Being oenophiles, we had to check out Charis Winery before beginning the trek back to the Baltimore area.
We were glad that we stopped in and visited. We were met by Chuck, the owner who is proud of his winery which is showcases wines with variety and creativity ranging from crisp dry and sweet whites to uncharacteristically deep red.
The tasting notes document 15 wines representing a wide variety of tastes and interests. Additionally, we were able to get a barrel tasting of a couple wines yet to be released and one surprise wine--that we highly recommend but will not divulge the secret. It is not for sale but definitely engenders some interesting conversation. The grapes are sourced from Maryland and West Virginia--which is local to Cumberland.
We most enjoyed the Pinot Noir ($19.95). It is a non-vintage offering that has some unique and very enjoyable characteristics. It is very dark and deep--uncharacteristic for a Pinot Noir, officially it would be medium body. It has spice and a definite black cherry nose. The tannins, acidity and mineralogy are all well balanced and there is a silky feeling in the mouth. It is not a Pinot Noir for those who are looking for the perfect representation of the grape, but it is a very drinkable wine worth enjoying.
The Trinity Dry was a nice blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. The wine had nice structure and a very nice nose.
The selection of white offerings was, as expected, one of the highlights of the visit. The winery offers a white wine for seemingly every palate and taste. From dry to sweet, each offering has something unique to present.
Two of the whites could easily become everyday wines: Sweet Dreams and Sunset.
Sweet Dreams is a Moscato with juicy fruit and flavors that are bursting. This wine appeals to the sweeter side of life and is especially good chilled on a hot day around the pool or sipping on the porch. The Sunset is an un-oaked Chardonnay based wine with peach and apricot flavors but none of the buttery taste or feel that characterize many of the wines produced form this grape.
RECOMMENDATION: A must stop to enjoy Maryland Wines. We enjoyed our visit to the winery and recommend it as a reason to visit Cumberland, Maryland, and then you will be in a good position to enjoy many of the other sights and activities in the area. And say hello to Chuck!
-- Bob and Christina Doan, Elkridge, MD