Bringing Old World Charm to Maryland, Maureen Heimbuch, Celebrating Women in Maryland’s Wine Industry
Bringing Old World Charm to Maryland, Maureen Heimbuch
Celebrating Women in Maryland’s Wine Industry
Have you ever played the game, “How many Maryland wineries you can name?” It is fun to compare notes with your friends. Boordy Vineyards and Linganore Winecellars are usually the wineries names. Thanksgiving Farms is rarely mentioned. But a winery you should know, especially if you love Bordeaux-style wines.
Thanksgiving Farm (Harwood, MD) is a hidden gem outside of Annapolis, MD. If you drive by the entrance quickly, you will miss it. It is tucked behind another farm. A striking image is unveiled once you drive beyond the neighboring farm. Lush vines and a historic home emerge. Located in Southern Anne Arundel County, the vineyard and tasting room have old world charm. Maureen and Doug Heimbuch are the proud proprietors, grape growers, and winemakers.
Operating and managing a vineyard is a second career for Maureen, like many women in Maryland’s wine industry. Her career began as an attorney in New Jersey. Her analytical and interpersonal skills developed in the legal professional easily transferred to her burgeoning winemaking career.
While Maureen leaves most of the winemaking tasks to Doug, she is a significant contributor to their end product. From the very beginning, they decided they were making traditional Bordeaux-style wines. Maureen discusses how she was influenced by old world French wines. Thanksgiving Farm grows noble grapes such as Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. They are known for their Meritage vintages. Meritage is a term used to identify American handcrafted wines blended from the traditional “noble” Bordeaux varietals. She expresses her desire to bring that history and quality winemaking to Maryland.
We also discuss Thanksgiving Farm notable Franc Blanc and what was the impetus. Franc Blanc is a white Cabernet Franc wine. Cabernet Franc is traditionally a red wine. They decided to try making it as a white wine because they were not making white whites. Franc Blanc was a surprising success.
Our chat with Maureen took place in Thanksgiving Farm’s tasting room. Thanksgiving Farm tasting room is one of the most stately tasting room I have ever visited. The mahogany panel walls remind me of a formal parlor or sitting room. Although the tasting room is well appointed, it is not stodgy. It is an inviting and intimate setting. It is like the television show Cheers, “everyone knows your name.” When you visit once, you will never be forgotten. You will always be greeted by name. Thanksgiving Farm’s tasting room is an extension of Maureen’s and Doug’s home. They want you to feel as welcome in the tasting room as you would in their home. Please enjoy our discussion.
Stay tuned for more videos in March. We love to hear from you. Who do you know who is making an impact in Maryland’s wine industry?
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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.