Crow Vineyards was one of my original Maryland wine revelations. Located in Kennedyville on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, their vidal blanc was the first serious versions of that variety that I’d had, and it planted a seed in my mind that the grape could be a signature white for the state if more wineries took it as seriously as they do.
Similarly, I’ve started to wonder which red varieties should be the focus of Maryland winemakers. As I wrote in the vidal piece, there’s a tension between what consumers want and what Maryland can best produce. The former tend to want what it knows, meaning red Bordeaux varieties like cabernet sauvignon and merlot. However, those grapes don’t necessarily do the best in Maryland’s climate and soils. Paradoxically, the latter has to produce a commercially-viable line up of wines, so the economic incentives can get a bit perverse. Recognizing this difficulty, several wineries have been experimenting with varieties native to Italy, and based on my experience have been doing so with some good success
At the forefront of this effort has been barbera, one of the very most widely-cultivated grapes in Italy. On its home turf, it tends to produce wines bursting with red fruits, perfumed flowers, and baking spices. When produced by Crow in Maryland, it offers bursting red fruits, perfumed flowers, and baking spices. The acid and minerality are just killer, but perhaps most impressive is the integration of the slightly plush tannin that fills the mouth. The low alcohol volume is a real asset for this wine. You don’t achieve this profile without real skill, it is one of the best Maryland wines I’ve had.
Producer: Crow Vineyard
Grapes: 94% Barbera, 6% Merlot
* Review sample provided by the winery