Sunrise Sunset


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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,


Bordeleau’s Brightest


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.


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…


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…


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.


More from Great Grapes very soon.





Little Rascal


It’s a newbie or novice move but I purchased the Rascal Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from the Great Oregon Wine Company, simply because of the label.  I’m an animal lover and especially a sucker for dogs.   That rascal is a golden retriever! A reasonable price of around $10.00 doesn’t hurt either.

There’s an air of intrigue with the website.  All it lists is a bunch of Point-Of-Sale materials and nothing that makes it feel like its a homepage to draw you in.  I’m probably putting more thought into this than I should.

I keep digging.  I also catch a link for Stone Wolf Vineyards which doesn’t shed much more light. The mystique is growing.   I found an article that sheds more like on the winery or wineries if you will.

There is a difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, which is a reminder that wine education is a life-long process.

So enough crack research and onto the wines.   I don’t drink a lot of Pinot Gris and this bottle didn’t help matters.  I’m sure there’s plenty that are lights out in abundance.  This didn’t do it for me.


It was too sweet.  The tasting notes mentioned apples, peaches, and a touch of citrus.   If that’s what was there, then they seemed too jumbled together.  I tasted a disappointing white wine with some undetectable fruits.  Maybe it was the bottle itself.


I brought this to a dinner party and even letting it chill a bit more didn’t help.  This was barely open an hour and seemed to get with time.   It didn’t work with the food yet the meal itself was magnificent.  My friends prepared a pasta dish of spirals with meatballs, yummy sauce, brussels sprouts, and asparagus.

Alternate wines were on hand as was some water to cleanse the palate. Even with one mediocre wine that I brought, the night was still a success.


A night with good pals, food, wine is simplistic yet so stimulating.


Which leads us to the Pinot Noir.  This is a winner.   It started off slow but a few minutes of breathing time and this came together like a great wine should.  I tasted strawberry preserves which made my mouth and heart melt.  The notes mention a few similar characteristics such as cherry, earth, and light toast.  So I’m happy to be in a similar vicinity.


Ground turkey tacos were the perfect accompaniment for this second dinner party.   Yet this wine could be had with most delightful meals or enjoyed by itself.

This is one of the sweeter Pinot Noir’s I’ve had and would love to have again. And again.  A funny thing is I recall having this same wine a couple of years back and not appreciating it as much.  I’m glad my tastes have changed, and I’m happy for the dog too.

For our friends in the Baltimore area, there is a strong likelihood you can find this at your local wine shoppe.  I found mine at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors.  So I’m hoping on a national level you will be able to find the same, if this piques your curiosity.

The Pinot Noir is now on the running list of whenever I need a straight-forward, no gimmicks, and no pretensions wine.    That’s how every experience should be.

I find the ritual of looking for the right wine to fit the mood so exciting.  And it doesn’t have to cost you too much.  This is meant to be fun.  And I had a lot of fun with this one.  I hope you did too.

All the best,






Back To Boordy

Boordy Bottles

This past Friday, Boordy once again held their quarterly Landmark Club party.  I am proud to say that I’m a member.

The wines you see above are a beautiful sight aren’t they?  I am a three-bottle member.  Per the synopsis you can have up to 6 to 12 (2 of each or 3 of each respectively), if you really want to add to your collection.

I did a recap of several of these wines earlier this year, and you can read about that here.

Events like this are more about a thank you and a time to enjoy the season.  With this being Summer, the event moved outdoors, which was what I was expecting and grateful about.


Many of the pictures will reflect that.  And the weather couldn’t be any more perfect.


When it’s been chillier, the party has been indoors in their second floor lounge area.

So how were the three bottles this time around?   Well for one, I have written about their Landmark Reserve previously and loved it.  I’m still holding onto that for something special.

I found the 2014 Pinot Grigio to be very easy to drink. They’re traditionally light to medium-bodied and this one fits the mold. I have really been into whites while the weather has been cooperative.  I may open this within the next month.  I found it refreshing and it’s fitting for a great for an evening involving a healthy meal of proteins and veggies.

