To Be Continued…

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnay

I wasn’t sure how I was going to write about Old Westminster Winery, so I’m going to shoot from the hip and right from the heart.  I feel like I’ve said this before.  And before that.

But first, here is tasting room info, where you can find their wines, which you can purchase online, their philosophy, and more about this awesome family operation.

OldWestminsterWineryMenu

On a random weekend day some time ago, I felt like doing my own thing.  I had asked a few people if they wanted to take the long (actually short) drive from Baltimore to Westminster, and the interest was little to none.  And like many other things, I was meant to do this on my own.

And for my first visit, I’m glad it was just me…

There’s always that excitement and anticipation of going somewhere new, and taking that unfamiliar drive on a stretch of road that didn’t exist to you moments before.   These things just don’t happen everyday, and I wish they did.

In this world that’s so big, yet to small, the amount of wineries and places in general I haven’t visited, but want to so badly, is going to continuously and instantaneously grow.  But what matters is what I do visit and do experience.

And that’s what I did on this day.

OldWestminsterWinerySign

Upon arrival, and seeing the winery sign, I felt like a kid at his first day of school.  And then I felt like a kid at the first day of school.  See what I’m saying?

Especially going somewhere on your own, can be uneasy for some.  Sometimes I still feel uncomfortable, but more times than not I enjoy my own company.  If you can’t enjoy your own company, how can anyone else be expected to enjoy yours either?   So without thinking I go to restaurants, cinemas, and sometimes travel on my own.   Who knows who or what may be waiting on the other side.

A winery is no different.

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How about that scenery?

OldWestminsterWineryTastingRoom

On this particular weekend day, I had a sense the tasting room would be packed.  They’re only open for tastings on Friday through Sunday, and with the aura surrounding the place, I suspected it would be packed to near capacity.  This particular sunny, yet windy afternoon, it was pretty close to full.

OldWestminsterWineryBottles

I had a few minutes wait before I could do a tasting, and there was no rush.  The room itself is immaculate, fantastic, and feels like a place to be.  Maybe even the place to be.  In this Carroll County gem, it’s a place I definitely want to be, and be back at again.

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnayTastingRoom2

Before I sound like I’m signing off, I won’t speak of every wine, because I’ll save that for another time.  But I will talk about one.  And it’s the one that stood out to me the most, the 2016 Home Vineyard Chardonnay.

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnayTastingRoom

I’ll let the synopsis tell you one story, and I’ll tell you mine.   Wow that sounded way too profound, and that wasn’t the full intent.  However, I do like Chardonnay’s with a little more oak than this, but this one hit a different spot and nerve.

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnay

Since there was nowhere to sit inside, I took a seat in the outdoor patio, which wasn’t full set-up for seating.  It was windy, a little chilly, and not conducive to anything I was doing.

But again, like I said, it felt like the first day of school.  It was a bit awkward, out of sorts, and I wasn’t one to fake it till I make it.  Not yet at least.

OldWestminsterWineryChardonnay2

But I did take some cool pictures.  The one outside, and one actually from the bathroom.  I may get in trouble for saying that.  But the flowers looked pretty cool.

I did socialize a bit inside, and a crowd at a winery can be much different than one at a standard bar or pub.  We’re all there for the same reasons, and the reasons might be a bit more authentic and genuine versus just going to the same ole’ place.  And there’s always room to change it up and do something real.

This is not how I thought this post would go, but like I said, this is only the beginning.

I’ll be back again.

To be continued…

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Count Those Blessings

90PlusOldVineMalbecWithPizza

Because you can count them maybe more than the amount of anything else in your life.  There’s always much to be thankful for.

I know what’s going on.  I’m at a strange place in life, yet it’s so exciting.  In the many post I’ve made, I’ve changed as a person, yet remained the same.  Whether that’s or good bad is all in the universe’s hands.  Well maybe mine too.

But time keeps moving along, and my tastes in not just wine, but in food, in social situations, hobbies, and personal development have either evolved or I’ve had those existential questions, and moments of, what next?

As much as it’s important to be present, and live in the moment, there’s always a what next.  That can be a good thing or it could leave one in quite the predicament.

