The revamped Boordy Vineyards, Maryland’s oldest winery, took top honors at last weekend’s Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, earning Best of Show for its 2010 Cabernet Franc Reserve.
It was the second major award for Boordy’s first vintage of red wines from an extensive and expensive replanting project that began eight years ago. Boordy’s 2010 Landmark Reserve, a Bordeaux-styled red blend, took the 2012 Maryland Governor’s Cup.
“Cab Franc is a rewarding variety to work with – it seems pleased to be in our vineyards,” Boordy owner Rob Deford said in an e-mail. “I couldn’t have asked for a more ringing endorsement of the commitment we made in 2005 to initiate our Landmark Project, which has included huge investments in our vineyards, in new winemaking equipment, and is culminating in the construction of a new winery to be completed this September.”
This was the ninth annual competition held by the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association to showcase the rise in viticulture in the eastern United States. It was also the largest, with 588 wines entered from 116 wineries in 12 states, according to association president Carl Brandhorst.
Twenty judges (including this writer) spent the weekend at the Regency at Dominion Valley in Haymarket sniffing, swirling and sipping through the wines. They awarded 62 gold, 174 silver and 221 bronze medals, totals that reflect the high overall quality of winemaking. (I can attest that there were a few truly horrible wines as well.) A final sweepstakes round of Best of Category Gold medal winners led to the selection of the Boordy cabernet franc as Best of Show.
I was especially impressed with some of the quality of the red wines I tasted from the 2011 vintage. This was an incredibly rainy harvest, and the truism we said at the time was, “We will be able to tell who’s really a talented winemaker this year.” Well, there are some very talented winemakers out there. My panel tasted several delicious, well-balanced Bordeaux style blends and Cab Francs that may not have had the depth of the 2010s, but were also not underripe or vegetal. (And some 2010s tasted pruny, as if they had not been picked in time or were aging quickly in bottle.) Unfortunately I do not have a key to the wines tasted, so I don’t know which ones I flipped for.
With one exception – my panel tasted a tremendous Viognier that showed delicious floral character and ripe tropical fruit, along with impeccable balance. We gave it a gold, and when we had a chance to taste it against four other gold medal Viogniers, advanced it as Best of Category. That award went to Virginia’s Potomac Point winery for its 2012 Reserve Viognier, so kudos there!
A complete list of medal winners should be available at http://www.aswawines.org.