Sunrise Sunset

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When I got the opportunity to meet Fred Wilson of Elk Run Winery, I knew I was in for a laid back and relaxed tasting experience.  I suspect when I explained to the volunteer that I wrote about wine that she thought I was more serious then I actually let on.  She introduced me to Fred and we had a nice rapport right away.  I didn’t have anything too over-the-top or high brow to ask. We’re at a wine festival.  And the weather is beautiful. Life isn’t that serious.  And that leads me to my final post from Great Grapes.

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At this point in the afternoon it was rapid-fire.  I wanted to sample as much as I could while still being objective and appreciating what I was sipping.  Without further adieu I got to try two of of Elk Run’s wines, despite all the bottled in that photo above, as the area was packed elbow-to-elbow.  And I’m not exaggerating here.  Room was at a premium.

In many ways, the two I got to try could not be more opposite and makes this all come full circle.

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First, was the Cabernet Franc.  I don’t see it listed under their reds on their site, so I’m glad I was able to get a snapshot at the tasting table itself.  This is lighter than similar wine with the same grape that I’m used to.  It doesn’t mean I didn’t like it and with the weather being what it was, and us being outdoors I h ad no problem getting a more medium bodied helping for this day.  It wasn’t one of my favorites.  And at almost $30, that may be a bit steep for me budget.

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However, the Annapolis Sunset is what this festival and what this season is all about.  First impressions can be misleading, but how can you not fall in love with that label?   I was certain that this wine was automatically based on this artwork and the feeling associated with the wine. I’ve repeatedly stated in my writing and with friends how much I love Annapolis.  This one really hits home.

Funny how I’ve sung the praises of this wine without even getting a taste.   This is as simple and approachable a wine as I’ve tasted.  It’s what I would be raving about when I started to segue from the sweeter wines and an evolving into the more dryer wines.  This is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio, according to the tasting sheet.  At $16 this seems like a reasonable buy.

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Yet if you look on the site it lists the aforementioned Cab and Viognier.  The funny thing is I hope it’s the latter, or do I?  I’ve had a hard time adjusting to Pinot Gris.  I prefer Viognier for the fuller bodied wines that come from the grape.  That’s not to knock the Pinot Grigio. It’s just never clicked with me.  So if it’s the former, then my palates have expanded some more.   And that makes this journey takes some twists and tuns I hadn’t planned for.  And that’s the point of this thing.

I wanted to thank Fred for taking a few minutes to chat with me.  I promised him I’d be as nice as possible, and I hope I’ve succeeded.

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As I’ve intimated in the past, Elk Run is another winery I’d love to visit in person, to get a more up-close-and-personal feel that you may not always get a festival.

If you’re interested in purchasing bottles you can go here, for where to buy locally you can click here.

Their list of events look exciting too!  I’m digging everything about this place and I’ve yet to even set foot at the winery itself.

For all of my recent and posts from the Great Grapes Festival, click here.

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More to come this Summer!  Enjoy all the sunrises and sunsets you can. We’re in the midst of some of the longest days of the year. I intend to make the most of ’em.

All The Best,

Ideen

Sweet Solomons

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When I first started drinking wine I was all about the sweet stuff.  I didn’t think it would get to the point I’d love the dryer reds and full bodied wines that now please my palate. Little did I know that these sweeter and fruitier wines would only be the catalyst for where I am today and will continue to go.

This week I continue my recap from the Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival from Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, MD.  And this one is a pleasant surprise.

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I’ve been meaning to try Solomons Island wines for the longest time and while I’ve likely sampled them here and there, at various festivals, it never stuck out as anything noteworthy.   They have their premium wines and their Island Mist selections, which is what they’re more known for and the bulk of what they’ll be sampling at most events. The latter is what I would usually avoid, deliberately.

But at  Wine In The Woods last month I noticed a sign for a premium tasting, which means an extra dollar or two for this pour, with a lovely tulip on the bottle.  I’m making excuses but I didn’t have dollar nor was any battery left on my phone to take pictures.   I promised the winery and more importantly, myself, that I would by at Great Grapes and sample this wine.

