Beautiful Doves


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the positive vibe of a winery.   There’s something usually so welcoming and approachable about the whole experience.  From the usual remote location, to its endearing road signs to steer you in the right direction, makes the journey as wonderful as the destination.

Dove Valley EntranceDoveSignsDoveValleyWinery

This brings me to one of the most pleasurable tasting experiences I’ve had in quite some time.   If you haven’t been to Dove Valley in Rising Sun, MD, I strongly recommend to make the journey.  Even if you’re a few hours away, it’s highly work making the trip for.

And that leads to me.  I only live about 30 minutes south and it’s taken me nearly seven years to finally make a visit.  I’ve been living in the area for about that long.   Why it’s taken me so long has no explanation.  I’ve taken drives up to the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas going up 95 North and always saw the signs for Dove.  I always said to myself I need to go. Well it finally happened and maybe it was meant to happen on this day.

Additionally,  I’ve rarely seen their wines at various nearby festivals, if at all, the more I think about it.  Maybe the universe was telling me something.  That I need to come to them.   I’m grateful I did.

As I parked my car, the area seemed eerily quiet.  In many instances I would take this as a sign to drive off and delay this visit once again.  But the little voice inside me said no, get out of the car, and see what’s going on.

A nice lady came out and greeted me.  She directed me to the tasting room where someone would be joining me momentarily.

Fortunately, there were a couple of dogs running around, so I felt at peace and was in no rush to get this tasting going.

Janel, who is such a wonderful person, came in a few minutes later and made me feel at home.    One thing I’ve noticed about wines, when the person pouring it for you is approachable, caring, and sincere, the wine is almost always going to taste better.  It’s just one of those amazing parts of life.   My head and my heart is in a happy place and everything around me is the same.  It’s so powerful.

Now there were wines I liked more than others, but some I was pleasantly surprised by.   I did not find a single wine to be bad, that could also be the environment I was in, that I alluded to before.  But this was so fun.  And wine drinking is supposed to be one of those most fun and inspiring experiences.

I won’t write about them all but the Cabernet Franc, which is usually a favorite wherever I go, was very good, but my favorite was the Pinot Noir.  It didn’t taste as light as usual Pinot’s but this one hit me and made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside.  I have no other explanation for it.  It really struck a chord with me.

The Merlot and Red Zin were also very good, that can complement just about any meal at any time of year.   The Rose and Dove Valley Red, which is their own special blend which full-bodied and full of fruitiness, also were stand-outs.  The latter is not something I would usually drink, but as the weather is still magnificent, I would drink this now or through most of the year.   I found it tasty and actually dangerously easy to drink.  🙂


But the two I purchased were the aforementioned Pinot and my other favorite of the day, the Vignoles.   To me, these two wines are the red and white equivalent of the other.  That was the glorious feeling I got when I was sipping them and decided to purchase both.  The latter also had a full body and fruity taste, similar to the Dove Valley Red, but this one just hit me more.  Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve walked out with about a half-dozen bottles if I wasn’t careful.


Janel also provided a masterful cheese and crackers plate for me to sample along with the wines and to cleanse the palate when necessary.  The tasting glass is so pleasing to the eye, that it will be a welcome addition to my collection.

The most important thing I want to mention is she was so accommodating and helpful in regards to any questions I might have had.  This was not a rushed experience.  She took her time and made sure my visit was a great one.  It was more than that.  It was a memorable one.  So memorable, that this is one of the longest write-ups I’ve ever done!

I also wanted to mention that she didn’t charge me for the tasting or the Vignoles.  She had no reason to do so.  I was so flattered and insisted that she didn’t have to.  It was above-and-beyond any winery visit I’ve had before.  This is their family business, I felt bad not paying, but she insisted.     This is class personified.  I wish I could use every superlative in the word for this one, but that would go on endlessly.

I splurged on the Pinot Noir.  The bottle was $25 and that is extremely rare for me to do.  I usually like my wines under $20, usually under $10-$15 if at all possible.  This is the whole point of Wine Is Fun.  We’re here to celebrate that great wine is fun to drink, to talk about, and be very affordable.  In this instance, I still feel that $25 for this bottle was a bargain.  And to have the tasting and Vignoles as part of the package, I felt like I was stealing.


This only means I will be back soon and many times over.  Speaking of which, they have many fun events coming up, including live bands, and events such as Paint & Wet Your Palette, which is akin to many of the wine and paint nights that have become commonplace.  I have yet to do one myself.  I hope I get the opportunity.

