Holiday Sparkling Wine Dinner


AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar and Old Westminster Winery Present our Holiday Sparkling Wine Dinner Featuring the Premier of their 2012 Blanc de Blanc

Friday, December 13th at 6:00pm
$77.70 per ticket, all-inclusive
Contact the restaurant at 410-953-0500 for tickets

First Course: Raw Bar
Blue Point Oysters & Watch House Oysters Salmon Tartar
Old Westminster 2012 Blanc de Blanc (100% Chardonnay)
(In the Wine Bar & Buddy Room)

Second Course: House made Charcuterie Board
Pate Terrine & Veal Shoulder Sausage
Sliced Duck Prosciutto
Served with Crostini, House-made Mostarda & Chutney Chiarli Italian Lambrusco
(In the Buddy Room)

Third Course: Shellfish Frites
PEI Mussels & Crawfish in a Smoked Lobster Cream Sauce over Fries
Old Westminster 2012 Blanc de Blanc & 2010 Gruet Blanc de Blanc from New Mexico

Fourth Course: Duck Two Ways
Seared Duck Breast over Homemade Gnudi with Porcini Cream, Peas & Duck Confit 2010 Argyle Brut

Dessert: Sparkling Zabaglione


AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar December 2013 Subject to Change & Availability

Old Westminster Winery

Back in April we attended the Drink Local Wine event in Baltimore. We were able to taste some of Old Westminster wines at the Twitter Taste off held at Camden Yards. We really enjoyed the 2011 Chardonnay from Old Westminster. When we were back on the Maryland wine trail in August, we decided to pay them a visit and taste all the wines they had to offer. We should have posted this sooner but you know how life gets in the way.
Old Westminster Winery is located just south of Westminster Maryland. It’s a family winery run by the Baker family. They have a strong commitment to producing high quality wines and it shows in the bottle. They have seven acres of grapes growing six different varieties: albarino, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc, merlot, and syrah. The day we arrived the winery was buzzing with wine tasters enjoying a warm sunny day with music filling the air. We recognized some of the Baker family right away. They recognized us from the Drink Local Event. It was nice to see some familiar faces.
We selected a table to enjoy our tasting and they soon poured the first wine. We tasted six different wines and enjoyed them all. However, as we always do, we had our favorites. The 2012 Chardonnay presented apricot notes, with nice acidity. We thought it presented classic chardonnay characteristics. Warren quickly put his star next to this one. We both enjoyed the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc as well. The grassy notes with hints of citrus and green apple made for a bright, crisp wine. Of the red wines we tasted, we both enjoyed the 2011 Cabernet Franc. We noted tobacco, earthy, pepper elements with a clean, firm finish. Drew Baker also gave us a sneak peek of the new 2012 Albarino. We noted peach, citrus and stone notes with bright acidity. It wasn’t available for purchase when we visited but it might be now.
After chatting with Drew and enjoying our own glass of the 2012 Chardonnay, we purchased some of our favorite wines and bid farewell. Old Westminster was part of the Maryland Wine Festival this past weekend. We hope if you attended the festival, you stopped by and tasted their wines. We don’t often get out on the Maryland wine trail but we’ll be sure to visit them again in the future. And when you visit them, tell them Maryland Wine Time sent you!

Maryland Wine Festival

ph-ce-wine-festival-0424-20130425-001The 30th annual Maryland Wine Festival will be here soon! The festival will be held on September 21 and 22 at the Farm Museum in Westminster in Carroll County. Tickets are $30 for adults with the option of a Premier Pass for $65. The Premier Pass gives you access to a special area to taste premier wines not available at the main festival. You also get to taste samples of cuisine from area chefs, listen to music, and private restrooms. Get more details about the Premier Pass here. Learn more about the Festival here. Get your tickets in advance and save a few bucks! If you attend the festival, tell them Maryland Wine Time sent you!

Celebrate Wine Tourism Day

winetourismdayWineries across the state are excited to host you and your friends and family for this innaugural event!

The first-ever Wine Tourism Day in North America will take place May 11, 2013. Wineries, hotels, restaurants, and other wine tourism businesses across North America are offering special events to the public on this day to celebrate the importance of wine tourism. Our Maryland wineries will be participating and we encourage you to contact them about their specials and discounts. Below you will find a listing of just a few wineries participating.

Crow Farm Vineyard will be offering one free wine tasting and sample of Crow Farm products including their Angus Grass-fed beef per person from 12-6pm on May 11.

