Category Archives: Wine

Champagne Claude Baron

Sometimes you get the urge to splurge and for several reasons I found myself looking for such a bubbly.   I selected the Champagne Claude Baron Cuvee Topaze 2006.  Vintage Champagnes are a small subset of Champagne.  The theory is that the wineries make these wines only in their best years when the grapes are of such quality that the usual blending is not needed.  Vintage champagnes account for about 4% of champagne sales in the United States.  This wine happened to be a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  I was not blown away by it.  The bubbles were very fine and disappeared quickly in the glass.  I was looking for some of the characteristics of vintage champagne: nuttiness, dried fruits, toasted bread.  I found none of this.  Rather a delicate and fresh wine of lemons and nice acidity.  Six years should have been enough time to impart some of these flavors.  Bottom line:   decent but not worth the price paid.  You can get comparable champagnes for $20 less.  Oh well the hunt and exploration of new bottles is a large part of what makes wine so exciting for me.  Cheers!

Purchased at the Frederick Wine House for $49.99

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Odds and Ends & Validation!

Grocery stores seeking way around alcohol sales ban.  I have mixed feelings about this.  Comments anyone?  I do admit that I stop at the Leesburg Costco from time to time to get wine.

Good op-ed piece in the Sun on this issue by Adam Borden president of MBBWL.

And finally on Monday I posted about the best rose I have had in ages.  Well it seems that I am not the only one who feels this way.  In today’s wine column in the Washington Post Dave McIntyre gives the Alexander Valley Vineyards Dry Rose of Sangiovese the highest rating out of all the rose he reviewed.  Refined palate or just plebeian tastes?  I know which theory I’m going with.

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Alexander Valley Vineyards- Dry Rose of Sangiovese 2011

I’m secure enough in my manhood to proclaim my love of a good  rose.  Of course not the blush, white zin type of crap.  And boy did I love the rose I just had.  Alexander Valley Vineyards “Dry Rose of Sangiovese” 2011. This was a bright scarlet wine, with tons of flavors of strawberry, watermelon and a touch of tropical fruit.  Medium acidity with the barest hint of sweetness at the end.  The best rose I have had in a long, long time especially at this price.  I’m violating my rule of making sure I buy more before I post here, but I got it at the Frederick Wine House for around $12 if I recall.  I’m going to get a bunch for the summer. 100% Sangiovese, fermented in stainless steel.  13.2% ABV

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Odds and Ends

Channel 9 video on Adam Frey’s new Frederick county farm brewery.  I’d card the reporter though.

Brewer’s Alley released a special wedding beer, Wedding Alt, with customizable labels.  How about a divorce one?  Should it be something dark and heavy or light and celebratory?

The Grateful Gourmet tries a Frederick County wine and finds he likes it.

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Shout Out- Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws

This blog got a mention in the Marylander’s for Better Beer & Wine Laws 2012 Alcohol Legislative Roundup for my April 23rd post on some of the changes to Maryland’s alcohol laws.  This is a good time to reaffirm what a great organization MBBWL is, and not just because they gave me a shout out.  I’ve been plugging them on this blog from as far back as October 2009.  They are the only organization in this state that fights for the consumer on these issues and they have been instrumental in the incremental progress that has been made in bringing a measure of sanity to Maryland’s alcohol laws.  They  wage a  David versus Goliath battle against the beverage wholesalers lobby.   Send them some love by liking them on facebook, following them on twitter and most importantly giving them a little money by going to their home page and clicking the please donate button on the right.

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Odds and Ends

Nice article on Frederick County’s newest winery, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, in the Frederick News Post.  I can’t think of any other business where so many people go into the business out of sheer love for the product.  Of course talking to Maryland winery owners you would be delusional if you were getting into it for the money.  I look forward to sampling their wines.

West Frederick Farmer’s Market re-opens Saturday May 5th for the season!

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Maryland Law Changes

This past legislative session saw some changes in the laws which will be of interest to readers:

Corkage:  The practice of bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant to drink is commonly known as corkage.  Up until now this has been illegal in Maryland (in fact I believe that Volt got into a bit of trouble last year for allowing this).   As of July 1st,  2012 patrons of Maryland restaurants will now be permitted to bring that special bottle when they dine with a couple of conditions:  the restaurant must allow it and have a permit to do so from the local liquor board, the wine must be consumed with a meal, and the wine is not available for sale on the restaurant’s wine list.  As an aside the last condition should  be honored simply as a matter of proper etiquette law or no law.

Middletown Wine Festival:  A bill passed the legislature that allows a wine festival to be held within the municipal boundaries of the town for no more than two, one-day festivals per year.

Packing Heat:  Lastly I’m sure you will all feel better and safer that the Legislature will now allow Frederick County’s alcoholic beverage inspector(s) to carry firearms in the course of their duties.  I predict that a SWAT team will not be far behind.

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