Friday, May 22, 2020

Boordy Chesapeake Icons No. 6/Baltimore Oriole - Riesling

Chris and I have been drinking more white and rose wines of late. We are really hoping that summer weather arrives soon and are trying to encourage its arrival by serving and drinking summertime wines. 

One of our local favorites comes from Boordy Vineyards in Hydes, Maryland. We have grown fond of the Boordy Chesapeake Icons No. 6/Baltimore Oriole -  Riesling

If you are looking for a New York style Riesling--do not look here. We have found that this Riesling has a surprising and enjoyable character of its own and is to be appreciated. 

The website describes the wine as: "Classic Riesling aroma of honeysuckle, citrus, and apricots are followed by mouth-watering acidity that perfectly balances the wine’s sweetness. Slow fermentation in stainless steel tanks using select yeast strains emphasizes Boordy Riesling's exotic natural aromas. An appealing residual sweetness is retained by chilling the wine before completion, and early spring bottling captures the wine's freshness and delicate allure."

The wine has a great price point. On the winery's website it is advertised for $13.76. I checked Total Wines in Laurel, MD, and found it advertised as a Winery Direct wine at $13.99, but as most know Total Wines routinely offers sales and discounts which can make the actual price of this wine lower. 

Chris and I really enjoy this wine and it is one of our "house" whites which we serve to friends and family. Don't buy just one bottle--but at least six so that you can enjoy the wine over and over again!

-- Bob and Chris Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 11, 2020

What We Are Drinking - Carol's Vineyard J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

J. Lohr Carol's Vineyard
St Helena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
One of the advantages of being a vineyard or winery wine club member is that we receive wines that we otherwise either would not or could not buy on the retail market. The club allows us to enjoy some higher end wines while also diversifying our tastes and wine experience.

The J. Lohr Wine Club is no exception. Chris and I have been members since we were fortunate to have visited their Paso Robles, California, tasting room a couple years ago and enjoyed a beautiful day learning about the J. Lohr process and experiencing their wines first hand. 

The other evening, Chris and I decided to enjoy a special wine and it was one of those higher end wines that I chose. It was the J. Lohr Carol's Vineyard St. Helena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 that I pulled. It is more expensive, as wines go, that the wines we usually drink. I paid $54 for it through the wine club and I noted that through the website the 2016 vintage retails for $60. The drinkability period for the wine is from 2020-2025, so it was right in the drinkability zone according to Cellar Tracker. The 2014 vintage received ratings of 91-92 from most of the rating agencies and a 88.5 average from the two people who tasted the wine--both during 2020. My personal rating, made before reading the reviews, was 91.

The winemakers notes are as follows: The 2014 vintage of J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon expresses this classic valley floor site in an approachable way. Savory fruit elements wrapped in a barrel signature of hazelnut and cocoa powder. Firm and angular in structure with red and blue fruits on the finish. Excellent with grilled entrecĂ´te and shallots, or a roasted pork loin with porcini mushrooms and fennel.

I highly recommend the Carol's Vineyard series of J. Lohr wines for a special occasion or just because you want something really nice to enjoy.

One of the problems that we have, well it is not really a problem, is deciding when to drink some of the higher priced wines that we accumulate from the wine clubs that we have joined. We enjoy having them in the cellar, but sometimes we have to just decide that tonight is the night! And that is exactly how we decided to enjoy the Carol's Vineyard 2014. And we were not disappointed. 

Sometimes it is just fun to pull out a special bottle of wine and enjoy it--just between the two of us. On the up side that means we get a second glass because we are not sharing it with friends!

-- Bob and Chris Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Coronavirus and Wine

I have been joking with many people that wine is the perfect beverage for consumption during the coronavirus quarantine. 

I maintain that wine is based upon fruit and therefore is a healthy choice. 

It is a liquid and helps to prevent dehydration, and

Most of all, if you drink enough wine you no longer care about coronavirus!

Please note, I do not say this to undermine responsible drinking or social distancing, but rather to get people to smile and try to think of something other than the virus. 

Generally, I am successful in my effort. Most people smile at least. Some laugh!

