Spy Report: June’s Tantalizing Talbot Wine Tastings

Seems recently, wine tasting around Easton has reached a new level of activity. The final week of June delivered no less than four extraordinary wine and food experiences offered by local establishments.

The week lead off with a unique wine tasting at Osteria Alfredo. Chef Alfredo, known to do things his way, offered a full house on Sunday evening a white wine only tasting with superb seafood pairings accompanying each course. The wines:

Vermentino Tenuta Guado al Tasso by Antinori

Soave / cav Giov Batt / Bertani

Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis 2016

Castelmonte – Ipsus Passito di Pantelleria

About mid-week, the Talbot Country Club provided an outstanding Italian wine tasting along with skillfully paired food courses by Chef David. Club members left looking forward to the next opportunity to enjoy the fine food and wine. The wines:

Soligo Prosecco Brut NV, Treviso, Vento

Icardi. Cortese L’Aurora, 2015 Piemonte

Contesa Pecorino Abruzzo. DOC 2016

Icardi Surisjvan Nebbiolo Langhe DOC 2013, Castiglione Tinella, Piedmont

Cantine del Notaio L’Atto, Basilicata IGT 2014. Rionero in Vulture, Basilicata

Conte VIstarino Costiolo Sangue di Guida Dolce DOC 2015. Oltrepo Pavese, Lombardy

Bas Rouge in Easton describes itself as “a contemporary European restaurant offering an impeccable integration of fine dining, a world-class wine list, and elegant service.” All of this was certainly in evidence when they hosted California winemaker Helen Keplinger and her fine wine. The renowned Keplinger wines from California were paired with four courses by Chef Harley Peet. The wines:

Keplinger – Eldorado 2016

Keplinger – Basilisk 2015

Keplinger — Hangman’s 2016

Keplinger – Holdout 2009

Piazza with Dievole

Piazza Italian Market, which has been holding a series of unique and enjoyable wine tasting events in recent months, brought representatives from Italy’s Dievole winery to the market at the end of the week. Not only were Dievole’s wines sampled with enthusiasm, guests also were able to enjoy some of the extra virgin olive oil from Dievole. All of this with outstanding meats and cheeses from Piazza.

Dievole – Due Arbie Bianco IGT Toscana

Dievole – Due Arbie Chianti Superiore DOCG

Dievole – Chianti Classico DOCG

Podere Brizio – Rosso di Montalcino DOC

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

The Olive Oil:

Chianti Classico E.V. Olive Oil DOP

100% Italiano E.V. Olive Oil

We should count ourselves fortunate to have caught the attention of some outstanding winemakers who recognize we in Talbot County have a taste for fine wine and thank those establishments bringing these wines to us along with wonderful and creative food pairings.

Spying on the Tred Avon

The Tred Avon Yacht Club organized an afternoon race this weekend just off the Oxford shoreline. Three Shield Sailboats gave spectators a competitive race in light air.

Haven’t heard of a Shields….well, an online check reveals: In 1963 Cornelius Shields, one of the foremost proponents of one-design sailing in the U.S. conceived of a modern followup to the International One Design. The new boat would have the balance and beauty of the IOD while incorporating modern trends such as fiberglass construction. Shields commissioned Olin Stephens for the design. Over 250 have been built and many are actively raced in fleets around the U.S. Shields are sloop-rigged and usually sailed by a crew of three to five. No hiking straps are allowed, keeping athletic demands on the crew to a minimum.

Spy agent 7 just happened by to capture some of the action.

Spy Report: Sipping Vermouth at Piazza

Easton’s Piazza Italian Market offered a wine tasting with a new twist, literally!

Emily Chandler, Piazza’s founder, teamed up with Washington, D.C. friend Kat Hamidi, Capitoline Vermouth co-creator, to produce a unique tasting experience. Four different offerings were poured and the participants were, as always, treated to a plate of wonderful pairings from Piazza.

Special agent 7 (00 Section) was there to file in a report.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information about Piazza please go here.

Spy Wine Notes: Piazza Transports Guests to Italy’s Piedmont Region

Easton’s Piazza Italian Market has been setting a high bar with wine tasting events. This past week ended with an exceptional occasion where the guests were introduced to wines from the Piedmont region of Italy produced by the Malabaila di Canale winery ( www.malabaila.com ). The family proudly claims to have a winery that has produced wine since 1362. Today, the Malabaila estate consists of 150 acres with 22 separate vineyards.