90PlusWines

Yet for now, we take it back to a great homemade pizza dinner, with great friends, and I decided to bring two bottles from Ninety Plus Cellars.

90PlusInfo

Two wines, because I loved that unknown aspect of what pizzas were going to be made.  I mean I had some idea, so I’m being a bit dramatic, but it’s fun to take a chance, and see if the wines pair with the pies.  There is something to what grape goes with certain cheeses, sauces, and toppings.

And then again there is something to having however you want it.

The pizza was great, and you can read more about that here. But today I talk about the wine.

90PlusCabernetSauvignon

I’ll get the weak out of the way first.   The 2016, Lot 116 Cabernet Sauvignon left a lot to be desired.  I’m so grateful we opened this bottle after dinner, because if we had this with pizza, or with anything, this dinner would tell a different story.

And don’t get me wrong, the best part of dinner is the socializing and the company.  So the better the food and the wine, that’s just a bonus.  But still, thank goodness we saved this for the end.  Even after giving it time to breathe, the Cabernet Sauvignon tasted like it was open for way too long.

If you’ve ever ordered wine at the bar, and it tasted skunk, then you know what I’m talking about.  It’s that least ordered, lesser popular tasting wine at the bar, that will be disposed of, if you ask politely.

That may sound harsh, but maybe it was a bad bottle.   Because no Cabernet can taste that bad.  Seriously.

90PulsOldVineMalbec

From that we go to a stellar bottle.   The 2016 Lot 23 Old Vine Malbec is an absolute treasure.  I wish I had brought two of these, at least.

This wine can go with so many different kinds of wine, or simply by itself.  This is just a matter of personal opinion.   Those dark fruits you know and love, such as plum, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries may their understated yet profound impression felt.  I say that this wine has so much going for it.  It has structure, depth, and endearing quality that will resonate with you long after finishing your glass, or in our case, the bottle.

90PlusOldVineMalbecCarrots&Hummus

We had it with hummus, carrots, and the pizza!

90PlusOldVineMalbecWithPizza

A medium amount of tannins are going to make your tongue feel so good.  It did for me.  Most of all, to me, when you have this smokey or oaky type of taste that lingers towards the end, you have my kind of wine. 

If a friend were to describe my kind of wine, this would be lighter version of it.  And I’m all for it.  This was fantastic.

But speaking of endearing, so was this whole evening…

What I also recall is one of our party really loving the Cabernet more so than the Malbec. That’s what makes this journey so fun.  We all like different things.

Both bottles are likely to be found for under $15.

But in the end, we all share a bottle, a meal, some laughs, and some great conversation.

We are one an we are the same.  That makes me feel good.

For more on Ninety Plus; here is their wine list, their story, their online ordering information, their contact information,  and where you can find their wines near you.

Counting my blessings…

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Have A Cigar

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This in connection with a story I wrote about here.

The pizza was great, but for the sake of this post, how was the wine?

My dear friends introduced me to Harvest Thyme of Davidsonville, MD, which is as charming and welcoming a restaurant as I’ve seen.  And I tend to say that a lot.  When you visit a place for the first time, and/or literally go with little to no notice (this kind of goes along the lines of both), it’s one of those natural feelings that can’t always be expressed in words.  It’s expressed in feeling, emotions, and sometimes no words at all.

But what about the wine?  I tend to go on these tangents, and forget about the subject at hand.

CigarWine

The 2015 Cigar Zinfandel was the bottle of choice.  We came for a glass a piece, and since it was the three of us, and happy hour including deals on bottles of wine, this made perfect sense.

At the time, and in hindsight the wine made perfect sense.

We weren’t looking for anything fancy.  We just wanted something that looked good on paper, and spoke to our sensibilities.   Why not have a Cigar?

The name is a draw, but the wine itself is fantastic.  And I don’t drink a lot of Zinfandel wine in general, so whenever I get the opportunity I embrace it.  And I don’t avoid these wines on purpose.  It’s just not a grape I actively seek out.  With this wine, that might need to change.

There’s so much to love and yet there’s so little to decipher.  That makes me happy.

