Yes, I know I have personally dubbed June as Boxed Wine Month, but I figured what better way to kick off the summer wine season than with a little recap of the Great Grapes Wine Festival I had the joy of attending this past Saturday. I picked up VIP tickets as a Mother’s Day gift for none other than my mom. We had an absolute blast!

If you ever have the opportunity to spring the extra couple bucks for a VIP ticket to a wine festival, DO IT. Private, line-free flush toilets, VIP high-end wine tastings, complimentary watermelon and bottled water, complimentary grilled chicken, salmon and steak, and all you can eat cheese plates accompanied by fresh bread and an array of oils and vinegars for dipping? Worth. Every. Penny. Speaking of dipping oils, we discovered Ricchiuti Family Farms Organic Enzo Estate Grown California Extra Virgin Olive Oil infused with Garlic. If you love garlic as much as I do, then this oil is garlicky taste bud magic. Great with fresh french bread, hard cheeses and of course loads of wine.

We did our best to make note of wines that were good enough to go back and buy a bottle or three.  I know not all of our tasting sheets with notes made it back in one piece, but here are a handful of wineries/wines worth a notable mention from this past Saturday:

The St. Michaels White, a light refreshing Vidal style wine, from St. Michaels Winery made it to the “Yes” list.  I would pair this with spicy foods or Mediterranean food.

Slack Winery & Vineyards had three wines worth scrawling next to.  Those were the Slack Tide Blanc, which received an enthusiastic “Yes!!!”  The Slacker Rosé was also a notable selection.  It surprisingly had a very full palette of flavors compared to most rosés that can often have a more muted taste.  The third noted on this list was the Danny Boy Danny dessert wine.  It just has “<3” written next to it.  I don’t remember why this one was special, but I typically dislike dessert wines.  So this must not have been overpoweringly sweet.

Linganore Winecellars had a strong showing as usual.  I’ve always been fond of their White Raven, which is comparable to a nice fruity Pinot Grigio and their Terrapin White, which is good if you like a drier Riesling.  Pair these two with sharp cheeses and/or crab cakes or any type of seafood really.

Boordy Vineyards produces some of my favorite Maryland wines.  Boordy Blush, a member of the Icons of Maryland series of wines that I originally purchased because of the crab on the label, is refreshingly light and semi-sweet with hints of watermelon and strawberry aromas.  Their Riesling is spot on, especially for a Riesling snob that cringes when she sees a Riesling that isn’t produced in Germany or at least the Pacific Northwest.  The White Sangria and Viva Sangria are also excellent choices.

Elk Run Winery had a red wine that was out of this world.  This was a red that my mom, the hardcore white wine drinker who hadn’t found a drinkable red for herself all day, thought was amazing.  Sadly, this tasting sheet was one that didn’t quite make it back home with us.  After reviewing their online wine list I want to say it was the Liberty Tavern Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which we affectionately dubbed “holy shit balls.”  Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe this one.  It was velvety smooth and peacefully guided your tongue from black currant, to chocolate and blackberry with subtle hints of cedar and tobacco.  This wine deserves its own review so I’m going to stop here on that one.

Detour Winery’s Meadow Breeze Rosé Table wine made it back home with us.  This a great wine for people who are still wine drinkers with training wheels.  Great for picnics, romantic getaways and everything in between.

Harford Vineyard & Winery won the peach wine of the day award.  They’re Peach Kissed tasted so much like freshly picked peaches that you felt like you should have peach juice running down your chin after drinking this.

Terrapin Station Winery is known for their adorable little 1.5 liter boxed wines.  I’m going to save those for a more thorough boxed wine review.  Besides, all of this typing has made me thirsty.