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The friendly folks who volunteered at Wine In The Woods at their booth would likely not be there again, and neither was anyone else I could recognize from last month. Nevertheless, I tried the Tulip along with the Orange Crush Merlot to mixed results.

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The Tulip is a joy.   It continues this sentimental feeling for me.  I love things that symbolize and embody summer; hope, healing, love, joy, and any other superlative you want to throw out there. That lavender color won me over before even sipping.  But that taste of fresh lavender, honey, peach is a masterful concoction.

This embodies Summer. This a wine that reminds me of why I started loving vino in the first place.   It always comes back full circle.

This is not something I should be liking but it’s the positive side of a confirmation bias.  Because I found something that hits home to me, I wanted to love it that much more, and it met my expectations. They may have even surpassed them.   The entire presentation of this is a win.  And yes it was worth the $1 pour and then some.  $20 a bottle may seem steep for some and I completely understand.  Personally, I’d take the plunge.

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The Orange Crush Merlot may sound familiar.  If you’ve ever had the privilege of having the soft drink of the same name, then this may work for you.  Not for me.  And again, everyone has their preferences.  Even for the miniature amount I was given, it was hard to drink.  Like I’ve stated before, we’re all not gonna love the same wines, and the same anything for that matter.  That would make these events and gatherings unexciting. Groupthink shouldn’t apply to harmonious and feel-good events like this.

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I’ve said it before in previous postings, but I would love to take a drive and visit Solomons Island, along with other wineries in the state of Maryland.  The journeys to scenic countrysides which include going through and small towns, is just as exciting as the destination.   I know right!

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If you’re interested in purchasing their wines, folks in the Maryland can go here, and here is a link for the rest of the world.

Finally, here is a history lesson and a laundry list of events there’ll be visible at for the rest of the year.

Their website is under construction, but hopefully it’ll still be easy to navigate through.

Looks like I’ll have one more from Great Grapes next week and see where I go from here.

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen

 

Bordeleau’s Brightest

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Nearly one year to the day when I first wrote about Bordelau Winery, it’s with great honor that I get to write about them again.  And as an added bonus I helped volunteer to pour wine at their booth at the most recent Great Grapes Festival.   This was a joy.

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I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tom at various festivals, including this very one, a year ago. He’s always been so laid back and easy to dialogue with on all matters vino.   Through mutual people and a little assertiveness, I got in touch with his wife Lisa, and after a few light-hearted  e-mail (and other electronic means) exchanges I find myself on the other side of the tables on that Sunday.

It’s a different animal but one I’ve fully embraced.  On many occasions I’ve been a patron and taken advantage of all the tastings and samples I could get my hands on.  It’s a slippery slope. And after a while the appreciation of what I’m drinking goes out the window.  All the crackers and water to cleanse your palate either fall by the wayside, or we forget to even partake in that necessary ritual.  Both of these scenarios are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

What I failed to see is the supposedly not so glamorous side of these festivals.   Nothing could be further from the truth.

This felt genuine, sincere, and I could be more myself.   I like to talk to folks and see what makes them feel good.  The wine is the catalyst but it also become the backdrop.  While I got the occasional pretentious question, most folks just  want to sample and have a pleasant conversation.  Nearly 100% was the latter.  That’s a good number.

Another full circle and serendipitous moment came to light.  I wrote about their reds last year, and even made mentioned of how I never got around to the whites.  So what table did I end up stationed at?  Well I’ll be…

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I’ll get the ones I didn’t love out of the way.   The Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Pinot Grigio, and the Wicomico Blush are still not my speed.  They’re not as dry as I’d like.  The latter is nowhere  near on my radar of wines I’d prefer.   I’ve included links to all three for your edification. Many of the attendees loves these three and that’s what makes these events great.  If we liked all the same wines that would significantly take the fun out of this event.

