Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Beatrice's Blushes: Old Westminster Winery Alius

These first two weeks with Beatrice have been quite different from life as we knew it. She has been exceptionally easygoing, but taking care of two children is a whole new ballgame. Ben adores his sister more than anything, but he also now has competition for our attention. He gets his lack of patience from me, and I think having  to wait for attention has been difficult for him. For the most part he has done very well with this major change, but there have been a few issues at school. Interestingly, one of his classmates that he got in trouble with also has a brand new baby sister. Those two should have a fun-filled year ahead of them with watching their little sisters grow up!

Old Westminster Winery 2014 'Alius'
This week's Beatrice's Blushes is also something different from the usual. A skin-fermented Pinot Gris from Maryland that Old Westminster Winery calls Alius (11.3% abv, Sample). I first tasted Old Westminster's wine two years ago at the Drink Local Wine conference in Baltimore. The Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc I tasted were top notch. I was really impressed with a number of other Maryland wineries, but Old Westminster is near the head of the class.

A few months ago, the Baker clan sent me a few new releases including this Alius, named after the Latin word meaning "something different." Considering my previous experiences with their wines, I had high expectations for this new-penny-colored Pinot Gris. Made like a red wine with skin contact, this normally white wine became a beautiful pinkish-orange tint. The nose offers nice notes of peaches and cream, and flowers, but was wasn't exceptionally forthcoming. It has an interesting texture in the mouth; with the presence of tannins not usually found in white wine. Unfortunately, the palate falls short of my (high) expectations. I was hoping for bright, but tart fruit with a rich texture from the skin contact and a long finish. This "orange" wine has some peach and smokey elements, but is otherwise sort of thin and watery without much else going on. Don't get me wrong, it is a decent first effort at this style of wine, but I wish it had more going on. Perhaps future vintages will benefit from this initial attempt and I still look forward to tasting the other wines they sent along with the Alius. Rumor has it that Old Westminster also has sparkling wine ready to be released...

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