Maryland Has Some Great Ones

This is part two of my recap of the events at the Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival. For all the fun of part one you can click on this link.

BordelauBanner.

Whenever I come to a Maryland Wine event, Bordelau, is one of the first wineries I immediately look for.   They have always been the most approachable, prolific, and endearing wineries at these events.

I was first introduced to them three years ago, at this exact event.  When I was inquiring about something very smokey, very be full, and very dry.  And I was introduced to their Chambourcin.  This was the Lot 5 from 2006, which is exactly what I was looking for.  Even on a hot day, it went down easy.  Because of the climate, it felt fuller than it probably was.  But that doesn’t diminish how amazing this bottle was.

From that point forward, I’ve been hooked. I’m disappointed that I had not heard of them or this grape before.  But this is the lifelong journey of a wine lover.

I’ve had different variations.  And that’s what so great about it.  It can be used to make all kinds of great tasting gems. Many have been dry, but also the sweet and rose variations of it.   It’s a relatively new grape at barely over 50 years.  What I love the most about it, is that it’s prolific in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast parts of the United States.   And I’ve had some great ones from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

My favorite and in my opinion, the standard-bearer still this one.     So how did this years tasting turn out?

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The Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 6 tasted like any good Cab should.  It was medium to full and it was the bottle I almost bought. But since I had the 2007 still at home, I was looking to purchase something else this time.

BordelauMalbec

The Malbec was perfect for this event.  It tasted lighter than what I was expecting. But for this weather, it was perfect.  The finish was so clean and if not too tannic. For an outdoor event, it wasn’t necessary. I got a whole bottle to share with friends but now wish I took one home for a future celebratory occasion.

The Petit Verdot was not as memorable.  It was good but it didn’t linger with me.  Now its a wine that seems that could get better with time.  But that could be said for all of their selections.

Getting better with time is exactly right for the final two that we sampled.

The much-anticipated Chambourcin Lot 6 and Meritage, tasted very clean and went down as easy as anything I’ve had.  But that means they both need time to marinate, flourish, and become the amazing tasting wines they’ve been known for.

I’m a massive fan of the Meritage blends as well.  A future post on that grape is forthcoming.  The Merlot was sold out at the time.  And I really wanted to try that too.  My love for them has grown exponentially.

We never got a chance to taste the whites. This just means that a visit is long overdue. And I’ve been saying this to myself for a couple of years now.  A visit needs to happen.  I love their wines and the folks behind it have been nothing but friendly.

BordelauWhites

For more on all their wines, and for purchasing click here and here.

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We enjoyed our Malbec rather quickly with some salty snacks.  We enjoyed ourselves. The pictures above are a tribute to an alma mater.

Lastly, I’ve included some more photos from the sites of the festival.   The third and final post from this event comes next week!

GreatGrapesSitesGreatGrapesFolks

Have a great one.

Best,

Ideen

Merlot Mondaze

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We did have this bottle on a Monday.  But it’s Wine Wednesdays and the tradition continues.

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Today’s pick was based on the inspirational Wine & Food Matching Wheel.  This will become a staple on this blog from time to time.

A lovely grilled chicken plate was on tap for dinner, so I inquired as to where this exciting wheel had been.   It’s so user friendly, and very helpful in looking for some cool pairings.  One of the suggestions was a Merlot.    And voila!

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Unfortunately, the wine was not very good.    I have grown to love Merlot in the past year or so.  It was one of the few reds that I did not care for.  But that has changed.  My palate has expanded and I am much more open minded to trying just about anything.  This will not deter me from that.   The bottle was the Harthill Farms Merlot, an exclusive from Whole Foods.

In my visit to Northern Virginia, I always hope to find good wine deals in stores that can’t sell them in Maryland.   One of my sentimental stores is their Tysons Corner location in Falls Church, VA.  They have a vast selection, and more reviews will come.  And one hopes it can only get better from here.  This was a purchase for a mere $5.00, if I remember correctly.  So it wasn’t a total loss.

What immediately stands out is that there is no year or vintage to this wine.  Maybe it was made two weeks ago?  I’d like to know.    In addition, there is little known via the grocers website about this farm.   The reviews from various wine blogs are not positive, but I looked at them after I had my glass,  which I could barely finish.  Oh wait, I didn’t.

It just didn’t taste like anything to me.  It wasn’t a table wine you could have with pals or have a hearty meal, like the one pictured below.   It also doesn’t look like how a good wine should.  It seemed transparent and hollow.   Honestly, it tasted like bad fruit juice at times.

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Luckily, the food was amazing.   Thankfully my taste buds survived and I enjoyed a sauteed grilled chicken, with broccoli, and corn bread.

