Yesterday, Kathy and I attended the awards event for the 29th Annual 2017 Maryland Wine Governor’s Cup Awards. The awards were handed out by Maryland’s First Lady, Yumi Hogan at the Old Maryland Grill, across from the University of Maryland’s main campus in College Park. The First Lady talked about the growing number of wineries in Maryland and the importance of wine tourism in the state. She commented, “I’m pretty good at tasting too.”
This year’s Governor’s Cup was awarded to Cool Ridge Vineyard for their 2015 Cool Red. A recent new award, The Jack Allen Cup is awarded to the best fruit wine, cider or mead. Great Shoals Winery 2016 Hard Plum won this award.
Best in Class awards were handed out to several of the state’s over 70 wineries.
Best Sparkling: Turkey Point Vineyard • Elk Neck Bubbly 2016
Best White: Boordy Vineyards • Pinot Gris 2016
Best White Blend: Cool Ridge Vineyard • Cool White 2016
Best Rosé: Crow Vineyard & Winery • Barbera Rosé 2016
Best Red: Big Cork Vineyard • Cabernet Franc 2015
Best Red Blend: Cool Ridge Vineyard • Cool Red 2015
Best Sweet: Dove Valley Winery • Mr. Bentley’s Choice 2014
Best Dessert: Black Ankle Vineyards • Terra Sol 2016
Best Cider: Willow Oaks • Gloaming NV
Best Fruit: Great Shoals Winery • Hard Plum 2016
The Governor’s Cup, Jack Allen Cup and Best in Class awards were handed out by Yumi Hogan and Al Spoler of WYPR, co-host of “Cellar Notes.” After the awards were given, wines that won these awards were available for tasting. Accompanying the tasting were appetizers prepared by Old Maryland Grill. The restaurant is in the newly opened The Hotel at the University of Maryland. Restaurant owner Mike Franklin spoke to the assembled group and said that he decided to focus on Maryland cuisine and Maryland wine, beer and spirits. Along one wall of the restaurant, there are wine bottles from Maryland wineries. This wall of Maryland wine is unique in the state’s restaurants.
We tasted a few of the wines. The Governor’s Cup winner, Cool Ridge Vineyard 2015 Cool Red was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 45%, Cabernet Franc 20%, Merlot 20% and Petit Verdot 15%. The wine had a translucent ruby color. Black fruits were noticed on the aroma. The taste included cassis, blackberries, leather, licorice and an earthiness. The medium/full bodied wine had medium/bold tannins. The finish was a blend of fruit and oak.
The Jack Allen Cup was awarded to Great Shoals Winery 2016 Hard Plum. The wine had a plum aroma and taste. It had some effervescence and a very pleasant aftertaste.
If you have not had a chance to visit these Maryland wineries, winter time is an excellent time to visit. Meanwhile, search for these Maryland wines for your holiday meals.