10 Mid-Atlantic wineries worth exploring


Chatham Vineyard’s chardonnay goes well with oysters from the nearby Chesapeake Bay. (Diane Ginsberg)
Columnist April 9, 2013

For wine lovers interested in exploring beyond state borders to discover wineries producing high-quality wine and establishing a regional style, here are a few suggestions.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Rather, I am highlighting wineries that are not mentioned in the main article and are relatively new, either having opened in the last few years or about to open.

Dave McIntyre is a wine columnist for The Washington Post. He also blogs at dmwineline.com. View Archive

Think of these when you travel in the Mid-Atlantic region and explore local wine shelves or restaurant wine lists.

Virginia, along mountains

Ankida Ridge Vineyards. Perched on a steep slope at 1,800 feet elevation in the Blue Ridge north of Lynchburg, this tiny producer has gained a cult following for its pinot noir from its inaugural release with the 2010 vintage, though the chardonnay should not be overlooked.

Ox-Eye Vineyards. Southwest of Staunton, also at about 1,800 feet elevation, this vineyard is producing notable Riesling, pinot noir and lemberger, from an Austrian grape also known as blaufrankisch.

Granite Heights Winery. Atop a ridge near Opal, between Culpeper and Warrenton, this newcomer is already producing some intense Bordeaux-style blends.

Delaplane Cellars. This Fauquier County winery sources grapes from prime Northern Virginia growers and makes single-vineyard blends in the fashion of Linden Vineyards.

Virginia, along Chesapeake

Chatham Vineyards . This Eastern Shore winery makes elegant red wines but is best known for its steel-fermented chardonnay, which is nice with oysters.

Maryland, along mountains

Big Cork Vineyards. Dave Collins made wine at Breaux Vineyards in Virginia’s Loudoun County for 14 years before crossing the Potomac to start a new project in Rohrersville, not far from Sharpsburg. The 22 acres planted in 2011 should bear their first crop this year, but Collins is producing stellar 2012 reds from purchased fruit, judging from barrel samples I tasted recently. First release is anticipated in early 2014.

Old Westminster Winery. The 2011 barrel samples I tasted from this soon-to-open winery in Westminster reflect skillful winemaking in an extremely difficult vintage and bode well for future years. A winery to watch.

Maryland, along Chesapeake

Port of Leonardtown Winery. This co-op of grape growers produces a variety of wines, mostly sweet ones, but also some nice, bracing, dry whites.

Pennsylvania

Blair Vineyards. Nestled among the mountains of Kutztown, at the northern reaches of what could be called the Mid-Atlantic wine region, Blair produces a silky pinot noir.

Delaware

Nassau Valley Vineyards. In Lewes, about as close to the ocean as one could grow vines without encroaching on valuable beach resort property, Nassau Valley produces nice chardonnay and Bordeaux-style reds from its own grapes, as well as a range of sweet-to-dry wines from purchased fruit.

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