Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Black Ankle Vineyards Crumbling Rock (2009)

According to the winemakers at Black Ankle Vineyards, the 2009 season was a difficult one.  Budbreak did not occur until April 25, which was the latest in the short history of the vineyards.  The first weeks and months of the growing season were cool and rainy, with the good weather really not emerging until the end of June and the beginning of July.  That good weather did not last long, with the cooler-than-normal temperatures and rain returning toward the end of July and August.  After the harvest, the effect of the weather was evident ... the red grape production was down by 40%.

While adversity may lead to fewer grapes, it can also produce better wines.  Take, for example, Black Ankle's Crumbling Rock (2009).  The Crumbling Rock is a blend of the four grapes -- Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot -- that are commonly used to make Bordeaux wine.  The exact blend is 30% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petit Verdot.  All of the grapes were harvested between October 5 and October 25, 2009.  After the grapes are picked, sorted and have undergone their primary fermentation, the wine is then aged for sixteen months in 100% new French oak barrels.

According to the winemakers, the 2009 vintage of Crumbling Rock has "a gorgeous ruby red color" and "offers up lush, ripe red fruit on the nose, with smoky undertones and whiffs of baking spice and pencil shavings."  As for the taste of the wine, the winemakers not that "[t]he medium-bodied palate reveals more red fruit, including dark cherries, cedar box sweetness and cocoa."

The winemaker's description of the Crumbling Rock provides an accurate description of the wine.  The wine pours a beautiful, dark, ruby red color.  For my rather amateur olfactory senses (at least when compared to winemakers and sommeliers), I could sense some of that baking spice and a little smoke or leather tucked into the abundance of cherries.  (I did not smell any pencil shavings, but that may be due to the fact that I rarely use any pencils anymore.)

As for the taste, a glass of the Crumbling Rock was like a small basket of dark ripe cherries.  The fruit was the centerpiece of the taste profile, providing the Crumbling Rock with what one would expect from a Bordeaux Blend.  Other elements, such as a little of that baking spice and cocoa, hung around the edges of the wine. (I have to say that I did not sense any "cedar box sweetness.)

The 2009 vintage of the Crumbling Rock can be paired with a variety of different foods or dishes.  Personally, I think that this wine is best paired with red meat dishes, but, it can also be paired well with certain pork and chicken dishes.  This particular bottle was paired with Pork Medallions in a Red Wine Sauce. 

This wine is available from the winemaker, Black Ankle Vineyards.  It sells for $48.00 a bottle.


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