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Weekend Wine Trip: Piedmont Wine Trail, Part 1

January 26, 2010

Hello! Welcome to this weeklong series on our travels through the Piedmont Wine Trail, a set of wineries located between Baltimore and the Mason-Dixon line. We took the trip this past weekend on another bright and sunny Saturday. Each day I’ll look a closer at one or two of the stops we made.

Today’s wineries: Woodhall Wine Cellars and Boordy Vineyards.

Woodhall Winery: Gunpowder Falls WhiteWoodhall Cellars

We stopped first at Woodhall Cellars, nearly due north of Baltimore City and right off I-83. The winery sits on the south side of a sharp rise from a river valley, providing a picturesque grounds that likely also offers decent drainage for the vines. While Woodhall only grows a couple of different varietals, the owners pride themselves on producing wines made exclusively from Maryland grapes.

Although all of their wines sell in roughly equal volumes, both Elyse and I preferred their white wines. This is a general theme of Maryland wine, as several vintners seemingly struggle to produce reds of equal quality to their white counterparts. Our favorites on this trip: the Gunpowder Falls white, a blend of primarily vidal blanc with a bit of viognier, and a 3-grape blend named Patricia’s White.

Agricultural tidbit: the continental vidal grape, as we’ve now learned on several wine trips, grows very well in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Boordy Vineyards SignBoordy Vineyards

The granddaddy of Maryland wine, Boordy opened shop in Baltimore County back in 1945 and is the oldest winery in the state. Boordy represents a truly full-scale operation compared to most “mom and pop” wineries, from a professionally-staffed tasting room with logowear to their wide distribution channel. If you’re looking for a consistent, quality brand with a full flight of dry and sweet wines, look no further.

“Consistent” is certainly the theme of Boordy’s varietals. We’ve never tasted a miss among their offerings and, although they can’t claim 100% Maryland-sourced grapes, I’d cite Boordy as a cornerstone of the state industry (along with Frederick-area Linganore Cellars). On this trip, we picked up a bottle of 2008 Vidal Blanc – can you sense a theme here? – and their 2007 Shiraz. Also of note: an excellent petit cabernet; we only passed this one by because it’s been on our shelf so often.

See you back here for part 2 later this week!

-Matthew K.

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