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