The journey is about seeing what we like and appreciating how our palates evolve over time.  I can see it first hand with me.   And speaking of which…

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I never loved Chardonnay but that’s the progression.  The 4 Chardonnay Barrel Fermented was the winner for me.  I may have shown just a little more enthusiasm while pouring this one versus the others.  Yes the vanilla and apple on the back end is a bonus but that oak.  Oh my goodness I could drink bottles of this.  Well not while volunteering and obviously not too much or the savoring goes out the window.  But I think you get the gist.  At $15.00 this is a steal.

One thing I learned is that this Chardonnay is not meant to be too cold or it will lose the flavors and the nose that we deserve to observer.   That’s an art I would like to perfect with time.  So there were times I took this bottle off of the ice.  Temperature is everything.

The rain came down and and we had to move things around rather swiftly, to protect everything from the storm.  I noticed as we were packing this bottle was placed on ice for a while.  And I just had to try it again.  Something was lost.  Maybe it was the elements of the outside world, maybe it was the colder than appropriate temperature, or maybe the universe threw everything off kilter.  It could be everything or nothing.   But yes, temperature is so key when it comes to wine.

Man this was fun.  I will be doing this again.

For more on Bordelau, here is some info on their winery, where you can find their wines in Maryland, contact, and online shopping info.   I think I’ve dissected their website enough.

The next time I talk up this fantastic winery will hopefully be on location.  I referenced this a year ago and I have to own this one.   I can’t plan this too much.  I just have to get there.

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More from Great Grapes very soon.

Best,

Ideen

 

 

Doing It Big

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My final post (for now) pertaining to events at Wine in the Woods brings us to a new one for me.   And I’m going to safely presume for many others.  This is my sampling and festival debut of the charming and endearing, Big Cork Vineyards.

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Honestly, what initially drew me to them is they were a hidden gem.  And I mean literally hidden, within the multitude of popular wineries that have been attending for years. Those that have built followings and stalwarts at these events hopefully got a chance to visit theirs.

People are creatures of habit.  I’m all about breaking such habits and jumping out of those comfort zones that can hold ourselves back from trying something new, exhilarating, and invigorating.  Ok now I’m being dramatic.  It’s just wine sampling but on a micro level, the situation still applies.

I had no line when I stopped by which was already a plus for me.  And little did patrons know what they did miss.  The volunteers and staff I interacted with were class personified.

My personable volunteer, Linda, was kind of enough to give a brief synopsis of the winery and explain it’s only been in existence for five years.  That’s long enough that I should have at least experienced a wine somewhere by now.   Once again, maybe I have and it didn’t sink it due to inexperience or a lack of appreciation at the time.  Or maybe this is fate and destiny bringing me to try it for the first time.  Either way I feel blessed and like a winner.

Honestly, two of the whites they were pouring did not resonate with me.  And this once again, is not a stab at the wines themselves.   The 2014  Viognier and Vidal Blanc  respectively are wines people around me were digging.  But at this time they’re still not my glass of wine. The latter is something I should as its more full bodied but this is what makes these events fun.  We all don’t like the same wines.  Nor should be.  That would take the fun out of this. And it’s good to discuss and learn about our likes and dislikes.   And that leads me into what I adored.

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Their 2013 Traminette is not something I would have enjoyed before, but the grape itself is something I’ve becoming partial to the past couple of years. There’s personal and familial sentiment in my own life which may add to a bias, which I’m sure many of us have when it comes to particular grapes.  It’s semi-dry and being related to a Gewürztraminer may be part of the charm for me.  It’s a wine perfect for any time of year, but for me, especially around the holidays.

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But the winner for me goes reflects my personal preferences, and that’s the 2013 Syrah. This may have tasted lighter than most Syrah’s I’ve had but considering a festival vibe and the outdoor atmosphere, it only seemed right.  This was jammy and easy to sip from the get go.  I’m almost gulped it off the bat which I didn’t want to go.  The back-end gave me some a whole melange of spices that I couldn’t even begin to describe.  But it was awesome and it’s something I’d consider buying at $24.00.  Yes that may be pricey for some and that’s understandable.

