Black Ankle Vineyards is one of our favorite places to take wine-loving guests visiting us in Frederick, especially those skeptical of Maryland wines. We enjoy seeing our friend’s reactions to the unique setting as we walk up the path to the winery.
The first thing you see is the living roof, alive with color, providing beauty and natural insulation. The building beneath is just as interesting, constructed from wood, clay, and stone found on the property. The thick walls are insulated with straw grown on the farm.
Black Ankle got us through the pandemic, providing a year-round outdoor escape. Last year they expanded their outdoor space, installing a huge terrace with multiple levels overlooking the vineyards and farm. Shade sails cover much of the terrace, offering either sun or shaded seating. There is also a central courtyard if you want a cozier, more protected spot.
The winery is impressive without being pretentious. But we don’t come to Black Ankle so often just for the beautiful setting; we come because we think they make some of the best wine in Maryland.
Our summer line up of favorites includes the Reserve Chardonnay, which is our go-to wine for any dish with crab. It is 100% chardonnay that has been fermented and aged in oak barrels for 8 months. We also enjoy the Grüner Veltliner, a citrusy Austrian grape that is very food friendly. In 2019 for the first time, they barrel fermented some of their Grüner, adding depth with notes of toast and honey. We absolutely love this wine.
Albariño is a Spanish grape that we were pleased to see growing locally. This crisp, high acid wine is great with seafood, as we discovered in its native region of Galicia Spain. Black Ankle released three different Albariños for 2020. The Albariño Norte, Albariño Sud, and Albariño Viejo were produced from grapes harvested from different areas of the vineyards and show distinctly different profiles.
The Passegiata is what we would call a nice patio pounder, a light fruity blend of reds that could even be chilled. The term passeggiata is Italian for an evening stroll (in Spanish the term is paseo) and this wine would be perfect for a summer stroll…in Italy, Spain, or Maryland.
I’m in a summery, light wine mood today, but Black Ankle also produces excellent red wines. We are particulary fond of their red blends. Favorites include the Crumbling Rock and the Slate series, both complex Bordeaux style blends.
Black Ankle offers wine tasting flights that change with availability, and you can purchase your favorites to enjoy on the terrace by the glass or bottle. There are food trucks and live music on Friday evenings at 4pm. They also have a good selection of prepared foods available, or you are welcome to bring your own feast. Either way, we always get one of their freshly baked baguettes to go with. Just ask and they will bring you small plates, cloth napkins, utensils, and a cold bottle of water. Everything you need for a very civilized day of wine and food in the lovely Maryland countryside.
Located in Mt. Airy, Black Ankle Vineyards is an easy 30 minute drive northeast of Frederick out route 26. They are in the process of expanding with a second location in Clarksburg, MD. They began planting the first vines on the new farm this spring and have plans for a new tasting room. It will be called Live Edge Vineyards and I am eagerly following their progress on the Live Edge Vineyards facebook page.
Black Ankle Vineyards
14463 Black Ankle Road
Mt. Airy, MD 21771