Monday, February 18, 2019

A Trip to Boordy Vineyards: Transformation And Excellence (MD)


So in the spring of 2018 I went on a trek with David Flcheck of the American Wine society, and we stopped in at Boordy Vineyards. Boordy Vineyards has been a bellwether of Maryland wine for more than 75 years. 


Originally founded by Baltimore Sun editor Philip Wagner, it has been brought brilliantly into the 21st century by owner and President  Robert Deford and his wife Julie, and son Phineas. Rob’s sister Sally Deford Buck, who lives next to the vineyards with her husband Bayly, also participates. Four generations of the Deford family have lived and worked on the farm.





Where Wagner had led the country in winemaking and was a champion of hybrid grapes, Deford has been a classicist, bringing in classic vinifera, and changing the course of one of Maryland's oldest and biggest wineries. He's also been at the leading edge of land conservation as well. For me, this tasting was a watershed moment for Boordy. A number of vinifera that the Defords have been planting created a fully realized new line of wines. The transformation over the last fives to seven years has been nothing short of meteroic! And I might state instantly that this accomplishment puts Boordy back at the top of the quality wine producers on the east coast in a big way!


Myself, Phineas Deford, and David Falchek

Deford hired head winemaker Tom Burns in 1986. He spent 20 years managing Boordy's vineyards in addition to making their wines. Boordy hired José Real in 2011. Real's analytical skills were honed working in his family’s wine laboratory in Jerez, Spain. Steve Blais, from the consulting firm of Michele Rolland in Bordeaux, provides a global perspective on the winery's output. Phineas Deford is the Vice-President, and is an ubiquitous presence at the winery, and runs the day-to-day operations there.


I brought with me good friend David Falchek, who is the Executive Director of the American Wine Society. David is an avid promoter of worldwide wines, but also an enthusiastic cheerleader for east coast wine producers. He was eager to make the stop.


The first wine was the Boordy Pinot Gris 2016. This Pinot Gris was grown at their Long Green Vineyard and a portion of the fruit was from BirchView Vineyard in Hampsted, MD. The grapes were harvested September 8-10, 2016, with a Brix at Harvest of 21.8°. The wine was aged in stainless steel and bottled on March 16, 2017. They produced 1346 cases. That represents a very large planting, and a sizable investment. The result was amazing. A lovely floral bouquet accompanied grapefruit and pear, with a small assist of green apple. This was a delicate, lovely white wine, with a big, sexy dollop of citrus and a refreshing ending. A lovely, lovely Pinot Gris!


The Boordy Vineyards Albarino 2016 South Mountain Vineyard was a complete surprise.  In 2012 Boordy planted Albariño on a southeast facing hillside at their South Mountain Vineyard in Frederick County. The grapes ripen about mid-September. According to the winery, the wine is cool fermented in stainless steel tanks and bottled early to capture its freshness. They make approximately 800-900 cases each year.  Again, that's a sizable amount! As advertised, the nose is a giant burst of orange blossom and apricots. The wine has a lot of pop, and the acidity is bursting, but never so much that the wine becomes one dimensional. Nicely layered. Its an exciting, refreshing, delicious wine that is very, very impressive. Amazing!


 

 


The Boordy Dry Rose 2016 was conceived in the Provencal style, using the classic saignée (bleeding) technique where a percentage of grape juice is drained from the red fermenter after brief contact with the skins. The result is lovely! All five varieties that that they grow for their Landmark reds contribute to the Dry Rosé blend. Strawberry and bright young cherry pop out of the glass, with hints of lime and cream. Tropical notes as well. The wine follows the same route on the palate. Straight forward, yet balamnced and complex. A lovely acidity keeps the fruit going for a long time in the mouth. A very pretty wine!


The Boordy Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve 2015 South Mountain Vineyard was made exclusively from chardonnay grown in the "dry bench" section of their South Mountain Vineyard. The wine was fermented and aged in one and two year old French oak barrels for five months. They produced 252 cases. Pineapple, fresh apple and pears, grapefruit and lime finaly give way to more tropical notes, as well as that of apricots. The fruit up front when tasting was all ripe pears and apples,that slowly gave way to a tart citrus moment, and then a creamy soft finish. Absolutely lovely!!!


