Ankida Ridge Vineyards, the “jewel of Amherst County” (my phrasing) has just released their new 2017 vintage Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and 2016 Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine.

The 2017 vintage was a fine one in Virginia, for both reds and whites. The Ankida Ridge vineyards is 1,800 feet in elevation and retains good acidity and freshness for the grapes. Good news for 2020: Ankida Ridge dodged the frost bullet of May that did so much damage in Central Virginia; also this is the first vintage that their new vineyard will come into production, almost tripling their volume.

Ankida Ridge Blanc de Blancs 2016: Light gold color from (neutral) barrel aging. Complex nose: toasty, hazelnut and almond, bruised apple. Palate: Complex but harmonious and elegant. Apple, pear, lemon flavors are complemented by almond hints, the acidity is rounded by very slight oxidation and creamy lees, with creme brulee and fresh lemon zest finish. An original and highly stylish, elegant blanc de blancs, traditional method. Only 97 cases made.

Ankida Ridge Chardonnay 2017: The nose is Burgundian; restrained, with apple and mineral notes. On the palate though, the wine is quite forward and even juicy, much like a Macon Villages. The acid is lower than we’ve seen in past vintages, but the wine is young and promising and it will develop. Right now, it’s fun and gluggable.

Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir 2017: has an intensely vibrant, fruity, juicy cherry/berry aroma, with huge volume of flavor on the palate, zesty tingling acidity and firm red and black cherry flavors with a crisp texture. This wine was fermented with 10% whole clusters, to add tannin and complexity. This is the “largest” flavored Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir yet. Even though the alcohol is over 14%, the wine remains fresh, fruit-driven and intensely lively, and should last a decade. A different style than the fine (higher acid) 2016, but forward and very hedonistic.

Book signing at Ankida Ridge, Saturday 6/27:

I will be at Ankida Ridge Vineyards from 2:00-5:00 to sign/personalize copies of the newly published 3rd edition of Beyond Jefferson’s Vines, where these wines may be tasted or purchased. Ankida Ridge plays a prominent visual role in the new edition.