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Catoctin Breeze Vineyard: A White Wine with Tannins

We recently returned from two week in the country Georgia. I became accustomed to white wines that had complex tastes and aromas, often accompanied by tannins some quite bold. Searching locally for a white wine that doesn’t look like water and has some tannins didn’t take as long as I thought. An hour from our hose in Central Maryland is Catoctin Breeze Vineyard in Thurmont. Owner, Voytek Fizyta and winemaker,  Mike Lentini produce a Vidal Blanc that reminds me of some of the white wines from Georgia.

The 2012 Vidal Blanc was a gold color. The color doesn’t come from the usual white winemaking protocol. Rather it comes from fermenting the juice with its skins and seeds. The darker color comes from the skins and tannins come from the seeds and skins. Traditional wines in Georgia are also made with the juice and the skins and seeds fermenting together like a red wine. Some winemakers may also add stems in Georgia.

Voytek and Mike pressed the wine after fermentation and then aged the wine. Fermenting on the skins produced a darker white wine then if they followed the usual white wine protocol of pressing the grapes before fermentation.  In Georgia, a land where grapes have been cultivated and wine made for 8,000 years, winemakers vary in protocol after fermentation. Some allow the wine and skins to remain together for years. The resulting wines are dark gold to amber and will have bold tannins. Other winemakers remove the pomace after fermentation.

The Cotoctin Breeze Vineyard Prelude Vidal Blanc 2012 with an image of Bach on the label was produced with grapes from St. Mary’s County. This wine was a golden color with an orange hue. The wine was fermented on the skins for three weeks. It offered a floral aroma with a taste of floral and a background of citrus. The finish had floral nuances and tannins.

Are Americans ready for white wines that have a complex aroma and taste with tannins? I’ve discovered that I enjoy any wines with complex aromas and tastes and the more tannins the better. I enjoyed the amber colored white wines in Georgia as well as the Cotoctin Breeze Prelude Vidal Blanc. I find white wines that look like water to be rather boring. White wines that are darker in color, I find more intriguing. Wine enthusiasts that enjoy bold red wines with bold tannins may also enjoy white wines with bold tannins. Market the wine correctly and you will find the group of wine drinkers that will like it.

One of the best outcomes of the drink local wine movement is the discovery of hidden gems that you personally enjoy. I realize that some of the wine drinking population would not care for the Prelude Vidal Blanc, while others may cherish it. Get out during this beautiful autumn weather and discover the local wineries. Try their portfolio of wines and discover what you may like.  Check out the Drink Local Wine website for information about drinking local.


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