Summertime Wine Series
The wine laws in Maryland are a morass of legislation designed for one purpose and one purpose alone: to protect financial interests of the beer and the booze wholesalers, distributors and retailers. For all the talk in Annapolis regarding supporting small business they have utterly failed to act in a meaningful way to support the state’s small wineries and that is a damned shame.
Fighting against the entrenched interests in Annapolis are a handful of grape growers in St. Mary’s county who have founded a co-op through which to sell their grapes and produce their wine. Due to the cruelly-burdensome alcohol laws in Maryland, the wine is available at the winery and at a very small handful of local restaurants and retail outlets. The wine cannot be shipped.
The Port of Leonardtown Winery is located in solid concrete building along side a small creek. Outside it is very basic. Inside is where the magic takes place.
On a very hot Sunday afternoon I spent about 90 minutes with two of the co-op members: Gerald and Connie Byrne. I sampled everything which they had to offer and found two which I chose to buy and take home for further study.
My impressions: Pale straw color in the glass. Austere when poured chilled, unfolding to melon and pears at it warmed in the glass. Moderately acidic edging towards tartness - food friendly. Short herbal finish. Drink now. Recommended.
I paired the Vidal Blanc with my wife’s hearty fish stew served over toasted French bread with pressed garlic and olive oil. They were superb together.
Bottom line: The Port of Leonardtown Winery makes a graceful Vidal Blanc which is well suited to pair with Maryland staples such as fish, chicken and crabs. The winery is a small gem which restaurateurs and wine lovers alike should embrace and appreciate NOW.
$15 at the winery.