Membership Has Its Privileges

How do you get people excited about your wines a year before they’re on the shelves?? An exclusive Wine Century Club that’s how!! Old Westminster Winery in Westminster, MD won’t release their wines until about Spring 2013…but if you’re lucky enough to secure a spot in the Wine Century Club, you get a private tour, barrel tastings throughout the aging process, a 20% lifetime discount…and I know I’m leaving some stuff out but you get the point. You get a LOT!! And let me tell you it’s totally worth it!!

For President’s Day, a couple of girlfriends and I took a trip up Old Westminster Winery (OWW) for my tour and tasting. Only open for a few years, OWW currently has planted Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. They plan to have classic Bordeaux and Rhône blends as well. The family owned OWW is the brainchild of Mom Baker and one of the daughters, Lisa, is the winemaker. The Dad works in construction which was the perfect background to plant the vines and build cellar/tasting room.

Drew Baker, Son, Winery Manager and Tour Guide, greeted us at the door and walked us back to where the magic happens. With Pandora set to Michael Buble, glasses and chocolate already set up for our arrival, this tasting is off to a great start! We grabbed the glasses and headed over to the barrels. First up, Merlot that’s to be released in 2013. I found bright red fruit on the palate. It’s only been in the French Oak barrel for 2 months but still was pretty full-bodied. By the end of the year more fruit flavors will emerge and this wine will be phenomenal.

Drew then explained the grape picking and sorting process to us. Their sorting method (using sorting tables) is labor-intensive process but it delivers a better quality wine since there isn’t any material other than grapes going into the tank for fermentation. Cabernet Franc. Made from saignee method which imparts more color and tannins to the wine. What an amazing purple color! The pic above does not do it justice. The raspberry chocolate selected for pairing was perfect, it totally enhanced the flavors of the wine.
Now for my fave, the Syrah & ancho chile chocolate. Only in the barrel for 3 months but could taste a bit of oak. Spicy wine with nice pepper notes. I would buy a bottle of this now. I can’t wait to taste the final product in the bottle.
Bordeaux blend of Merlot & Cab Franc - Paired w choc w sea salt & cocoa nibs. At this point I’m enjoying the stories, the wine, and the chocolate so much that my notes only say, “And this one too”
Drew was such a gracious host! We asked nothing short of a hundred questions! From winemaking techniques to starting a winery with your family to what our favorite wines were. He answered everything. He even took us outside to the vines and explained pruning techniques and trellising. On the trip back to DC we all talked about what a fantastic afternoon we had. We learned so much…and clearly loved the wines.
And to think, you receive this kind of personalized attention for a wine tasting and winery tour…membership definitely has it privileges!! Membership is limited to 100, you probably shouldn’t wait around on this one.

Happy National Margarita Day!