Fruit by any other name…local berry wines…
Helping run a coffee house like Beans in the Belfry in Brunswick, Maryland can be hard work and sometimes you have a dirty job to do but the trip to LINGANORE WINECELLARS and Berrywine Plantations in nearby Mt. Airy, Maryland was neither!
The sun was high in a sky as blue as you could ask for, and the temperature was in that “sweet spot” we sometimes get in late spring, short sleeve warm and low humidity.
Linganore is on rolling acres covered with grape vines that literally run from the edge of the road up a slope to the horizon in lush green tribute to Bacchus who sat in the middle of a fountain (water, not wine) greeting visitors to the “Mother House”, Welcome Center and tasting venue.
Our less than arduous task was to select additions for the wine menu at Beans in the Belfry. As true devotees of the grape (and other fermented fruits) we accepted the unspoken welcome and went in to find the vineyard staff eager to help us in our quest for that “something” still missing from the growing list of wines Melanie offers her patrons at Beans in the Belfry in Brunswick.
We were escorted to our tasting station and informed that we were welcome to taste any sixteen of the selection of more than thirty wines ranging in sweetness from “dry, lightly oaked, Chardonnay” to a Blueberry wine suggested as suitable to “serve over ice cream”.
The “Mission” was to taste and select sweet fruit wines, or dessert wines, and accordingly we narrowed our tasting range to the dulcet end of the spectrum and about ten or eleven wines later had ranged through a growing season’s worth of fruit. Starting with June strawberry, progressing through black berry, blueberry, raspberry, peach, ending the wine calendar with spiced apple.
Our hosts insisted (persuading us wasn’t too tough) that we must also try the red wine blended with chocolate and the Mead, honey wine.
I can testify that the Red was indeed red, it did not have a Hershey label (but. . .) and there was no doubt that the Mead owed an enormous debt to many hard working, worker bees.
Our final taste was “semi sweet mountain white” made from Niagara grapes, something similar to what mountain folks might have made before “outsiders” came with shoes, cars and taxes. This wine had the distinctive “foxy” taste of mountain wines and was as fully sweet as anything we tasted. “Semi” usually means “half” but not in this case!
Nothing except the statue of the wine god in the fountain is cast in stone, but (cue the drum roll):
For a light fruity taste with full sweetness, we chose the peach wine, a golden elixir sure to delight any but the most determined dessert-in-a-bottle sweet tooth. The suggested pairing is cheese cake and ice cream.
For a bold berry taste, we picked the blackberry wine, described as, “luscious fruit”. Yes! If this was any fruitier you’d have berry stains on your fingers. It will complement anything in our pastry case such as cannolli, caramel bars, raspberry bars.
Finally, from “None of the Above”, we added “Indulgence”, an Estate Bottled semi-sweet red wine with chocolate. I bet it will be perfect with Lava Cake, S’mores, chocolate cake or maybe even Baklava, (sugar cubes?)!
To celebrate Maryland Wine Week, we will have a Wine Tasting at Beans in the Belfry in Brunswick, MD on Saturday, June 9, from 12 to 6pm, and on Sunday, June 10, from 2 to 6pm. Wine lovers and those who wish to explore the delights of these age-old beverages can taste seven of the Maryland wines and hard ciders we serve at Beans in the Belfry, plus two California wines and a wine from Fance and from Germany. The cost is $5 for tasting up to 10 wines or ciders. Stay for a glass of wine and food and get $1 off per person on your personal wine order and another $1 off on your food order of $3 or more.
Beans in the Belfry is on 122 W Potomac Street in Brunswick, MD.Tel: 301 834 7178, www.BeansintheBelfry.com. Open daily.