They also have a Murder Mystery next month, which I always thought was the coolest thing when reading about them or seeing it depicted on television.   To have it be so close is an event I don’t think I can miss.


And their big event coming up in October is Winestock, in which they will team up with several other wineries in the area for a day of wining, eating, and live music.  If the wording is correct this is a hippie fest that is right up my alley, that I hope not to miss. All the events can be found here.   And since you want to come here, here are the directions!

Here is a list of there you can find their wines in Maryland.

I could go on till eternity, but I’ll save some for a future post.  Enjoy the photos.  I think you will see the encapsulate how the brilliance of this place.


I was only here for under an hour but the visit will resonate me for a lifetime.  This is how wine is done.  There’s not enough gratitude to express how extravagant and spectacular this experience was.


Dove Valley thank you so much!





What’s in the Box?


I was “looking” for inspiration for what to write about this week.   As soon as I stopped looking and thinking, it found me.

As I’m taking a leisurely stroll around the beautiful Fells Point neighborhood in Baltimore, I see my friends working but also enjoying life at The Frame Room in the heart of the community.


When you’re your own boss and your own entity, you can be open and available whenever you want to be. And that also means you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

I walk in and the first thing I see my pals doing is drinking some vino out of cups! Seems like my kind of party.  So what was the drink of choice?

Black Box Wine is something almost all of us of drinking age have had at one time or another.   You tend to see it at many parties over the course of the calendar year.   I’ve probably had it over all four seasons and likely each month in some way, shape, or form.  I’ve seen it served at outdoor parties and barbecues when it was nearly 100 degrees, holiday parties when the weather is perfect for it, and everything in between.

And for further verification on how it’s awesome all year round, here is their Seasonal Enjoyment Guide.  I’m loving them even more as I write this.

This wine is not for the snobs and for the so-called experts.  It’s a wine to enjoy with friends for any occasion you want.  It’s to relax, enjoy life, eat some good food, and enjoy good company with.  Actually that can be said for all wine.

But this has also been a wine of choice for my friends who otherwise wouldn’t drink wine.  And that’s great. I’ve had a couple of my friends tell me that Black Box led them to try other wines and now they can appreciate where they started from, even more. That sounds wonderful!

But the wine is so much better than that.  It has won many an award because there is a strong soul and spirit behind their varietals. I’ve had many of their grapes and thoroughly enjoyed them all.

The drink of choice was the Cabernet Sauvignon and it got the job done.  It tasted as medium-to-full as a Cab should. Tasting notes can be found here.   The oak was present and I’ve always sung the praises of oak. The more oak, the merrier. No fancy glasses today.  Cups will do just fine.


You get the equivalent of four bottles of this, for the cost of one.  I’ve seen them priced anywhere from $10-$15. How can you beat that?  It’s a deal on top of deal!


And I took many pictures in and out of the shop itself for your viewing pleasure.   It’s always important to local businesses, especially new ones.  It’s this sense of community that has kept neighborhoods like Fells Point thriving.  They even have a blog if you want to learn more about framing.


There’s great people behind the operation, so if you’re in the neighborhood or even living in the city, I would highly recommend them for your custom framing needs. Their specials can be found here and Contact information can be found here, as well as their location.


For more on where to find Black Box, you can click here.

Have a great one!



Back To Boordy

Boordy Bottles

This past Friday, Boordy once again held their quarterly Landmark Club party.  I am proud to say that I’m a member.

The wines you see above are a beautiful sight aren’t they?  I am a three-bottle member.  Per the synopsis you can have up to 6 to 12 (2 of each or 3 of each respectively), if you really want to add to your collection.

I did a recap of several of these wines earlier this year, and you can read about that here.

Events like this are more about a thank you and a time to enjoy the season.  With this being Summer, the event moved outdoors, which was what I was expecting and grateful about.


Many of the pictures will reflect that.  And the weather couldn’t be any more perfect.


When it’s been chillier, the party has been indoors in their second floor lounge area.

So how were the three bottles this time around?   Well for one, I have written about their Landmark Reserve previously and loved it.  I’m still holding onto that for something special.

I found the 2014 Pinot Grigio to be very easy to drink. They’re traditionally light to medium-bodied and this one fits the mold. I have really been into whites while the weather has been cooperative.  I may open this within the next month.  I found it refreshing and it’s fitting for a great for an evening involving a healthy meal of proteins and veggies.

