A Great Weekend

Following last week the universe wanted me to keep the Mead discussion going.

The Fells Point Fun Festival concluded this past weekend and it was such an enjoyable time.  It was one of the better festivals I can remember and I’ve been going since 2002.

Since drinking in the streets with those charming cups was put in place two years ago, it encourages myself and others to appreciate the outdoor vendors and local businesses. Many set up shop on Broadway and Thames.

This year, more than most, I really took my time noticing what so many of these hardworking and dedicated stand-alone and independent businesses have to offer.  I did my part and purchased a few things to commemorate this special weekend.

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A couple of friends who knew about this blog and read last weeks post directed me to the Charm City Meadworks tent.  They thought I might find something to expound upon.   They were right.

Charm City Meadworks or CCMW for short has never been on my radar but it will be now.   The staff was so friendly, personable, and approachable to everyone in the 10 or so minutes I was surveying the situation.  I got to snap some pictures too.

Free samples of any beverage were made available.  And you know freebies always bring in a crowd, no matter what it is.

As we approach November, mead is the perfect thing to have and talk about as many of us may opt for more seasonal and flavorful wines.  If you don’t like the heavier reds than I feel these are a viable alternative.

With some intriguing options to choose from, which one did I go with?

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I chose the Cinnamon Still Mead and I took my time sipping this one.  The intent is for this to be savored and not chugged.  At first it wasn’t to my liking but it improved as the minutes went by.  This is an acquired taste that may take some getting used to.  But I am all for new things.

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To that point, I am grateful that this tent was available and was allowed to be a part of the street drinking experience.   I am not really a beer drinker and sometimes red wine during the day can exhaust me.   These all day events are a marathon and not a race.   This was the perfect drink to sip, relax, and take a step back to appreciate what a fantastic weekend this was.   And for $5 a cup this was a tremendous deal.

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The perfect beverage in your hand only enhances that experience.   I look forward to writing  more about this awesome group of folks again and that hopefully involves a visit to their taproom.

If you’re interested in finding out more, click here.   The first meadery in Baltimore is doing it right and doing it with class.

Can’t wait for the next awesome event!

Cheers,

Ideen

Mead & Merriment

My fellow ladies and gentleman, along with thyself, attended the iconic and legendary Maryland Renaissance Festival this past Sunday.   After going for nearly a decade now I still find myself immersed and transformed in all the splendor and all the pageantry that  comes with said event. And all the food and booze too

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There’s two distinct wines that are served at this wonderful party.   The Mead is the official wine of the RenFest.   I love honey and in the many forms that it’s produced.   And I love when honey is added to many of my foods, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

However, when it comes to this, it’s an acquired taste.   It’s a bit sweeter than most of the fruity wines I’ve tried over the years,  and at least for me, it takes some time to complete.  In a way I do like that.  It’s to be savored and not engulfed at a rapid pace.   I know many a peer and pal that love the mead.

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When served with various foods that we had, it went down easier.    I enjoyed mine with some mixed of cinnamon walnuts and cashews.   I think they complemented one another well.  I believe this would go well with spicier or heartier meals to counter-balance each others flavors. But the sweet nuts did just fine.

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The color of the wine is very distinct and aesthetically pleasing to ones eye.

Whenever I am at this legendary bash I feel compelled to at least order one, even it’s not a favorite of mine. I appreciate the tradition and the sentiment.

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Then there’s the raspberry.   This one looks beautiful to the eye.  That color cannot be mistaken for any other.  You know what you’re getting.  Well unless you mistakenly pick up this cup that was next to your cup of fruit punch.   Then you might think something went awry.

Once again, this is not a preferred flavor of mine.  But in the context of this event, it’s perfect.   A friend and me shared this cup for a while as it’s also to be taken slowly and not chugged, or headaches will immediately follow thereafter.

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If you’re curious to try these wines, they can be ordered from the wonderful Linganore Winecellars.   Links to both wines and purchasing can found here and over yonder.

For more RenFest fun click here.  And for my previous post on Linganore, click here!

I will leave with some photos from the event, and will add more as time goes on!

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There’s only one weekend left of the Renaissance Festival, and if you are able to go, enjoy yourself!  It’s worthy of all the praise!

Hip Hip Huzzah!

Best,

Ideen

A Great Cause

When we have organizations close to home like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that have good intentions, it makes most of us feel good. And thankfully this one is close to home.

I don’t pretend to know everything about CBF but I know the basics and I know what was naturally created should be naturally preserved.  I strongly believe that.

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So it was to my delight when I saw a display for wines that depict animals and the bay in all its splendor.   My local wine shoppe,  Wine World, always has a few wines that no one else around me seems to have.   And literally the first thing I see when I walk in is a display for special made wines that support cleaner water for the Bay.

The winery behind it is Scheid Vineyards out of Napa Valley.

Now you might be wondering why this winery all the way across the country would help create a series of wines exclusive to only Maryland, Washington, DC, and Delaware?  You could read their story off their site, or a more truncated version near the end of this page, and you see their stories are parallel.   Helping the environment in any way possible is what it’s all about.

