Monday, January 30, 2017

2017 Maryland Winter Wine Showcase

The Maryland Wineries Association just held their 2017 Winter Wine Showcase at the Baltimore B&O Railroad Museum. As the name indicates this event provides an opportunity for Maryland wineries to showcase two of their best wines during the Roundhouse Tasting. The tasting occurred under the museum's B&O Roundhouse dome and amidst the largest collection of historic trains in the country. The showcase also included a Sparkling Wine Reception featuring five tasty sparkling wines.

Overall, the tasting was fantastic -- starting with the setting. The B&O Railroad Museum is filled with unique and interesting pieces and information culminating in the rotunda housing the historic trains. Second, the wines poured demonstrated once again that the Maryland wine industry is improving both in the quality of wines and diversity of the varietals. Almost the entire European continent was represented as we started in Spanish Galicia and Albarino, then roamed through the Italian Piedmont with Barbera, northwards to Austria and Gruner Veltliner, before settling in the Rhone Valley with Viognier, and Syrah.  These grape varieties were virtually nonexistent in the Old Line State a decade ago. But Boordy Vineyards, Port of Leonardtown Winery, Great Shoals Winery, Crow Farm and Vineyard, Old Westminster Winery,  Black Ankle Vineyards, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, and Big Cork Vineyards and others are proving that these grapes can excel in the diverse Maryland micro-climates.

That being said, Chardonnay is still a major player with the Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard 2014 Chardonnay Reserve ($30) my favorite of the evening. (Their 2013 EVOE! red blend ($41) was also well received.)  And Rocklands Farm and Turkey Point Vineyard showed Chardonnay based blends that were fresh, tasty, and affordable - the 2015 White Oak ($23) and  2015 Lighthouse White ($24) respectively.  A few other notable wines were the Vineyards At Dodon Sauvignon Blanc ($24), the Layton's Chance Vineyard and Winery 2014 Reserve Norton ($27), which was void of any astringency and jammy characters, the Chateau Bu De Bohemia Manor Farm.barrel sample Cabernet Franc (a phenomenal wine albeit soon to be an expense wine at $75), and The Urban Winery's 2015 Bourbon Barrel Aged Merlot ($25). Whereas this wine was a blend of traditional oak and bourbon aged Merlot, I actually preferred the 100% bourbon aged Merlot that was available as well. I almost forgot the Old Westminster Winery 2014 Cabernet Franc ($35) both here and during the tasting. A delicious wine.  Because of the breadth in quality I am overlooking several wines but rest assured if you plan a trip to Maryland wine country with theCompass you will not be disappointed. Cheers.


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