The Boordy Abarino Reserve 2016 South Mountain Vineyard was a complete surprise! It was made from grapes grown in the “Dry Bench” area of their South Mountian Vineyard. According to the winery, it is a low-fertility section of the vineyard where the stressed grapevines produce fruit of extraordinary flavor. The grapes were pressed, and the juice was fermented and aged in Burgundian oak barrels for six months.They made 250 cases. Where the Albarino stainless steel was a classic version of the varietal wine, the Albarino Reserve was something amazing. Aromas of fresh peach juice, orange and pear blossom and wet stone all come through as promised. However, this Albarino Reserve is more refined, more complex, with many many more layers, and more austere too. Almost something Arbois-ish about it. Simply amazing!


The Boordy Merlot 2014 South Mountain Vineyard is approximately  about 76-70% merlot, with small amounts of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, syrah, and something Boordy refers to as heavy press. The wines is aged in about 40% new French oak, and the remainder in older French oak barrels.Black cherry and graphite start the attack on the nose. A stewed red fruits, chocolate and cassis all come through. The trace of French influence is unmistakable, as there are notes of cedars and other earthy overtones. But the fruit holds forth, and is big on the attack on the palate. Lots of lovely red fruit. Cocoa and mineral are solid in the middle. Lovely tannins and nice acidity round out the wine, with a loely lingering of ripe cherry. Fabulous! 


The Boordy Mountain Red 2015 was made with grapes harvested between October 18-29, 2015. It is a blend of 69% merlot, 13% cabernet franc, 12% syrah, and 6% cabernet sauvignon. It was aged in 20% new French oak, and 80% older French oak. And it was bottled on March 7, 2017. They produced 840 cases. This is an easy drinking red. Low tannins, and fresh fruit make it approachable and easy to drink. Bright tart cherries and plums. Hint of eucalyptus. Easy smooth finish. Nice, long lasting bright red fruit. Very lovely!


The Boordy Vineyards Cabernet Franc Reserve 2014 was harvested October 15-21, 2014, and was made from 75% cabernet franc, 10% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot, and 7% merlot. It was aged in 100% French oak (45% new, 55% older French oak) for 16 months, and bottled May 10, 2016. Boordy produced 575 cases. Dark red fruits, cedar, and a whiff of coffee all come through as promised. Slate and graphite come through too. A luscious dark cherry and lovely red raspberry. Beautiful wine. Easily one of my favorites of the tasting. Boordy has now made a name for itself with their Cabernet Franc Reserve!


The Boordy Vineyards Landmark Reserve 2014 South Mountain Vineyard is a blend of 52% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 11% Petit Verdot, and 7% Syrah that was harvested between September 29 and October 21, 2014. The wine was aged 100% French oak, 50% new and 50% older French oak, and was bottled on May 10, 2016. They produced 475 cases. The wine pulsates with dark cherry, dark raspberry, and cassis, as well as with dark chocolate baking powder and cedar. The dark cherry, dark raspberry, and cassis all come through on the palate as well. This elegant, medium-bodied wine spirals to a lovely, smooth finish that lingers for some time. Absolutely beautiful.


David and I both came away impressed. And the longer I have pondered it, the more it has impressed me. There are no gimmes in the lineup. No hiccups. Only solid and spectacular wines. Considering their size, and their quality, and their attempt to forge new ground, Boordy Vineyards has catapulted it self to the top of the mid-Atlantic and east coast wineries. Especially for a winery of Boordy's size (certainly among some of the bigger ones on the east coast, a medium-sized winery even in the biggest regions) Boordy has made a statement. They would be a great addition and competitive quality producer in any wine region in the world.

The transformation is nothing but remarkable, and is what all the wineries on the east coast who are attempting transformation or growth of any size, should be looking for. I have always thought the world of Rob Deford. His vision, leadership, and his willingness to chat with almost anyone on Maryland and east coast wine, has made him one of the most invaluable winemakers and owners on the east coast! He, his son Phineas, his family, and staff have executed one of the most impressive transformations in the wine industry I have seen on the east coast. They have gone from a good producer to a leading producer. So so impressive on so many levels.


Whether you are a producer, industry influencer, or just someone who likes delicious wine, then you should be paying attention to Boordy!