Then we get to the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon.   I am thankful this was in the package.  This wasn’t even available to be tasted by the time I arrived.  I was informed they have so few cases left, that they are going to be holding off on it for now. Luckily, a friend of mine had a bottle for me to try some.  This was also in the package back in February.  So I have two bottles sitting and aging gracefully.  It may be a while before I open either one.   And you can see on their list of Landmark Wines, it’s nowhere to be found.

And speaking of nowhere to be found, their 2012 Cabernet Franc, (which I have raved about many versions of in the past) will soon be joining that list.  As of Friday night, there were only 28 bottles left per a conversation with the staff.  I knocked that down to 27.    This was also part of the package in the Winter.   I will be holding onto the two I have for a while.


I know wine is meant to be enjoyed, for the moment as well, but sometimes the sentimentality and realizing certain wines are scarce or now near non-existent, and you have a bottle of it or two in your possession, is an exciting feeling.  There’s something to be said for that.

And speaking of that, the Chardonnay Reserve for 2013 is now sold out.  I will be holding onto that from January as well.  But the 2014 version in the first picture, had such an amazing finish, that the aftertaste really resonated with me.  It’s a wine I will look to purchase in the future, as long as it doesn’t go fast.  I suspect it will.   It had so much more power than the Chardonnay to its left.

The 2014 Dry Rose was part of the package in the Spring, and I noticed it wasn’t for sale at this past event.  Rose’s have also grown on me while the weather has been warm, even though they were never my favorite.   The same goes for the 2012 Merlot Reserve.

As far as wine goes, I’ve never loved Merlot, but the blogging and experimenting has led me to appreciate them more.   They were a part of the Winter and Spring package.  When the time is right I will open those up two.  In a sea of wonderful wines, by default they’re still near the bottom on my favorites list.


And looking to the future… Here is a teaser of some young wines, straight from the barrel.  These will include the 2014 Landmark Reserve and 2014 Cab Francs, which I am so excited for.

I am happy to support local and support Mayland Wine.

For more on joining their Landmark Reserve Club, click here.

I will depart with some fun photos from the event.




For more on this pizza, click here!

Have a good one!



Happy Hummus Day!


Today we’re celebrating International Hummus Day!   It seems that only recently hummus has blown up in popularity all around the world.  It used to be we found it only in restaurants as an appetizer, in International markets, and maybe a few flavors here and there at select grocery stores.

Now it’s everywhere.  There are flavors that were once only imagined, and have now come to fruition.

Finding a wine to pair with our meal was a bit daunting.  But once again, thanks to the awesome staff at Wine World of Abingdon, MD for their assistance.

The flavors chosen for this review were a Roasted Garlic and an Edamame.  The latter I’ve only discovered recently.  And it’s so yummy.


So with the spicier offerings in mind and without further adieu, the wine selected was the Retsina from Greece.

It’s not a wine I’ve sipped too often.  I recall trying these at Greek Festivals in the Maryland and Washington, DC area.


This is an acquired taste.  Honestly, I couldn’t finish my glass.  It’s not something I’m used to.  Maybe in time, it will be a glass I will learn to appreciate with Greek appetizers and the right vibe or environment. But, in this case, it wasn’t for me.

When I uncorked the bottle, the nose was really strange.  I’m not sure what I was smelling.  It wasn’t the most pleasing.

However, the golden color does have a charm to it.

In many instances, I like to try wines, without knowing ahead of time what fruits, flavors, or spices are included.  This was no exception.  What I tasted was very earth like.  But not in that earthy tones term that people like to throw out there  It tasted like nature.  It had a familiar taste of Spring.  It was like something I recall in my backyard when I was a kid.   Then I did my research and saw that taste was the pine-tree resin.

This was the wine of the gods.  And I think that’s awesome.  But it’s not awesome for me.  Not yet at least.  That doesn’t mean you or yours wouldn’t like it.   We all have different tastes and that’s what makes us all unique and all the same.  In doing some research, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Noir have been common suggestions. Hopefully you’ll be able to find a wine that goes well with this special day


In the meanwhile, I celebrated hummus yesterday and will continue today.    Here we have some whole wheat pita triangles and pita chips thrown in, to dip and delight.

Enjoy today.