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Isn’t that Great (Shoals)

Isn’t that Great (Shoals)

Hello! Life has been pretty busy so please pardon my absence from this blog. I love doing this blog and I hate being away. So for a holiday treat, I have a post from a local winery I went to in October. My friend Emily arranged it and actually paid my way which was so sweet. Thank you Emily! Cheers to you.

The winery in question is the Great Shoals Winery in Maryland. If you are in the DMV area, I highly recommend it.

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Great Shoals Winery was founded in approximately 2010 and uses local ingredients for their ciders, wines, and sparkling wines. They’ve won a few awards too.

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Our tasting included cheese, crackers, and a selection of wines and ciders.

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Here are my thoughts and what I learned. My notes get progressively worse as the tasting goes on:

Bosc & Bartlett Hard Pear Cider:

The hard pear cider had a strong honey flavor and was slightly carbonated. It was very dry as well as very delicious.

Chambourcin:

The chambourcin is a medium body red which would be an ideal table wine. Like many wines in the area, Chambourcin was tweaked by Jefferson in Monticello.

Bayside Mist:

Another table wine which is delightfully fruity. It is composed of vidal and Chardonnay. It is very refreshing.

Spinnaker:

The spinnaker is made with the chambourcin grape and is slightly less robust. It is a very crisp rosé

Bay Fire:

While fire may denote spice, it is actually a sweet wine with a slight tartness. The Bay Fire is a lovely caramel color.

Ginger Hard Apple:

The ginger hard apple cider is very ginger forward. I am not talking about Angry Orchard Ginger, but a real ginger cider (no disrespect to Angry Orchard, but this stuff was real).

Hard Cherry:

Hard Cherry won the governor’s competition. It is very subtle and not overly sweet. I really enjoyed this but I always enjoy anything with cherry.

Spiced Apple:

The spiced apple was delicious and warm. It is made with cinnamon orange peel and clove so it tasted like pure fall.

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I loved this tasting and I hope if you live in the area you can come check out Great Shoals!

 

Sticky Summer

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June will be here soon, so I might as well face it: it’s summer time. Not “it’s so hot out and it’s spring” but actually summer. I have tried to deny it and put it off. To be honest, the DC Metro area is a bit brutal heat wise. So facing my full summer in DC is a daunting task. I might as well embrace and face it with rink in hand.

As some of you may recall, I promised to pair Cava, a sparkling Spanish wine. I could not find the brand I was looking for nor the wine itself so I decided on a bordeaux rosé. It’s chilled, pink, playful and sweet. It could not be more perfect for summer. (But your time is coming Cava….)

I knew finding a worthy pairing would be a challenge. So I decided to up my chances by buying a pack of Trader Joe’s saltwater taffy that included multiple flavors. I used to love watching the taffy puller at my town’s local fair (and eating the taffy). My mom always buys some for my brother every year…but I need to find out how to get in on that deal. I could not eat it for years because of my braces, and anyway…I digress. The pack did not come with a guide though, so picking apart which was sour-apple and which was strawberry-banana proved challenging. I think I did alright though and this was a fun, successful pairing.

The Wine: le Rosé do Mouton Cadet. Bourdeaux Rosé 2010.

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Stop it you’re making me blush……

The Candy: Trader Joe’s Saltwater Taffy

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Don’t let anyone tell you Trader Joe’s is a health-foods store…

The Dream: I knew the rosé would be sweet and light. I needed some candy with weight to it physically. It could not be something quickly chewed otherwise I would go through the glass of wine super fast. Although it was a sweet wine, I couldn’t go bitter to counterbalance. The wine still has a zing to it and choosing a bitter licorice would be too confusing flavor wise. At first I thought a citrus-flavored candy would be my best bet. The taffy won though because of the variety and unpaired status on this blog. Also, taffy is sweet but not overly so, since it’s so much work to eat. I also just had a good feeling. And I was standing too long in the aisle of the bustling Trader Joe’s and had to pick.

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The wine-glass cameo is to congratulate the Smith Class 2012 for your graduation. Rock on.

The Reality: 

The wine is mostly tangy, which surprises me. It certainly has a sweetness, but there is an overall bitterness (some stronge tannins up in this wine for certain). Concerns me slightly, but it’s cool and refreshing so I have high hopes. 

Let’s go through the flavor of taffy and their corresponding pairing:

Sour Apple–I don’t know why they called it sour. It’s mostly sweet with a slight introduction of sour in the beginning. It goes well with the wine, though the wine’s flavor is downplayed a bit after. They go well together though, since they both offer conflicting flavors.

Watermelon–Like most things watermelon flavored, it tastes nothing like watermelon. It’s hyper sweet, yet weirdly refreshing. The sip of wine after is bitter and sharp. Not a good pairing. 

Red licorice–I will be honest, I could not wrap my head around a taffy that tasted like red licorice. It tastes like red licorice, but is a taffy. It’s fine when you bring fruit into a taffy flavor, but a candy? It was like eating red licorice but feeling like something went horrible wrong in the process. I barely tasted anything notable in the wine, mostly because my head was still spinning.

Strawberry banana–It tasted like banana bread with a warm, strawberry flavor. It truly did taste like a baked good and made me feel warm. The wine is rather sweet after, with just a kick of tanginess. A very excellent pairing.

Cherry–This was terrible. It was an extremely sour candy and the wine tasted bitter after. Not good at all.

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This was fun since every piece of candy brought a different taste experience. I highly recommend grabbing a bottle of this stuff and buying a mixed bag of taffy (hopefully from a loud, overpriced fair vendor). 

My next pairing may be delayed since I’m going out of town this weekend. The weekend is usually when I do a pairing, but I’ll try to make up some lost time. Until then, chill your glasses and enjoy the start of summer.