So let me propose a toast to good health and responsible wine consumption while we are complying with the stay-at-home orders.

Be well, stay safe, and drink responsibly!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, March 30, 2020

Wine for Social Distancing

It is a difficult time for the country--and for everyone in it as we face the daily coronavirus news. 

That does not mean, however, that we need to deny ourselves some of the better things in life, specifically wine to help us meet the challenges of the day and maintain a sense of normalcy. 

So, since we should no longer gather together for things like Happy Hour how can we use wine to help maintain contact while practicing good social distancing. 

2018 Donnachiara
Falaghina Beneventano IGT
Here is an idea--use a video calling app, like FaceTime, or Google Duo, or Skype and call a friend. Pour a glass of wine, have some apps handy and converse--just like you would if you were together in person. Call it the new normal. 

Maryland instituted a stay at home order today and so connecting with others in a safe manner is essential. And wine can be a critical part of the social distancing equation. 

The other night, Chris and I enjoyed a solid, yet inexpensive white. It was a 2018 Donnachiara Falanghina Beneventano IGT from Campagnia, Italy. It lists for $15 but we were able to find this bottle at Total Wines for $12. It had nice minerality, some fruit, peach with a bit of apricot and a hint of thyme. It went very nicely with the cheeses we had for Happy Hour. 

During this time of staying at home, do not be afraid to try new wines and spend an hour enjoying the flavors. 

The wine also went well with Jeopardy!

-- Bob and Christina Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, March 16, 2020

Sauvignon Blanc - Big Cork Pre-release

Big Cork 2019 Sauvignon Blanc
Sunday, March 15th, the Ides of March, I risked a personal confrontation with the coronavirus and attended a wine party at Big Cork Vineyards. One of the highlights of the event was sampling the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc which will be released on April 11th for the Easter holiday. 

The wine is simply excellent. I have recently enjoyed some very nice Sauvignon Blancs from the Marlborough District of New Zealand and this wine compared very nicely. 

The wine was light and had the grassy nose which was inviting. It was solid and had the classic crisp, elegant and freshness that a Sauvignon Blanc should have. It kept calling me back for more! Standing in a large room with huge windows overlooking the pre-bud break vineyards this wine just screamed SPRINGTIME to me. 

While the pricing for the bottles were not released, the 2018 vintage had a roughly $20 price point. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Barboursville Octagon 2008

The other evening, Chris and I attended a birthday party for our 12-year old grandson. The main attraction for the adult crowd was the opening of a 12-year old bottle of Barboursville Octagon

Octagon is the flagship wine of Barboursville Vineyards. We have visited the winery on many occasions and even enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of how the wines are selected for Octagon, which is a blend. It is reported that Octagon is one of the wines that has been served at State Dinners and in the White House. 

This particular bottle of Octagon had been purchased at the winery during a visit a few years ago and it seemed perfect that it would be opened to celebrate the birthday. 

According to Cellartracker, the optimal drinking period for the Octagon 2008 was 2013-2017, and so this being 2020 it was possible that the wine would be hopelessly over-the-hill. The wine was opened about an hour before we were to drink it and, well, we were pleasantly surprised. I did not notice any visual signs of a wine that is past its time. The nose was, however, slight and the fruit flavors were very subdued but still recognizable. The tannins were gone and the mouth feel was very smooth, but unremarkable. The wine was past peak, the layers and complexity were gone, but it was still very drinkable and enjoyable. While the remaining bottles of this vintage likely do not have many months left, this bottle was consumed by adoring fans!

-- Bob and Christina Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Fabbioli Cellars

Fabbioli Cella's Entrance
Leesburg, VA
February 22, 2020
It was a fantastic February Saturday, meaning it was a great day to go on a wine expedition. 

Wine Pouring into Fabbioli Wineglass
February 22, 2020

We realized that it had been a few years since we visited Fabbioli Cellars and we decided that we should check out the wines while updating our notes. 

Wine Rack in the Fabbioli Tasting Room

Right up front, let me say, we were impressed. The new, within the past three years, tasting facility is magnificent and highlights the quality wines produced by the Cellars. The tasting was conducted in a small group of six around an individual table and we were treated to the enthusiastic Brian and Melissa who provided an informative and entertaining tasting experience. The real stars of the tasting, of course, are the wines which were all well done and balanced. 

