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Weekend Wine Trip: Piedmont Wine Trail, Part 3

February 7, 2010

Well! Due to some other circumstances, this post is about a week later than intended. So let’s get right into the final installment of our Piedmont Wine Trail adventure with a look at Dove Valley Vineyard & Winery, near the MD-PA border, and Mt. Felix winery in historic Havre de Grace on the Chesapeake Bay.

Dove Valley Winery Late Harvest Vignoles

Dove Valley Winery Late Harvest Vignoles and glass

Dove Valley Winery

You’ll find Dove Valley’s tasting room near Rising Sun, Maryland, a small town just south of the Mason-Dixon line. Their lineup focuses mainly on red wines, including – interestingly – a zinfandel. Other winemakers in Maryland tell me that zinfandel grapes don’t make good wine in Maryland’s climate. While after tasting this wine I’d still agree with that statement, the initiative by Dove Valley to try it anyways deserves applause. After all, there’s no great reward without some risk.

In terms of what we did enjoy at Dove Valley, I’d recommend their Late Harvest Vignoles. Their most decorated product, it’s a fruity and sweeter offering that avoids the syrupy quality that marks lesser dessert wines. The tasting room is also visitor-friendly with weekend operating hours until 7pm, after many others close. You can also bring back your glass to save money on your next tasting! Look for Dove Valley wines at state festivals (they exhibit at several) or visit them for one of the many special events listed on their website, dovevalleywine.com.

Mt. Felix Winery bottles and glass

Mt. Felix Winery - Adlum's First and Matilda's Devotion

Mt. Felix Estate Winery

Although our last stop, our favorite winery of the day was Mt. Felix. Their tasting room set on the manor house grounds proved warm and welcoming thanks to the excellent staff. I’ll describe the Mt. Felix wine experience as a tasting plus a story. Rather than labeling wines by the grape variety, the winemaker names each vintage for a local figure in Havre de Grace’s historic past, from early aviation pioneers to famous authors. Each sample included a brief history lesson on the community figure named in the label. Can’t get much more local than that!

Mt. Felix offered one of those difficult-in-a-good-way decisions when it came time to pick out some bottles to take home. Fortunately for us, they only produce seven wines! We ended up choosing a bottle each of their Matilda’s Devotion (believe this is a Sauvignon Blanc?) and Adlum’s First (a Chambourcin blend). If you want to know the story behind the names, you’ll have to visit the tasting room! They’re open Tuesday – Sunday until 6pm. Get more information and directions at the Mt. Felix website (made on a Mac like this blog).

Thanks for tuning in to my retrospective on some of the wineries you’ll find on Maryland’s Piedmont Wine Trail! You can plan your own trip online using piedmontwinetrail.com. There are also a couple other wineries we didn’t get to on the trail; we still hope to visit those, but feel free to add your experiences with any of these vintners in the comments!

I’ll post more in-depth reviews of these wines over the coming weeks as I work through my library.

Cheers,

-Matthew K.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jake permalink
    February 7, 2010 8:12 pm

    Hi Matthew:
    We are going to put Piedmont Wine Trail on our travel radar. Can you post size of bottle, and retail price for the wines?

    Thanks,
    Jake

    • February 10, 2010 11:43 pm

      Most of the bottles are the standard 750mL size, and generally fall in the $12-$20 price range. If you’re coming out this way, the Frederick Wine Trail is also worth checking out in Maryland, and there are also several excellent wineries in the Shenandoah Valley region of northern Virginia, within an hour or two of DC to the west. Hopefully I’ll have some additional coverage on these areas before your trip!

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