Galloping Goose Vineyards will be featuring a flight of three red wines from their cellars with hors d’oeuvres for $12.00

Distillery Lane Ciderworks will be offering a cider-making class that covers the basics of home cider-making. Head cidermaker, Tim Rose, and orchardist, Rob Miller, run the informative class. The course covers topics such as desirability of various apple varieties, how different apples are used in the cider, the fermentation process, the importance of sanitation, and blending the finished product. The class costs $100 per person (preregistration and a $25 non-refundable deposit is due to hold a spot in the class). This fee covers the class, tastings, and all of the materials needed for participants to ferment a case of their own hard cider at home. To register, please visit their web site or call 301-834-8920

The Piedmont Wine Trail will be hosting a Vidal wine event on May 11 and May 12. Guests can enjoy a 10% discount on all Vidal Blanc purchases. Each winery will be featuring a different special with the Vidal grape. Particpating wineries include: Basignani Winery, Boordy Vineyards, DeJon Vineyards, Fiore Winery, Harford Vineyard and Winery, Royal Rabbit Vineyards, and Woodhall Wine Cellars.

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, now open for the season, will have a featured sampling of their wines for a tasting fee of $6, including a complimentary tasting glass. Private tours are also available. They include enjoy a guided tour of the vineyard and winery, followed by a private tasting of all currently available wines, complete with cheese pairings. The private tour is $25 per person and reservations are required. Please make reservations by calling 240-449-0677 or emailing

Information provided by the Maryland Wineries Association

Maryland Wine Country Magazine

VOTE to SUPPORT Welcome to Maryland Wine Country Magazine in Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong Campaign.

$5,000 Grants Being Awarded – We NEED One of Them…so We Need YOUR Votes! Vote here.

I started Welcome to Maryland Wine Country (WMWC) Magazine to generate interest in Maryland’s wines; to inform and educate the general public and wine lovers about the quality of Maryland’s wines; and to encourage retailers, restaurants, and other venues to make Maryland wines available to their customers.

Over the past several months many volunteers have given their time and resources to WMWC, but the time has come for the Magazine to generate revenue if it is to survive. For this to happen, I need to invest in marketing and in someone to head up the advertising sales effort.

Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign is awarding $5,000 grants to the top 15 vote-getters who have posted their wishes online. YOU can help WMWC be one of the lucky recipients of one of these grants by voting here.

Just go to that Web site and click on VOTE FOR US — And please go back and vote tomorrow, and the next day, and every day until May 12! You may vote for WMWC once each day.

PLEASE let all your wine-loving friends and acquaintances know that they can help keep WMWC spreading the word about Maryland wines by VOTING FOR US once each day here.

WMWC and the lovers of Maryland wines THANK YOU!

Submitted by Susan Southard from Welcome To Maryland Wine Country Magazine

Drink Local Wine (Continued)

So I left off with the wine media junket arriving at the Waterfront Kitchen in Baltimore for a food and wine dinner. The menu continued with the locavore and locapour theme, and it featured locally grown food and locally produced wines.
The menu included:

Reception: Bordeleau Vineyards and Winery Blanc de Blancs NV

First Course: Black bass, spring pea risotto, and beurre rose
Paired with Knob Hall Winery Rose 2011

Second Course: Gallentine of Chicken, pork sausage, swiss chard and mushroom jus
Paired with Port of Leonardtown Chambourcin 2010 (my fave on the menu)

Third Course: Roasted lamb rack, black truffle risotto, rosemary essence
Paired with: Basignani Winery Lorenzino Reserve 2005

Dessert: Picholine olive oil cake, vanilla ice cream, crème anglaise
Paired with: Serpent Ridge Vineyard Slither NV

Friday was certainly filled with food and wine. Saturday, though, was the day with panel discussions on the past, present and future of Maryland wine. Four sessions were held on these topics, and session moderators included wine blogger and publisher Carlo di Vito, wine columnist Dave McIntyre, Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Maryland Wineries Association, and viticulturist Dr. Joseph Fiola. Panelists included author Maguerite Thomas, chef Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen, Jade Ostner, director of event for the Maryland Wineries Association, radio host Al Spoler, winemakers Ed Boyce of Black Ankle, Dave Collins of Big Cork, Robert Deford of Boordy, and Tom Shelton of Bordeleau.
I will not get into the nitty gritty details of each session; however, I will summarize the ten conclusions that I drew from them:

1. Maryland wines were not very good in the 1980s and 1990s; however, they have improved in the past decade. Skilled winemakers and viticulturists such as Lucie Morton have contributed to this.

