Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Piedmont Wine Trail - In Maryland



TRecently back in September - Baltimore County Executive joined Harford County Executive David Craig and representatives from the Maryland Wineries Association and the Maryland Department of Agriculture to launch the new Piedmont Wine Trail. Encompassing eight wineries in Baltimore and Harford counties, the Piedmont Wine Trail is set among rolling hills, historic towns, and thoroughbred horse farms.

“The Piedmont Wine Trail represents a true partnership, offering visitors a taste of our region,” said Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith. “This area is home to many award-winning wines. We are especially proud to be home to Boordy Vineyards, Maryland’s oldest winery, founded in 1945.”

The local movement will thrive along the Piedmont Wine Trail where visitors will have the opportunity to tour the wineries, taste the wines, meet the winemakers, and enjoy special events and concerts. The trail was also designed to educate consumers on the variety and quality of wines at Baltimore and Harford County wineries.

There is so much to do in Baltimore County, especially for the visitor interested in a local and authentic experience,” said Jill Feinberg, conference and tourism director for Baltimore County. “After visiting a winery, the visitor might shop for crafts at a local artisan’s shop, eat lunch at a nearby restaurant, or consider an overnight stay at an area inn.”

There are four Baltimore County wineries on the Piedmont Wine Trail:

· Basignani Winery www.basignani.com

· Boordy Vineyards www.boordy.com

· Woodhall Wine Cellars www.woodhallwinecellars.com

· Dejon Vineyard (opening fall 2009) www.dejonvineyard.com

Visitors interested in the Piedmont Wine Trail can visit www.piedmontwinetrail.com, pick up a wine trail brochure at the Baltimore County Visitor Center (44 W. Chesapeake Ave. Towson, MD 21204), or request a copy by calling 410-296-4886.

Photos of today’s launch event are available at www.piedmontwinetrail.com.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Buyer - er drinker - beware...Order & Sip at your own risk at the Yellow Dog Tavern

This was submitted by a reader & friend...

Had to print it - especially in this day and age when a dollar needs to go as far as it can.

So Bill and I and another friend headed to Yellow Dog Tavern at 700 S. Potomac tonight for what we hoped would be a new favorite spot. The food was good, although a bit pricey. We got the chicken gyro, southwest cobb, and muffaletta panini. All three were good enough that we decided we'd be back.

Then we got the bill. Never in my life have I wished that I was a food critic more than tonight! Our check was $125 - before tip! We had ordered Bacardi and Diet Cokes to drink. Our other friend had 3 Stella's.

The Bacardi and Diet's ended up being $12 each.

Between the two of us, we had 7.

That's $84 in drinks between 2 people! Absurd! I was shocked. I asked to speak to the owner and she said that she spoke to her server who said we ordered doubles.

Humm.mm.mm. well, seems to me there was a misunderstanding - we ordered them in a tall glass. . . so a tall glass is now a double . . . at $12 a piece?

Am I in New York? The owner said all she could do was give us 10% off - so, we'd get a gift card for $12.50. A gift card? It was a complete insult.

As pissed as I was over this "misunderstanding" and considering we paid for at least her purchase of four 1.75 liters of Bacardi , why couldn't she simply apologize for the "misunderstanding" and taken off the "doubles"? I would have been happy to pay for 7 Bacardi and Diet's - not 14 - I would not be walking out of her bar if I alone consumed 7 drinks in the two hours we were there - and certainly not capable of writing 30 minutes later!

The saddest part is, I would have gone back. But, not now.

Be careful if you ever go - order beer - stay away from all mixed cocktails unless you're looking to break the bank. It's a shame. Since we go out at least twice a week, we were really looking for a new place to go - and excited to have thought we found one. Where is customer service these days? I think it's lost in greed. Why don't people realize that a happy customer is worth more than a Bacardi & Diet ?

This isn't the first restaurant that has taken advantage of the unprinted cocktail price. If you’re looking for a blog piece, by all means – use this! I’m so angry, I want the world to know.

Janine (Janine is the owner of a very nifty place called Vircity - check it out by clicking here.) We must reinforce this is Janine's personal experience & doesn't necessarily reflect our views - however, we know Janine - and she's a smart cookie...this is why we thought we would share.

WANT TO FIND SOME GOOD DRINK & OTHER SPECIALS IN THE Baltimore area - visit 600 Block - by clicking here. Have a favorite place YOU like to go for a good drink/ nice happy hour special - tell us about it! We're all ears (er...stomachs too).

