Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ahead for Sugarloaf: stomp, wine and food dinner, and release of newest Bordeaux blend

First met partner Jim McKenna and the folks at
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyards in Comus, Md., which sits on the border of Frederick and Montgomery counties, by phone sometime last year. This summer we traveled down to the scenic spot where Sugarloaf Mountain serves as the backdrop. Pretty tasting room, comfy patio, good eats, plus a line of wines that appeals to all tastes.

They are one of the few wineries (but the number is starting to grow) that holds an actual grape stomp, this one schedule for the weekend of Oct. 17-18. There will be tours and music and food and, yes, prizes for those who stomp the most juice. Online advance tickets are $12, and tickets at the door are $15 for ages 21 and over. Those under 21 are free. You'll need you ID. You can find out more at the winery's Web site.

Several Sugarloaf wines are served at the Kennedy Center Roof Terrace Restaurant in Washington, D.C., site of a food/wine pairing dinner starting at 7 on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Sugarloaf's wines to be poured will be its 2008 Pinot Grigio, 2007 Cabernet Franc and 2007 Comus. Mike McGarry, an owner of Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, and Carl DiManno, SMV’s winemaker, will discuss winemaking and wines. No offense guys, but I'd go just to meet Lucie Morton, an internationally renowned viticulturist and consultant to Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, who will also participate in the discussion. She is putting her stamp on a number of new wineries throughout the region. Tickets are $95 per person. Reservations are necessary. Call 202.416.8555 or visit www.opentable.com. For more information www.roofterracerestaurant.com.

Finally, the winery is about to add a third wine to the family of Bordeaux blends that draw names from classical mythology. There's Comus and Circe and soon to be EVOE! (yes, with the exclamation point). They say the wine is named after the joyous cry of the ancient Bacchanal at festivals honoring Bacchus, the god of wine. No doubt that might be what lingerers at the grape stomp will be yelling after a day of fun. They will start opening some bottles out of the lot of 150 cases of the wine, a 2007 vintage aged for 24 months, at a by invitation only prerelease party on Saturday night, Nov. 7, then be available to the public thereafter. Purchases will be no more than two to a customer, with the wine available for sale only at the winery. The price per bottle figures to land between $42 and $44.

McKenna noted by phone the other day that they if they had any debate at all about the wine, it was over whether to use the exclamation points at the end of EVOE. "I hate exclamation points as a general rule," he said, "but in this context I thought that the exclamation point would catch a few more eyes, and that's the name of the game for merchandising and marketing. What until you see the label. It's gorgeous."

Waltz Vineyards adds expands tasting/events area at their site in Manheim

The French Oak Barrel Room: Where the wine
and its friends go to relax.

Touting wines from Waltz Vineyards in Manheim in an article in the November/December issue of In Central Pennsylvania that's put out by the Harrisburg Patriot-News. They have a good mix of mostly dry wines, so that alone merits my attention and interest. And while you cringe before tasting the juiced of some new wineries, you won't with this place. Interesting the strides they've made in terms of business, not a member of any wine trails yet pulling in a lot of folks from the surrounding community, including Mt. Gretna.

And they've found a clientele willing to pay more for a bottle than you'd expect to pay in this part of Pennsylvania with prices ranging from $18 (Rose) and $23 (a red that's an equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) up to $36 (Merlot) and $42 (Cabernet Sauvignon). You might need mapquest or your GPS to find the place, but it's worth the trip just to see the Tuscan designed tasting room and what they are called their French Oak Barrel Room (as you see by the photos, called that for an obvious reason).

Fall hours are noon to 6 p.m. Thursda and Friday, including Thanksgiving Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Monday through Wednesday by appointment.