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Drinkmuse: St. Michaels Winery – Maryland Quest pt. 2

February 25, 2012

As you will remember from the Knob Hall post, I am currently working on a quest to taste wine at every Maryland vineyard. St Michaels was next on the list (since Ashe and I had a Livingsocial deal), so one dreary day we make the trip from DC across the Bay Bridge and south to St. Michaels. The town itself is gorgeous and very cute, even on a day of rain and generally unpleasantness, and I’d love to see it (and further down that peninsula) when it is nice out.

St. Michaels Winery

First off, I have to admit that I’ve tried some of the StM wine before.. and I was not completely looking forward to this tasting. The wine I have had was mostly extremely sweet, and lacking in character. Ashe however, had liked the sweet wine that we had had from the winery. So, in short, I had low expectations.

The winery itself is actually a tasting room (I don’t know where the vineyards are) inside the town. I believe the tasting room is at the site of an old mill, but I am not sure. A small bar and room with 4-5 tables is basically all the space they have – and it was packed, mostly with folks who livingsocial deals. The staff was great though – well spread out, and moving everyone through their tastings with good speed, without rushing anyone. Everyone we talked to took the time to chat about the wine, about their favorites, and share stories if they had them. Cute setting and good staff was a very good start.

The Wine

First up was the Chenin Blanc. It had a very nice nose, with a distinct tangerine taste. Was a great first impression wine. My only complaint was that it was a little thin, even for a summer wine. That said, it wasn’t overly sweet, it was nice to drink…. no need to be wary apparently.

Next up was the Long Splice. This was a bit more disappointing. It had a very nice, initial crisp burst of fruit, but after that start, the wine really disappeared, and tasted pretty thin. Both this and the Chenin Blanc both fit the “summer wine” category quite well.

Third was the Viognier, which was quite nice. Light and crisp, I got some apple on this wine, and a bit of butter at the back end of the palate. Of the three first wines, my favorite (and my favorite of the summer wines).

I tasted Ashe’s Chardonnay as well – I didn’t get a sample because I generally don’t like MD chards. This was a bit thin, but better than the first two, and was aged in stainless steel, so it was not overly buttery. Citrus was the most prominent flavor for me. Improving with each wine so far.

The Rose however, confused us a bit. I couldn’t figure out the nose, and Ashe called it “funny”. The taste was actually quite nice, with a nice bit of strawberry, but there was an out of place flavor at the end, somewhat buttery, so possibly oak based, but it was hard to tell.

Next was a very smokey Merlot. In fact, there was smoke on the nose, and the palate, both on the front and the back end. Lots of oak at the back, and very little fruit. I like a smokey wine, but this was a bit much for me.

The next two were my favorites of the tasting, with the Syrah, coming next. Bit of oak on the nose which scared me, but it was a very nice red fruit blend on the palate, with a bit of spice kick to it which was really really good. I thought it was a bit expensive for the flavor profile, but really tasty.

The other favorite was the Island Beauty, a red blend, which had a big pop of fruit right as you tasted it – I couldn’t figure out what it was reminding me of, although it seemed to be a bit of red AND black fruit. Very little sugar, with some nice tannins at the end. Really liked this.

Moving through the reds, we came to the Chambourcin, which was incredibly fruity. I think we were mostly getting cherry, but it was not particularly tart. The wine had a very slight smoke flavor to it as well. Liked this.

The final normal red was the Cab Sauv, which was very solid. It did not blow me out of the water, but was very nicely balanced, only needing perhaps a bit more fruit to shine through to be really good. Would be happy to drink this most anytime.

Gollywobbler Red was the first of two sweet wines, with the red version basically being welch’s grape juice. Ugh.

After that was the Pinot Blanc. I don’t really remember this wine… but my notes for it are “first wine today that matches my impression of the grape. Tasty, Clean.”

Finally, our last wine was the Vidal, which the pourer described as being their closest wine to a Riesling. Didn’t really remind me of a Riesling, however, as it was too “grapey”, if that makes sense. Bit sweet, but not overwhelming. This was Ashe’s favorite, along with the Chenin Blanc, and we got a bottle of this to take with us.

I look forward to stopping by here again, perhaps in connection to trying out the brewery that was just down the street. Considering how scared I was of the winery, I was nicely surprised. Nothing that made me want to jump for joy, but a handful of wines I would be happy to drink at any point.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Staceymarieh32 permalink
    February 27, 2012 8:07 am

    I love St. Micheals great restaurants there actuall and some nice B&Bs. There are other nearby towns that are quite quaint and fun to explore. I do recommend a second visit. The wines you picked sound interesting. Enjoy!

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