My previous article on Boordy Vineyards:
http://eastcoastwineries.blogspot.com/2013/05/boordy-from-behind-giants-shadow.html

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Love Two Cabs From Pollack Vineyards (VA)


Last year I was lucky enough to taste two lovely wines from one of my favorite wine producers - Pollak Vineyards from Virginia. Pollak is one of the top quality producers on the East Coast. And I have been fond of their wines for years.


Owners Margo and David Pollak created Pollak Vineyards in 2003 with the purchase of a 98-acre farm west of Charlottesville and Crozet, Virginia. Today they have 31 acres of French vinifera under vine. David was inspired upon his experience in the late 1970s with vineyards along the Russian River in Sonoma. The Pollaks were among the first to found a winery in Carneros, California, with Chateau Bouchaine Winery. The Pollaks saw the potential to create great wines from well-sited and meticulously maintained vineyards in Virginia. Thus, Pollak Vineyards was born.


Benoit Pineau is the winemaker at Pollak. He directs all aspects of vineyard management and wine production. He has broad education and experience in the field having degrees in oenology from Blanquefort in Bordeaux and viticulture and oenology from the University of Toulouse. His extensive cellar experience includes work in France, Australia, California and Virginia.


The first wine I tried was a library wine, a Pollak Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. This was a 100% estate grown wine. According to the winery, the grapes were cold soaked before being fermented in micro lots and subjected to extended maceration. They used very light pressure in an effort to extract only the soft tannin’s. The wine was aged 8 months in 50% new French oak barrels. The grapes came from the Smuggler Vineyard block on the estate. The wine was incredible. Lovely dark fruit stew of dark cherry, dark raspberry, plum, and blackberry bounded out of the glass on the nose. Layers of mocha and vanilla followed. The dark fruit continued on the palate, and then offered spices and tannins in lovely balance. The flavors were layered, and one found something new to appreciate with each new sip. The fruit mellowed out, and the tannins were lovely, but not over powering. A lovely, soft finish of dark cherry. Fabulous!


The Pollak Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2016 was made of an 100% estate blend from the original 10 Acre and Mountain vineyards. The fruit was picked in September 2016, cold soaked and then underwent an extended maceration. According to the winery, the wine was aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 40% new and 60% neutral. Wine was bottled January 2018. 460 cases made. This is another wonderful red! The wine start off with a lovely garnet color. Fresh ripe cherry cobbler with notes of red cassis and and hints of pencil shavings and fresh cracked pepper come across the nose. Dark cherry and soft blackberry and dark cassis blend with cocoa and vanilla. Ends with a long lingering ripe cherry that stays for a long time. A deep, dark cabernet franc. I loved it!

Pollak Vineyards continues to be one of my top go to red wine producers in Virginia and on the east coast. Always, always impressive!

Friday, February 08, 2019

Loving Narmada Winery Cabernet Franc Reserve 2013 (VA)


I first fell in love with Narmada in 2012 at TasteCamp 2012. I tasted their Viognier and fell in love.
 
Narmada Winery was established in Rappahannock County, VA in 2009, by Pandit and Sudha Patil.
The couple arrived in the US from Mumbai, India, some 40 years ago to further their education. Pandit pursued studies in engineering at University of New Mexico and at Carnegie-Mellon in Pennsylvania. Throughout their married life, Pandit and Sudha traveled the globe and kindled their passion for fine wine. They eventually settled down in northern Virginia after Pandit had earned his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh. It was then Sudha was able to pursue her dental studies, earning a BS in chemistry at George Mason, her DDS from Georgetown and a certificate in endodontics and Masters in oral biology from the University of Maryland. Pandit’s career as an engineer and Sudha’s as endodontist were both very rewarding. The couple had two children, Susheel and Prema, now happily married and living in nearby Maryland.


At the couple’s 29th anniversary dinner at the renowned Inn at Little Washington, the plan to plant a vineyard took shape. They found a lovely farm and brought in Pat Peacock from Virginia Tech and noted Virginia viticulturalist Lucie Morton, who performed climate and soil studies and advised the couple on which varietals would thrive in these circumstances. The first vineyard was planted in 2004. Several more acres were planted the following year and today has reached 20 acres.

Sudha’s curiosity about the winemaking process grew, and she commenced studies with Jim Law of Linden Vineyards, one of Virginia’s premier winemakers. Today Sudha refers to Jim as “the guru of Virginia wine.” Consulting enologist Tom Payette was brought on board to guide Sudha through her first few crushes.

