See You Next Time…

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Have I had an Albariño (Alvarinho) I didn’t like?   I can’t say for sure, as my experience is minimal, and I’ve only written about it once before.

However, I’ve been in a mood.  I’ve been in many moods.  But all moods point to wine.  That sounded worse than I intended it to be.  I wasn’t in the mood to drink copious amounts, no no.  The weather is our friend and that means new grapes, new varietals, and new everything is our friend.  New experiences are always our friend.  I’m grateful they’re a friend to me.

Familiar places are a friend as well.  And as some are just there to exist and be out of convenience,  V-NO (past stories can be found right here hooray!) has been a staple of Fells Point, a staple to wine lovers, and a staple to people who enjoy celebrating life.  Sitting outside when the weather is cooperative doesn’t hurt either.

Me and a pal decided to stop in recently and randomly, and those always make the best stories.

And I was in the mood for Albariño…

What makes this wine great is it can be light or full bodied, and have characteristics of fruits of the season (pear, pineapple, apricot among others come to mind), high acidity content, and has an aura and energy that maybe you can’t put into words.

You can tell it comes from somewhere far away.  And I might once again mean something bigger than us, but Spain will do.  Spanish wines have always won me over, red or white, and the one I’m going to talk about is no exception.

The 2017 Bodegas Aquitania Bernon Albarino is fantastic.  And what makes it that is it feels unpretentious, welcoming, and just a great wine and a great price ($11-$13), but until today I haven’t seen it or noticed anywhere.   Maybe I wasn’t supposed to.

There isn’t much else to say, except the outside was packed, which is a great thing to see.  When we see local business  thriving and people enjoying themselves with whatever their supporting, sipping, or enjoying it’s a wonderful thing to see.

No matter what your preference, a wine like this can be enjoyed inside, outside, with all types of food, and all types of company that will make you feel good and raise your spirits.

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We got a couple of small plates that just added to the authenticity of everything.  The almond and cashews topped with all these incredible seasonings (thyme, sage, rosemary, and a dash of a maple syrup), and the Mediterranean plate of grape leaves (which was the highlight for me), hummus, pita bread,and olives made this not only satisfying but never full.  But still satisfying.

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This was not the day to get full, fat, and happy.  The goal was to eat light, sip light (one glass was all I needed), and to appreciate the day and my surroundings.  That isn’t a stated or explained goal everyday, but my intent is to have that stay with me as long as I can, for as long as I can.

Impromptu is always the best to me, and I enjoyed myself.   V-NO is a place where you will enjoy yourself too.  If you’re in the area or are visiting, I give you my highest recommendation.

Good wines, good times, and good food is what you’ll find here.  Their wine list for purchase (which you can drink right here or purchase to go) is exceptional and there’s something for everybody to enjoy.

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I hope you enjoyed…

See you next time…

Love,

Ideen

Landmark Moves

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The sun showed up this past Friday at one of my favorite quarterly traditions, the Landmark Wine Club party.

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And the timing feels right and it feels necessary.  For inexplicable reasons I didn’t get around to reviewing the wines from their first soiree this year.  Maybe at the time it wasn’t meant to be.  Perhaps I was saving it for this go around.  More on that later.  And thankfully the weather worked in everyone’s favor.  It only enhances this and any event.

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The three bottles in this package are all first-timers.  When I initially saw the list I was intrigued.   I had no idea what to expect.  Unfamiliar territory is a good thing.   But how quickly we soon forget. Landmark members got the first taste of our first wine, back in November.

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The 2015 Viognier was my second favorite of the collection.  That’s saying a lot.  I really enjoyed it.  The summer fruits and floral aromas really came to light immediately.  I don’t want to open this immediately but I may be tempted too.  A friend in our group said he tasted grapefruit, so it should come as no surprise that the first thing I tasted was the same.  In essence, it’s a light-to-medium bottle that tastes and feels like summer.  And summer makes most folks happy.  So yes, this is a crowd pleaser.

A pleasant surprise was the ample amount of oysters available to pair with this wine. And I wish I had more.  Initially most folks were taking two-at-a-time but as the event was winding down, they were there for the taking.  I never used to love oysters but now I’ll try any.  And his worked masterfully. Oh how I adore the warm weather traditions.

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But what I’m impressed with the most is how this wine (or any wine) has evolved.  What we had six months prior, in its infancy stages, compared to now is so fascinating.  It’s a part of the harvesting and aging process that I’m familiarizing myself with more. I’m astounded and grateful to have been one of the guinea pigs.  The picture above is from November 2015.

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The 2015 Albarino was my least favorite of the three.  It’s never been a favorite grape of mine to begin with.   Where was the Viognier had a sour and bitter taste to it, the Albarino was a bit too sweet for me.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t have a glass but it’s not one I’ll be actively seeking.   My palates have expanded significantly.  Five years ago I’d be saying this was my favorite.

