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2017 New To You Wine Challenge: Enjoying Orange Wine

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.

New year's resolution


2015 Chardonel

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.





2015 Alius

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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