I’m Feeling Thankful

SugarloafMelisseusFood

I tell you, life can be so good if you allow it to be.    Yesterday, I allowed that to be.

I grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland and I’m here at least several times a month visiting friends and family.  There may have been a time or two where I visited Sugarloaf Mountain, went on a trail, and that was it.  And it’s sadly possible I never did that.  This goes back to grade school.   Otherwise I haven’t been in this vicinity in over two decades.

But something told me yesterday it was time to make a return.  Maybe not necessarily the mountain, but a serendipitous situation led me to Sugarloaf  Mountain Vineyard.

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There are situations that have come up in my life that have motivated to actually stop and smell the roses, or in this instance, taste the wine.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve not stopped to relax, do something new, and experience something that well, maybe at the time wasn’t meant to be.  Now those situations may come up again but life is all about doing the most with what you have, and doing the most that makes you feel good.

As we approach Thanksgiving, those feeling are amplified.

The holidays are a beautiful time for us, a rough time for many others, and a mix of emotions for everyone in between.  I would say I’m a combination of all of the above.

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One of many blessings is the fact that the vineyard is open seven days a week from 12-6 daily.  Many vineyards have limited hours, some that are restricted to weekends.  When I looked up the hours my day was made.  And subconsciously I may have been trying to talk myself out of visiting, and just decide to back to the comforts of my own home, or my home town.  No, none of that today…

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I got there literally at opening, and was greeted by Michelle and Charlie immediately.  They were my wine pourers for the day.  And what I thought would be a few minutes tuned into a beautiful afternoon…

Of course I came for the tasting, but what really caught my eye is the Melisseus.  More on that in a little while.

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There were eight for sampling, and I want to thank Michelle for holding the wines for me so I could grab as many pictures as I could.  I did inform them of my blog and what I was hoping to do for the day.  They kindly obliged.  And I’m so thankful.  It made the tasting and the rest of my visit, that much better.

While I had all eight wines, and instead of reviewing and dissecting every wine that’s listed, I will just share my thoughts on my favorites.SugarloafSiren

I really liked the 2016 Siren.  The synopsis even mentions flavors and scents of childhood candies.  It reminds me of my Middle Eastern candies I’ve shared with family and friends, not only growing up, but even in present time.   And while it’s not a wine I’ll actively seek out, when it’s around, I’m happy to sip.

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The 2016 Rosé is perfect for Thanksgiving.  And I especially mean this Rosé.  Some are perfect for warmer climates, but the tint and body on this one goes well with a lavish holiday meal, or two, or three, ha.  This blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is first class all the way. The tannins are low so you can truly appreciate  anything and everything about this one.  The aromas of cinnamon, spices, and everything nice under the sun will win even non wine lovers over. I tasted strawberry.  And while I would have purchased this wine (In hindsight I wish I did), I went with the my old reliable.

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And old reliable, is meant with the highest praise.  As much as my palate has evolved and expanded to appreciate different grapes, scents, tastes, and all the other intricacies of fine wines such as these, I went with the 2015 Cabernet Franc.  This was $26 (most of their wines are in the $20+ range), and I wanted to treat myself.

As a dear friend told me, this is my kind of wine.  The taste of peppers and cranberries is what makes this medium bodied wine an absolute gem.  I’ve had many Cabernet Francs and they’re all somewhat similar in taste, but this just a little more pep (ha) in its step.  I can’t say it’s the best Cab Franc I’ve ever had, because that’s not a fair comparison to all the others, and to this.   The notes mention black cherries and grape tannins.  This is everything I want in a wine.  There’s so many things that we discover in wine, that makes the combinations of flavors and scents unlimited.  But this is is unpretentious, welcoming, and makes me want to open this bottle now, then saving for later.

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But I’ll save it for later.

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However, the Melissius is for now.  This is what I came for.  And while they only usually serve it on weekends (I hope I don’t get anyone in trouble for this), Charlie made me up of this warm holiday tasting masterpiece, and my day just got made.

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This is the hot, honey spiced wine made with an Unoaked Chardonnay and all the spices that make this time of year so great, and makes this life so fun sometimes.

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The Melissius will be served every weekend from now until April, so there’s plenty of time for you to have a glass.  It’s worth the drive alone.

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Even if you’re not a wine drinker, you’re going to love this one.  My new friends in the tasting room suggested the most perfect snacks to go with my drink.   I don’t need to explain them, the pictures speak for themselves.

And this is where I officially found peace for the next hour or so.  I took my pictures and then just sat and admired these views of fall and the scenery that I’ve come to love once again these past couple of months.  But when it’s right in your face the feelings were different this time.

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While time just flies by and it’ll be 2018 before you know it, it was important to be where I was and understand time, feelings, and emotions can be fleeting, fickle, and yet so wonderful.

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I forgot where I was at times, while I sipped my Melissius.  Maybe I  was transported to a place in time of Greek Mythology, like its namesake.  But like I say, I think I was somewhere bigger than I even realize, or can fully explain.

I felt like I was the only person on Earth.  And what a feeling that is.

