Maryland wineries every Pa. resident should visit
There are more than 60 Maryland wineries now open, many of which could make for an easy day trip.
Here are a few of the closest, but you can visit www.marylandwine.com to see a complete list.
Just across the border, Harmony Winery is a micro winery that makes wines exclusively from grapes grown in its vineyard. Currently, Harmony produces Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera and Petite Verdot. In 2014, it released its first vintages of a 2012 Merlot and Rose. The Merlot won the 2014 Maryland Governor's Cup Gold Medal. Visits and tastings are by appointment only.
Fiore Winery is located in Pylesville, Maryland, just south east of Shrewsbury. It makes wines from sweet, sparkling, fruity, to semi-dry, and dry whites and reds. Fiore opened in 1986 and the owners previously owned a vineyard in Italy. They are making more than 35,000 gallons of wine annually.
They have been winning many awards with their dry red and white wines for many years. Stop by and tasting the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and a few interesting red blends along with one of Pennsylvania's well know grapes, Chambourcin. They are also making a Prosecco and some sweet dessert wines worth trying.
Black Ankle Vineyards in Mount Airy, Maryland is making fantastic wines. The vineyard grows Albarino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay Grüner Veltliner, Malbec, Merlot, Muscat, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Viognier on 145 acres. Its first vintages were in 2006. Black Ankle opened its wine tasting room in 2008.
During one of my last visits there, I took my own lunch. If you are hoping to sit in the tasting room, be sure to arrive early because tables fill quickly. The vista here is really beautiful and makes for a relaxing afternoon.
For those that like dry reds, I recommend tasting their Viento and Slate. Both are Bordeaux style blends. The Viento is 43 percent Cabernet Franc, 36 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, and 21 percent Merlot. The Slate is 52 percent Merlot, 22 percent Petit Verdot, 21 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7 percent Cabernet Franc. Both are aged in French oak barrels. Viento retails for $32 and Slate retails for $52 per bottle. If you like port, they make a nice one called Terra Dulce at $45 per bottle. Add this to your tasting list.
Boordy Vineyards has been making wine in Maryland for over six decades. Located in Hydes, Maryland about 8 miles northeast of Baltimore. Boordy's first vines were planted in 1965. They have their wines classified in series. The landmark series consists of dry award winning wines made in limited quantities. The Icons of Maryland Series are wines made with food in mind. The Just for Fun Series includes five wines that are sweet, party style wines.
Boordy has a Reserve 2012 full body red that has won the gold medal in the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition and the Gold Medal and Best Red Blend at the Maryland Governor's Cup. The blend consists of 67 percent Merlot, 17 percent Syrah, 11 percent Petit Verdot and 6 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Their Pino Grigio 2013 won the Maryland Governor's Cup and Best White Wine.
Our mid-Atlantic region often is disregarded as making great wines, but they are available if you look for them. Let's not forget, France has weather and soils more similar to ours than does California. The winemaker and right plantings of the correct grapes can make a difference. Linganore has a new winemaker and it will be interesting to see how their wines change as a result. With better plantings and winemaking skills, great wines can be made from our region. Keep looking.