Monday, August 24, 2009

To your Taste Wine Kit - Check it out!

Have you wanted to learn more about wine but find wine tastings offered in conventional locations - too intimidating, snobby, expensive or all of the above? of

If so, here's the item for you - courtesy of To your Taste LLC, located in Laurel, MD - finally you can have fun, learn & do it in the comfort of your own home!

Want to learn more, check it out: http://www.toyourtastekit.com/

Monday, August 17, 2009

NEW EVENT coming up - September 24th 2009 Alizee Restaurant

As you know - there's a new "vibe" to the WW&D. We are mixing it up - not because we don't have fun the way things have been - but because we want to keep them that way.
Some of you have asked (often) for more of a dining club format - you've suggested we not always have a speaker and encouraged a focus on more of a dining experience, where you learn and experience fine food and wine. That's cool - we can roll that way - and I'm happy that our first fine wining & dining excursion (that's what we'll be calling these going forward) is at a new restaurant called Alizee.

Alizee occupies the space that used to be Spice Company, that used to be ("I can't remember this one), that used to be the notorious "Polo Grill". The new Chef in House (Christian de Lutis) comes from Dogwood Cafe...We're told the menu is moving from Asian/French to American Bistro with worldwide influences. In any event - we are getting quite a meal ladies. They also if you can't wait until September 24th - have fabulous happy hour deals & munchies. I encourage you to check it out by clicking here.

To give you some tasty tidbits...
Bubbles & a tour
followed by a four course gourmet meal paired with a selection of wines.
I can't tell you more than that for now - except the wines will be wonderful, there will be chocolate somewhere in there, and you will not go hungry.

As per your request - we are starting earlier - 6pm!
SPACE IS EXTREMELY LIMITED - in order to ensure the finest dining experience possible.

There are no sponsor tickets available for this event - and your reservation is only confirmed if payment has been received. There are also no refunds and no menu substitutions.

We hope to see you. RESERVE HERE.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hungarian traditions - What do you know about Hungarian Wine?

Ok, I have to be honest - my interest in Hungarian anything is largely influenced by the fact my significant other is Hungarian (as in born and raised in the mother land - truely Hungarian - not a Hungarian American or some other permutation.)

I first became familiar with Hungarian wine years ago when a Tokaji (Tok-Ai) dessert wine was the top scored wine by one of the American institution like publications about 6 years ago.
At that time, I was doing a lot of wine writing (forgive me I can't remember more details - probably because at the time I was drinking more too) so - I got an invite to attend a special event with the Hungarian Ambassador, Tokaji wine makers, etc...

I've always liked dessert wines - and had to that point never tasted high end Tokaji wine - but it was - liquid love in a bottle and very, very memorable. If you want to learn more about this wine specifically - here's a great link - click here.

Prior to this - in Montreal, Canada (where I'm from) it was quite common to find Egri Bikaver (the famed Hungarian Bulls Blood - which can range from very robust complext - to awful stuff - depending on which you try) as well as Hungarian Merlot & some whites in the government run liquor stores. At the time - I wasn't as "into wine" - so I bought it mainly because it provided tremendous value for the price, but in retrospect I was onto something. To view a good overview of Hungarian wine history - click here.

Another great tradition in Hungarian gastronomic culture is Halaszle - or Fish Soup. Yesterday, I went to a fish soup party (hosted by my love & attended by 60+ very enthusiastic fish soup connoiseurs.)

They served a very unique drink called "fröccs" - which is pronounced "frueks". Click here for more info on the various permutations of this Magyar type "wine spritzer" of sorts. It may sound heretical to wine purists - however, let it be said - it's normally not made with premium wine & meant more to be refreshing than complex.

There was some discussion as to if it's appropriate to have only white versions on hand, or if red would be allowed - there's even a red wine w/Coke tradition in Hungary. I'll try to get the name and recipe for THAT for a future post.

Anyway - all of which to say - there's a big wild world of wine out there - no need to only keep your discovery to countries in the Western hemisphere when it comes to Europe.

I welcome your opinions & feedback & encourage you to try either Bulls Blood (with or without Coke), or Tokaji Furmint (dry white wine) or if you can get your hands on it (and spare the coinage) sweet Tokaji dessert wine.

I'm sure you'll think it's "finom" (very tasty).

Best Cheers!