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.
Fall’s Most Popular Wines in Maryland’s Tasting Rooms
There are new grapes names being mentioned in Maryland’s tasting rooms you should become familiar with. Albariño, Viognier and Cabernet Franc are the most popular wines you will be tasting this fall.
Albariño is a Spanish grape that made Maryland its home. I remember first trying Albariño four or five years ago at Serpent Ridge Vineyard. It was the first and only place I could find it in Maryland. Gradually, this white wine appeared in Maryland’s tasting rooms. It is extremely popular in Frederick and Carroll Counties. It has moved its way east to Baltimore and Cecil Counties. Boordy Vineyard’s Albariño won Best in Show in Maryland’s 2016 Governor’s Cup.
It is a white wine pale lemon color, high in acid, with lemon, orange rind, and subtle floral scents on the nose. It has medium to high alcohol and flavors of grapefruit and almonds on the palate. Bodegas Gonzalez-Ruggiero procedures a delightful Albariño Bodegas Gonzalez-Ruggiero is one of Maryland’s newest vineyards located in Rising Sun.
Viognier is Virginia’s state grape. I understand why. It grows incredibly well in this region. Viognier is a medium- full body white wine. It is low in acid, has floral and honeysuckle aromas, and tropical fruit the palate like kiwi and mango. It is easy to drink and brings a smile to your face with every sip.
It is not surprising that Viognier popularity has reached its way to Maryland. A select few of Maryland vintners produced Viognier previously, but it is more abundant in Maryland’s tasting rooms in the past two years. Big Cork has joined the of parade of Maryland vineyards. It is no coincidence Big Cork Vineyard makes Viognier. Dave Collins, Big Cork’s talent winemaker, was noteworthy winemaker in Virginia. He brought his masterful skills to Maryland. Big Cork’s Viognier is a beautiful slightly golden in color, full-bodied and low acidity wine. It has traditional traits known to Viognier. Green melon and orange blossoms flavors are most pronounced.
Cabernet Franc is the popular under study to Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a red grape almost black in appearance. It is used as a blending grape. Cabernet Franc and Merlot are used in Bordeaux style wines.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc share similar characteristics, the same level of richness and intensity. Although Cabernet Franc has big bold flavors, it has slightly milder tannin and more red fruit flavors making it a smoother wine to enjoy. More and more Maryland winemakers have discovered this fact and are now making Cabernet Franc the star of the show.
Boordy Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Franc Landmark Series is a wonderful representation of Maryland’s Cabernet Franc. It has a ruby red color with a jammy flavors like red berry preserves and smoky notes on the nose. It has a long finish of earthy flavors, vanilla and cherries.