Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just call it biggest-ever Md. Wine Festival

That smile on the face of Kevin Atticks, the executive director of the Association of Maryland Wineries, might be fixed there for awhile. You can thank the success of last weekend's Maryland Wine Festival in Westminster for keeping Atticks beaming.

He said Wednesday that attendance Saturday was around 14,500 and Sunday around 7,500, the latter no doubt affected by the second weekend of NFL football. Still, Atticks was chirping in a phone message he left Wednesday morning.

"Weekend was phenomenal," he said. "It was a helluva time. We had about 450 people in our premier tent, who upgraded to taste some of the finer wines. And a new winery made its debut there. Thanksgiving Farm [in Harwood, located 20 miles due east of the nation's capital]. They have a Pomerol style Meritage, a beautiful wine. Couldn't have asked for better weather. It's probably the best weather I've seen at that festival ever."

The next one to follow in the state will be the weekend of Oct. 3-4 in Hollywood in St. Mary's County. Called Riverside Winefest at Sotterley, it will run from noon to 6 both days. You can find out more by clicking on this link or calling 301.373.2280 or 800.681.0850.

Lehigh Valley's Chambourcin Weekend planned for the weekend of Oct. 17-18


Wanted to mention that the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail’s annual Chambourcin Weekend will be held at all nine wineries on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on the 18th from noon to 5 p.m.

Chambourcin, pronounced Shom-bor-san, produces a dark, intense wine similar to but not quite as heavy or robust as Cabernet, according to a release from the trail. The varietal is often compared to Merlot because of its softness and Shiraz for its spicy characteristics. Chambourcin also has a fair amount of acidity, which makes it a wonderful food wine because it accentuates the flavors of the food. In the Lehigh Valley, there are 36 acres of Chambourcin grown today yielding 93 tons of grapes and producing 14,725 gallons of wine in 18 different styles. The styles include Nouveau, Rose, Sweet Red, Semi Sweet, Dry Oak Aged and Sparkling. The Lehigh Valley's Chambourcin wines have won more than 50 medals in various competitions around the country.

Some events happening along the trail include:

  • AmorĂ© Vineyards & Winery will feature four styles of Chambourcin paired with ravioli in a red Chambourcin sauce, Chambourcin Bar-B-Q, and assorted breads with PASTAMORE dipping oils.
  • Big Creek Vineyard will be pairing a number of traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Foods from its neighbors at Grouse Hunt Farms with our 2008 Chambourcin. The sampling will include Brandied Peaches, Vanilla Peaches, Brandied Cherries and a few types of fruit butter.
  • Blue Mountain Vineyards will offer its 2005 Chambourcin paired with Braised Beef with Tomatoes & Herbs both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday it will offer a Chambourcin Seminar and Tasting at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. with the winemaker. Saturday it will offer complimentary acoustic entertainment provided by Rob and Marty. On Sunday it will offer our very popular Fall Foliage Wine Tasting featuring Leechboy for an admission of $5. Wine trail customers to the winery are welcome for wine tasting and our pairing at no charge.
  • Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery will once again pair up with Chef Nathan Grube to present cooking demonstrations featuring Chambourcin friendly foods on the patio, at 1, 2, 3 or 4 p.m. for a demonstration. The demonstration food will be available for sampling and plates of food will be available for purchase.
  • Franklin Hill Vineyards will be featuring its delicious homemade beef stew paired with Chambourcin. Klein's Farms Dairy & Creamery will be joining the folks at Franklin Hill to offer their gourmet handmade cheeses. Fresh apples and apple cider will be available at Kachline's Farms.
  • Galen Glen Vineyard & Winery will feature tastings of Chambourcin infused and winery prepared Chili with our Claret, a naughty new world blend of ‘Cin and Franc, or Cellar Red, our unwooded and fruity Chambourcin wine. In addition, you can sample its autumn favorite, mulled Chambourcin.
  • Pinnacle Ridge Winery will be releasing its 2007 CHAMBOURCIN RESERVE. Brad Knapp and Co. will be pairing the new vintage with a wonderful selection of smoked meats and cheeses from Dietrich's Meats and Country Store.
  • Vynecrest Vineyards & Winery will be serving samples of beef a la Chambourcin, a rich beef and mushroom stew served over noodles (recipes available) paired with its 2007 dry Chambourcin. There will be live music in the Vyneskeller Wine Bar both days 1 to 4:30 p.m.