NEED TO UPDATE YOUR ACCOUNT INFORMATION?
LANDMARK WINE CLUB 2020 SCHEDULE
WINE CLUB EXCLUSIVE PICK UP EVENINGS
Join us this Summer in celebrating the release of our August Wine Club orders. La Barrita will be onsite preparing delicious Argentinian dishes for all three evenings.
Fri. Aug 14
Music by The Dan Haas Band
6:00pm – 9:00pm
Fri. Aug 21
Music by Jon Zorn
6:00pm – 9:00pm
Fri. Aug 28
Music by Jay Swanson
6:00pm – 9:00pm
All attendance is by RSVP only. Please check your emails from our Landmark Club Manager in July to RSVP online or email Landmarkclub@boordy.com. This Summer invitation will be open to each member plus up to three guests.
SUMMER WINE PACKAGES:
UPDATE ACCOUNT INFO: Before July 31, 2020
BILLING: August 1, 2020
PICK-UP: August 1, 2020 – October 5, 2020
SHIPPING: Thursday, August 6, 2020
The Human-Grapevine Connection
The grapevine is a curious plant. It cannot stand up on its own; it is susceptible to disease and cold weather, and produces a crop that is a favorite food of birds and deer, yet cultivation of the vine has been going on for thousands of years and is still expanding into new regions. The answer to this apparent contradiction is the interdependent relationship between the grapevine and humans. We support it with an elaborate trellis, and we painstakingly attend to its every whim so we can harvest its fruit to make wine. For proof of this interdependence, consider that more than 10,000 varietals have emanated from a single European species, Vitis vinifera, all the result of close field observation and clonal selection over the millennia by vineyard workers looking to create new styles of wine. A vineyard demands perpetual care, and if left unmanaged even for a single year it rapidly devolves into chaos.
We begin tending our vines each December, as the most recent vintage of wines is still completing fermentation in tank and barrel. Working into early April we meticulously prune the prior season’s growth to re-balance the plant; in the spring we postion the shoots along the trellis for maximum sunlight exposure; in early summer we remove leaves in the fruit zone to aid in ripening; mid-summer we remove excess crop to focus the vine’s energy into the remaining fruit, and in the fall we selectively harvest by hand. This is the cycle that Boordy has been engaged in for the past 75 years, and even longer if you include the “experimental” period during and just after Prohibition.
Grapegrowing and winemaking are not discreet events, but a continuum marked by a seasonal rhythm. The wines that we share with you are the result of the long, intimate relationship we have had with the vines we cultivate. A well-managed vineyard rewards us with good wines and is the best proof of the passion and the pride we have for our work.
Rob Deford, president
A new cabernet franc leaf basks in the warmth of a spring day.
Hope in the time of Corona
Wine growing and winemaking are fundamentally optimistic ventures. The perils arrayed against us can seem Biblical (a partial list): excess rain, drought, hail, diseases, insects, birds, crippling cold, frost, scorching heat. Add to this the vagaries of the marketplace, and it’s a wonder why rational people choose this calling – yet we do. And, we allow ourselves each spring to indulge in an intoxicating sense of optimism as our vines emerge from dormancy, pushing forth tender green shoots and tiny primordial grape clusters. Each new growing season brings with it the opportunity for improvement, for innovation, and for rebalancing our relationship to our work.
Why this perennial optimism when we are beset by perils? Though the threats may be numerous, the fact is that in most years conditions in our region favor the production of good – even great – wines. Through long experience we have learned to be nimble, adjusting our practices to the hand we are dealt, and we are confident that we can make good wines in even the most challenging conditions. Also, we are accustomed to a lengthy time horizon. This is Boordy’s 75thyear. Planting a vineyard is a 30 to 50-year venture, with wines gaining complexity and expression as the vines’ roots probe more deeply into the soil. I feel that 10 years is the minimum planning cycle in the wine business, which means that one difficult year or incident of misfortune is proportionately less significant in the grand scheme of things.
As I write this, we are facing the familiar paradox of nurturing hope in the face of peril: a resplendent spring is unfolding, the vines are pushing new growth, and the vineyard crew has readied everything for the season. Yet, we are all sheltering in place, the winery is closed, we have cancelled our musical events, at least through June. There’s more than the usual dose of angst. However, we know that this, too, will pass; there will be recovery and renewal. Growing wine is the essence of hope, and wine is one of life’s great gifts. Wherever you raise a glass of Boordy wine this spring, may it bring you pleasure and joy.
I look forward to when we can all celebrate together at Boordy again.
Rob Deford, president
Happy Birthday Boordy . . . it’s your 75th anniversary!
While 75 years my not seem significant in an endeavor that is as old as recorded history (winemaking is depicted on mosaics in the tombs of the pharaohs), in the context of the fast moving, ever-morphing commercial landscape of the United States it’s no mean feat. Boordy, Maryland’s first commercial winery, got its officialstart in 1945 just as WWII came to a close, but it’s unofficial roots date back to the Prohibition era, which, you will recall, wiped out the American wine industry between the years 1918 – 1933. Through those dark days, Boordy’s founders practiced benign civil disobedience by supplying vines to backyard growers and a handy companion book, “American Wines and How to Make Them”. To say that the wine industry in the U.S. was in a primitive state in those years would be an understatement.
