Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Ankle Vineyards Slate (NV)

Recently, my beautiful Angel, Clare, met a couple of longtime friends for a wine tasting at a vineyard ... in Maryland.  I have heard about wineries in the Free State, but, I know very little about them.  Clare got to learn about one particular vineyard, Black Ankle Vineyards, which is located in Frederick County, Maryland.

Black Ankle Vineyards has been in business for about three years.  It is growing an impressive array of grapes.  The red grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.  The white grapes include Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner and Viognier.  This is pretty impressive for a vineyard that is located in Maryland, rather than in California, Oregon or Washington State.

Black Ankle's winemaking process is also rather interesting.  The winery uses once-used or brand new barrels for aging.  Lighter reds are aged for months in once-used barrels, while heavier reds are aged in new barrels.  The winery ages its wines between sixteen to eighteen months in the barrels.  After her wine tasting, Clare bought a bottle of Black Ankle Vineyard's Slate, a blend of six different grapes.

The Slate is made with grapes grown on a hillside of decomposing slate with veins of quartz. The wine is made with 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Syrah, 22% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot. This wine does not have a vintage because it is made primarily from grapes picked during the 2007 and 2008 harvests, along with grapes from the 2010 harvest.

The wine pours a bright crimson red, with tones much fuller than other wines that I have tried.  The aroma is full of red berries, like ripe cherries, strawberries and blackberry.  The winemaker suggests dried plum, blackberry, currant and a little cracked black pepper.   Those berries carry over to the taste, but there they are joined by some other flavors such as black pepper or white pepper.  There is also a hint of minerality. 

Black Ankle produced only six hundred cases of the Slate.  The wine has an ABV of 13.9%.  The bottle is available at the vineyard's tasting room and a bottle sells for $45.00.  


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