Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Perigeaux Vineyards & Winery, St. Leonard, MD

Last week we received this press release that Perigeaux Vineyards & Winery is now open to the public and selling their wines:

In 2001, business partners Mark Flemming and John Behun purchased 22 acres of farmland in St. Leonard, Maryland, with the goal of establishing the first commercial vineyards in the scenic Calvert County countryside. At the time, there were fewer than 30 wineries in the state, and only five in Southern Maryland. With the help of their families and friends, these new entrepreneurs put their love of wine to good use, planting Perigeaux Vineyards & Winery's first vinifera vines in 2002. The name Perigeaux refers to the ancient walled town in the Dordogne region of Southwest France near Bordeaux. The town is famous for its pate and flocks of geese, hence the origin of the white goose on the Perigeaux label. The Dordogne region is known for its idyllic countryside and famous vin-de-pays (wine of the country.) After leaving the active duty Air Force in the early 1990s, Mark spent time at a farm winery in Tocane-St Apres near Perigeaux in the Dordogne.

Perigeaux Vineyards & Winery specializes in making hand-crafted wines in small lots, with production, fermenting, aging, and bottling all carefully supervised by John, the winemaster. All grapes used for Perigeaux's award-winning wines are grown at the St. Leonard vineyards. The winemaster's methods are in the natural vin-de-pays tradition of southwestern France, which leads the owners to take great care of the grapes, and to make the wine as authentic to the Chesapeake Bay and Calvert County areas as possible. When you taste wine from Perigeaux Vineyards & Winery, you experience the ripe fullness of the grapes and power of the sun in Southern Maryland.

Reflecting the range of the winemaster and the tastes of the region, the winery has crafted three distinct styles of wine, under three different labels. "Perigeaux Vineyards" wine is drawn from the premium signature and reserve vintages. The "Mackall Road" label was developed for wines crafted without fining and minimal filtering to be natural and authentic to the grape varietals such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. "Patuxent River" wines have a lighter, fresher feel and include specialty and sweeter varieties.

The 2005 harvest produced the vineyard's first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc wines. In 2008, Perigeaux's first commercial vintage (from the 2006 harvest) was released, and the winery also added Pinot Gris and Muscato to its offerings. The winery plans to release its Zinfandel and an Italian-style blend of Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon in the Fall of 2009.

All of the attention to detail and hard work recently paid off with several regional and national awards. In 2008, Perigeaux Vineyards & Winery was recognized by the American Wine Society with three bronze medals for its Cabernet Sauvignon, under all three of the vineyard's labels. The Best of Appellation tastings in Napa, California recognized the vineyard's Chardonnay and Merlot with silver medals. Also in 2008, the Maryland Governor's Cup and Winemaster's Choice Competitions resulted in silver and bronze medals for the vineyard's Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Merlot.

Perigeaux Vineyard & Winery, which is located off of Route 4 in St. Leonard, MD (about 45 minutes south of Washington, DC and 15 minutes north of Solomons Island), is open for visitors from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon-5 p.m. on Sundays, by appointment. They will be represented at several upcoming wine festivals and events: "Wine in the Woods" (May 16-17); "Great Grapes" (June 13-14), the "Maryland Wine Festival" (September 19-20), and the "Riverside Wine Festival" (October 3-4). Please visit www.Perigeaux.com or call 410-586-2710 for more information on the vineyard's wines, upcoming events, directions, or to contact the owners.

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