Then we get to the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon.   I am thankful this was in the package.  This wasn’t even available to be tasted by the time I arrived.  I was informed they have so few cases left, that they are going to be holding off on it for now. Luckily, a friend of mine had a bottle for me to try some.  This was also in the package back in February.  So I have two bottles sitting and aging gracefully.  It may be a while before I open either one.   And you can see on their list of Landmark Wines, it’s nowhere to be found.

And speaking of nowhere to be found, their 2012 Cabernet Franc, (which I have raved about many versions of in the past) will soon be joining that list.  As of Friday night, there were only 28 bottles left per a conversation with the staff.  I knocked that down to 27.    This was also part of the package in the Winter.   I will be holding onto the two I have for a while.


I know wine is meant to be enjoyed, for the moment as well, but sometimes the sentimentality and realizing certain wines are scarce or now near non-existent, and you have a bottle of it or two in your possession, is an exciting feeling.  There’s something to be said for that.

And speaking of that, the Chardonnay Reserve for 2013 is now sold out.  I will be holding onto that from January as well.  But the 2014 version in the first picture, had such an amazing finish, that the aftertaste really resonated with me.  It’s a wine I will look to purchase in the future, as long as it doesn’t go fast.  I suspect it will.   It had so much more power than the Chardonnay to its left.

The 2014 Dry Rose was part of the package in the Spring, and I noticed it wasn’t for sale at this past event.  Rose’s have also grown on me while the weather has been warm, even though they were never my favorite.   The same goes for the 2012 Merlot Reserve.

As far as wine goes, I’ve never loved Merlot, but the blogging and experimenting has led me to appreciate them more.   They were a part of the Winter and Spring package.  When the time is right I will open those up two.  In a sea of wonderful wines, by default they’re still near the bottom on my favorites list.


And looking to the future… Here is a teaser of some young wines, straight from the barrel.  These will include the 2014 Landmark Reserve and 2014 Cab Francs, which I am so excited for.

I am happy to support local and support Mayland Wine.

For more on joining their Landmark Reserve Club, click here.

I will depart with some fun photos from the event.




For more on this pizza, click here!

Have a good one!



Sweet Cat

The joy of doing this is discovering wines you didn’t even know existed.  This will continuously be a lifelong journey with no end in sight.  And as daunting as that may sound on the surface, that’s exactly how it should be.  Unless there is some magical ending, there should never be a final resting place.  Well unless it’s a with a fabled bottle of vino!

This brings me to the wines from Tussock Jumper.   Until a few days ago, they were nowhere on my radar.  I love uncovering something new.


The simple reason I saw drawn to the bottle is because of the cat on the label.  In addition to that, there was a plastic baggie with a collectors item attached at the top of it.  Upon further investigation I saw it was a refrigerator magnet.  Without any hesitation I bought this bottle with little regard to the type of wine it was.  They sold me.

I was in the South American wines section of the shop, so it was most likely Malbec or something similar.  But I was blinded by the animal!   Along with animals, wine is one of my real joys in life.  And a combination of a beautiful creature pictured on a bottle will usually get me every time.  Well done.


The magnet is now hanging gloriously on the refrigerator along with all its other magnet pals.


And without belaboring the point, how was my sipping experience?  Well I only thought the wine was ok.  I gave it a few minutes to breathe and it started to improve with time.  But it never really got anywhere.   The label mentions aromas and flavors of berries, fruits, and chocolates.   So I will assume blackberry will be notated a lot.  It did have that jammy flavor with maybe some cocoa if I didn’t think so much about it.  But nothing came of this for me.


In honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day yesterday, I hoped to heighten the wine with a piece of cookie or two, and sadly that did not happen.

On a warm Summer’s day this would be ok to drink.  It’s more medium bodied, with it’s combination of Malbec an Shiraz, which can usually be good.  But not here.

I did notice on their wine list, that this varietal is not even listed.

Could it be I’m not the only one that wasn’t floored by the Mendoza?  Or maybe it just wasn’t a huge hit?

However, there’s so much to love about their website.   They have a different animal representing each of their wines.  And it’s also laid out by country.  It’s broken down by recipe, food pairings, grape synopsis, and the vineyards.  You can’t get much more user-friendly than that.   And their tasting guide breaking down the full to light bodied choices, from red to white is magnificent.

Here’s where you can find their wines.

I’m intrigued.  Even though this bottle was disappointing, I will need to do some poking around.  This could become quite the adventure.  The concept is great and I expect many of the wines will turn out the same.

Thanks so much.