Of course, I love the minimal intervention vibe that is paramount to Pandit's and Sudha's wines.



The Narmada Cabernet Franc Reserve 2013 is made from 100% Virginia Cabernet Franc. It was aged in French and American oak and bottled in 2017. The color is a deep, brick-purple red. Dark red fruit, dark cherries, dark raspberries, and hints of blackberries, lead the front of the wine both on the nose and in the mouth. Floral hints on the nose too, as well as spice. Nice fruit lingers throughout, luxurious, and deep, that ends in tannins and cracked black pepper. A lovely, layered wine, with hints of slate and dust, but with fruit that stays straight through.

A very, very impressive wine. Lovely!

Love what Narmada does!

Cardinal Point Clay Hill Cabernet Franc 2014 (VA)


Ruth and General Paul Norman bought a nice sized farm in Virginia, near Afton Mountain, in the Blue Ridge region, in the mid-1980s. The General and his family had been stationed in Europe for some years, and returned home with the dream of owning their own vineyard. 

Tim Gorman is the winemaker at Cardinal Point Vineyard. When he was younger, he lived abroad in France and Germany, which influenced his deep appreciation of fine wines and food. However, he is a Virginia-born and educated winemaker. According to his bio, "Tim started tending the family vineyard in 1986, shortly after graduating from James Madison University. In 1991, he enrolled at Virginia Tech to learn more about the science of growing grapes used for winemaking. He received a bachelor’s degree in horticulture, cum laude, in 1993.

Brother John designed and renovated the old farmhouse and barn. And Tim's sister Sarah learned all about the wine business. Tim improved the vineyard. Cardinal Point Vineyard was opened in 2002.

Their wines reflect their travels, a combination of German-styled whites, and French-inspired reds (for the most part). But nonetheless it was a serious, quality wine list. The winery won early praise [including a post of this venerable (read that as "this old blog")].

Just last year I got a chance to catch up with one of their more impressive offerings: Cardinal Point Clay Hill Cabernet Franc 2014. This is an estate red, 100% Cabernet Franc. Now, just so you understand, this wine was brought out after it had already won numerous kudos, including Winner: Gold Medal, 2016 Governor's cup competition; included in 2016 Governor's Case. Gold Medal/Best in Class, 2018 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. And it got an 87 in Wine Enthusiast! 

I cannot lie, I prefer Cab Francs tinged with something else. Sometimes, in lesser hands, Cab Francs can be incredibly vegetal. No worries here. The wine is a deep garnet color,, and the nose is all raspberry, cherry and plum. A stew of ripe red fruits, with hints of spice. There's also some barnyard to it, Not alot! Just a hint, that gives it earthiness and character in a very good way. Very Bordeaux in style. The smell of cobbler is also present. The wine has great mouthfeel, and solid body, when the fruit gives was to toast and vanilla, and then the cherry settles in with lovely acidity into the corners of the mouth. Really, really, lovely. A very special wine.

Great job to the folks at Cardinal Point!

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Fabulous: Breaux Vineyards Meritage 2012 (VA)



I had to opportunity to taste a Breaux Vineyards Meritage 2012 in 2018. Breaux Vineyards is nestled between the foothills of the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains. The estate has 104 acres of vineyard on 404 picturesque acres of land. 

Paul Breaux is also the Owner and CEO of Sun Realty of Nags Head, Inc., a real estate company specializing in sales and property management on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The company has been phenomenally successful. In 1994 the Breauxs acquired a lovely 404 acre site in Virginia that had 3 acres of grapes that were planted in 1985. The Breauxs soon began making hobbyist wines. The Breauxs collaborated with Dave Collins (now of Big Cork Vineyards) to begin producing commercial wines at an even higher level of quality by investing in all new state-of-the-art wine making equipment and using proven vineyard practices, such as planting, harvesting and sorting by hand. In April of 1997, Breaux Vineyards opened its doors to the public. 

