Saturday, June 7, 2008

Travelin' Oenophile: Maryland, Continued

I'm sitting in the hotel room waiting for the Belmont Stakes to start. All I can say is, wow, and I thought the Super Bowl had a lot of pre-show buildup! It's a lot of coverage for 5 minutes of actual sport. Seriously, the race will probably be over by the time I finish this entry.

The rolling countryside of Maryland is very pretty, and the wineries are definitely less pretentious than anywhere else we've tasted. We didn't see a single one with a big tasting room, and it really did feel like we were tasting wine in a barn in a few of them. One that definitely had a "roadside shack" feel was Loew. Unfortunately, the wines were so bad we didn't even take notes. Pass that one up, even if the tasting is free. Luckily the next winery was much better.

Elk Run is located just down the road from Loew, but the wines are miles away in quality. By this point, Hubby had given up on taking notes, so all you have is my ratings.

Gypsy Rose Pinot Noir 2007: Good

Pinot Noir 2006: Very Good

Syrah 2005: Not Bad

Cabernet Sauvignon 2005: Good

Malbec 2006: Very Good to Excellent

Other Info: $2/person to taste 5 wines, $5 if you wanted to keep the glass. We declined the glasses. Open til 9 on Fridays.
Bottom Line: We got the Malbec.

We finished at Frederick Cellars in cute downtown Frederick. They had a few good offerings, and finally a rose that Hubby liked.

Merlot 2005: Good

Heritage Red 2005 blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah: Very Good

Cabernet Sauvignon 2002: Bad - Dry erase marker nose, vinegary and sharp

City Lights Seyval/Vidal blend: Very Good (Hubby noted a resemblance to Pinot Gris)

Eye of the Oriole: Very Good light and sweet rose blend

Trail's End Riesling blend: Good

Other info: $5/person to taste 6 wines.
Bottom Line: We got the Eye of the Oriole. It will be a good back porch wine.

Okay, here's my advice: skip Maryland wines and stay in northern Virginia. That's what we'll be doing next time.

Last night, we ended up joining some friends at an interesting place called Power Plant Live, which is an interesting collection of bars and restaurants in a U-shape near the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. The food was average, but we did get to hear Sister Hazel play.

It was hot today, so the objective was to stay inside as much as possible. We started the day at the Baltimore Visitor Center, where we avoided yankees already cranky from the heat and humidity. Overheard, as one older gentleman looked at a restaurant sign, "They have Paella, Tapas, and Vino, whatevah that is." How could someone not know what vino is? Yeesh.

Actually, the Belmont is over, and I'm a little cranky because the hotel doesn't have a pool (the web site said it has two!), so we're going to the bar for fruity drinks. No, I don't think that karaoke will be forthcoming.

There will likely be one more blog entry tomorrow, then it's back to work for me. Yep, I'm here for a conference. Otherwise, I would never have come to Baltimore voluntarily.

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