Monday, January 11, 2010

Off and running in 2010 . . . chilling at Woodhall

Sorry about the delay in posting. Blame it on the holiday, on work, on getting out of the routine. So, with the Farm Show under way it's time to roll this out daily again, with plans to add social media to the mix as this year ages.

Would prefer to start where this all started, down at Woodhall Wine Cellars in Parkton, Md., on Sunday, where several dozen visitors gathering to watch the Ravens in the tasting room. Others paraded through on the second part of a weekend library tasting, a rare commodity in this region. An annual event at Woodhall, the winery has blocked off a couple hours on a Saturday and Sunday in December and allowed case club members to saunter down the path to the winery and storage building, essentially down into the cellar. This year it was the second weekend in January, where they served a few wines with virtually no inventory (including a 1994 Vidal) and another dozen where the winery had perhaps a case or several left.

They went as far back as a 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon, a 1993 Meritage and that Vidal that I mentioned. You probably don't want to keep your whites more than several years, but there are always exceptions. One was a 2001 Chardonnay they produced for Corks Restaurant in Baltimore. It still tasted good several years ago when I had bought a half case, and little had changed in the last couple of bottles remaining that were pulled out on Sunday. Same with the Vidal, which still held up its end even thought it's 16 years old. Took home two of the last five bottles left in storage, and we'll wait for a suitable occasion this year to open them.
Winemaker Chris Kent and former co-owner Al Kopp served as the guides at the tasting. Kopp noted that they would always put a case aside of every wine they would produce. But these tastings over the last few years have pretty much wiped out the cellar, so there's a good chance several years could pass before the next one. Not sure why some of the older wineries do not hold a similar tasting; but it's a question I want to ask as I catch up to the proprietors of wineries in Pennsylvania and Maryland that are 15 years or older.
Most of the bottles at Woodhall sold in the mid-teens up to 20 dollars; several of the Copernica Reserve Cabs (2002, 2005) were selling for $30. The most expensive was a Jubilee Reserve Merlot from 2007, acknowledged as a best vintage of the decade. That was going for $35.
This event done, the winery prepares for its annual wine and soup pairing starting next weekend and continuing into February. This has become a staple event there, as has the Valentine's chocolates and barrel tasting that will commence Feb. 13 and likely continue into March.