Hitting the Road!

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Yes, I have been absent for a while.. but the Win(e)ding Road is always on my mind. Particularly since next month is the Wine Bloggers Conference. This year I will NOT be heading west, but rather east and south. Heading to Virginia.

Because I will be travelling through more populated portions of the world, I am pleased that I won’t have to take the same route too and fro. That makes travel more boring, at least that is what we, Neuman’s think. According to the routing that I have established so far, I will be driving through eight states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky) and the District of Columbia.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be looking at each individual state to see what kind of wine and nerdy adventures that I can find.

In the meantime, here is the route as I have devised it thus far.

I wonder what route Marguerite is planning to take?

I Don’t Like Mondays

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Sugarloaf Mountain

Go ahead. Cue the Boomtown Rats. But it is true.

After leaving my Grandmother’s birthday party in Virginia Beach at the beginning of the month, I headed back on the road thinking that I would find wineries.

And then I remembered. It is autumn now and it was Monday. Wineries like many service industry businesses are often closed on their slowest day. In this case, Monday. Particularly in the off season. This meaning not Autumn and Winter. Sigh.

Yummy Chick-fil-AI tried, but wasn’t able to find a winery in Maryland that was open, but I will make an effort to get to this one my next time out.

It wasn’t an entire loss for Monday. I did stop at my first Chick-fil-A. Yummy. Now all the other chicken sandwiches are pale imitations.

So take THAT! Monday.

A Bad Week For Wine

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Illinois Wine Consumer Coalition

Illinois Wine Consumer Coalition

That is the only conclusion that I can come to.  An extremely bad week for wine.  Particularly if the wine isn’t nearby.

Maryland’s efforts to reform their wine laws has failed for this year when HB 1262 died in committee.  They are gearing up for next year’s fight already and if you want to help you can contact Adam Borden here.

Consumers in New York lost their effort to be able to purchase wine in grocery stores even though you can already buy beer there.  This makes NO sense to me as we in Illinois can buy beer, wine and liquor in grocery stores and yet we still appear to have healthy number of liquor stores.  (maybe I should take a survey of my neighborhood vs. one in NYC to show difference…)

and as finally, as Kevin pointed out yesterday, Michigan’s new, ridiculous law regarding wine shipping went into effect.

Over all?  Not a good week for wine.  Illinois’ proposed new law is still waiting to come back out of the rules committee and to progress.  If you are interested in working to opening the Illinois wine market to  outside retailers, please come join us at the Illinois Wine Consumer Coaltion (www. illinoiswineconsumers.org).  Let’s make sure that consumers SOMEWHERE in the United States is free to buy the wine of their choice legally.

A lovely "Marytage"

By Richard Takamoto
Mid-Atlantic Region Correspondent

First, let me say that finding a store in Maryland with fine wines, or one with a broad selection, has been a challenge of immeasurable proportions. Chicago has left me very spoiled. To make matters worse, Maryland is one of those states with archaic laws that do not allow residents to receive shipments of wine from out of state. Perhaps there are ways to get wines from out of state, but I have not heard how. I have found most wine and beer stores in Maryland are small, and many are not much bigger than those pre-fabricated shops you find at a gas station. Yes, it is depressing. Surprisingly, the better wine stores in Maryland are those run by the county itself. I have walked out of many wine stores in Maryland after opening the front door and becoming overwhelmed by the smell of old crabs. This is Maryland after all, and crabs are considered mandatory. I have discovered the county-run beer and wine stores stick to beer and wine, smell much better, and are more reasonably priced.

I was recently referred to a county-run wine store in Sliver Spring, simply known as, the “Montgomery County Liquor” store on International Drive. At this point, I eagerly jumped at the opportunity to follow-up on this referral. It is a small wine store with a limited selection (and did not reek of decaying crabs). I did note this store was the first I have found that offers more than a few types of beers. I was also happy to find there is a small section with Maryland wines. Since moving to Maryland, if I happen to find Maryland wines, I will try one every now and then. As you know, one of my favorite wines is “Trilogy” by Flora Springs winery in California, which I have not been able to find anywhere in this state. So, I was excited to find a meritage from a Maryland winery, Solomons Island. Since this is Maryland, it is appropriately labeled as a “Marytage.” This “Marytage” is blended and bottled by the Solomons Island winery in Lusby, Maryland, which is located in the southern part of the state near the Chesapeake Bay.

I opened the bottle and poured myself a glass to let it breathe. It was disconcerting when a white foam formed on the top of the poured wine, which can be seen in the attached photo. The first sip was difficult, but I find that is true for most wines. I brought out some cheese, took a bite, and then tried the wine again. The difference was remarkable. The wine tasted much lighter and drier. I found the wine dry (which I like) and the taste “quick” while eating something. Later, while drinking the wine alone, there was a longer aftertaste which was borderline sharp, but I believe typical for a red table wine such as this. It was not an unpleasant aftertaste. I finished the wine the next day and enjoyed it. The taste remained dry and quick, which (again) I like. I will buy this wine again (unless the FDA posts a warning about foaming wines from near the Chesapeake Bay).