Monday, April 6, 2009

Fiore soon to release grappa, limoncello

News you can use from Fiore Winery in Pylesville, Md.?

Well, you can start with the
Pinot Grigio that Fiore is bottling for the second year, a dry white that won three medals for its debut in 2008. Fiore said by phone Friday that it’s a wine he likes, and that he’s satisfied with the source of those grapes, Quail Vineyard in Westminster. The tasting notes on his Web site describe it as medium-bodied with clean aromas and flavors that are complex, with nuts, minerals, white flowers and citrus, with a crisp acidity. Served ideally around 45 degrees, according to the site, it pairs well with seafood, light pastas and prosciutto.

That’s not the only reason he likes the Pinot Grigio grape. Fiore said the skins from the grape make a fantastic
grappa, essentially an Italian brandy. “It’s very, very smooth,” he said.

Fiore said that he plans to release about a thousand 200 ml bottles of both grappa and
limoncello, a lemon liquor. Both are awaiting approval of the labels for the respective bottles. “I was hoping to get [that done] by Easter,” he said, “but it doesn’t look like it now.”

Those who have had a taste, including a colleague who flew east from California to attend a marketing seminar in Ohio last week, have given Fiore a big thumbs up. “She went nuts over it,” he said. “Said it was the best she’s ever had.”

He’ll see how both new products do in this initial release and, if the response is acceptable, produce more over the coming years.

Meanwhile, his reserve Chambourcin and reserve Cabernet Sauvingon continue to get good reviews, both a bargain at $16.95/bottle.

For the first time since 2003, he said, he has released a wine called Caronte. The blend features 60 percent Sangiovese, 30 percent Merlot and 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a wine that requires an exceptional year, and 2007 fit that characteristic. It’s described on his side as full to medium bodied with lingering flavors and aromas of cherry, polished red plum and berry, along with smoky notes of mushrooms. Ideal food partners include chicken, red meat, fish, lamb, pork, heavy pasta dishes, stews and well-aged cheeses.

Cassinelli opens doors on Eastern Shore

Cassinelli Vineyards & Winery, Maryland's newest winery, has opened. If I've counted right, that's 27 open for business that are members of the Maryland Wineries Association.

Located on the Eastern Shore in Church Hill, the family-owned and operated boutique winery grows Merlot, Chardonnay and Viognier on part of its 110-acre farm and sources the remainder of the fruit.

Its Web site also notes that visitors will also see Blank Angus cows, buffalo and donkeys. A 3-acre pumpkin patch and apple orchard also occupy some of the land. Hours run from noon to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.