Maryland’s Wine Country Fall Foliage Excursions
Delighted Maryland’s hot and humid summer is behind us; cooler days are gradually becoming our norm. As the air turns cool and crisp, this region’s fall displays unforgettable foliage. Maryland’s Wine Country is the perfect back drop to view the leaves changing. October and November are peak season months. Vino 301’s wine tours are idea for fall foliage viewing from the comfort of the car. We spotlight a few tours and wines to sample.
Westminster Region Wine Tour & Wine, Beer and Spirits: Beverage Adventure
Westminster Region Wine Tour expands beyond Westminster, MD. Westminster is the most eastern point of the region and reaches west as far as Big Cork Vineyard (Rohrersville, MD). Big Cork Vineyard looks upon the mountains in Washington County. The tasting room has breath taking views. Enjoy sipping on Viognier during your visit. Viognier has become Maryland’s “IT” grape this season. You will find it in several tasting rooms across the state. Big Cork does it extremely well. Viognier is clear and burgeoning on golden yellow. It is a dry wine with medium acid. Immediately, aromas of apricot, peaches, and floral notes are detected. Pear and honeysuckle are on the palate. The finish is long and you cannot wait to take another sip. It is a very good wine.
Wine, Beer and Spirits: Beverage Adventure is Vino 301’s newest tour in the Westminster Region. This is a journey takes you Mt. Airy to Thurmont, MD. You travel through the rolling hills and you are at the foot of the Catoctin Mountains. Travel in comfort as you literally drink in local wine, beer, spirits, history and culture of Maryland’s beverage industry. You can select any combination of wine, beer, and spirits at the two vineyards we are visiting. Your tour begins when Vino 301 pick’s you up at one of our designated pick up locations. Your tasting adventure starts at Linganore Winecellars and Red Shedman Farm Brewery & Hop Yard. Linganore Wincellars is one of Maryland’s largest vineyards and home to Maryland’s newest brewery. Vino 301 completes the tour at Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery. Springfield Manor offers fine wines, gin, rum and vodka.
Chambourcin, a French-American hybrid grape, has become Maryland’s native grape. Springfield Manor’s Chambourcin 2013 is a favorite to have during autumn. It is a clean, ruby red dry wine. By its color alone, you would expect high tannin. Your expectations would be wrong. It has medium tannins and acid, and traditional black fruit characteristics like black berries and currants. Vanilla and clove spices on the nose. When Springfield first opened and released its first Chambourcin vintage was fair and had room for improvement. Its current vintage is very good is shows complexity and winemaking maturity.
Patapsco Region Wine Tour & Chocolate and Wine Tour
Patapsco Region takes you to the heart of horse country in Baltimore County. The drive through this region is an array of spectacular tree-scape roads of yellow, orange and red. It is the perfect back drop to wine tasting. Along this trail is Boordy Vineyard. Boordy Vineyard’s Landmark Albariño 2015 was the 2016 Governor’s Cup Winner. There is an emergence Albariño in Maryland you see in western Maryland as well as Baltimore. Boordy’s wine is a medium bodied, with notes fresh green apples, and grapefruit. Clean, pale yellow appearance is crisp on the palate. Albariño typically high in acid, the Boordy Vineyard wine has medium acid. It is a very good wine.
The Chocolate Wine Tour is located in the Patapsco Region. Vino 301 visits Parfections (Cockeysville, MD). Parfections chocolate truffles and bark are paired with Maryland wine. The wines served are selected from regions across the state. As we like to say, “Your chocolate pairing is a trip through Maryland’s wine country without leaving your seat.” Parfections truffles are seasonal. They have flavors like pumpkin spice, cranberry and walnut, and many more truffles. Not to worry, they have the favorites like chocolate mousse, honeycomb, and dipped bacon in chocolate.
I am a self-professed wino. I am not alone. There are hundreds probably millions of people who are equally passionate about wine if not more. Another beverage would not compare. When offered a beer or whiskey, we politely turn up our nose.
So why am I writing about adding a Maryland distillery to your wine travels? No, I have not been sitting in the sun too long. Spirits tasting is very similar to wine tasting. Adding a whiskey or rum tasting along your wine travels will be a pleasant surprise.
Here are three reasons why you should try to visit a Maryland distillery.
- Spirits and wine are more alike than you think
Wines share the same characteristics as spirits. For example, Nebbiolo or Barolo are full-bodied Italian reds that have a wide range of aromas and flavors. You will find those similar aromas and flavors in many whiskeys. Compare for yourself at Cassinelli Winery and Distillery (Chestertown, MD). Sample Cassinelli’s 2010 Barbera Reserve and its Corn Whiskey and see if you detect the same flavor notes. Sauvignon Blanc has similar botanical notes like gin. Tell the tasting room host what characteristics you enjoy in wine, this will help them serve you a rum, whiskey or gin with those similar notes.
- Spirits can be sweet or dry
Just like wine…spirits can be produced to be sweet or dry. Gin, specifically, has this versatility. Adding flavor agents can achieve complexity, and entirely unique flavor profile. Springfield Winery & Distillery (Thurmont, MD) uses these techniques to enhance the tasting experience. Springfield’s vodka and gin are infused with lavender. The lavender is subtle distraction from gin’s traditional juniper flavor.
- Spirits tasting is available at your traditional wine tasting
If you do not want to choose between wine or spirits, you do not have to. You can do both at Fiore Winery & Distillery (Pylesville, MD). Fiore is the quintessential Italian winery (in Maryland). Mike and Rose Fiore, owners and winemakers, have been making wine for over 30 years. Visiting Fiore Winery and Distillery is like taking a trip to a Tuscan countryside. After your wine tasting you are treated to Limoncello or Grappa. Both are liqueurs served as an after dinner drink. You experience traditions of Italy along your entire visit to this Maryland distillery.
Give it a try and visit a Maryland distillery. Email me or post your comments and let me know about your experience. Will you add local spirits to your wine travels?