A Local Maryland Winery

This weekend, I visited Linganore Winecellars for their 2010 Reggae Festival beautiful Mt. Airy, MD. It was only $15 admission for an over-21 wine drinker like myself (Whereas I would never recommend the use of a fake ID or trying to slip one past any establishment that sells alcoholic drank, this festival would definitely not be the place to test due to the presence of a deputy sheriff. Apparently there is room for more than just one sheriff in this town.)

First off, driving from D.C. to the vineyard was remarkably easy; it was only 45 minutes from the Capitol Beltway (from the 270 spur) and highway driving almost the whole way. The leaves are just past their peak and the weather was perfect for an outdoor excursion. It’s hard to believe that one could find a real vineyard or winery so close to the D.C. Metropolitan area, but here I was in the rolling hills of western Maryland watching the sunset over a tree line of orange and gold sipping on an $11 bottle of Linganore’s Fox Hunt Blush while sitting on a deck listening to live music. I have found paradise.

The wine tasting experience at Linganore was very welcoming and open, there was no pretense of knowledge or snobbism. In fact, the winemaker said something during the free tour that struck a particular chord with me that I hope everyone who is scared of “getting into wine” takes to heart. “A good wine is one that you like to drink, a bad wine is one that you don’t.” It really is that simple. While ratings like those of Wine Spectator that assign a point system can be useful in finding new things to try, you still shouldn’t drink wines you don’t enjoy because they are “supposed to be good.”

And now to the wine. While Linganore has many wines that are serviceable in their own right that could stand up for themselves as a local competitor to those large production California wines, they also had several unique wines with flavor profiles that were new to me. My winners for the day were the Fox Hunt Blush and Spiced Apple. The Fox Hunt was very drinkable, and at $11 a bottle, a perfect table wine for drinking outside while it’s still warm enough. This is a blush, which means that it is a blend of red and white wines, as opposed to a rose, which is one wine that naturally finds that blended pink color. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a wine fact.

The Spiced Apple is a dessert wine, one of the first that I have tried and enjoyed. It tastes just like it sounds, sort of an apple cider wine flavored with cinnamon and cloves that I tried at several temperatures and found it to be the best warm. This may be the perfect November/December tailgate wine. This is a 100% pure fruit wine, meaning that the wine is made purely from the fruit in question, in this case, apples from western Maryland.

All in all, it was a great day and I highly recommend the experience to anyone. Any of my friends who read this, feel free to hit me up  to go on another trip to Linganore for a tour and complimentary tasting. All of their wines are listed on the website with flavor profiles and their events page lists themed tastings offered each month.

www.wine.woot.com

An online wine resource that every value seeking drinker of “the other purple drank” is Wine.Woot.com. If you are already familiar with the woot.com concept, this is a site by the same fellows that features products centered around wine. According to their section entitled What is Wine.Woot?, “every weekday, wine.woot.com will uncork a sweet new wine deal. (Or a wine-related one, be it wine accessories or fine finger-food fixins.)” Usually, these deals include 2 or 3 bottles of vey highly rated wine at a large discount.

If you so desire, check it every week day for a new deal. The major conflict comes from certain state governments not allowing wine to be shipped directly to customers from an out of state winery. Not that there aren’t good wineries in the amazing state of Maryland.

Here is the section of their site describing the shipping policy and in which states you can have wine shipped directly to your doorstep…

“Thanks to stick-in-the-mud buzzkilling state legislators, wine may only be delivered to the following states:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Each winery is different, so each Wine.Woot sale is posted with its own list of approved states. Be sure to check that list for details. If your state’s not on the list, no wine for you! Take it up with your state assemblyperson. We comply with all federal, state, and local laws in providing this wine.”- (Wine.Woot.com)

Czech it out, let me know if you’ve had good/bad/ugly experiences buying from them. I haven’t bought anything myself yet due to the restriction on shipping wine into Maryland and my lack of interest in accessories.

[yellow tail] Flavor Map

This was very valuable to me when I was a fresh wine drinker, the flavor map from [yellow tail]. It not only allowed me to expand my palate to new wines, but allowed me to find those points of comparison between the wines, which is crucial in being able to describe flavors and make recommendations to friends based on their preferences.

The flavor map plots all the [yellow tail] wines against two criterion, light vs heavy and sweet vs. dry. I’ve found the map to be accurate in flavor profiles and useful for explaining the differences in flavors, specifically between different red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

My thoughts on [yellow tail]

When people find out I’m a wine blogger who specializes in inexpensive wine, I am almost guaranteed to be asked about my opinions on [yellow tail] wines. Whereas [yellow tail] makes my life as a wine blogger more difficult by adding eccentric punctuation to the brand that requires use of the shift key every time I type their name, they are a, if not the, major player in the value wine category.

In my opinion, [yellow tail] is the standard to which I compare all value priced wines. [yellow tail] is available almost anywhere and, while certain wines they produce are better than expected, they have a very standardized taste, price, and quality that is pretty consistent everywhere. That being said, if someone tries to sell you [yellow tail] for more than $13 a bottle, you are probably being ripped off.

[yellow tail] is a great way to try out new wine types, or varietals, knowing that you aren’t investing too much to expand your horizons. I’ve found that their best wines consistent across the years have been Shiraz and Pinot Grigio. This wine is from South Eastern Australia, a place from which I have found many excellent yet affordable Shiraz brands. In fact, any Shiraz from Australia is my hot route (the on-the-fly play by the quarterback to counter an unexpected blitz by the defense) at a restaurant when I need to select a bottle and don’t recognize anything else that is in my price range.

Enjoy [yellow tail] for a good wine for making a nice dinner at home where you are not trying to impress. Try out their [yellow tail] reserve wines when you see them, they tend to be priced about $4 above the regular bottle and are well worth it.

Buying Wine: The Village Pump in College Park, MD

This unassuming liquor store on Greenbelt road in College Park, MD is a treasure trove of value to a wine pirate such as myself. Besides having an excellent selection of wine (don’t judge them by their crappy website that boasts over 750 wines), there have all your favorite microbrews available cold and a huge selection of new beers to try. Check out their Google entry to map out your own expedition.

Stop in for Wine Wednesdays for 10% off all bottles (no need to buy a case for a discount). I have also special ordered a case from them (I know, I’m such a badass.) and I received a 10% discount for buying a whole case, which is a standard deal.

Village Pump happens also to carry two of my favorite alcohol SKU’s of any kind, the 16 year aged Tomintoul Single Malt Scotch and the Newcastle Brown Ale Draught Keg (Similar to the Heini-Keg, same distributor and both work in a beertender.)

Stop Your Wining

And so the awful wine puns begin…

I’m getting back into the wine blogging game after a short hiatus due to starting my real job. Read the About Me section for a primer on my mission. Let’s get right to it.