Fabbioli Tasting Room Ceiling
An Interesting and
Visually Stimulating Experience
The unique thing that Fabbioli does is to provide sample morsels to pair with the wines. Not just cheese and chocolate, but small culinary creations that highlight the beauty of the wines when combined with food. For instance, one of the morsels was Port wine cheese, apple slice, 34 Degrees natural crisp, and red jammies. The tasting costs $15, but the creative combos make it definitely worthwhile. 

As for wines, they are moderately priced with a good price point for the value. The prices were in the $18-$24 range, with the exception of the Carmenere, which was $45. The highlights of the tasting were the Carmenere and the Chambourcin. The other wines, including two whites and a pear wine, are all worth tasting and experiencing. 

Recommendation: Visit this winery! It is worth the trip off the beaten path and on the dusty backroads to get there. 

-- Bob and Christina Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Monday, February 10, 2020

What We Are Drinking - Cabernet Franc

Our favorite Maryland winery is Big Cork near Rohersville. Chris and I are members and visit there every few months and sample new wines sand pick-up our wine shipments. 

The other night, we enjoyed a 2017 Cabernet Franc. The wine has an 89 rating from Cellar Tracker.We found it to be one of the most full-bodied Cabernet Franc wines produced in the entire mid-Atlantic region. The 2015 vintage of this wine won Best in Class at the Maryland wine competition. The 2017 is also a flavorful and fantastic drinking wine. The flavors of plum and dark berries with earth combine to make a very special wine. 

The wine is available from the winery for $47. Yes, it is a bit pricey, but definitely worth the effort for a special evening. This Cabernet Franc holds up to red meats and is also good for pork dishes.

-- Bob and Chris Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, January 27, 2020

What We are Drinking - Italian Red from Puglia

The wine is Marchese di Borgosole Salice Salentino Riserva. It is from Puglia, Italy. We found it at Total Wines for about $13 and it turned out to be a great buy and a very nice wine. Of course with coupons, it can be bought for less.

Chris served it with salmon, asparagus, and Caesar salad. It was a perfect compliment to the meal.

The grape was a new one for us--we are closing in on about 300 different wine grapes. This one is the Negroamaro. According to wine searcher, Negroamaro is a dark-skinned grape variety that has been associated with the Puglia region in southern Italy for at least 1500 years. Most commonly found in a blend, alongside PrimitivoMalvasia NeraSangiovese or Montepulciano, Negroamaro is valued for its deep color, medium-full tannins and dark berryfruit flavors. The variety can also add earthen tones that can cross over into slightly medicinal flavors. It is mildly aromatic and can produce complex wines that show characteristics of ground brown spices such as clove, cinnamon and allspice.

The wine went very nicely with dinner and food. It was well balanced with just the right amount of complexity to compliment, but not overpower the food. 

We made a conscious decision to begin working through a variety of Italian wines before our upcoming trip to Italy. While we are more focused upon Tuscan wines for our trip, we picked up this red to give it a taste. And we were not disappointed. 

-- Bob And Chris Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, January 20, 2020

What We Are Drinking - Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris

During the cold winter months, people often turn their tastes towards full-bodied red wines to fight off the cold. But, sometimes there are good reasons to enjoy a nice white wine, even during the winter months. 

Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris is one of those wines that can stand upon to the cold by adding a splash of excitement to the tastebuds. The wine retails for about $17 per bottle--I have seen it advertised from $15.99 to $19.99. The 2017 vintage is still available in some areas, but the 2018 is the current vintage and more widely available. 

The wine makers notes for the 2018 vintage:

Aromas of nectarine, tangerine, lime zest and elderflower lead to a medium-bodied palate revealing fresh flavors of green apple, lychee, honeydew and pineapple. The wine features a beautiful balance between fruit flavors, refreshing acidity and a satisfying crisp, lingering finish.

So, don't be afraid to change things up and try a white, even during the winter months. It will bring some excitement to your palette.

-- Bob and Chris Doan, Elkridge, MD