Fiore Winery Profile
Written by Brian Apr 5, 2017
I just love stumbling across something unexpected. I saw Fiore Winery on the Maryland wine map, but they were totally off my radar. I had heard absolutely nothing about them. While exploring the Maryland Piedmont, I stopped in their tasting room and now I can’t stop talking about my experience, the wine and the grappa. Yes, they are also a craft distillery.
The area around Fiore is rural. The immediate region is largely farmland dotted with small towns. The winery itself seems to sit right at the edge of the rolling hills that comprise the Piedmont. The vines occupy a slope that provides good sun exposure and drainage. The location also provides a commanding view of the plain that spreads out below the vineyards and tasting room.
Although Mike and Rose Fiore met in Boston, they are both originally from Calabria, Italy. In 1977, after living in both Boston and Baltimore, the couple settled on their farm where they raised a small menagerie and a large garden. Mike grew up in a family of winemakers, so viticulture might seem like a natural next step. It was actually a family tragedy, however, that led to winemaking. Following the death of their youngest son, Mike began planting grapes.
The reds included a Super Tuscan that was my hands-down favorite of the tasting. The wine sees extended aging in oak. The one I sampled was a 2007, which might have slightly skewed my perception, since that was possibly the best year in the history of Mid-Atlantic wine. Nevertheless, it had a beautiful nose that contained hints of cigar box and dark fruit. That fruit was also present on the palate, but with an earthiness, tons of complexity and beautifully structured tannins.
I could give tasting notes ad nauseam, but the wines were all worthy of note. Having said that, I will give brief mention to the Ripken Family Collection. The Ripkens, of course, are of legendary baseball fame. Their family property is very nearby and they asked the Fiores to produce a boxed set. The number on each of the three bottles corresponds to the number on each of the Ripken jerseys.
I might go on at greater length, but I think you get the picture. This is a winery that should be on everyone’s radar. It is less than an hour from Baltimore and roughly the same distance from Philadelphia. I live at least three hours away and I will definitely go back for the wine and the grappa. After you visit, please send me your thoughts.
Inside at the main tasting bar.
Open to Public
Mon-Fri 10 to 5, Sat 10 to 5, Sun 12 to 5
The Ripken collection alongside another set of Fiore wine.
A rack of wine on display in the tasting room.
3026 Whiteford Road; Pylesville, MD 21132
email: See website
Promoting wine tourism opportunities in the Eastern United States
Owner(s): Mike and Rose Fiore
Winemaker: Mike Fiore
A view of the tasting room and part of the vineyard.
Despite beginning as a contemplative effort, the distraction soon grew into a business. Since planting his first 50 vines in 1982, the Fiore vineyard has grown to ten acres. The winery officially opened in 1986 and today produces around 10,000 cases annually. In 2007, a rather high-end craft distillery was added.
The Fiore’s distilling operation produces whisky, rye, vodka, limoncello and grappa. I am always reluctant to corrupt my palate by sampling liquor during a day of winetasting, but I am a sucker for grappa.
If you are unfamiliar with grappa, it is a type of brandy that is distilled from grape pomace (the skin, seeds and pulp that remain after pressing the grapes). They produce two varieties. The premium version sees a little time in oak, which gives it a slightly darker hue. The Fiore grappa reminded me of my first experience with the liquor in Europe. Waxing nostalgic, I purchased a bottle of their higher-end grappa, which is of such quality that I am reluctant to share.
But let me tell you about the wine…
There were a dozen wines on the tasting menu and another collection that I will mention separately. I conducted a selective tasting, but I can report that everything I sampled was very well crafted. Among the whites, I am most compelled to comment on the Traminette. I find that many Traminettes from the Maryland Piedmont often lack the heavy floral notes, which can be a little off putting. The Fiore example had just a bit of residual sugar, which brought out notes of honey and pear in a wine that was perfectly balanced. This quality was typical of the other white offerings.