Joining Piazza proprietor Emily Chandler to tell the story was Lucrezia Carrega Malabaila who traveled to the United States from her home in Roero, Italy. She represents the 65th generation of the family involved in the wine making business. Her travels throughout the U.S. are designed to share the exquisite and unique wine from one of Italy’s best known regions for Barolo and Barbaresco. Along with the exceptional wine selections – with sparkling wines personally developed by Ms. Malabaila – came a full four-course dinner prepared by the fine chefs of Piazza.

It was an evening a few hundred years in the making, and the perfect introduction to a vineyard that has much to offer all who enjoy fine sparkling, white and red wines.

For more about Malabaila di Canale visit their site at ( www.malabalia.com ) or drop by Piazza Italian Market and sample a bottle.

Spy Food: The Mitchum Name Returns to Trappe

A few years ago, Mitchum’s Steak House opened up in the thriving metropolitan downtown of Trappe, MD. It was universally praised when it started for having excellent steaks, a first-class wine list, and attentive service, but one of the best parts of the new enterprise was the name itself.

For the name came from resident and famed Hollywood actor Robert Mitchum, who purchased Belmont Farms, a 280-acre waterfront estate not far from the center of town in 1959 to raise horses. The legendary “tough-guy” of American movies was proudly “unsocial” during his Talbot County years but his family nonetheless quickly became part of the community.

Sadly, the first Mitchum’s proved to be a victim of the great recession, which left a massive hole in downtown Trappe. And that is why the Spy was excited to learn from a recent field trip inspection that another Mitchum’s has opened its doors recently in the form of “Mitchum’s Tavern.”

The Spy has not been able to test the new menu but we’re grateful that a Mitchum is back in Trappe.

For more information about the new Mitchum’s please go Here

Spy Report: The 24th Annual Oxford Day

Perfect weather for a parade and the wide assortment of activities scheduled for Oxford Day made for a great event here in Talbot County. As an event that describes itself as “…always uniquely Oxford,” it lived up to its billing. There were plenty of people, bands, dogs, fire trucks and even boats moving along in the parade through Oxford.

Volunteers were preparing brats, burger, hotdogs, and fries. All this and more was being enjoyed and then capped off with ice cream from Highlands Creamery.

There were some interesting opportunities for people visiting the area. For some, it was a great chance to experience Oxford from the water and learn more about the historic oyster industry by signing-up for a free ride on the skipjack “Nathan of Dorchester.” Oxford Day marks the opening of the season for the Oxford Bellevue Ferry which has been in existence since 1683!

A wonderful time was being had by one and all. About the only thing that might spoil the day would be to get stuck in the mud….

Spy Report: Tasting Trifecta in Talbot County

This past weekend, Easton became the epicenter of wine tasting. Three evening events over four days allowed participants to enjoy twelve different wines. We believe that only one person, our intrepid agent, actually attended all three events with the mission to share the story…

Talbot Country Club

First, the Talbot Country Club landed one of the winemakers from Washington State’s Chateau Ste. Michelle. The evening focused exclusively on wines from his winery and was coupled with exquisite food courses created by the Club’s Chef. Impressively, each course had food with a wine infusion.

One of the highlights of the evening was the introduction of a new wine, just released by Chateau Ste. Michelle, a delightful Rose. All the offerings are very affordable, found in the area and can be enjoyed immediately.

You can learn more about this fine winery founded in 1934 claiming to combine Old World winemaking traditions with New World innovation at their site.

The wines enjoyed by the guests from Chateau Ste. Michelle:

Columbia Valley Rosé – released March 1, 2018

Horse Heaven Vineyard / Sauvignon Blanc  2016

Indian Wells / Chardonnay / 2015.   

Canoe Ridge Estate / Merlot 2013 

Cold Creek Vineyard / Cabernet Sauvignon 2013.

Piazza Market

In another of the series of Saturday evening wine tastings hosted at Easton’s Piazza Italian Market. Emily Chandler provided a “snack” of select mushrooms along with a meat prepared with Barolo wine, all accompanied by the wonderful never-empty bread basket. We toured Italy with the selections below, ending in the always popular Piedmont region where the Nebbiolo grapes are grown to produce Barolo and Barbaresco wines. The wines are available now at Piazza Market.

Valdinera – Roero Arneis  

San Fereolo – Valdiba

De Forville – Barbaresco  

Osteria Alfredo

The third wine tasting event took place at Osteria Alfredo where the exceptional chef selected wines paired with his fine Italian food specialties. A full restaurant enjoyed fine Italian wines that perfectly complemented every course.

