Thursday, January 31, 2008

Coming Home to Elk Run Vineyards

It was a cold January evening when my wife Dominique called to find out what time I would be leaving he office. I told her soon, but not to make anything, as I was hoping to have a bowl of cereal, and try to be good that evening (I gained some weight over the holidays - and not just a little). There was silence. Instead. Dominique admitted, she was making something special, and I agreed, heavy heart in hand (liar!) that I would sample these culinary wares.

When I got home I had found out that Dominique was in the middle of a very Green dish - whole wheat Barilla pasta and broccoli rabe with oive oil and garlic. She ha also pan fried small chunks of tofu, frying them with some olive oil and salt and pepper. To say it smelled devine was n understatement.

But what to drink with such a dish. And then I found it...a bottle of Elk Run Vineyards 2001 Cabernet Sauvingnon.

Elk Run Vineyards is nestled in the rolling hills of Frederick County surrounded by dairy and horse farms and fields of wheat and corn. It is one of the prettiest little farms on par with Dr. Dolittle's Puddleby and the small country setting of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The name “Elk Run” was chosen for a stream. The deed name to the property is the “Resurvey of Cold Friday.” It was a land grant from the King of England to Lord Baltimore. The winemaker’s home is circa 1756. Since 1983 Fred and Carol Wilson and Neill Bassford, along with associates family and friends have made Elk Run a shining star among American wine producers.

I have been a fan of Elk Run since the mid-1990s when we first started going to the Maryland Wine Festival in Westminster. I might have even met Fred and Carol Wilson, though I do not remember. I remember I once went there and I bought some wine on the honor system because they were such a small operation at the time (the door to the winery was open but no one was there to take my money). I took the wine and left my phone number and a credit card number. It all worked out fine. Today they are recognized as one of the best east coast wineries.

Liberty Tavern Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a multi award-winning single vineyard wine produced from their oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted in 1980. It is a concentrated and robust deep red wine with dark berries and a touch of vanilla, and a touch of cedar. It is a nicely balanced wine. I decanted it to give it extra room to breath, and we were rewarded later on. But the wine is a celebrated wine as you can see from the awards it's won below:

Cabernet Sauvignon
Year Rank Vintage Competition
2006 Gold 2004 International Tasters Guild
2006 Silver 2004 LA County Fair
2006 Silver 2004 Maryland Governor's Cup
2005 Silver 2003 Maryland Governor's Cup
2004 Silver 2004 International Tasters Guild
2003 Bronze 2001 San Francisco International

After our boys were excused to go watch television, a rare mid-week treat, Dom and I sat down to a nice warm bowl of fresh whole wheat pasta topped with steaming spoonfuls of fresh broccoli rabe and garlic and the small diced cubes of fried tofu (an eclectic touch I thought - I'm being nice here.) I have to admit now - it was heavenly.

And then we swirled the deep red wine around the glass, took in a big nose full, and then drank. It was wonderful. Exceptional. A big, robust wine strong enough to stand up to a spicy and delicious piping hot pasta dish in late January. It was nice to come home to my wife and kids....and it was so nice to come home to Elk Run again.