Dove Valley Vineyard & Winery Review
Address: 645 Harrington Road Rising Sun,Maryland 21911.
Phone Number: 410-658-8388
Tasting Hours: Thurs-Mon 11:00-7:00
Region: Lancaster Valley AVA, Maryland
Reviewer: James Houston
Review Date: 7/13/2012
Reviewer: James Houston
If you commute on I-95 in Maryland, I bet the words Dove Valley Winery are rattling around in your head somewhere. Thats because two extremely well-placed signs on either side of Exit 93 announce the winerys existence to more eyeballs every day than any winery Facebook page could ever hope to do.
As a frequent passer of these proto-viral advertisements, I was excited to finally get the chance to pull off the interstate and see if I could find anything great to drink in the murk of the Chesapeake Watershed.
I soon realize I shouldnt have assumed the winery would just be a quick quarter-mile from the offramp, perhaps nestled between the Exxon and the Chick-Fil-A. Instead, I find myself wending through idyllic farm country studded with silos and the ever-familiar aroma of fresh manure. The road itself, twisty and angular, is streaked with a disconcerting number of tire skid marks.
Fifteen minutes later, I make it to Dove Valley. Men are hammering on the wooden skeleton of a new building as I ease into the driveway. I start for what I presume to be the tasting room, and out of the corner of my eye see a young man from the construction site jogging over to cut me off. I state my business and he invites me inside, where the tasting counter is unoccupied.
The lightly-finished wooden space is quaint and cozyalmost Grandmas house quaint and cozywith antique glassware displayed in cases, and curious artifacts like an old carnival popcorn machine lining the walls. An old white poodle pokes around slowly. It is early afternoon on a Thursday, and I am the only one here.
The young man suggests I sit at a table rather than stand at the counter. He gathers nine bottles and brings them over. I request a spit container after it is clear that one is not coming, and he brings me a plastic pitcher.
The tasting begins with a red wine, the Pinot Noir Select 2010. Pale-colored, the nose offers a promising whiff of raspberry and cedar. The palate is a bit austere, but still in balance. It is a good start. Next is the Pinot Noir 2010 (the non-select). The depth of the first wine is missing from this and I dump half the glass. The pourer offers water to rinse my glass, which I decline.
What follows are three more dry reds before six sweet wines. I tend to get nervous when I get more sweet wines than dry wines at a tastingand not simply because of sugar overload. I know good, great, even incredible sweet wines exist. But for every one of these there seem to be many more just hiding behind sweetness to sneak an eh wine into your glass.
This is not to say Dove Valley is making eh wines, particularly with regards to their Pinot Noir Reserve. But it would be inspiring to see them, and other wineries in regions that are still establishing their reputations, shift their emphasis to a focused portfolio of dry wines with one or two sweeties as an afterthought. This way, the potential of the terroir can shine unobstructed.