2. Maryland’s climate shares some characteristics with Virginia and Pennsylvania; the best grape growing regions in the state are those that have higher elevations and rocky, less fertile soils.

3. Warm days and cool nights are ideal during growing season.

4. Best grapes for the state seem to be cabernet franc, chambourcin, petit verdot, sauvignon blanc and albarino with potential for quality chardonnay.

5. The focus especially for red wines should be blends rather than bottling single varietals. This is critical for troublesome years such as 2011.

6. Chambourcin has the potential to be the Norton of Maryland.

7. Maryland’s challenge is not quality but constituency, and winemakers should look to Europe for inspiration since they face similar year-to-year challenges.

8. Tight spacing of vines may be a best practice; this absorbs rain water.

9. Maryland wineries continue to open; 62 are now open for business

10. Consumers must enjoy the wine tasting experience and made aware of improved quality. Maryland Wineries Association will continue awareness programs such as Eat Drink Go Local.

The conference concluded with a twitter taste off that was held at Camden Yards. At least 20 Maryland wineries were on hand to pour their finest wines, and tasters were encouraged to tweet their impressions. The taste off was opened to the public after 4 PM. What were our favorites?
White Wines:
Black Ankle 2011 Albarino
Old Westminster 2011 Chardonnay
Sugarloaf 2011 Pinot Grigio

Red Wines:
Big Cork 2012 Meritage
Boordy 2008 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Black Ankle 2010 Crumbling Rock
Sugarloaf 2010 EVOE!

The ultimate champions of the twitter taste-off were the 2011 Albarino from Black Ankle and the Sugarloaf 2010 EVOE!

Drink Local Wine provided a perfect opportunity for Maryland winemakers to present the best wines, and there was no doubt that Maryland can produce quality wines. Most of our fellow bloggers had never tasted Maryland wines, and I must confess that we have visited only a couple of Maryland wineries. However, that will be changing. We plan to frequent Maryland wineries more often, and we encourage readers to do the same. Mention that Maryland Wine Time sent you.

Drink Local Wine Comes to Maryland

dlw-drink-local-wine-logoDrink Local Wine, established in 2008 by Jeff Siegel of The Wine Curmudgeon and Washington Post wine columnist Dave McIntyre, held its fifth annual drink local conference in Maryland on April 13. In previous years the conference was held in Texas, Virginia, Missouri and Colorado. We attended the event and concluded that it was a wonderful way to showcase the great strides made by Maryland’s winemakers. The next two posts will capture the highlights of the conference that culminated in a twitter tasting held at Camden Yards.