jennifer

Jennifer Breaux is the Vice President of Breaux Vineyards. Jennifer spent the 16 years prior to joining the Virginia wine industry working in fine dining restaurants honing her palate for quality wine, the foods they pair with, and the role they play in hospitality, sales, and marketing. In 2005 Jennifer took over day to day operations at Breaux Vineyards from her father, Paul Breaux. Since then she has established herself as an industry expert in social media and entrepreneurship, most notably demonstrated by appearances on industry specific online marketing panels.

josh-gerard

Josh Gerard, the winemaker, received his degree in Viticulture & Enology at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. Upon completion of the degree, he remained in New Zealand to work in the vineyards and cellar during harvest. Before settling into an enologist position in Alexander Valley of Sonoma County for three years, he had worked a diverse range of internships internationally and nationally including Domaine Serene in Oregon. He thought it would be interesting, different and
challenging to make wine on the Atlantic seaboard. The assistant winemaking position at
Karamoor Estate in Pennsylvania showed that even though viticulture on the east coast is
difficult, the rewards are well worth it. While at Boxwood Estate Winery, Josh worked with
an exceptional team: world renowned viticulturist Lucie Morton and wine consultant
Stephane Derenoncourt.

Image result for breaux vineyards "east coast wineries"

Breaux Vineyards has been making their Meritage from as far back as 2007, and in the last three or four years have offered their patrons special, annual, vertical tastings. The Breaux Vineyards Meritage 2012 is made from 40% Merlot, 40% Malbec, 10% Petite Verdot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has usually spent 18 months in a combination of new and neutral oak. This is a big wine, complete with dark cherry, blackberry, and casssis on the nose and palate.Also knotes of plum and prune. Big notes of spice, earthiness, mocha and cocoa all come across, as well as lots of spices and black pepper. The big dark fruit stew up front slowly morphs into a lovely fruit forward middle, that ends with nice tannins and a lovely mouth feel. This was as impressive a meritage as one will find in Virginia. A lovely, lovely wine!

Congrats Josh and Jen!

Lovely: Rosemont Cabernet Franc 2013 (VA)



This is one of those times, when I am very happy I am involved in the wine industry. In 2018 I went to the Eastern Wienries Expo and I was luck enough to taste this Rosemont of Virginia Cabernet Franc 2013. A special vintage. This was from the wine library of that lovely estate. I was super thrilled!

Image result for rosemont virginia wine

The 450 acre Rosemont Estate has been in the Rose Family since 1858. Over the generations,  farming operations have included vegetable farming, a peach orchard, beef cattle, dairy farming and commodity crops such as hay, tobacco, corn and soybeans. In 2003 Stephen and Chandra Rose planted more than 32,000 grape vines across 22 acres. Construction of the Winery began in November of 2006.

Stephen Rose had a successful 30 year career with Dow Chemical.He retired in 2003.He and Chardra decided to come home to the family farm, reuniting with his mother and three brothers.

Justine Rose is the winemaker. Justin started his journey into the wine industry after receiving his Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Virginia in 2004. Upon graduation he returned to the family farm to help establish Rosemont Vineyards, and subsequently enrolled at Napa Valley College to study viticulture and oenology, while interning at O’Shaughnessy Winery and Capiaux Cellars. Justin returned to home to help oversee the final construction of the Winery and in the Fall of 2007, led the first harvest and production of Rosemont of Virginia wines. He is currently responsible for our 4,500 annual case production and during his tenure, his wines have won numerous awards, including ‘Best in Show’ at the 2010 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition.


Dark and bright cherry explode out of the glass, but also a hint of prune and plum. Healthy dollops of graphite and vanilla also accompany the wine. Lots of spice too. Floral notes, mocha and dark chocolate also seem to round through before the tannins settle in and then nothing but dark cherry seems to settle in the mouth. This was a luxurious wine, with layers of flavors and wonderful complexity. An incredible Cabernet Franc! 

Ankida Ridge Chardonnay 2015 and Pinot Noir 2015 Continue to Impress (VA)


Lets start off by saying I am a huge fan of Ankida Ridge Vineyards. I first tasted their wines in 2012, and I have been in love ever since. One of the things I love about their wines is their style of winemaking: it is restrained, with little intervention, using both native and inoculated yeasts, and using a combination of new and neutral French oak barrels. Fruit forward, simple, elegant wines. Love it.

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ankida Ridge is a family-run Burgundy style little oasis of Virginia wine. And its flavors are delicate and distinct. They are proponents of sustainability and biodiversity, and work their densely planted vines on the steep, granite mountainside at 1800 feet. 