Boordy’s first commercial wines were made with hybrid vines imported directly from France; they were dry and fresh on the palate and were intended to be drunk young like any good “vin de pays”. Selling for around $2/bottle, they rapidly gained a following.
Our family began growing grapes for Boordy in 1965. Fifteen years later we purchased the name and equipment from the founders and moved the winery to our farm in the Long Green Valley. With its historic barns and ample land for vineyard expansion, the farm was the ideal setting for the next chapter in Boordy’s story. Since then, Boordy’s evolution has mirrored that of the national wine industry, with impressive investments in vineyards, equipment, and talented personnel, mirrored by equally impressive gains in the quality of our wines.
The Boordy story is a rich one, underpinned by family commitment, innovation, risk taking, and reward. It is a journey shared over seven and a half decades with our fellow Marylanders and folk beyond who have supported the adventure by purchasing our wines. While modest in scale, Boordy has proven more durable than the Soviet Union, the beehive hairdo, and the European Union, and has proven more financially stable than General Motors and Lehman Brothers.
The wine industry is one instance where age confers a distinct advantage, particularly in a region where much of our know-how derives from practice; to make the best wines we must commit to a lot of trial-and-error. Our soils and climate are distinct; we cannot parrot California or France. Time is on our side, allowing the knowledge that we have accumulated over the years to be passed from one generation to the next. While perhaps a bit trite, it’s not inappropriate to compare Boordy’s evolution to that of a fine wine aging in the bottle, whose trajectory is toward better and better quality.
I hope you enjoy this selection of Landmark wines. Thank you for sharing our journey, and please raise a glass to salute this milestone in Boordy’s history.
Rob Deford, president
Fall 2019 Whither the Weather
With the excellent 2019 vintage just completed and the new wines safely tucked away in our cellars, we now have the luxury to reflect upon broader issues, foremost among them being: “whither the weather?” The dramatically different personalities of the 2018 and 2019 vintages beg the question of whether our weather has come off the rails?
According to NOAA, “the difference between weather and climate is a measure of time”. Climate is the big picture, including average temperatures, rainfall, and length of growing season that characterize a region. A coastal state at the 39thparallel (sandwiched between Napa and Rome), Maryland has a climate whose broad metrics favor fine wine production.
The weather is what we talk (and complain) about on a daily, weekly, even monthly basis. So, when does weather become climate? When do fluctuations become so extensive that they warrant a recalibration in how we grow and make our wines? The reason this matters is that climate is the sine qua non of fine wine. All else is for naught if climate isn’t on our side.
Presently there are more questions than answers. Winemaking is at its heart an optimistic undertaking, and despite the perennial challenges and triumphs of weather (which have a history as old as wine itself), our belief in the fundamentals of Maryland’s climate is unshaken. Annual variability also has a silver lining: it insures against complacency in our work and bland consistency in our wines. Each vintage has a unique character, requiring an attentive, nimble approach to get the best result. At Boordy, now reaching our 75th year, we embrace this approach.
The 2019 vintage gave us a rare combination of fine quality fruit and abundant crops, so we will have much to celebrate beginning with the first white and rose wines to be released this spring, to the reserve reds which we look forward to sharing with you in 2022.
As always, we deeply appreciate the faith you place in our work through your membership in the Landmark Wine Club.
Rob Deford, president
Summer 2019 Not Reserved about Chardonnay Reserve
Chardonnay, the most widely planted white wine variety in the world, may be responsible for many bland, generic wines but it also produces rare and exquisite gems that are sought out by connoisseurs. This malleability is not a character deficit; it’s the secret to chardonnay’s appeal among winemakers. Chardonnay could be likened to a blank canvas upon which terroir (climate & geography) leave their imprint. Additionally, there are numerous clonal variants of chardonnay that range from high-yielding and insipid to finnicky, exotic, and flavorful. These two variables – terroir and clone – identify chardonnays from one vineyard or region to another and distinguish those which exhibit exquisite personality from the rest of the crowd.
Chardonnay is planted in both our Long Green and South Mountain vineyards. Long Green’s cooler conditions and more fertile soils yield chardonnay with tropical and citrus aromas and a medium to light body; these grapes are dedicated to our Icon Chardonnay. Our Chardonnay Reserve is sourced entirely from South Mountain where the growing season is longer and the soils poorer, yielding chardonnay with a more restrained aromatic profile and a mineral character which lingers on the palate. The harvest crew ducks under the trellis wires as they work down the rows, following a vein of impoverished soil where the best grapes are found. Tedious, back breaking work, yes, but it is the key to the rich, distinctive character of this wine.
The role of winemaking is critical. Careful blending of clonal lots and French oak barrel fermentation for six months add intrigue to both the aroma and flavor. To avoid over-extraction of wood flavors we use barrels ranging in age from new to five years. Hand stirring of the yeast “lees” (sediments) during this period contributes a rich “bready” nuance to the wine’s palate. Finally, we bottle age the wine for a year before release to harmonize its aromas and flavors.
An ocean of indifferent chardonnays has led to widespread fatigue among wine drinkers with this variety, but this misses the point. Chardonnay is, without a doubt, the greatest white variety in the world when grown in the right place and handled by talented winemakers. Boordy’s Chardonnay Reserve is such a wine, and a most worthy contribution to the noble legacy of this grape.
Rob Deford, president