I can remember back to the days when Dominique and I first
went to Westminster, for the Maryland Wine Festivals, back in the late 1990s.
One of our favorite wineries was Elk Run Vineyards. Back then they made an
awesome Gewurztraminer, and a pair of dessert wines that would knock your socks
off. Our love of Maryland and its rolling country sides, filled with farms and
horses, and its beautiful seaboard, almost had us calling it home at one point.
We loved the Lewdew Topiary Gardens, the Maryland Hunt Cup, and downtown
Maryland. But it was not to be.
Living in the Hudson Valley now, we don’t get much of an
opportunity to visit Maryland these days. So when DLW 2013 chose Maryland I was
ecstatic. A great opportunity to see how this state was doing up close, and
understand its successes and challenges.
Taking home more than 600 International, National and
Regional awards has made Elk run one of the top winery's on the east coast. In
2012 Elk Run won 10 Gold medals and 4 Gold best of Class in the Mid Atlantic
Seaboard competition. It was the first winery to have ever done so in the
history of that contest.
Elk Run Vineyards is nestled in the rolling hills of
Frederick County surrounded by dairy and horse farms, fields of wheat and corn.
The name “Elk Run” was chosen for a stream. The deed name to the property is
the “Resurvey of Cold Friday.” It was a land grant from the King of England to
Lord Baltimore. The winemaker’s home is circa 1756. Since 1983 Fred and Carol
Wilson and Neill Bassford, family and friends, have made Elk Run a brand name
in Maryland wine.
Elk Run became a bonded winery in 1983 and is managed by
Fred Wilson (viticulturist, enologist and general manager), Carol Wilson
(marketing) and Neill Bassford (assistant winemaker and vineyard manager).
Fred spent several harvest seasons learning the business
with Dr. Konstantin Frank in New York’s Finger Lakes. In 1980 the Wilsons decided to pioneer the
first all-vinifera vineyard in Maryland. Grapes planted for whites include:
Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris. Reds include: Pinot Noir,
Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
For the past 5 years Julian Wilson has taken on greater
responsibility for field management, wine making as well as the most
knowledgeable in new marking technology.
The age of those vines, and his taking on those responsibilities have
seen this portfolio expand its quality wine reputation.
2012 Cold Friday Vineyard Gewurztraminer was bright, crisp,
clean. The tropical notes were subdued, and not quite as pronounced as I might
normally expect, but the wine was nice, refreshing, and had a lovely,
grapefruit ending. A lovely white wine.
Gypsy Rose is a rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir,
an unusual blend to be sure. Bright
cherry and rose petal come through on the nose as promised. Strawberry and
bright cherry come through on the palate with a touch of acidity, and a smooth
finish make this a good food wine for summer.
2010 Cold Friday Vineyard Pinot Noir was next. Elk Run is
proud to be the only grower of Pinot Noir in Maryland. This Burgundian-styled Pinot
Noir comes from their Cold Friday Vineyard located on the south side of the
estate. Ripe cherry and hints of cassis come through, with a nice balance of
acidity and low but present tannins. Very well balanced. Very nice.
2010 Friday Vineyard Merlot was easily my favorite. They jokingly called it Maryland Merlot, and the label reflects the famous scene former TTHE SEVEN YEAR ITCH with Marilyn's white dress fluttering in the breezy. This had
a big dose of ripe cherry right up front. A whiff of mocha and vanilla. Simple.
Straight forward, with very classic, elegant balance. I really liked this wine a
2010 Friday Vineyard Syrah was last. Elk Run first produced
Syrah in 2004, making it the first Syrah grown in Maryland. This wine was a big
bomb of blackberry, plum, and raspberry, all swirled in a smoky, barbecue sauce
haze. Nice acidity and good tannin made this a chewy, delicious wine.
Elk Run Vineyards continues to be among my favorite
producers in the region!
Great job to all those at Elk Run!