Altemasi Millesimato Brut 

Antinori Bramito Chardonnay  

Sella Mosca Villamarina Cabernet

Sartori Amarone Bra

With spring and summer coming, you will not go wrong with any of these selections!

Spy Wine Notes: Piazza Italian Market Visits Sicily

Easton’s Piazza Italian Market took a full “tasting room” of guests to Sicily in their second Saturday evening tasting at their new location in the Talbottowne Shopping Center. When one learns about the wines and the region from which they come, you must appreciate what Piazza is bringing to us in Talbot County. The evening provided a unique opportunity for the tasters to experience fine wines along with the wonderful food that accompanied the wines…and, both flowed in generous portions.

Emily Chandler, and her colleague Jennifer Martella

Piazza’s owner, Emily Chandler, and her colleague Jennifer Martella shared the history of the three Sicilian selections for the evening. Announcing she was breaking her own rules, Emily explained that the evening would forgo a single white wine and focus only on three delicious red wines. The fine offerings were met with approval by one and all as were the insights and stories about the wine makers and the grapes from Sicily.

Sicily is the southern-most region of Italy and is the largest island in the Mederterranian. Remarkably, the island has been the site of wine making for more than 2,500 years. Still, grapes from the region are new to many in the United States.

The frappato grapes provided the first tasting experience as guests were seated. Arianna Occhipinti’s Il Frappato was a bit on the lighter side, but complex with a long finish. Emily shared that the winemaker, a young woman about her own age, is creating a good deal of excitement with her wines.

Here is a description from the Wine Spectator: The Frappato grape is native to the Vittoria area, characterized by small berries and thick skins. It’s known for freshness and elegance and, other than the 2005, which was showing some dryness on the finish, all the wines revealed vibrant structures and a mix of cherry, floral, spice and mineral flavors. Eighty-five percent of Occhipinti’s 25 acres of vines are 50 years old, the remainder young vine

The second offering was Centonze’s Nero d’Avola. The grape is said to be the most widely grown in the region. It provided darker, bolder contrast to the Frappato. Here is a description of the contrast from a review in Vinous: Dark ruby-red; this wine, made with Nero d’Avola, is much darker than Centoze’s Frappato, as it should be, as the latter cannot give very dark or inky colored wines. Very ripe on the nose and in the mouth, but with still lively aromas and flavors of red and black cherry fruit complicated by tobacco, violet and sweet spice notes. Obviously super-ripe fruit was picked here, but the wine is surprisingly light on its feet.
Finally, the tasting trio was finished with a glass of Terre Nere’s Etna Rosso. As the winery describes this offering: Made from very fine Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio from low yielding vineyards (35 Hl. Per hectar), both young and old. The grapes are macerated until the end of fermentation. The wine then continues its life in wood until bottled roughly one year after harvest.


Bayside Quilters to Host Nationally Known Quilter Mary Fons April 11

Mary Fons, is a quilter, speaker, an actress, writer, award-winning slam poet, prolific blogger, TV star, amateur quilt historian, accomplished quilter textile designer and a leading voice in the quilting world and is currently pursuing a writing MFA at the School of the Art Institute. She also produces media and appears regularly on television.

Bayside Quilters of The Eastern Shore, Inc. is so very pleased to host Mary on April 11, 2018. She will speak at the regular Bayside Quilters’ meeting in morning and at an open to the public “meet and greet” evening, both at the Easton Fire Hall, located at 315 Aurora Park Drive, Easton, MD 21601 (On GPS) recently changed to Leonard Rieck Drive (on street sign).

The evening event will be a “Meet & Greet” with Photo Ops, light refreshments, Mary’s lecture and a Q&A session. Reservations are $8.00 (strongly recommended) and $10.00 at the door (space available). If you would like to attend please send reservation checks to Bayside Quilters, PO Box 2672, Easton, MD 21601. Please include your email address for an email receipt which will be your ticket.

Storm Report or Honey, I shrunk the Creek!

While there have been not been news reports of major damage to Talbot County as the result of the latest wind storm, the impact of these 60 miles per hour winds still were seen close to the water edge. . One report filed from Oxford shows boats sitting at slips where they normally float and greatly expanded shorelines.

And, along Trippe Creek, residents were grateful that boats were high above the water line on a lift…