Those labels are beautiful and they mirror the layout of the website masterfully don’t they?

What’s great about these festivals is many wineries don’t overload you with too many to choose from.  If they’re great, like these guys are, they’ll leave you wanting more.  And I want more.  And it makes folks like me explore their collection.   Most importantly for me, it makes me want to take a drive to see them for myself.  And that’s a win for them and a fulfilling one for me.

I could go on all day and I wouldn’t be able to put into adequate words how much fine I had with a brief sample size.  It’s left me wanting more.   If I get the opportunity this Summer to visit, another write-up is coming.

In the meanwhile, I’ll be in awe of their simple yet effective website and the positive energy I’m getting from it.  These links about their story, the vineyard itself, a FAQ, and finally the winemakers themselves should hopefully do the same for you.

Here is my recap from last week and from the week before at Wine In The Woods.

We’ll see ya this Summer.

Best,

Ideen

Yay Ice Cream, Oh Wait Just A…

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I once wrote about Wine Ice Cream and recalling I had mixed feelings, reviews, and emotions about what I was sampling.  It was out 0f my comfort level but that wasn’t the problem.   I feel I overpaid for something that wasn’t worth it weight in gold or ice cream. It was ok but nothing phenomenal.   For something as inventive and inspiring as this it needs to be special or it’s going to fail miserably.   I will give them another whirl again.

WineCreamBannerThis brings me to WineCream and part two of my experience at this years Wine in the Woods.

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I’ll preface this by saying I know the owner and he’s a good guy.  This in no way was going to sway my opinion one way or the other.   I was hoping for the opportune time to write about this sweet and tasty treat.

Did I just give away how I felt about it?  Well yes I did.    At these big festivals I try not to find out who’s going to be there if I can.  The decision is solely based on keeping me on my toes and adding to the suspense.  I have some idea of the staples and seminal attendees of the event but its always fun to be pleasantly surprised.

This was a pleasant and a wonderful surprise.

I had no idea what I wanted to order, yet the menus were so user friendly.  Everything was accessible.  Since I was a fish out of a water, my friend asked me what flavor I preferred. He then told me to trust him on everything else.  I mean how could I not.  Saying it’s a leap of faith is a stretch but its still fun to say.  And away he went.

The concept of how it works can be found here.

After a couple of minutes he handed me this peach concoction that I decimated in minutes.  What else was in it I don’t know and I may never need to know.  It was wondrous, it was masterful, and it was divine. I honestly didn’t realize how quickly I had trounced this thing until I was at the bottom of my cup.   The deceptive thing for me is how I couldn’t taste much alcohol. Unlike my previous Wine Ice Cream experience, this was consistent and left me wanting more.   Sometimes the best alcohol is when you hardly taste it.   However, if not careful you’ve had one too many and you’re spinning in circles.  Which may not be a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

Ingredients for all their creations are posted above.  I’m assuming mine contained peach wine, epic.

The rainy weather may not have been conducive to enjoying some WineCream but I didn’t care.  No one else seemed to mind either.

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And yes one cup equals one glass of wine, so I wish I could have had a few.  I did see some familiar faces enjoying more than one.  If I had my way that would have been me but I had a responbility at the festival that kept me in check.

Most important fact about all this, was this was on the house.  I felt flattered and grateful. It’s the little things that are the biggest things.  But that’s a detail that will never go unnoticed.

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This will not be the last time I expound on WineCream.  This was a refreshing alternative to the traditional glass of wine.  It’s the present and the future.   And I can only hope the future if unbounded and unlimited.

For more on purchasing their products go here, for our pals in the Maryland area here is their upcoming festival list.    Their faq and contact info can be found here and here respectively.

Finally, here is last weeks post from the same festival.

This is going to be a rocking Summer.

 

Best,

Ideen