When I came down from that euphoria, I met a friendly couple outside, and I explained to them what I was doing, even though they had already figured it out.   They had a lovely dog with them too.    I can’t help but be overly sentimental and nostalgic of an event that took place less than 24 hours ago.

I need to come back, and I won’t ever take this long again.

As I grow up, (and I have much growing up to), the yearning for genuine peace, genuine conversation, with some great food and wine to boot, is all I need in this lifetime.  Oh and some great company too.

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This was something, and I wish I could go on forever, but I can’t.   All I can do is be thankful for the time I had here, and let everyone know that I look forward to the next time.   The next story of this chapter will be written, and I look forward to that day.

For more on Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard click here for their story, their wine list, where to find their wines in Maryland, info on the tasting room and visiting, their calendar of events, to join their wine club, and contact info.

P.S. I’m so grateful for the industry discount Sugarloaf  Mountain Vineyard bestowed upon me.  It was an early Thanksgiving and Christmas present I will never forget and it’s one of many things I shall be thankful for, not just this holiday season, but forever.

I’ll leave you with plenty of pictures from my stay.   I look forward to next time.

Happy Early Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tasting At The Terminal

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This is a post based on at least a couple of firsts.  This is my first time doing a wine tasting at a terminal.  And it was my first time at this terminal, but more specifically Reading Terminal Market.   In all my times visiting Philadelphia, I never set foot here.  Was I even aware this place existed?  Ah the things we overlook.   I’m embarrassed to have written that fact.

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When I was searching for a winery nearby to do a tasting I figured that the hear of a major city is not likely going to be the winery itself but a subsidiary of one, or a sister location. I’m not sure how to describe it but nestled in the back of the market was Blue Mountain Vineyards.

Pretty cool I know.  And at the same time I made myself feel intimidated.  I almost turned around and ran the other way when I saw the set-up.  I was afraid to ask if they did tastings.  Why was  I frightened?  They appreciate the interest and this is a business like any other.

I’m glad I walked in. Sophie was behind the counter and took care of me.  She said I would be able to do 5 tastings for $5.  That sounds reasonable to me and similar to what I’ve been accustomed to with Maryland winery tasting setups.

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The Cabernet Franc was not available for tasting.  That was the one I wanted to try the most.  However, I’m happy with the 5 I chose and the results were a bit surprising.

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First, the Pinot Noir was simple to drink like most Pinot’s should be.   The French Oak is what does it for me.  And oaky Pinot’s are not what I’m used to.  But I could get used to this.  The price of $25 was a bit out of my range for this wine.  I don’t see me paying that much for this even though I thought it was very good.  It mention being fruit forward which I did pick up on.  Earthy and smoky are not terms I love but I understand the sentiment.  This was just a great wine that I wish I would be able to buy.  But not that price.

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The Chambourcin and Cabernet Sauvignon I’ll put in the same breath.  Because usually I would be loving both.  The opposite happened here.  Neither wine did much for me.  And I love both grapes but it didn’t click here.  Many of the same components that helped make the Pinot didn’t make the Chambourcin.

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My hunch with the Cabernet Sauvignon is that a fresh bottle that was aired out a little longer would make this full bodied varietal a lot more flavorful.  Wow I just sounded very knowledgeable there.  But I think you know what I’m saying.  Under the right mood and season this may work. It’s still hot out and this wine did not work in this setting.  But I could see it be delightful somewhere down the line.

And now the whites. Actually no, I did sweets.  Interesting call by me to avoid whites.  I didn’t even realize this.  This summer has been a time of me rekindling my interest in whites.  I doubt this is a regressing.

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The Late Harvest Vidal Blanc is in demi (half) size and as charming as it looks again didn’t wow me.  This is within the context of understanding this is a dessert wine.  I may not be the best judge of dessert wines in general yet I know my tastes.  I would have bought this for the charming look alone but it wouldn’t be open anytime soon in my house.

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The big winner was the Vignoles.  I’m surprised that this, along with the Pinot were my favorites.  I did taste pineapple at the beginning of my first few sips but then it just became a comfortable wine that could be had any day of the week with any kind of food. This is what I was looking for.  And as a bonus it can be used to make sangria.  It’s still summertime and many of us do love our sangria.  This is the bottle I bought.  At $13 this was reasonable, and worth it’s price.  Well I hope so. It may not be open for a little while.

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My favorite part was that for buying the wine, the $5 tasting fee was waived.  See it sometimes pays to get a bottle or souvenir after a tasting.  I just think its proper form.

Speaking of proper form, the next time is to visit the main winery itself before I make any further judgments.   I expect to enjoy myself as many of us do when going to a vineyard.

A link to buy their wines online is here.

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I hope to visit this winery before the year is out, or hopefully sooner without sounding too dramatic.  I expect to taste some more good ones, and under usual winery circumstances. Yet I did enjoy myself at the market.  Lets do it all again sometime.

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I forgot to mention my other first was having the tasting done out of those disposable cups.  That was fun and funny even though I doubt that was their intention.  It’s the little things that make me smile.

Cheers,

 

Ideen