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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Champagne, Sparkling Wines are the Little Black Dress of Wines
Every woman has that dress, that outfit that she can wear to any occasion. It is the little black dress. She can wear it to the office. Dress it up and she can wear it on date night. It is versatile and never lets her down. Sparkling wine is equally versatile. You can serve it at any celebration. You can serve sparkling wine with fried chicken or simply sip it while watching your favorite movie. A sparkling wine will never let you down.
But, why? Why do sparkling wines complement most foods? There is not a single reason or a scientific theory that I know of. Consider a couple of factors.
Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti, and other sparkling wines and made from different vintage wines. The vintage is the year the wine is produce. Winemakers use the higher quality wines pressed from each year and combine the pressings to create cuvée sparkling wines. Each year’s wines have unique characteristics and qualities, regardless if the grape is the same. For example, there are differences between a 2015 Chardonnay and a 2016 which makes each distinguishing.
A buffet of flavors, and characteristics are on display when you bring the best of the best together. Mr. Chris Hallowell, a wine and spirit journalist, explains the blending process well. Hallowell said, “most bottles are blended from different vintage wines, resulting in a cuvée that’s greater than the sum of its parts; they tend to showcase minerality, a characteristic that adds depth to fruity, savory, meaty, and gamy flavors; and these wines possess an unparalleled acidity that cuts through rich, fatty dishes and surmounts even high-acid ingredients such as tomatoes or vinegars”, in an Epicurious article. Food pairing becomes simpler and less exacting when the wine possess broader traits.
All Rules Apply
There are a few rules that prevail when you are pairing food with wine. These rules eliminate what kinds of wine that should not be paired with certain foods. This makes the wine selection process easier. For example, opposite flavors with opposite flavors. You can pair spicy Thai food with semi-sweet Riesling. When you follow this rule, it eliminates bold, rich reds like Malbec from your selection. Most importantly, you save your mouth from experiencing a three-alarm fire.
All food pairing rules apply to sparkling wines. Use our earlier example, opposite flavors with opposite flavors. Pair the same spicy Thai food with a Sec or Demi-Sec sparkling wine. A Sec or Demi-Sec are semi-dry wines. These wines have a slightly high sweet taste, lower alcohol and reduce the “heat” level impression.
You often hear red wines with red meat. They are complementary flavors. Tannin, found in red wine, will “cut” through the fat and salt in red meat, and not overwhelm the meal. Interestingly sparkling wines are not high in tannin, although many Champagnes are made with red grapes like Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier or Shiraz. Sparkling wines have similar relationships with fatty, salty foods. Potato chips, French fries, anything wrapped in bacon, or short ribs are good combos with Brut or Extra Dry sparkling wines. The sparkling wine acidic level brings balance. The food is less salty and fatty on the palate.
Tonight, try a sparkling wine with your meal. Do not save the bubbles of milestone events. Every day is a celebration. You something new!
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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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Happy Anniversary Vino 301
It is our 4th Anniversary. Happy Anniversary to us! We are thankful to provide wine tours and tasting events over the past few years to you. You allow us to share your milestone moments and good times with you. We have put together a video of our moments throughout the years. Take a look Vino 301 Anniversary Video
A lot has changed in four years.
|In 2013,||In 2017,|
|· ~50 vineyards and wineries in Maryland||· Over 72 vineyards and wineries|
|· 3 Wine Regions||· 4 Wine Region|
|· No Specialty Tours||· 2 Specialty Tours|
|· No Wine Classes||· Wine Tasting Classes|
|· No Festival Wine Tours||· 5 Festival Wine Tours|
We truly appreciate you taking this wine journey with us. And, we want you to join in the celebration. We are offering our Regional Wine Tours at our 2013 price… $75 until January 20,2017 (use code Anniversary at checkout).
Take you again and we look forward to provide fun and memorable tours and events to you.
Do not forget, your 2017 New Year’s resolution. Take the #NewToYouWine challenge! Tweet us, tag us when you try wines new to year this year.
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How Much Wine Do You Serve At A Wedding Reception
There are so many decisions a bride and groom have to make for the wedding reception. Plated dinner or buffet, band or DJ, open or cash bar are just a few of questions they have to answer? Our guide to “How Much Wine Do You Serve At A Wedding Reception” will hopefully help you when you are stocking your bar for your wedding reception.
