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Weekend Wine Trip: Frederick Wine Trail, Part 1

March 9, 2010
Lowe Vineyards tasting room

Lowe Vineyards tasting room

The first signs of spring are finally here in Maryland. After weeks of below-average temperatures, multiple feet of snow, and not a day over 50 degrees in months, we finally enjoyed a sunny Saturday. What better way to ring in the upcoming thaw than with some wine from Maryland’s first wine trail? Read on for impressions from five of the wineries near Frederick, MD.

Plan your own Frederick Wine Trail road trip at www.frederickwinetrail.com. A number of the wineries we visited also mentioned the upcoming Taste of Frederick Wine Festival on April 10-11 at the Frederick County Fairgrounds. Tickets are $25, but I can’t find a website link for more info. Tsk!

Linganore Cellars

Certainly one of Maryland’s most prolific producers, Lignanore Cellars. Between their estate label and secondary brand Berrywine Plantation (for their sweeter wines), Linganore pours more than 30 wines in the tasting room. That’s a lot of wine if you’re driving! Of those 30, about 2/3 are sweet – 5% residual sugar or more – and that seems to be the winemaker’s niche. Check out Lignanore if you’re the sweet tooth type.

Lowe Vineyards

From the big house of Linganore, Lowe Vineyards provides a stark contrast with their focused line of wines and simple tasting room. We didn’t even have them in our itinerary, but happened upon the tasting room as we drove to Elk Run thanks to their signage! Don’t let the looks deceive you, though – Lowe’s wines are every bit as sophisticated and interesting as any in Maryland. Their lineup has a good balance of flavors, with something for any palette.

Elk Run Vineyards

Our next stop at Elk Run was somewhat disappointing. We’ve been before and always found something we liked, but this time nothing stood out to us as a must-buy. What I do like about Elk Run, however, is that their lineup takes a mature approach to wine, with a strong focus on dry and complex reds rather than the high sugar wines that round out most wineries’ offerings. We’ll definitely be back to try next year’s vintages.

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