They became known for their Chardonnay and Pinot noir. They have Pinot Noir –planted in 2008 & 2017, 4.25 ac (mostly Dijon clones); Chardonnay – planted in 2008 & 2017, 1.5 ac,; Gamay- planted 2017- .25 acre; and at their neighboring leased Mountain Terrace site- 2.5 ac Chardonnay. But recently they have introduced other wines, blends, and even a sparkler. Very exciting. 

Image may contain: 2 people

The Vrooman family, for their consultants, hired the renowned viticulturist, Lucie Morton to guide them in the vineyard. And for the wine-making end, the award-winning winemaker, Matthieu Finot, has overseen their production of wines, with Nathan Vrooman, serving as the winemaker under Matthieu’s guidance. And impressive roster.


Ankida Ridge Chardonnay 2015 was produced from a blend of Ankida estate fruit with that of their Amherst County neighbor, Mountain Terrace Vineyard. The wine was aged sur lie for 9 months, in mostly in neutral oak with some new oak. 70% of barrels underwent malolactic fermentation. 225 cases were produced. Fresh apple and fresh pear came racing out of the glass. Those flavors were confirmed on the first sip, with lovely hints of tropical fruits and some very fabulous spices. The middle was creamy, and the finish had just enough acid to let the fruit shine through.Absolutely fantastic!!!!


Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir 2015 was the sixth vintage from Ankida Ridge. The wine was aged in 30% new French oak, and the rest in neutral barrels. They produced 350 cases. Big ripe cherry, cassis, bright red raspberry, and cranberry all come through in this very sensuous wine. The flavors are layered, and constantly evolving in the mouth. The red fruits come through again and a gain, but there are spices, and an earthiness that come through as well. The finish is exquisite, as ripe cherry seems to linger for ever. A truly impressive wine worth of any serious Pinot Noir producing region, anywhere. Absolutely astonishing!

Ankida Ridge continues to impress. What are you waiting for?

A Serious Red: Linganore Wine Cellars Cabernet Franc 2016 (MD)


Linganore Wine Cellars is among the most financially successful winemakers in Maryland. But alas, for more than two decades the specialized in sweeter, fruit driven, picnic-styled wines that have a very, very popular following.Big fun packaging. Not exactly the wines I drink, though. But low and behold, I found this bottle at a Eastern Wineries Exposition table in 2018.

Berrywine Plantations/Linganore Winecellars is a family operated vineyard and winery nestled on 230 acres, 4.5 miles northeast of historic New Market, Maryland.

The winery was founded by Jack and Lucille Aellen in 1971. They planted their first 6 acres of vineyards in 1972 and opened the winery in 1976. Using Lucille’s father’s hand winemaking equipment, they processed 6 tons of grapes their first year. In 1977, they hosted Maryland’s first wine festival. In 1978, they introduced the state’s first semi sweet grape wines. In the early ‘80s, the winemaking responsibilities were taken over by Jack and Lucille’s son Anthony. The winery planted additiona Cornell grapes. The winery prospered.

In 1990, Anthony introduced dry fruit wines to our customers as an alternative to dry grape wines. Also in mid 1990, Jack and Lucille’s youngest son, Eric, took on the management of the vineyards.
They expanded in 1997 and 1999 increasing their capacity to more than 100,000 gallons.
By 2000, they had more than 40 acres of vineyards, and purchased the state’s first mechanical grape harvester. In 2003 they increased capacity to 150,000 gallons.

Today, not only do they continue to dominate the sweet wine section, but have introduced about a dozen very good dry wines, including estate Albarino, Chardonnay Reserve, Vingoles, a dry Rose, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and a small host of dry white and red wine blends. Some of these wines got some serious attention from James Suckling. There seems to be a whole new shift to serious dry wines.

So, having spotted this Cabernet Franc at a wine tasting, with a new label and a seemingly impressive entry into the serious, dry red wine category, I was intrigued. I shrugged, and went for a taste.

