Monday, October 19, 2009

Black Ankle's events for fall include unique family photo day at the winery

Of the many activities planned at Maryland's Black Ankle Vineyards in Mt. Airy over the next month and a half include the following:

* Saturday, Oct. 24, a walk-along with co-owner Sarah O'Herron through the vineyard and winery in what's called "Winemaker for a Day," ending with a tasting paired up with cheeses, $30

* Sunday, Nov. 8, 2 to 5 p.m., a competition featuring Black Ankle's new Leaf Stone Syrah vs. seven others picked by Maryland wine merchants, with appetizers and a tour, $75

* Sunday, Nov. 15, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., pasta and wine dinner, three courses, one of what has now become a wine and food series that's held every third Sunday at the winery, $35/adults/$8 kids
* Friday, Nov. 27, TBA, an interesting promotion I've never seen at a winery in these parts before: family photo day at the winery, where photographer Liz Hough will take pictures that you could use on your holiday cards or, well, as your personal screen saver; e-mail for pricing and times

Another one to Cross(ing) off the list

Clockwise from top: one of several tasting bars in the winery, dessert awaits a knife; and a shot of the tasting room/winery from the walkway that leads in from the parking lot.

Finally made it to Crossing Vineyards & Winery on Sunday, where a steady stream of visitors were heading up the steps and across the landscaped path to the cozy tasting room during the hour and a half we were there. It's a striking juxtoposition, the parking lot and tasting room and new warehouse sitting there, vineyards stretching as far as you can see to one side with a housing development pressing in from the other. All in all, a gorgeous setting amid the changing leaves in rural Bucks County, about 7 miles south of New Hope.

Folks were heading in for a dummies class that started around 2. Others were there tasting at one of two tables set up back in the winery itself. It was the winery's sixth birthday party, so a four-piece band was playing in one spot and a sheet cake was awaiting a few candles and a knife in another spot. Crossing Vineyard & Winery's standard tasting is 12 wines for $8, an assortment of whites and reds and what they call their original series. The one out of the latter that was opened on Sunday was Wild Berry, a delectable blend that would work well as a summer sipper and quite well on, say, a scoop or two of ice cream. Got a chance to sample their recent award winners in the Sommelier Challenge held in San Diego: the 2007 Merlot, its grapes are imported from Waltz Vineyards over in Manheim, Pa., by the way; their 2007 Cabernet Franc, really what amounts to their signature wine; and their '07 Viognier. All excellent choices among many that we sampled.

Price range, by the way, is $12 for the blush and $13 for a few of the other fruit and berry wines, into the low $20 for their award-winning reds, topping off at 28 bucks for the Pinot Noir Reserve and Cabernet Franc Reserve.