Friday, May 19, 2023

Mother's Day at Maryland's Rocklands Farm Winery

It definitely was not an original idea to visit Rocklands Farm Winery on Mother's Day, but this Maryland farm winery had plenty of staff and tasting areas to accommodate the large volume of visitors. The winery farms 16 acres of estate grapes and works with multiple regional partners to produce an interesting portfolio of "low-intervention" wines. And in the estate vineyard, they prohibit the use of herbicides - unheard of in the hot and humid mid-Atlantic summers.  According to the winery, "Overall, our goal is for our vines and soils to be healthy with a strong immune system necessary to thrive with minimal spray intervention..."

We started our visit with two wine flights providing a representation of their white, rosé, and orange wine portfolio. The 2020 Sungold ($34) is one such orange wine, made from 100% skin-macerated Petit Manseng sourced from neighboring Virginia vineyards. It was fermented and aged for 15 days on the skins and 8 months in neutral French oak. Lots of tropical fruit with tart honey. The dry 2021 Anna's Rosé ($29) was very appreciated -- a refreshing blend of 49% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot -- sourced from Maryland vineyards. I was a fan of the 2021 Ancestry Pet-Nat ($38) which is 100% Chardonnay with a bready green apple profile. However, the favorite of our group was the 2021 Fieldwork ($29) a blend of 71% Sauvignon Blanc and 29% Chardonnay with a strong floral aroma and a refreshing grapefruit core. 

We only tried two red wines, starting with the 2021 Hillside ($34) from our Spring Flight. This is a blend of 86% Petit Verdot, 7% Malbec, and 7% Cabernet Franc (sourced from Virginia) and aged nine months neutral French oak. Very approachable with silky dark fruit flavors. Very suitable for Spring.  I also purchased a bottle of their almost depleted 2021 Rockridge ($38), a barrel-aged and Maryland-grown Blaufränkisch that was (like the Hillside) aged nine months in neutral French oak. This wine is an appropriate example of their low-intervention approach as it was fermented using natural yeast and bottled unrefined and unfiltered. The 2021 Rockridge is one of the best Mid-Atlantic representations of Blaufränkisch that I have tasted -- red fruit, a little earthy, and lasting spice.

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