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MD Higher Education Commission
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Red Red Wine Bar develops Maryland’s first bourbon barrel aged wine

| April 22, 2018
Rams Head

For the first time since 1945, the birth of modern viticultural in Maryland, a newcomer winemaker is turning Maryland wine upside down.

Obscura from Fleur-de-MD is the state’s first bourbon barrel aged wine created by Brian Bolter, owner and Beverage Director of Red Red Wine Bar in Annapolis and Ocean City.

Brian Bolter recently brainstormed collaboration ideas with Great Frogs Winery owners/ winemakers Nate and Andrea O’Shea. The idea was born. A combination of Bolter’s two loves. Wine and whiskey. Through his connections in the bourbon industry as owner of DRY 85, named a Top 40 Whisky Bar in America, eight freshly dumped 11 year old bourbon barrels arrived at the winery doorstep in early February of this year.

Bolter worked with 13 Great Frogs wine lots and created a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grown in Queen Anne’s County with a splash of Cabernet Franc as well. The varietals then aged in those bourbon barrels at Great Frogs for three months before Bolter created the final blend.

Obscura from Fleur-de-MD is a reference to a camera obscura, the first attempts at photography using a pinhole in a box to project a live image upside down. “Bourbon has seen a meteoric rise as of late and naturally winemaker’s across the world have started to play with bourbon barrel finished wines. I wanted to take that experimentation lead and apply it to Maryland grapes while realizing it was turning the traditional winemaking in our state upside down.” says Bolter on the wine’s name. “Obscura taps into an unfilled niche in Maryland wine.

There are serious, brooding expressions of terroir and there are light hearted, sweet bottles. Obscura is right in the middle. A serious attempt at having fun! A boozy, vanilla, fig and tart cherry explosion in the glass.”

Obscura by Fleur-de-MD is being bottled and kegged this week. Look for it on tap By the Glass at both Red Red Wine Bar and DRY 85 locations by May 1. Only 25 cases will be bottled and available for purchase both retail and on premise at the Red Red Wine Bar locations starting in mid-May.

Rams Head

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