The Maryland Wine Festival took place this past weekend and there was no way I was missing this. I have months worth of material to write about and I will attempt to space it out accordingly. It’s also possible I’ll just give you a half-dozen posts in a row of the best and worst that Maryland Wineries have to offer! This post will be about the former.
In addition, this is the one time a year I get to meet up with certain friends, either because our schedules are conflicting, friends are busy raising a new family, or the near distance of an hour is too much for some. I love the drive and find myself in the area at least several times a year.
I got to the festival at opening time so I can could beat some of the crowd and get all the tasting and note-taking in that I could.Fortunately, it was never a struggle to do a tasting any time of the day and the weather was dazzling and awe-inspiring.
I got in, grabbed my tasting glass, and if I’m going to attempt to go by chronological order, got to my first winery, Great Frogs of Annapolis, MD.
I’ll give a brief back story on this place. A little over a year ago, I dropped someone off in a remote and beautiful part of our state capital. I didn’t know these homes and this area existed but, the houses looked like they were in the millions and right next door to where I sat, was Great Frogs Winery with perfectly cut grass and bushes. I had never heard or seen of them until this day. It looked so intimidating. I almost felt like I didn’t belong in the area and that someone would ask me to leave momentarily.
The signs read that the visits were by appointment only. I was intimidated but that was all my creation. If i had only known now what I had known the, there would be pictures and I could show you what a thing of beauty this was, from the outside looking in.
I had been hoping that one day I would get to try their wines, as the enigma I created intrigued me.
And the universe looked out for me.
The staff and volunteers pouring the wine were all so friendly and were happy to ask any questions I may have had. They also loved that I was taking so many photos. I think I explained to a few wineries that I write about this beautiful subject.
The wines itself and the labels are very charming. They range in price from $15 to $40 so some of these can get a bit pricey and not within many people’s budget. That’s the fun of these festivals and tastings. We can at least get to try some new wines and even if we’re not in a position to buy today. We now have a lasting memory and can always purchase at a later time.
My favorites were the 2012 Watermen and the 2012 Meritage. Yes, off the top I went with the dry reds and they were the perfect start to a warm and beautiful Summer event. The descriptions are listed in the links above but to me they both represent the greatness of Maryland wines.
The former contains Cabernet Franc, along with Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, but the Cab Franc is really what makes this awesome. Call it local sentimentality or just what I like. But this was fantastic, albeit a little pricey for me now. I would love to grab this and hold onto it for a very special event or party down the line. Lots of oak and different fruits were detected to make this my kind of wine. There was a summer into fall feel to this one.
The Meritage is Half-Merlot and Half-Cab Sauv and just as awesome. I could taste a mix of chocolate, vanilla, and some more oak. Once again, not at my price point, just yet, but still wonderful nevertheless.
The Lollipop Red was a huge favorite to many, but that wasn’t for me on this day. I thought it was ok, but I wasn’t in the mood for anything too sweet.
I also got to try 2013 Chardonnay and White Squall. These were both a joy and so easy to drink. I could enjoy either with a meal or with nothing. One marvelous detail to both of these is that they were both 100% grown on the estate. So you’re getting the full local experience at the palm of your hands.
I didn’t get the opportunity to try the $1.00 premium samples. All the more reason to make a visit!
I’m pretty sure I tried others but there were so many throughout the day to get into all. I’ll try to be as concise and approachable as I could with these experiences, and will continue to do so in the weeks ahead.
And speaking of approachable, this is exactly what this winery was on this day. I am so compelled to make a visit. And any reason to get back to Annapolis is a great one!
They have a dog here too! Yes! For more on the winemakers you can click here. And here’s their FAQ. Their online store can be found here. And for our pals local to the area, here are stores that carry it and restaurants that serve it.
Finally, a little more on the vineyard itself.
I cannot wait to make a visit!
Thanks so much.