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In Search of El Duende

Spring 2021 Letter

To say something is “drinkable” often sounds as if one is saying that it is barely palatable. Instead, winemakers and critics often favor adjectives like nuanced, complex, subtle, sublime, layered, deep, unique, etc. And there is nothing inherently wrong with these adjectives. The problem is that they oftenreflect a preference for the esoteric over the ordinary. The goal is to exclude, to shroud wine behind an impenetrable mystery. This is what drove the “new world” towards obscenely cloying Chardonnays and mind-numbing Cabernets. It turns the limelight onto the product and the producer and forgets their fundamental purpose: to give, to please, to serve, to quench. Many, of course, never fell for the fad. And either way, the experiment has run its course and the best winemakers of the new world are moving back towards more balanced wines

Winter 2021 Letter

It is said that when travelers arrived to visit the great philosopher Heraclitus in his home, they were astounded at finding him sitting in his kitchen. They stood on the doorway, perplexed at seeing him in such a humble place. But he invited them in saying, “here too the gods are...

Fall 2020 Letter

Beauty always persists. And despite the chaos, we can never forget Leonard Cohen’s reminder that “Even damnation is poisoned with rainbows.” In fact, it is the darkest darkness that makes light shine ever brighter. This is why the simple things, from a passing interaction with another to a morning view...

Summer 2020 Letter

Citizenship, Wendell Berry wrote in 1968, “requires devotion and dedication, and a certain inescapable bewilderment and suffering… But it begins at home.” For him, this meant, quite literally, the care of one’s home and family, one’s relationship to nature and community. Polarization is, in fact, the result of a perversion...

Spring 2020 Letter

The past few weeks have been a cacophony of emotions. From uncertainty and fear to comradery and hope, we have been forced—as a town, as a state, as a country, and as a world—to reevaluate our most fundamental assumptions about the edifice that we have built and to adjust to...

Winter 2020 Letter

Wine reminds us that we are more than what our time would have us think. Wine reminds us of what lies beyond social and political pressures. Wine is not “fancy.” It is not the result of high culture. But it produces culture, in the most fundamental way. It binds people...

Fall 2019 Letter

A house doesn’t completely become a home until its doors are open to its community. This is the most significant moment in the life of a home, because it is its true culmination. It is the moment in which its inhabitants don’t just live in it, but bring it to...

Summer 2019 Letter

It is said that ancient inhabitants of the Roman province of Hispania were known for their uncanny mispronunciation of the word vivere (to live) as bibere (to drink). This is why Julius Caesar used to say “Beati hispani quibus vivere est bibere” (Lucky the ‘Hispanians’, for whom living is drinking)....

Spring 2019 Letter

These are very exciting times for the Casa Carmen family. We are thrilled to announce that Casa Carmen’s tasting room will be opening soon at 312 Cannon Street in downtown Chestertown! The Tasting Room & Bodega will be a wine and tapas bar created in the spirit of the traditional wine bodegas of Spain...

Winter 2019 Letter

Winter is a time of introspection and contrasts. Things that seem dead are alive, and as if standing on a threshold, we simultaneously cast a gaze to the future and to the past. Looking at the vineyard after a snow storm, it is hard to believe that the naked vines...

Fall 2018 Letter

I'd like to welcome you again to the Casa Carmen family. It is a joy to have you as a founding member of our Wine Club while we begin the road towards making exceptional wines in Maryland. All of us making wine in the East Coast of the United States, and...