Technically, this piece should be called Maryland’s Eastern Shore, part deux. Even though Harvest Ridge has some vines in Maryland, the winery sits just over the state line in rural Delaware so I made a judgement call. Same trip, different state.
Harvest Ridge opened their gorgeous winery and tasting room last fall to a lot of fanfare on social media. I originally planned to attend the grand opening, but something came up. Life, you know how it is.
Although Harvest Ridge in the middle of nowhere, it is a worthwhile destination. The newly constructed facility is huge, with banquet facilities and room for outdoor seating in the front and the rear of the building. There is a courtyard in the middle, which accommodates outdoor games and also a gazebo. The first vines were planted here in 2011 and the grass on the property is just starting to come in.
So we rolled into the lot on this humid afternoon and my stomach was rumbling. There really wasn’t much of a lunch selection between here and Chestertown. Fortunately, Backyard Louie’s BBQ truck was right out front. I was covered. My little group opted for air conditioning over food, however, so I decided to wait.
So how do the grapes grow right on the Mason Dixon line? If the delicious arsenal of wine being poured today is an indicator, I would say pretty good. Kira was our hostess today, and walked us through the tasting. Per standard practice, we went from whites to reds to sweet wines. They have some alternate fruit based offerings, as many other local producers do, so there is something here for everyone.
I tasted eight wines today, as follows:
1. 2013 Pinot Gris – This light, off-dry selection flaunts fresh, green apple on the nose and the palate. You can’t go wrong with a chilled glass of this on a hot summer day.
3. 2013 Chambourcin – Yeah, they grow it outside of Pennsylvania, people. This Chambourcin was lighter in flavor than what I’m used to. A deep colored wine, the dark, spicy texture gave way to a slight hint of Good & Plenty. That’s just my opinion. Disclaimer: Don’t share it with the kids.
4. 2011 Merlot – A complex, oaked Merlot. This was my favorite wine today. Red fruit characteristics and a powerful finish. This is what Merlot should be.
5. 2013 Blue Hen Blue – This is a blend of Concord grape and blackberry. This makes great Sangria, see below.
6. Apple – 100% apple wine, from locally sourced fruit. Crisp and delicious. Serve chilled.
8. 2013 Vidal Blanc – This reminded me of liquid fruit salad in a glass. A good summer offering but not really to my taste. Fran loved it, though.
So, today was Sangria Saturday. I picked up a bottle of Blue Hen Blue to mix up for this. The deal was that you can pick any bottle of Harvest Ridge wine, and they will mix it with your choice of fruit and ice it and blend it for you. The girls took care of personalizing the Sangria while I wandered outside for a cheeseburger. I don’t think I’m the hardest person to please but I would say that it was a damn perfect pairing.
Thanks to Kira, the rest of the staff at Harvest Ridge and Backyard Louie’s for a great afternoon. You reaffirm the reason that I keep doing this. Cheers!
Harvest Ridge Winery is brand, spanking new and it’s built for groups and events. Get over there and break it in.