Monday, August 06, 2018

Big Flavor at Big Cork Vineyards! (MD)

So I went to Big Cork Vineyards in April of 2018 for a grand tasting of Mid-Atlantic/East Coast wines. But I was also especially exited because I am a big fan of Big Cork.

Big Cork broke ground in May 2011. On 24 undulating acres in Pleasant Valley, Md., they planted 13 varietals, making BCV the second largest vineyard in Washington County. The tasting room is a large, airy, roomy, modern tasting room with a big helping of fine wine and exceptional small foods and snacks. There is a comittment to wine here....there's no soft selling it.

 Artist Scott Gunderson's cork rendering of Big Cork Vineyards 
master winemaker and head of operations Dave Collins.

The actual Dave Collins

Big Cork Vineyards in Rohrersville, Maryland, master winemaker and head of operations is Dave Collins. He's an experienced winemaker, a veteran of many harvests. Dave Collins Vice President of Operations & Master Winemaker has a degree in horticulture from Virginia Tech and more than 30 years of winemaking experience, Collins has been lauded for helping establish Northern Virginia as a premier destination for wine lovers. Previously with Breaux Vineyards, Dave’s wines have garnered hundreds of awards, including Best in Class Merlot and the Virginia Jefferson Cup for Viognier. At Big Cork, Dave oversees the growth and production of 24 acres and 13 varietals. He is at Big Cork to push the boundaries of what can be made on the east coast and is always pushing himself to make better wine. And largely, he succeeds.

2017 Russian Kiss

Big Cork Russian Kiss 2017 is a white blend of Russian and Serbian bred varieties, such as SK77-53, SK77-10-69, and XIV 186 and 62% Muscat. The grapes first made their way to the Mid-West back about 30 years ago. According to Collins, Joe Fiola., “The Small Fruit Specialist here in Maryland made me aware of them. I decided to send several thousand off for grafting in California in 2014.  We now have 2.5 acres of the Russian varieties planted.” Fiola is with Western Maryland University and one of the best academics/extension folks on the east coast.

I first tasted Joe Fiols's Soviet grapes in June of 2013 at a Maryland wine conference co-sponsored by The Cork Report's TasteCamp and Local Wine an organization then spearheaded by Dave McIntyre. But in three subsequent tasting's of Collins' Russian Kiss, I have fallen in love with the wine. Tremendously floral, the nose explodes of of the glass of this exciting white wine. I love this wine, and have bought multiple bottles on each time I have had the wine. Spectacular wine to drink, and a great achievement for Maryland. A great showing of how the university extension experts can help grow the local wine industry. Congrats to Marylanders, Joe and Dave, and to Maryland wine on the whole. A triumph!

I am effusive about Big Cork's whites, but they have endeared themselves to many fine wine drinkers by virtue of their incredible reds. 

Big Cork Vineyards Barbera 2015 is made from 100%  estate grown Barbera grapes. Barbera is most famously grown in  Piedmonte, Italy. The grapes are hand picked. They are chilled overnight. The wine in matured for approximately 18 months, in a combination of new and older French and American oak barrels for 18 months. The resulting wine is rich in dark and bright cherry, bramble berry, and has hints of wood and spice. An earthy red, it has excellent structure, and a fabulous finish. One of my favorite Big Cork reds.

Big Cork Nebbiolo 2015 was just as impressive. 100% estate grown, this grape, made famous by the Italians, cherries, raspberries, tobacco, and earth all come through in this medium-bodied dry red. Lovely fruit keeps on lingering. Lovely, complex with lots of layers.

If you are looking for a big, heavy, opaque Chilean/Argentinian Malbec, you'll be disappointed. If you're looking for a lovely, jammy, medium-bodied wine with finesse, elegance, and complexity, you will love Big Cork Malbec 2016. The wine starts of it's attack with blackberry and plum jam, and follows up with violets, earth, and spice. The tannins are soft, as you would expect, and the flavor lingers a nice long time. A delicious soft red, with ample fruit and luscious finish. 

Yet again, I am amazed by Big Cork and their wines. Wines get better and better each year. And I am always amazed at the multitude of flavors and the quality of the wines. Congrats to all!

Not only one of the best wineries in Maryland but one of the better ones on the east coast!