We've been neglecting our northern brethren for a while so we scheduled a trip near Frederick to restock our mead collection. Yes, we are fans of honey wine and decided to sample the wines from Orchid Cellar Winery, located a little northeast of Frederick in Middletown. The winery has been operating for 4 years, the last two in the current location. The honey is sourced from local and regional apiarists accentuated by their own bees. The Wilk's family base their mead on Eastern European\Polish recipes in honor of their heritage. And what's fascinating about these meads, is the diversity in styles. The Ambrosia is a Pyment made from honey and Chardonnay grapes; the Blacksmith a Melomel made from honey, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. I'd never heard of or tasted a Capsicumel which is mead made with chili peppers. And Orchid Cellar offers two: the Hunter and the Big Game Hunter which has three times the peppers. The Hunter was balanced between heat, spice, and sweetness and is surprisingly, their best cellar. The other, too much heat for me. My favorites were two traditional Metheglin (honey and spices): the Knight and the Monk, The former is based on recipes attributed to Capuchin monks; the latter from a recipe attributed to Bernardine monks and includes spices and rose petals. Both were slightly sweet, and full of flavor, nicely balanced between the honey and spice. In the future the winery will start offering traditional grape wine, but for me - I'm content with the honey wine.
From Orchid Cellar Winery, we migrated a little closer to home in order to hear some local music at Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard. This winery offers live music on a constant basis and we had neglected them for too long. On this day, Rob Thorworth was entertaining an overflowed patio of wine drinkers with a collection of originals and eclectic covers. We rushed to sit down when hearing Little Feat's Spanish Moon, followed by Lyle Lovett, The Beatles, and Warren Zevon. Good music paired with a merlot based Rose. Nice. Two videos are available at the MyJoogTV YouTube channel. Cheers.