Sunday, February 03, 2019

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!!!!