The Vino 301 Team took a day off over the summer. What does a bunch of winos do on their day off? Go wine tasting!!! The team took a trip to Leonardtown, Maryland, to Generations Vineyard, Maryland’s newest vineyard.
Generations Vineyard is truly a family affair. The vineyard is operated and owned by the Norris family. Three sisters from the Norris family started the vineyard in 2012. It is kind of funny to call them Maryland’s newest vineyard when they began in 2012. Generations started planting in 2012. This goes to show you vineyards just do not pop up. Operating a vineyard is a marathon, not a sprint. Generations Vineyard is located on Wheatleys Content Farm. Four generations call the Wheatley Content Farm home, hence the name of the Vineyard.
The Vino 301 team was warmly welcomed by Sarah, one of the Norris sisters, for our wine tasting. It was a typical hot, humid Maryland summer day, so we appreciated sitting under the tent and catching a breeze here and there. Space in the tasting room is limited, so make sure you call before your visit.
Winemakers have a “lead grape.” The lead grape is the predominant grape used in many of their wines. There isn’t a science to picking the lead grape. The lead grape is selected because the winemaker had an abundance of that varietal, the winemaker prefers working with that grape, or the moon was purple, who knows. Chardonel is Generation’s lead grape. No, auto-correct didn’t skip Chardonel. Chardonel is a French American hybrid, a cross of Seyval and Chardonnay grapes. It has clean, crisp characteristics of a Chardonnay. It is robust, like the Seyval grape, and withstands colder temperatures. Chardonel is used to make full-body white wines.
Generations flagship wine is the 2018 Estate Chardonel. Our group’s favorite wine. It is a dry white wine with notes of pears and crisp green apples. Perfect patio sipping wine. We actually shared this wine during our visit. Generations has two white wine blends round out their white wine selections. Both blends are made with Chardonel and Albariño. Albariño is showing up everywhere. 2018 Berkman’s Blend is a sweeter, semi-dry wine. Named after their grandfather. Love how they honor those laid the path for their future endeavors. The other blend is the 2018 Heirloom. Same grapes, but the Heirloom is a dry white wine style with notes of apricots and stone fruits. All of the wines are aged in stainless steel tanks.
2018 Chambourcin and 2018 Wheatleys Content are the red wine selections. Both wines have French Oak contact. They spend time aging in French Oak barrels. If you are a Chambourcin enthusiast, you will enjoy this wine. It is a mild body and rich in traditional Chambourcin flavors. The 2018 Wheatleys Content is a Petit Verdot and Chambourcin blend. Generation selects grapes that thrive in Maryland and will offer authentic favors.
The wines are reasonably priced, ranging to $17 a bottle to the mid- $20s.
The Vino 301 team had a great time and will be back. If you want to make an afternoon of wine tasting, Port of Leonardtown Winery is minutes away. Generation Vineyard is located off Route 4 on Wheatleys Content Farm. 22715 Wheatleys Content Farm Lane Leonardtown, MD Tasting room hours Fridays 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm and Saturdays 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm. More information www.Generationsvineyard.com
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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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