Monday, July 15, 2013

Royal Rabbit Vineyards

I'm far from a wine expert. In fact, if I'm being honest calling myself a wine novice might be going a bit too far. But, what I lack in knowledge I more than make up for with enthusiasm. I've long wanted to try more of what Maryland has to offer in the way of wines and artisanal cider and after a trip to the locapour festival this past week and a wine tasting at Royal Rabbit Vineyards I'm ready to do just that. 

We ended up at Royal Rabbit Vineyards after Deana purchased a tasting for two on Groupon that included a tasting of their wines and a bottle of wine to take home. It was too good of a deal to pass up so we eagerly headed to Parkton to taste some wine and enjoy the countryside. 

When we arrived we were a bit surprised by the small size of the winery. From what we could see, there was no more than 3 acres of land dedicated to growing grapes and the tasting room was in a remodeled basement of a house. Inside were four tables that could seat 4 or 5 people, a bar in which you could stand for a tasting, and located in an adjacent room were a few musicians playing classical music for us. It was not at all what we were expecting, but once we tasted the wine our concerns were put to rest.

Royal Rabbit Vineyards offered twelve different wines with roughly an even mix of red and white wines. None of them knocked us off of our feet, but there were more than a few that we agreed we would be happy to sit down with from time to time. 

We brought home a bottle of La Comtesse. Their Chardonnay was fruity, a touch sour, and slightly dry. I find myself much more interested in red wines, but Deana and I both enjoyed  the Charonnay. Another of their wines that I enjoyed quite a bit was The Duchess. Made from Albarino grapes, and I believe aged with oak, I really enjoyed the vanilla undertones and faint buttery characteristics of the wine.

For red, we brought home Le Chamberlain. This was a dry wine with nice berry flavor and just a bit of spice at the end. Le Chamberlain isn't the most complex wine I've come across, but at the end of the day I just want something good to sip on and Le Chamberlain is certainly that. 

The one other bottle we considered bringing home with us was Chatelaine's Blush. This blush won a silver medal at the 2013 Winemasters Choice competition. It was a nice mix of Vidal and several red wines that featured buttery notes, good sweetness with 2.5% residual sugar, and just enough red wine presence to let you know it was there. 

Overall, this was a great visit to a small Maryland winery. Royal Rabbit's wines were tasty and because this isn't a larger than life sized winery we were able to learn about the wines from the vintner himself. His enthusiasm for his products was contagious and it got Deana and I wondering what the rest of Maryland has to offer.

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