Just because a wine is cheap doesn’t mean it’s bad.  But the opposite can also be true.  I’ve had many great wines for under $10. This wasn’t one of them.      I am confident that many future reviews will suggest just that.

Have a great week.

Best,

Ideen

Food and Wine Pairing Pals

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Sometimes what I write about is predetermined.  At other times the topics find me.   This one is a combination of both.

The plan was to have cheeseburgers for a meal, and I wanted to find a wine that pairs well with them.  As per usual, I did a Google search, and you get two dozen opinions on what goes well with anything.   There is something to a food and wine pairing, but it’s all perception.  What might look good to some, might be hideous to others.

Based on the consensus; Malbec, Syrah, and Zinfandel were the ubiquitous suggestions to complement burgers.  Do you detect a theme?  These are three of the more full-bodied reds, with alcohol contents higher than 13.5%.

I have reviewed the first two wines in previous posts.  These can be seen here and here.  So Zin is the big winner today.

In looking at our collection of bottles, I only saw one Zin.  And I present the 2012 Old Moon (Old Vine) Zinfandel from our pals at Trader Joe’s.   This is part of an exclusive collection, that can only be bought at their stores.

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Not much in the way of superlatives to say about this wine.  It’s pretty standard.  But for $5.99 you really can’t complain.   I didn’t care for it at first. But, after a few minutes of breathing it got better.  It’s extremely fruity.  And in reading various reviews of it, every fruit known to man has been detected.  It’s best to go with your senses as to what you taste.   There’s little oak that I could detect.  And not much in the way of tannins.  It’s very easy to drink.  It can be enjoyed without food, for any occasion.

But if you’re looking for something groundbreaking, this is not it.  It’s a very basic wine.  This is a great wine for folks who are new to wine drinking.  And then your palate can only expand from here.

Not every wine is going to pair well with your dish.  My bacon cheeseburger with sides of regular and sweet potato fries was tremendous.  However, the wine didn’t heighten anything or bring about any new flavors.  It’s a decent and affordable bottle that serves its purpose.  If you are fortunate enough to be in a state where your local TJ’s sells wine, this is not one I would go out of my way to buy. For the price alone, it’s ok.  But there’s plenty of others at a few dollars more, with better quality. And I will be getting to those in proceeding posts!

cheeburger

How great does that look? 🙂

Thankfully, like I stated in the beginning, sometimes the topics are shown to me.  This is a great lead in to talk about my first visit to a Trader Joe’s that sold wine!    It was a serendipitous visit around the holidays in 2013 to their Old Town Alexandria, VA store!    I will be discussing some of my past and recent purchases in hopefully a fun and harmonious way.

And if I feel the need, I will be talking about my sadness over the Charles Shaw wines.

Thanks so much for reading!

Best,

Ideen

It’s A Celebration

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Today’s post is a special one.   A good friend of mine just recently found out he is now cancer free.  Congratulations and it’s now time to celebrate healing and feeling good!  So what better way than to start with some sparkling wine!

During a spur of the moment trip to Virginia over the holidays, I purchased the Bon Vivant Brut.   Now, why did I go all the way over here?  Because, aside from a few exceptions, you can purchase wine in any grocery store in the state for lovers.

I’ve always liked taking random trips to VA to buy wine on the cheap.  A drive to Dulles back in December of last year led me to the Wegmans, which always has a great selection at very affordable prices.

So based on recommendations for ways to celebrate the holidays, I grabbed a bottle here.   The price tag was a bit steep at $19.99.  But, hey it’s the holidays and we like to spend big and over indulge.  So why not?

However, with circumstances being what they were, maybe champagne wasn’t appropriate at the time.  And with all of us going out to holiday parties, throughout the month of December, a lot of us were indulging in egg nog, cocktails, and fuller bodied red wines.

But that’s the good thing about sparkling wine and champagne.  It can be saved for any time of celebration and to show love.  Well today was that day.

IGotNothing

So how does it taste?  It was easy to drink and  enjoy.   I detected some pear and apple flavors but, nowhere on the back label gives any kind of synopsis of the wine itself.   The added fun is that you can use your detective skills and intuition as to what you think might be contained inside.   Not much is listed in various searches, aside from the company site which says the California wine is made in a French Style with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.  Sound easy or complicated enough for you?   Ha.

Nevertheless, this is a drink to be savored and to symbolize what makes you happy and makes you feel great.  That is what life is all about.

Even though the price is a bit high, for a grocery store deal, at $20,  I would buy this again and recommend this to anyone for any special occasion. It’s all about celebrating joys and accomplishments in your life.  And the wines we drink can be a small part of that.  We’re approaching the warm weather months and that’s cause for celebration itself!

Light

Stay healthy.

Best,

Ideen