Tucked away in the corners of western Maryland, lies a quaint, cozy winery called Black Ankle Vineyards. I came across this winery, which happened to be quite close to family and quickly realized just how wonderful their wines were in addition to its popularity. I've chosen to focus on their 2010 Bedlam, which is a white blend, all estate grown because it will soon be released. But I can tell you that many of their reds that will emerge are worth driving to pick up. I know I can't wait to be in line for some of those!
Black Ankle Vineyards from the parking area
The cozy nature of Black Ankle Vineyards
A sweet, natural welcome sign
The green roof and porched sitting area at Black Ankle Vineyards
Welcome to Black Ankle Vineyards
A view of the surrounding vineyard hills. It doesn't get easier than this!
(All photos by author)
The D-2010 Scale
2010 Bedlam by Black Ankle Vineyards (Frederick County, Maryland)
Appearance (10 points possible): straw yellow, clear - 10 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): A fresh palate of perfume and flowers, strawberries, "sweetness" and cream. - 18 points
Taste (10 points possible): Floral and fruity in flavor. Medium-bodied with a crisp acidity and hints of a creamy finish. The 13.5% alcohol burns a bit in the back of the throat when the finish first hits you, but the lingering notes of perfume take over. - 10 points
Balance (5 points possible): As the alcohol sticks out in this white wine, I have to take off a point. - 4 points
Finish (5 points possible): Lengthy and cream, with solid hints of perfume. A slight ethanol burn from the higher alcohol. - 4 points
Packaging *Introduction to the D-2010 Scale*
Quality of Package (5 points possible): High quality package for a wine that deserves the highest detail. - 5 points
Label Marketability (10 points possible): Traditional label, very sophisticated and classy. But to an untrained eye, I'm not sure how quickly someone would grab this. - 8 points
Other (5 points possible): I really think the name for this blend deserves some points. As well as the fact that Black Ankle is known to sell out of a wine very quickly. I think those can factor into the marketability aspect of this wine. - 4 points
Total Points: 93 points
Overall Thought: I was blown away by Black Ankles quality, charm, and marketing efforts. Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic U.S. have surely found a treasure here. In addition to how good this wine is, many people found the term "Bedlam" very attractive for a wine. Although it might indicate this wine is crazy or a bit confused, you'll taste that there is nothing of the sort here: a beautiful arrange of harmony for the palate
Food Pairings: This wine is a crowd pleaser. It's the perfect white wine for soft cheese (think fresh brie) and spicy foods (although not too spicy as the higher alcohol will encourage the spicy nature of the food. It's also a winner for fruit-based foods - fruit salads, puddings, nuts, ice cream - and light pork dishes (that do not have a bar-b-q base). May also want to try it with shellfish and octopus.
Splurge Factor (out of 4): 2 - obviously a bit more expensive than what may meet the budget. But it's definitely worth the purchase. This is a quality wine that you're paying for.
Where to buy: I believe Black Ankle primarily sells through it's tasting room: Black Ankle Wines, but that you may find some of these treasures trickled throughout local Maryland restaurants. Believe me - this winery will receive a lot of attention in the near future, and they are worth the drive to visit, especially if you are a dry wine lover.