Making A Statement
Not often do you see the new kid on the block make the splash Black Ankle Vineyards has in its inaugural year. Winning Maryland’s top wine award two years in a row, the coveted Governor’s Cup for their Crumbling Rock Bordeaux blend, Black Ankle has won “best in show” in three of the last four Maryland competitions. Not to be outdone, their 2008 Bedlam also won best white blend at the 2009 Maryland Governor’s Cup competition. How does a winery receive such high accolades in their first year you ask? Owners Ed Boyce and Sarah O’Herron did their homework.
Black Ankle Vineyards sits on a 146-acre farm in Frederick County, Maryland, and includes all the right ingredients: altitude (600 feet), relative altitude, well-drained and low vigor soil, and a mix of different eco-systems (creek, floodplain, steep hills, rolling fields, forests, and pond). The tasting room is constructed with local, sustainable materials, and is a testament to Black Ankle’s wine philosophy, wines that express the unique flavors and atmosphere of the land on which they are grown.
I was warmly greeted at the tasting counter and taken through a flight of 5 whites and 5 reds. The 2008 Bedlam, a blend of 39% Viognier, 19% Chardonnay, 15% Grüner Veltliner, 9% Albarino, and 3% Muscat, was crisp and clean with notes of citrus and minerals. The 2008 Viognier, another delicious white, exhibited floral aromas along with a creamy, rich texture in the mouth. Another white receiving lots of press, the Albariño, was unfortunately sold out. The reds were highlighted by the 2007 Crumbling Rock and the surprising Leaf Stone Syrah. The Crumbling Rock (look for a future review), a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, is focused and polished. The Leaf Stone Syrah, a sexy and seductive red, is perhaps the best Syrah on the East Coast. Both retail for $45.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Black Ankle, what are you waiting for? Pack a picnic, jump on the Frederick Wine Trail, and make a day of it. Regional Wine Week is coming to an end, so don’t forget to head over to DrinkLocalWine.com to stay updated on all of the action. And more importantly, remember to drink local!
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