Saturday, August 29, 2009

Two very different award-winning Rieslings are being sold at Boordy Vineyards

As Maryland wineries await word on the results of the 2009 Governor’s Cup, it seemed like the appropriate time to check in with owner Rob Deford at Boordy Vineyards in northeastern Baltimore County to talk about his two top finishers in the recent 2009 Winemasters Choice Awards competition.

His 2007 Riesling won a best of class in the off-dry division and his 2008 Riesling was among the gold medal winners. Two wines with the same word in the name and grape in the bottle, but two made distinctly different. Both are available for sale at the winery.

That 2007 vintage is called Eisling, what the winery calls its sweet Riesling reserve.
It’s described as “the nectar of Riesling grapes with aromas of honeysuckle and ripe melon. Seductively sweet and full bodied. The crowning touch to a gourmet meal.”

By phone the other day, Deford called is a “faux ice wine that we make where we give nature a helping hand by putting the grapes in a walk-in cooler. I would never promote it as a true ice wine. I have huge respect for those. It’s a Riesling-based wine; 100 percent Riesling. We press the juice of and freeze it and thaw only the first third to 40 percent and ferment that, so you get a nectar in the thawing process.”

That leads to a wine with 11 percent sugar and 10 percent alcohol and very high acidity, “so it’s actually remarkably in balance so it doesn’t feel cloying but it’s definitely a dessert wine.”

The other is what Deford called ”a straight Riesling. The standard Riesling is a classically cold fermented Riesling . . . with just wonderful Riesling characteristics. I love the Riesling grape. I might have told you before that we tried growing it for 18 years. These are not wines made from our fruit, we import the fruit."

Deford called that attempt at nurturing the grape a fairly honest try that just never had a chance of succeeding. "Riesling needs to be grown in a place where the graph of sunlight is very, very different, the northern latitudes."

Still, that hasn't stopped them from importing it. “I love the wine,” he said, “and enjoy working with it. Unfortunately, we can’t grow it.”

Three other quick mentions. What the Hydes, Md. winery terms its sustainable Happy Hour will continue on Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. through Sept. 10; the last of its Saturday night concerts series (from 5:45 to 9:45) will be tonight and next week, Sept. 5; and its Autumn Wine Fest will run during Sundays in October. For more, click on this link.

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