Bordeleau Winery, The Water’s Edge

I recently had the opportunity for an impromptu stop at a Maryland Winery. I was driving along highway 13 with my wife when we noticed a sign for Bordeleau Winery.

We knew nothing about it, but decided to take a short detour to explore.  The sign promised it was a mere five miles down the winding country road. The winery proved easy to find because at every point where doubt began to creep in, there was another sign to reassure you of your course. When we finally were able to see the winery over a sea of soybeans, we were quite impressed.

The winery is located in a small building adjacent to a very large and beautiful mansion(the very mansion featured on the label in fact) right on Wicomico Creek. Well manicured grounds and neatly spaced rows of vines set a beautiful scene. All the walkways are brick, well maintained, with benches in strategic spots for you to enjoy a glass of wine.

We entered their tasting room, which was large and filled with their wines displayed in all manner of wine rack, from converted barrels, to trellises. It was empty save for the sales rep. Lisa who would be giving the tasting.

They offered a variety of tasting options, I chose the full eight tastings for five dollars, with the additional Meritage tasting for an additional dollar. They offer more than eight wines, but I was only interested in their traditional offerings; I left the peach and apple wines for braver souls than myself.

Bordeleau Winery first planted their vines in 1999 and had their first bottling in 2005 and 2006. They grow all their own grapes and bottle everything they grow. Their reds are aged in French oak for up to three years before being released, which is quite evident upon tasting.

I have generally found that Maryland does white wine fairly well, but had difficulty with red. Lisa assured me that their reds were very good and brought over printouts from as support, as well as gold and silver medals from the Governors Cup among other competitions. I admit, I was impressed.

We were the first tasters to come by that week so we had fresh bottles opened and poured for us. The tasting portions were very small, about a half ounce. Hardly enough to get a sense of the wines.

We began with the white wines. Their Sauvignon Blanc was quite good, with strong citrus flavors and a strong finish. I have found that Maryland wines, even the good whites, have a weak, or even disagreeable finish to them. Not so with both the Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Grigio which was bursting with apple and pear flavors. Both of those wines were refreshing and delightful.

Bordeleau offers both oaked and unoaked Chardonnay. The unoaked was crisp and metalic, almost reminiscent of Chablis, until you got to the finish, which was extremely bitter and disagreeable. The oaked, Reserve Chardonnay was far too oaked for me, almost to the point of being flawed. I was unable to taste anything but oak. Instead of the buttery style that oak can bring, it was like licking a bat.

Whites behind us, we moved on to the reds. I was very hopeful given the success they have had in Maryland competitions with their red wines. Unfortunately, I found that while they were certainly better than most other Maryland red wine I have had, they were disappointing when compared to almost anything else.

Their Cabernet Sauvignon, which won a silver medal, had a very strong tobacco odor and taste. It was the lightest Cabernet I have had to date and if tasting blind, I would have needed about ten guesses before I guessed it was a Cab.

Their Merlot had the strong Petrol smell I associate with Merlot, and Maryland and New Jersey Merlot in particular, but it lacked the plum and dark cherry I was expecting.

The Cabernet Franc was the only red that gave me pause. It won a gold medal and they routinely sell out of it. It was very light bodied like the rest of their reds, and it was very smooth. Though it might sound odd, it had the most sense of Terroir. I could almost taste the air of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and the smell was like standing on the dock fishing for Crabs.

The final wine was the Meritage. Unlike the other tasting pours, this one was a full ounce and a half. It is a blend of their Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a bit of both Petit Verdot and Malbec. Unfortunately, it was dominated by the petrol of the Merlot and had an almost astringent finish.

When the tasting was over, I purchased a bottle of their Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. I also took a glass of the Pinot Grigio to sip while we walked around the grounds.

We followed the brick path around the back yard, and out to the dock which had a very nice bench on it. There we sat and sipped while fish jumped and splashed around us. The Pinot tasted even better with the smell of Wicomico Creek around us.

In all, Bordeleau Winery is a beautiful place to visit. They do white wine better than most, and their reds are certainly worth tasting for yourself to decide if they are more your style than they were mine. If nothing else, buy a glass of anything and sit on their dock while you drink. It just might sell you on Maryland wine.


Bordeleau Winery, The Water’s Edge

3155 Noble Farm Rd

Eden, MD 21822


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