsmanship that goes into each glass of wine on your table and bottle of wine in your rack deserves to be recognized. What better way to celebrate our local business producing our favorite wine then to celebrate all week long.. Maryland Wine Week!
This amazing event will take place from July 18-26. Local restaurants, wine shops, and bars will be featuring Maryland Wine and other local products. This is a way to support Maryland’s local industries.
Of course Vino301 will be participating, every week is wine week for us! We offer several different tour packages to please all of the wine lovers. Some of our most popular packages include Maryland Regional Wine Tours, Chocolate and Wine Tours, Girls Day Out, and custom wine tour tastings. Vino 301 is offering wine tours
- July 17 – Patapsco Valley Region
- July 18 – Heritage Region
- July 19 – Westminster Region
- July 24 – Patapsco Valley Region
- July 25 – Patapsco Valley Region
- July 26 – Heritage Region
Whatever the occasion we hope you make the time to come out and celebrate wine week with the ones who know it best, Vino301. You can book a tour Click Here
So, when you are dining out make sure you ask for Maryland wine. Check out Maryland Wine Week Schedule & Participating Vendors for more information.