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Finally, the crown jewel, was the New Vintage Petit Verdot.  Only 97 cases were made and only available to members.  This is where I wish my plan was for more than one bottle a piece.   I’ve overused the term life-changing for things.  I’m over-the-top and campy with it.  It may be a trite but this felt like that.  When I think of a wine should taste this is up there.  I want smokiness, dark fruits, and blatant tannins.  I want it heavy and full-bodied at its finest.

There is a familiarity with the wine largely in part that the grapes have been a part of their Landmark Wines in the past.  I have included the newsletter that expands on that along with the other 2 varietals.

My peers and some of the staff saw my reaction to the tasting.  It was genuine and that’s what the wine tasting experience should be all about.   What works for one may for another, but where is the fun in that?  It’s good that our palates and our tastes are all over the place.  We all don’t love the same grapes, the same aromas, and the same notes, and that makes this journey phenomenal.

This was a laid-back atmosphere and the crowd seemed a tad smaller than usual.  Which makes me think most folks would be attending the Saturday party.  But nevertheless, the Petit Verdot is one for the ages.  The suggestion is optimal tasting will be in two years.  I will be waiting a while to open this one.  And the event will symbolize the genius of this wine.   I’ll know when to uncork.

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For more info on joining their wine club, click here.

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And here’s a link to my previous posts on this endearing winery.

A huge thanks to Justine, Gerry, and Diane for being cordial as always.

Until the next party…

Cheers,

Ideen

Bodegas Is Brilliant

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I’ve been to a decent amount of wine festivals in Maryland and I always enjoy myself.  I mean how can you not?   There’s great wines to sample, great food, great company, and the weather is usually cooperative.  The Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival was no exception.

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When we go to our local county or winery event, we do get a lot of repeat visitors, which leads to tasting many of the same wines year after year or month after month.  But that doesn’t mean it’s boring or repetitive.  Many local wineries have new vintages, new years, and even new grapes altogether.   But for my first of three posts at this years event, I am excited to a write about a debut of a new winery!  And it was in my opinion the best experience of this years festival.

The great people at Bodegas Gonzalez Ruggiero or BGR short were some of the friendliest I’ve seen at these sorts of functions.

They were energetic, passionate, accommodating, and willing to answer any question posed to them.  They took their time with each person at their booth. When there’s a new winery in the area, there will be plenty of curiosity seekers. This is a young, family winery run by youth and exuberance.

From talking to the winemakers, they mentioned this was their first major event and seemed appreciative and honored to be there.  Their energy rubbed off on the crowd.  With all the other wineries, food, and vendor booths in the vicinity, they come off unassuming, approachable, and endearing all at the same time.   In middle of all the heavy hitters in Maryland, they really were a breath of fresh air.

They proclaim a fusion of American, Italian, and Spanish ways to create wine and the results were masterful.  They have three bottles and all three were a joy to taste and sample.

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Tempranillo, Rose, and Albariño is what was being sampled.  These are the three they currently make and they were all phenomenal.   Since they’re so new, I don’t have much to research and interpret of what other elements may be included in these offerings.  So I will just say they were all a pleasure to sip and they went down smooth.  They tasted approachable and down to earth like the folks that made the wine.  You can tell there is a genuine soul behind what was made.

I’ve really grown to like Rose’s recently and this was something to be savored. Albariño is not a wine I’ve had much experience with, but this was fun too.  As the days get hotter and brighter, these are more of the types of bottles I will be seeking out.

The Tempranillo was my favorite.   We loved it so much, we bought our own bottle.  It didn’t taste as full as many I’ve had before, but on a hot day like today, this was perfect.  And at under $20.00, this was a bargain.  It was worth that and more.

I am happy to support local wineries that feel passionate about what they’re doing and make awesome wines at the same time.

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We enjoyed our wine with some yummy crackers, chips, dips, hummus, roasted pecans, nuts, and other fun foodies.

They are not yet open to the public, but when they are, I’ll be sure to take a drive to their winery in Rising Sun and report on hopefully another wonderful experience there.

In the meantime, for information on where you can buy their wines, click here. And I look forward to attending future events in the coming months, and this is where you can find them.

If you’d like to know more about Maryland Wines, this is the site to go to.

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People like this is why I love wine and love talking about wine.  They make this thing so easy, so fun, and so enjoyable.  I appreciate all of it.

For now, I am craving another bottle of theirs and wish I had gotten more.   This was some of the friendliest bunch of people I’ve ever encountered at an event such as this.  They were genuine, unpretentious, and willing to go to extra mile to answer any questions.  That to me is just as important to wine tasting experience, as the wine itself. This is one of those experiences that was so positive, that it will resonate with me for a lifetime.

Cheers!

Best,

Ideen