A lot (or maybe just a few) darker fruits and berries is what you will taste, but you also get a peppery or wood type of flavor, which makes it feel like there’s an elements of smoke or perhaps even a cigar in it.   It’s easy to make your mind think that as well, because of the name of the wine.

CigarWine4

But after a few sips and a good conversation, all that analysis doesn’t really matter.  The waiting area had a feeling of a ski lodge, or anywhere cozy that would make you feel safe, secure, and have all the worries and cares in the world disappear, if even for just this short visit.

And a restaurant that’s as inviting as Harvest Thyme, is instantly going to give you that community type of feeling.  Aside from my friend’s who have been there before, I didn’t know a single person, yet felt like I belonged here.  It was a mini vacation, away from home, yet close to home, that everything feels so near and so far away at once.  It just felt good.

CigarWine3

The Cigar Zinfandel is one of those wines that might feel like it would only taste well in this setting.  But there’s a lot of depth, structure, and character to this wine.  It’s what you want in your friends, your relationships, and all the spiritual parts of your life.  So why not have it in your wine, as well?

There’s a darker red color which I take as just sit back and enjoy the view.   There’s a little spice in this as well.  Some of this may all be hogwash, but sometimes a wine that’s easy to figure out are the best ones.  And I’m not sure I’ve figured it all our, nor would I want to.  Not yet at least.

At around $15, this is well worth it.  I would absolutely drink it again.  It seems perfect for a night in by the fire with some tasty treats, or nothing at all.

HarvestThymeSlices

Oh yeah, there’s that pizza… 

For more on Harvest Thyme, here is their food menu, their drink menu, and their story.

And this wine is available at a Total Wine, near you.

Until the next one, peace be with you…

ideen

 

Best of Both…

penyaviognier

Happy New Year everyone.  There’s so many posts that I let linger too long that they no longer become relevant. It could be because seasons have changed, too much time has passed, or the time of year would become compromised.

If I let the wines I tried from Red Red Wine Bar of Annapolis, MD remain uncorked and without the proper review, then I would ruin Christmas and the holidays forever.  That was a joke by the way.

I was of course going to write about my experience a few weeks back, in conjunction with the fabulous pizzas we had, but all of the holiday everything took over.  That might be me making excuses but it also gave me time to reflect a little more on this experience, and see if these wines I tasted resonated with me into the new year.  And has it aged well with me.

A great wine ages well but so does an organically awesome experience.

And I always attempt to write about wine in a way that is approachable, relatable, and accessible to everyone.

Little did I know that I would get such a valuable lesson in New World Vs. Old World.

It’s one of those things we often taken for granted.  When we sip wine we usually just want it to taste a certain way, and for us to feel good about what we’re drinking.  How often do we think about where the wine is coming from?

For me I’d like to know the source.  Knowledge is power.  But knowledge when it comes to wine is even more invaluable.  It opens so many doors and steers conversations in regards to food and beverage into magical places.  I’ve found myself in riveting discussions because of what I’ve learned about wine and even more what my peers have taught me, whether directly or by happenstance.

So without getting any more long-winded I’m happy to write about a new world and an old world varietal.

The 2015 Penya Viognier is a treasure.  And as much as it paired great with the pizza we had, I can only imagine how great this would be in the summer.   With its inclusion of summer fruits like mango, pineapple, and peach this is perfect all year round.  But when it’s warmer in climate I can only imagine how joyous this is with a less hearty meal.

And the novice in me also thinks of New World (which is what this wine is) is the addition of fruits, more oak, and more creativity than it’s Old World counterparts.  I also think many New World wines want to please many people at once.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Wine is intended to make as many people happy as possible.

For more on this wine, which is distributed by Regal Wine, click here.

Now for the Old World.

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The 2012 Villa Puccini Toscana is what old world is all about.   It’s a medium bodied wine that is easy to drink and easy to drink now.  I found it just as light if not lighter than the Viognier.  But that could be because of the heavy holiday eating going on at the time.  And what else screams Old World more than Italy.

90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot seems simple enough.

However, I’ve had the Villa Puccini countless times in the past.  It’s just one of those wines that I tend to see everywhere. I’ve had it at restaurants, seen it at parties, and swear I’ve seen it sold in many a wine shoppe.  And it has always been reasonably priced and easy to drink, and to pair with everything.   If that isn’t old world then I don’t know what is.