1) Wine, Beer & Spirits: Your decision on how much wine to serve should be based on whether you are serving other alcoholic beverages. It is common for only beer and wine to be served. Believe it or not, your guests will drink more beer than wine. Three bottles of beer to everyone 1 glass will be served. Sixty percent of your guests will drink beer.
Signature cocktails are among the latest trends at receptions. Whether you decide to have a signature cocktail or a fully stock bar, your guests’ wine consumption is less than 40 percent. Beer consumption drops significantly. Guests consume 35% wine, 20 % beer, and 45% cocktails.
2) Wine Consumption: You should plan to serve one glass of wine for each hour of the reception. An 750 ml bottle contains approximately 5 glasses of wine. Here is a simple formula when Beer and wine are served:
4 hours Reception and 100 guests
- 40 guests (only 40% of guests will drink wine) x 1 glass per hour = 40 glasses
- 40 glasses x 4 hours = 160 glasses
- 160 glasses / 5 glasses = 32 bottles of wine
3) Time of Year /Indoor & Outdoor Wedding: Red and white wine will equally be consumed at an indoor wedding and during winter, spring and fall weddings. However, white and sparkling wines consumption will be greater during summer or outdoor weddings. People find white and sparkling wines refreshing during warmer weather. Sixty percent of white and sparkling wines and 40% red wine should be served at your bar. This recommendation does not take in consideration the meal served. You should also plan your wine and meal pair in your wine calculations.
4) Champagne/Sparkling: Sparkling wine (Champagne, Prosecco, etc.) is mainly used for toasting the bride and groom. Two glasses of sparkling wine per guest is the standard. You can pour 6 glasses of sparkling wine from a standard 750ml bottle. You get more glasses per bottle out of sparkling wine because of the bubbles and the shape of the champagne flute. So here is an example calculation:
- 100 guests x 2 glasses each = 200 glasses
- 200 glasses / 6 glasses per bottle = ~34 bottles
Now that you know how much wine you will serve. Wish you all the best in planning your dream wedding.
Wine Trails & Tasting Events
Wine’ing Maryland is your personal calendar of wine tasting activities in Maryland occurring over the weekend. The upcoming weekend’s events are published every Thursday. Send us your event or share events with us and we will posted. Click here to Contact Us Check out Soup and Wine Tasting and many more events that can be a part of your weekend.
Type of Activities
- Free Activities
- Charitable Events
- Family Events
- Arts & Crafts
- Food & Wine Tasting Events
January 5 – January 8, 2017 EVENTS
January 6, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Live Music at The Olney Winery
January 6, 7:00 pm -10:00 pm
January 7 -8, 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm
January 7, 1:00pm – 5:00 pm
January 7-8, 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm
Prince Frederick, MD
ARTS & CRAFTS
FOOD & WINE TASTING EVENTS
January 6, 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm
January 7- 8, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
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New Year’s Resolution: Try Wines New To You
Happy New Year! The euphoria of your New Year’s Eve celebration is fading. By now, 2017 resolutions are starting to become your reality. Why did you decide to start your diet today? There are still Christmas cookies in the kitchen. Ugh!!! Resolutions can be difficult to maintain. Do you know that only 64% of resolutions are maintain beyond the first month? Only 46% of people maintain their New Year’s resolution beyond six months. So why do we go through this exercise every year?
People like making a fresh start and improving upon themselves. They like putting the past behind them and starting anew. Of course, this opinion is purely speculation and based on my number of years watching Oprah. However, there may be some truth to this statement. According to Statistic Brain, majority of resolutions focus on self-improvement or education related actions.
The team at Vino 301 is no different than the rest of America. We want to start anew. We are in a wine rut. Tired of the some wine time after, time again. We resolve to broaden our wine knowledge and experiences. We are challenging ourselves to add new wines to our repertoire. The staff is going to try at least 3 wines or grape varietals we have never experienced before. We will share the tasting experiences with you on Vino 301 blog and on Twitter (@vino301wine) using the #winesnewtoyou.
Join us in this challenge! Make 2017 the year you Try Wines New To You. Below is an infographic of grape varietals categorize by white or red wine. The wines are also identified by light, medium or full body. You can select from the wines listed below or chart your own adventure. Share with us Try Wines New To You experiences and pictures by tweeting us or posting them to this blog. Make sure you use #winesnewtoyou hashtag.
This is a resolution that we can maintain beyond six months. Good luck with your New Year’s resolutions! We wish you all the success and prosperity in 2017. Remember, let us know how you are doing with your challenge. Happy New Year to you again.
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