I don’t need to be preachy and say lets all do our part.  I think many of us do at least that is our intentions.

So my little part this time was to purchase the 2012 Clear Water Cabernet. As it gets cooler, a lot more medium-to-full bodied reds will be written about.   Cabs are great and there’ll always be a place in my heart for them.

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Unfortunately this was not one of my favorite wines.   Because of the circumstances I was really wanting to at worst, like this.   I’d say it’s a little below average.  I share the bottle with friends and they seemed to like it a bit more than me.   Maybe it doesn’t match my palate and that is ok.

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I sipped mine with some cheese, fruit, and crackers and that helped it go down easier a bit. The wine tasted a lot more bitter initially than I was prepared for. Actually I don’t know what I was expecting.   There weren’t any fruits or spices of any kind listed on the back of the label. In a way I found that very refreshing.   If you get the opportunity to try this bottle then let your imagination run free.

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I’ve had plenty of California wines, especially Red Blends that I’ve adored. This one just didn’t work out.   And that’s ok!

For the $9.99 price tag and part of my purchase going to a great cause, I can’t complain too much.  I am grateful to be able to help out in any way I can.

I just posted a link on donating and in addition here is a link on doing even more.  I know this a lot of information and this is a post I didn’t plan on making.  As I’ve previously said, this wine seemed to have found me.  It was right in front of me as I walked through the doors.  And what the heck, I’ll write about it.

As you can see they have three others that I’d like to give a shot, and especially if that means more goes towards helping Save the Bay.  I’m honored to give an assist.

Finally, what really resonates with me is the beautiful imagery.  This is art that will just pull you in.  The artist is from nearby in Annapolis, and his story can be found at the bottom of this link.

For only $9.99 you can do no wrong.  Sure the wine wasn’t my favorite but they all can’t be.   More to come as autumn is starting to really hit us.

If you get a chance to find one of these wines, I suggest giving it a try.  At worst you’re bringing a little love and help to the universe as well.

All The Best,

Ideen

The Place To Be

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I’m taking it back to the Maryland Wine Festival one more time.   It’s another local special with lots of flavor.

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For my peers who have been to Linganore , we’re well aware they know how to throw good festivals, parties, and other various events.

The last of the major festivals takes place this weekend, which will be the Autumn Reggae Wine, Music, and Arts Festival.    I will be unable to attend, however if you’re in the area I do recommend joining the fun.

I was at the Crush Wine Festival at this same venue a few years back and enjoyed my time. It was my one and only visit and loved the view, the company, and the festivities. However, the wine was not up there with my favorites.  The vast majority of what was being poured was sweet and I didn’t find it enjoyable.  I felt like I was drinking way too much sugar-water and got headaches quickly.

Otherwise the employees and volunteers at the event were friendly and approachable. The gentleman giving the tour of the winery was inspiring.  He said enjoy the journey, in reference to the abundance of grapes and choices.

So the wines you see below I was happy to skip.

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We move ahead to last months wine fest and Linganore was among the many I got to try once again.  You may be asking why would I try the sweet ones if I didn’t like them before?  Well I avoided them but saw a few others that caught my eye and was looking forward to trying.

This past June I attended the Baltimore Wine Festival where they also sent staff and volunteers, and this is where I first noticed the winery made dry reds.  Where have I been?

Was I sucked into the tunnel vision of assuming all Maryland Wine is sweet?  Not good but now I know better.  The Baltimore version was too crowded that I didn’t actually get a chance to try their wines.  It was my first realization that this winery is stepping up their game, or maybe they always have and I was ignorant of that fact.

The two dry reds I got to try were so wonderful. They were so similar yet had subtle differences.

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The 2012 Bacioni is a mix of all my favorites. We have Cabernet  Franc which is automatic in terms of being awesome, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, and Chambourcin.  The latter especially is always a welcome staple to my palate.  When you throw in pepper and oak you have a massive winner.  And at only $15.00 a bottle, this is worth its weight and then some. This was an absolute joy to sip.

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And we have the Retriever Red with its wondrous label and just as wondrous flavors. It’s just Chambourcin and Cab Sauv which doesn’t mean it’s any less of a wine.  It’s a little sweeter but not fruit forward if that makes sense.  It’s not as pronounced as the Bacioni but definitely a welcome addition to any collection.

I’d say the former could be better suited for special occasions and the Retriever can be opened at any time.  And take my word for it, I’m giving high praise to both.

At the wine festival I had repeated samples of both without any shame.

I don’t recall the price of the Retriever Red and don’t see it listed in online sales.  However most of their other wines are available and hopefully your state is on there!

Here’s a list of their remaining appearances outside of the winery

And if you’re headed to the Reggae Festival, enjoy yourselves!

For the last two recaps from the wine festival, you can go here and here, respectively.

I have at least half-dozen local wineries I could write about and I hope to get to them all.  I’d also like a corresponding visit or return to go hand-in-hand in addition to a recap of their appearance at the Maryland Festival.  So I may consider doing a few bonus posts outside of my weekly Wednesday post.

We shall see what next week or the next post brings.

Salud.

Ideen