Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Quick Visit to Knob Hall Winery in Maryland Wine Country

While traveling west on Route 70, a little past Hagerstown, I stopped for gas at the Clear Spring exist and checked theCompass to check my surroundings. And to my benefit Knob Hall Winery was only a short drive away. I first crossed paths with the winery at the the 2013 Conference, where I sampled their Chambourcin and sat at a dinner table with owners Richard and Mary Beth Seibert, with Mary Beth being one of only a few female winemakers in the state. The property has been in the Seibert family for more than 200 years when Jacob Seibert (an immigrant from Germany) settled there. The stone section of the house was built in the early 1800’s and the barn which houses the tasting room in 1865. They sure built solid buildings back then. 

In order to keep the farm self sustaining (profitable), they turned to grapes - not too surprising since Richard was an original partner in the old Wild Goose Brewery, one of my favorite escapes to the eastern shore. The estate backs to the eastern slope of Fairview Mountain and contains parcels of red clay and limestone.  It even resides in Maryland's most western AVA - the Cumberland Valley AVA.  The Seibert's planted mostly vinifera Albarino, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, and Petite Verdot; but also a few hybrids: Traminette, Vidal Blanc, Viognier, and Chambourcin.

The winery produces a wide portfolio, from dry to sweet, all to satisfy local tastes. On my visit, I concentrated on the dry side and was particularly fond of the reds and rosés. Their Jealous Mistress is an  80-20 blend of Chambourcin and Merlot with a spicy berry aroma, followed by berry flavors and a slightly spicy finish. The N39 is an unoaked Chambourcin blended with oaked Cabernet Franc and Merlot. This is an easy drinking wine - probably serve slightly chilled. And then there's their single varietal Chambourcin, which was a decent amount of spice throughout. As for the rosés, there are two dry versions to sample. The Chambourcin Rosé is light and tart with nice acids. My favorite, however, was the Cabernet Franc Rosé - tart juicy with a creamy strawberry texture. This wine melts in your mouth.

No comments: