There’s a lot to be said for getting out of the house, even if it’s only for a day or two. So, in celebration of Fran’s birthday, I whisked her away to a bed and breakfast near the Chesapeake Bay in eastern Maryland.
I was really looking forward to this trip and the opportunity to sample some new offerings from our neighbors to the south. We were meeting up with a few friends in that area over the course of the weekend and the beautiful weather in the forecast helped with the positive vibes. I’ve been feeling like a caged animal lately and itching to travel.
So anyway, on Saturday morning, we set off for the historic village of Chestertown. We picked up our cohort Debbie, who lives on the bay near there. Chestertown hosts a farmers’ market on Saturday mornings and some local wine producers pour there. It seemed like a great way to kick off the weekend.
Farmers’ markets rock. You find all kinds of awesome, regionally-grown food and local artists showing off their wares. I was surprised to see some Amish this far south selling their fantastic baked goods.
Side note: If you’ve never tried shoo-fly pie, heated in the microwave and covered in whipped cream, you’re missing out. We were late, they had sold out of it already.
The state of Maryland really supports its wine producers and I was fortunate to experience three of them at the market. Remember that it’s okay to sample wine in the morning if you refer to it as “tasting.” I’m just saying. If you have a couple of glasses with your pancakes, we’re in a different ballpark.
Don Tilmon is a local winemaker who originally made his elixir out of his basement. A retired college professor, he shared with me that he makes wine to primarily stay out of trouble. Don’s first grapes were planted in 1999, and he holds the distinction of establishing the “First winery in Queen Anne’s County” when he opened his doors in 2004. He was pouring his Kent Narrows Chianti this morning, which is dark, well balanced and complex. Another notable offering of his is the Rock Hall Rosé. All of Tilmon’s grapes are from surrounding counties in Maryland.
Side note #2: If you are thinking of Rosé as the pink, sweet stuff from days past, well, this ain’t it. Rosé wine is undergoing a renaissance right now and the styles are very varied. There are many wine producers, local and otherwise, that offer high quality, outstanding Rosés, most of which are on the drier side. Excellent summer wine that goes great with pasta. Don’s Rock Hall fell into this category.
The next winery stand that we stumbled upon was Clovelly Vineyards. Clovelly bottled their first wine on April 11th of this year, after planting vines on their farm in 2009. They grow their own grapes on about ten acres overlooking the Chester River. Their first offerings consist of Vidal Blanc, their Riverside Red blend and, surprise, an excellent dry Rosé. I anticipate that we’ll be hearing big things from Clovelly in the future.
Last stop before lunch (not a practice that I recommend, the fuller the stomach during wine tasting, the better) was Crow Farm. Catrina and Ally were pouring the wine today. Crow has a farm in nearby Kennedyville, where they raise grass fed beef, grow grapes and run a bed & breakfast. Not so ironic that this is where we stayed for the weekend.
Catrina recently brought her winemaking talents to Crow after getting her chops in California and Australia. She most recently gained recognition for her award-winning ice wine during her tenure at Galer Estate in Chester County, PA. Stay tuned for more on Crow as the weekend is only getting started.
And in case you were wondering, they sell not one, but two excellent Rosés.
Thanks for stopping by. Next up, we’ll be skipping over the Delaware state line to visit Harvest Ridge. Cheers!