After all this time I finally got a chance to visit Black Ankle Vineyards. They have been open for about a year if I recall correctly and on my list of places to visit since I heard of their opening. So one recent weekend Mrs. Fred and I along with my brother and sister in law headed off to check it out. First of all the setting is really beautiful; after you drive down a very rural Black Ankle Road and then the gravel driveway you come to the tasting room, set on a gently sloping hillside nestled amid the vineyards. The building itself is also fascinating. For the full story check out their detailed description of the tasting room here. In short the building was built as much as possible sustainably and out of local materials. Grass roof, huge fireplace, timber from the farm itself are all some of the details. Also be sure to check out the tasting room counter if you go! They have a nice breezeway with large garage-style roll up doors and a large patio. All of us had the same reaction: what an amazing place for a party or wedding! I also saw that they have regular sunday wine dinners. In keeping with their philosophy they use local seasonal ingredients. This is certainly on our to do list.
On to the wines. The tasting fee was a very reasonable $5 and the staff was very knowledgeable and answered all of our wine nerd questions. All in all the consensus was that the wines were very good. My brother who lives in Massachusetts confessed later that due to his experiences visiting the local vineyards in his area he had very low expectations. He said he was extremely surprised by the quality of wines we tasted that day and I agree. It’s always awkward when you taste a wine at a winery that you really dislike and the staff is there staring at you like a proud parent. Well no poker faces needed here. Our favorite reds were the 2006 Crumbling Rock and the 2006 Syrah. On the white side there was less consensus on a clear cut favorite with everybody liking something different. I liked the 2007 Bedlam best. Several bottles were purchased to add to the cellar.
Value note: lets face it: at prices ranging from $22-40 these wines aren’t a stupendous value. However they rank up there with the best wines from this region that I have tasted. The wines are quality wines and you won’t be embarrassed serving these or giving them as gifts. As someone who strongly believes in supporting local agriculture these wines will continue to enjoy a place on our table.