Our participation in the conference actually began with a media tour of Maryland wineries on Friday, April 12. We boarded a bus with other bloggers, columnists, and writers from the Tremont Suites Hotel in Baltimore. Our first destination was Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard located in Dickerson, Maryland. Winemaker Benoit Pineau was on hand to conduct a tasting of Sugarloaf’s wines; however, Elk Run Vineyards’ representatives were also on hand to likewise showcase their best wines. A buffet of cheeses, olives, breads and deli meats were offered for enjoyment. Favorites included the 2011 Comus, a lush Bordeaux blend created in a difficult year. Yes, Maryland got the same copious amounts of rain in 2011 that plagued Virginia that summer. My ultimate favorite, though, was the 2010 EVOE!, so named after the excited cries of ancient Bacchanalians to honor the god, Bacchus. In a contrast of seasons, the 2010 EVOE! was more dark-hued and complex. Like Comus, it is a Bordeaux-style blend. From Elk Run, I enjoyed the Alsatian-styled 2011 Gewurztraminer. Tours were offered, and an added treat was the ability to vote for an upcoming release. Benoit Pineau asked us all to sample four red wine samples and then to vote on a favorite, and these included a Cabernet Franc, a Merlot, a Cabernet Franc (75%) and Merlot (25%) blend and then a Merlot (75%) and Cabernet Franc (25%) blend. These were all from the 2012 vintage. My vote? The Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend. Benoit will be the ultimate judge on which will be finally bottled, but I will definitely follow up to see if I picked the winner!
By lunchtime, it was time for the press junket to leave Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyards; our next destination was Black Ankle Vineyards in Mt. Airy. Did I mention lunch? It was here that we were treated to a lunch prepared by Woodberry Kitchen of Baltimore, a restaurant devoted to eating and drinking local. We were greeted by a glass of an outstanding 2012 Gruner Veltliner (yes, Gruner in Maryland) that complemented seasonal tartines. Lunch began with a warm greeting from owners Ed Boyce and Sarah O’Herron. They gave a brief synopsis of their story and the decision to make wine in Maryland. The couple opted to purchase farm property with the rockiest, least fertile soil possible; not good for corn or tomatoes, but great for a vineyard. Anyway, we tasted the excellent results of their decision. With grilled Chesapeake oysters we sipped the floral 2011 Bedlam, a blend of Chardonnay, Albarino, Muscat, Viognier and Gruner Veltliner. Wheat berry salad with radishes, pea shoots and pecans was paired with a berry-driven 2010 Rolling Hills, a red blend that included all of the Bordeaux grapes. The main event, though, was a platter of whole Maryland Suffolk grilled lamb, lamb sausage, scallions, and potatoes. The lamb was indeed fresh and local; Woodberry Kitchen’s George the Butcher butchered the lamb, and it was absolutely divine. Equally divine was the 2010 Leaf Stone Syrah with its elements of tobacco, dark plum, and blackberries. (This was my favorite pour of the day.) A dessert course rounded out our dining experience, and we were served Beiler’s Heritage Acres cornflour cake made from locally produced flour. This was partnered with a port-style Terra Dulce II.
With our appetites satisfied, we departed for the last leg of our tour that concluded with a visit and tasting to Boordy Vineyards located in Hydes, Maryland. Vineyards here are nestled in the Piedmont Plateau and the Blue Ridge Province. Robert Deford greeted us and provided a brief history of the winery. Boordy Vineyards is the oldest commercial winery in Maryland, and Philip and Jocelyn Wagner established the winery in 1930 to protest Prohibition. Deford bought the property in 1980; however, he replanted the vineyard in 2005 to maximize its potential to produce world-class wines. We tasted the results in the tasting room. The buzz-worthy wines were the rich 2010 Cabernet Franc Reserve and the 2010 Landmark Reserve, an award winning blended red wine. Also on hand to pour their wines was Cygnus Wine Cellars and Fiore Winery. Fiore Winery offered two grappas, and these were an interesting twist to the traditional line up of white, red and dessert wines.
The day ended with a dinner at the Waterfront Kitchen in Fells Point, an event hosted by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Maryland Wineries Association. Yes, more food and wine. However, I will provide details about this experience in the next post. Before I sign out, though, I must thank Nomacorc for sponsoring the very comfy bus that took us hither and yon. I’ll write more about Nomacorc in a future post.

Start your own tours of Maryland wineries soon. The wineries mentioned in this post are great places to begin. Just mention that Maryland Wine Time sent you!

Drink Local Wine in Maryland!

dlw-drink-local-wine-logoIn 2010 we attended the Drink Local Wine conference held in Landsdowne Virginia. We were representing our sister site Virginia Wine Time. We had a great time meeting many people in the Virginia wine community and many fellow wine bloggers. We also learned a lot about Virginia wine. As you know from our blog, we support local wine. Drink Local Wine supports local wine as well. They have held conferences in states that don’t normally get the national media attention that other areas of the country receive. We fully support Drink Local Wine’s mission of bringing attention to lessor known wine producing states. They have held conferences in Texas, Virginia, Missouri, Colorado, and this year Maryland.

3097_75222944159_5443754_nThe 2013 Drink Local Wine conference will be held in Baltimore Maryland on April 13 to focus on Maryland wine. Like Virginia, Maryland has a growing wine industry. There are now 61 wineries producing thousands of cases of wine each year. The conference will focus on the growing Maryland wine industry, drinking local, and who the movers and shakers currently in the Maryland wine industry. We’ll hear how they are doing it and what direction they are taking to continue the growth that has started in Maryland.

The conference will conclude with the Grand Tasting of Maryland Wines and Twitter Taste-off taking place at The Warehouse at Camden Yards. The Twitter Taste-off is a great opportunity to taste wines from 20 Maryland wineries. Participants are able to taste the wines and “tweet” their impressions live on Twitter. We are looking forward to this event!

Are you a wine blogger, wine writer, or someone interested in local wine? Will you be attending the Drink Local Wine conference in Maryland? If not, think about attending the conference this year. You can find out more on the Drink Local Wine website or the Maryland Wine website. And if you are planning to attend, how about leaving a comment to let us know so that we can plan on meeting you there! We will be there representing Maryland Wine Time and our sister site, Virginia Wine Time. See you there!