Mike Firoe is that odd duck - a former young turk now a brash lion in winter. Many of the men and women who forged their way through Maryland wine like Phillip Wagner and Hamilton "Ham" Mowbray when he was the young turk are gone. And a new scene has developed. A whole new generation of winemakers with new visions for Maryland wine.
Mike did not stand still. He continued making good wines, and forged a whole new life as a distiller, helping to lead the way as a real master distiller. With his grandson he has created a new identity for the business, making incredible aged grappa, lemincello, moonshine, and AUTHENTIC Maryland Rye!
But old lions do not go down without a fight, and Mike is just as good for a loud belly laugh and a good fight as he ever was, even if he might be slowing down.When I arrived on the local wine scene, Mike was free with advice, stories, a joke, or an argument. And he was always happy to share his knowledge with anyone. Loudly. He was a ubiquitous presence at the various winery summits. Always holding court. Always chatting.
Big ripe strawberry and bright cherry exploded off the nose and carried over to the palate. Earthy aromas and a hint of toast and vanilla also came through. It still had a decent amount of acidity, and the fruit lingered for a long, long time.
As was appropriate, we drank the wine while eating a little aged Parmesan and a crusty Italian bread.
I haven't talked with my friend in person in a while, but his loud, booming voice came through loud and clear in his wine, and I smiled when I thought of him!
Hey, Mike, Mi complimenti! Siamo Molto Contento!