The annual Drink Local Wine conference will be in Baltimore on April 13 – now less than two weeks away. There’s still time to make plans to join us at the Tremont Hotel for the conference and lunch and the Warehouse at Camden Yards for the Twitter Taste Off, sponsored by Bottlenotes. Schedule and registration details are here.
Last week I journeyed to Timonium, just north of Baltimore, and the offices of the Maryland Wineries Association to taste wines with Kevin Atticks, the MWA’s executive director, and his staff – Briana Berg, who is doing a lot of organizing work for the conference, Jade Ostner and Vivian Perry. Our goal was to select some of the wines to be featured at the Twitter Taste-Off.
It was not an exhaustive tasting – wines that have won gold medals at various state competitions are more than welcome without additional screening. These were (to me at least) relative unknowns, so it was a great opportunity.
And I’m happy to say we’ll have a nice lineup. And not just grape wines, but hard cider and flavored meads even.
The wines that got me most excited were from two wineries that haven’t even released wines yet. We had some delicious barrel samples from Old Westminster Winery and Big Cork Vineyards. Old Westminster makes a bracing chardonnay that contrasts perfectly with so many flabby examples from the east – this is chardonnay in the Linden, Boordy, and Michael Shaps category. There was also a delicious cabernet franc that was all the more impressive because it came from the incredibly rainy 2011 vintage. These wines catapulted Old Westminster Winery and its young winemaker, Lisa Baker, to the top of my “Ones to Watch” list.
Big Cork was already on my list because it’s the new project of Dave Collins, former winemaker across the river at Breaux Vineyards in Virginia’s Loudoun County. The 22-acres of vines Dave planted two years ago in Rohrersville, Md., will produce their first crop this year, but he’s already made some delicious 2012 reds from purchased fruit. I was particularly enamored of three from Cool Hollow vineyard, especially the meritage blend that got a thumbs up from our group for inclusion in the Twitter Taste-Off. It will join an equally exciting cabernet sauvignon from Mountain Creek. These wines will make for an impressive debut for Big Cork Vineyards.
With such exciting wines to taste, how could you pass up the chance to join us in Charm City?