Black Ankle Vineyards
AGPS workout is in store for those heading to Black Ankle Vineyards, but the benefits of the journey are many. After you follow a winding road between New Market and Mount Airy, the winery unfolds as a sprawling collection of buildings surrounded by rolling vineyards. It is as beautiful as it is serene. Black Ankle first planted in 2003, and then showed great patience by waiting until 2006 to make wine for the market. The tasting room opened in 2008. The winery has all the trappings of newer wineries, with green practices such as solar panels on the tasting room roof, organic fertilizing and herbicide-free vineyards. With 100 percent of the grapes grown on the estate, Black Ankle produces some of the best wines in Maryland.
Cobbled together from clay, straw, vines and sticks, the trippy tasting room feels a bit like a Hobbit’s glen. But it is well equipped to handle an influx of guests on a nice evening or weekend, with many tables and multiple tasting bars. There is live music and a meadow out front to occupy the kids if you choose to make this a family outing.
Highlights: The $15 flight includes four wines. The gruner veltliner is bright with pear and apple flavors, and finished with a light spice note. It was followed by a chardonnay with nice, bold citrus fruit and a judicious use of oak that lends a subtle creaminess. The Passeggiata XI is a blend of 11 different grapes that delivers one clear flavor and is approachably light on the palate without being thin. The Feldspar III is a Bordeaux-style blend with powerful fruit flavors, firm body and soft tannins, yielding a smooth, long finish.
Prices: Tasting are $15; bottles range from $34 to $125.
Food: Local cheeses, salamis, crackers and breads are available.
Extras: Live music on Friday evenings; special member tastings.
14463 Black Ankle Road, Mount Airy; 301-829-3338; blackankle.com