But what’s old world and new world to me may be different for you, and different or everyone else.  And that’s the joy in wine drinking.

And more for on this wine which is distributed by HeyDay Corporation, click here.

I want to once again thank Bethany at Red Red Wine Bar for a world class experience that will forever stick with me as a great memory for this past holiday season.

I’ve seen both wines priced in stores anywhere from $9-$12.  Both are bargains for what you’re getting.

This is only the beginning. Their wine list is loaded with goodness and an inspired collection of wines that I won’t be able to ever do in its entirety.  But I can try a few.  And I hope to revisit this within the next month or so.

One wine I forgot to mention was their Chardonnay on tap.  I may have actually enjoyed it more than the others.  Not for the fact that it was on tap (well maybe).  But for the simple flavor.  It’s my fault I didn’t investigate further.  But it was wonderful.  Just another in the many reasons I will be back.

To be continued.  And this is likely the last holiday post for a while.

But for old times sake, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

redredwinebarelf

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Satisfy My Soul

 

oldsoulhalloween

Is there a little bit of Old Soul in all of us?  That’s a question of the ages, or for the soul if you will.  If you feel the need to proclaim yourself as one than there’s some more questions you need to be asking.  Wait, what am I talking about again?  The soul or wine? Are these two entities really that separate from one another?  This goes deeper if you want it to.

oldsoulbaklava

I had initially brought the Old Soul Pinot Noir from Oak Ridge Winery as a gift so some dear friends.  I told them to save it for a special occasion, because there was symbolism and meaning for the recipients of this wine.  That conversation and metaphysical discussion will be left between us and the universe.   And we’ve all had these in-depth and philosophical meetings at least once (and if we’re fortunate, many more) in our lives.   This is the kind of wine that encompasses all that is good with the atmosphere.

oldsoulbread

So after all that, the special occasion turns out to be a Halloween party?  Makes sense if you think about it.  Cut out the seriousness, and how fitting of a holiday to serve such a perfect and purposeful wine.   Not sure this is the kind of soul discussion I was hoping for. I think you get what I’m referencing.

At my local stores I’ve seen this priced anywhere from $13-$16.  I say that’s a fair price and one I’m willing to spend a few more dollars on than my traditional $10 and under purchases.

The immediate stand out is the intense fruits when I uncorked the bottle.   What a beautiful array of berries and as the synopsis says, floral tones.  I knew I was in for something special.  The aura and energy of the wine seemed distinctively familiar.  And it may be possible I’ve had this wine or any one of their other varietals.  But I think there’s something bigger here.  There’s something bigger than us.  Maybe it’s the name, the label, that beautiful tree, or all of the above.  This wine really hits nerves on a multitude of levels.

And it tastes a lot more fuller than your traditional Pinot, and that’s mainly due in part that it’s blended with Zinfandel.  I kept saying to anyone who would listen that this wine was fantastic.  Well I would say some pals agreed, or they wanted an alternative from a mixed drink or cold beer. This wine never stood a chance.  It was decimated in minutes, and I was lucky to get a second cup in.  Seriously, the taste of blackberries and whatever else may be inside the soul was something to savor.  I thought I may have gotten some vanilla.  Again, as I’ve said before, our palates are all different.  We all may get a little something and a little bit of the same with this wine.  That’s what makes this so fun.

This is a wine meant to be shared, but more importantly shared with the people you care about the most.  Yes, this was a Halloween party and the seriousness should be left at the door and especially when wearing a goofy costume.  But this wine really touched my soul. There’s a big picture with this.  Which means I must try more, and share it with everyone here.

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But for now I’ll leave with some of the foods that were paired with this one.  This was early on in the party so you see the easy plates of appetizers such as hummus, pita bread, and some sweet baklava and pastries that were opened later.

oldsoulowls

All this will be revisited again soon.  I’m a huge fan of this wine and think this winery is bringing some of that positive energy that we all need, and what a perfect time to talk about it was we steadily approach the holidays.

For information on where to find there wines in your area click here.

More is coming!

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