The Linganore Wine Cellars Cabernet Framc 2016 is the winery's first ever varietal estate bottled Cabernet Franc. Estate harvested and crushed, it was aged in French oak for 10 months. The nose on this medium bodied dry red was big with cherries and blackberries and a hint of pencil graphite. Their were bright notes of strawberry and spices. The wine had lots of dark and bright cherry, hints of red cassis, and notes of black cherry and anise. A lovely, lovely smooth middle palate, and a lovely dry ending with nice acidty. The fruit lingered for a very long time. This was an absolute eye opener from the folks at Linganore. A very serious wine. Layers of flavors, lovely complexity.

I will need to do further tastings of their new line of sophisticated dry wines. A new label and some excellent wine bodes well for lovers of serious wine! Very exciting!

Congrats to Anthony and the staff at Linganore!!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Winslow Winery Riesling Reserve (PA)


Winslow Winery is a family owned and operated winery located in Perryopolis, PA, and opened in October of 2015. With the help of close family and friends, owners Lindsay and Greg Winslow transformed their land into a vineyard that grows 16 varieties of grapes. They make a variety of dry and sweet estate wines. Amongst the vines they are growing include, Gewurztraminer, Chancellor,
Chardonel, Gruner Veltliner, Traminette, and Vidal Blanc.

Greg Winslow, Winslow Winery

I tried the Winslow Riesling Reserve at the EWE 2018 convention. This was a flowery, aromatic semi-sweet white wine that had lovely notes of apricots, peaches, and lemons, limes, and grapefruit with a hint of petrol. A lovely Riesling from a small, farm producer. Good balance. Nice layers. Well made. Very lovely!

Great job Greg! Looking for try more!

Conneaut Cellars Hazel Park Red (PA)


Conneaut Cellars Winery was founded by Dr. Alan Wolf in 1982. Dr. Wolf’s winemaking education and experience in Germany informed the winery's direction for years. In 1996, Joal Wolf, son of Dr. Alan Wolf and his wife Phyllis, became the proprietor of Conneaut Cellars Winery. As a young boy, Joal helped his father make wine during the 1960's. After graduating from Penn State University, Joal served for more than 27 years as a distinguished officer for our military forces. His service took him to Europe for four years, and while in Germany, Joal visited wineries and represented Conneaut Cellars during trade shows. Joal returned to the winery in 1988 and earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Penn State University. After graduate school, Joal worked full-time at the winery as the wine master and assisted his father in all facets of the business. In 1991, Joal became Wine Master. Joal’s attention to quality shows in every glass of Conneaut Cellars Wine.

Conneaut Cellars Hazel Park Red was sweet, light red tasting wine with lots of Concord grape aroma. The wine was named for the Hazel Park area on the East Side of Conneaut Lake. I do not generally like sweet reds, but I made an exception here, as the flavor and the wine were balanced by acidity so that the flavors were in fact complimentary and the acidity kept the wine honest. I remain a steadfast dry drinker, but this made me smile.

Willow Creek Winery Pinot Noir Estate Outer Coastal Plain 2015 (NJ)

 

Willow Creek Winery is a winery in West Cape May in Cape May County, New Jersey. Formerly a produce farm, the vineyard was first planted in 2005, and opened to the public in 2012. Willow Creek has 40 acres of grapes under cultivation, and produces 6,000 cases of wine per year. The winery is named for a large willow tree near the owner's residence, and the Pond Creek, a stream that borders the farm. Willow Creek is the largest of the wineries in the Cape May region.

A large wooden building with a red roof, three wooden posts, with an electric golf cart parked in front.

Screen-Shot-2017-11-17-at-2.49.05-PM

Barbara Bray Wilde is the owner of Willow Creek Winery. Willow Creek is the only winery in New Jersey that produces wine from Malvasia bianca, which is a white vinifera grape indigenous to the northwest coast of Italy. Kevin Celli is the Director, farm manager and viticulturalist. He joined Willow Creek in 2012, after having been at nearby Natali Vineyards.


The Willow Creek Pinot Noir Outer Coastal Plain was a lovely estate-grown wine. The wine was fermented on oak staves, then oak-aged for 24 months. The last barrels from the harvest were blended into stainless steel with oak staves then aged for an additional 6 months. Double filtered during the bottling process. The wine led off with hints of cherry and whiffs of strawberry, and spice. A lovely middle, and balancing acids at the end let the flavor linger  a nice long time.

This was my first taste of Willow Creek Winery, and I must say it was very impressive.