TN 2003 Pontet Canet & 2015 Black Ankle Crumbling Rock

Believe it or not, this was really good, and pretty much ripe vintage, classic Bordeaux. It was not a 2003 caricature. I would never suspect it as California, as it leaned more towards the cassis end of the fruit spectrum, and it had that dusty/cedary element coming through that I never taste in modern California wine. The fruit/tannin balance was very good, and there was zero heat. It was delicious with my steak! Seems to have years left in the tank. I am glad to have several more bottles.

Alongside, I opened a bottle of 2015 Black Ankle Vineyards Crumbling Rock (Frederick, Maryland), a Bordeaux blend. It was also really good, and not in a “good for Maryland wine” sense, but in an objective sense. I went back and forth between the PC and the Black Ankle, and the Black Ankle never suffered. It had less depth/richness than the Pontet Canet, but it was an enjoyable wine to drink that did a great job of showing the quality of Bordeaux grapes in the Eastern USA. I think it was the best Eastern USA red wine I have ever had, and I have had a lot of them.

I corked up both and put them in the fridge to try again tonight.

Thats awesome to hear about the '15 Black Ankle. We live right close to there and have enjoyed their wines.

I haven’t touched my 6 en-primeur bottles at the offsite, but I like the 2 very positive recent posts on the 2003 P-C (adding on my also recent positive experience with the 2003 Barton)!

With the cooling weather, I’ll look to try 1 of mine soon.

Have you had other vintages of the crumbling rock? The 2015 should be the 10th vintage and I wonder how much the quality has changed over time.

I’m really glad you liked your PC too David, great stuff! I can’t compare to Californian wines through almost total lack of experience but I certainly agree that it doesn’t taste like anything out of kilter with any other good Pauillac vintages, which I admît surprised me.

Nope. This was my first wine from them. It won’t be my last.

Thanks for the note on the PC David, I very recently brought one to an offline and my experience concurred with yours. I was worried that it would be stewed or overripe based on the vintage. However after reading positive CT notes gave it a shot. If tasted blind would never have known it was an 03, had great balance, nothing out of kilter at all. Also had an 00 a few months later that was probably the wotn. Really like this estate.

Agree with you on the Pontet Canet, David.

I’ll keep an eye out for the Black Ankle. Interested in trying a decent local wine. Tried a couple of their Zins many years ago and while they were good (and not in a “good for MD” sense), they were pretty expensive, so I lost interest.

Edited for typos.

Personally I quite like the 2003 Northern Medocs.

Thanks for heads-up re the Black Ankle. Visited a few times and enjoyed most of what I had purchased. Being so close it sort of fell through the tracks. Old Westminster became our MD winery of choice but plan now to return to Black Ankle.


me too.

They are ridiculously stereotyped. How many tasting notes are we going to have to see that say “surprisingly, this 2003 left banker was not roasted/hot/gloopy/extreme” before people realize that 2003 LB is not actually that way?

To be fair I did drink up a bunch of 2003 right banks when young that were on the pruney side. Fortunately I bought little, and at crazy low prices, so it was tolerable. Unfortunately there was a whole case of Faugeres in half bottles that was rather tedious, with maybe 1/4 of them corked too.


The list price on the 2015 Black Ankle is $56. Do you think it compares to a French Bordeaux that would cost $56? I live in Columbia, but haven’t explored the Maryland wines because the prices seemed high for a nascent wine region.



yeah, right bank in 2003 is a whole different deal. After trying a few young I never go near them, so I don’t know how they’ve aged.

Same issue here. I seem to remember most of their better wines being in the $40-50 range. I think the same is true of the better Virginia wines. Barboursville Octagon is well priced around $50, but RdV is about twice that and I would take most equivalently priced Bdx over it in any year but maybe 2013.

This is price of land, the price of labor, the price of making wine in a small operation in a nascent wine region with often suboptimal weather. I don’t know if it’s possible for VA/MD wine to drop the top tier of wine lower or for better delineation to evolve between the few really good and the bulk of middle-of-the-Road wines.

Black ankle makes very good wines, IMHO.

I would not load up on the Black Ankle at that price, but I would buy a couple. It’s really good.

Yeah. I read about Barboursville and considered a weekend in VA to taste wines, but their prices just seemed too high relative to the tasting notes on CT. I thought I’d enjoy the tastings and end up spending too much for the wine. However, Frederick is so close. I might dip my toe in at Black Ankle.

Have to say, I don’t fully trust assessments of interesting underdog local wine vs celebrated high-end region like Bordeaux unless they are blinded…not that people deliberately tilt anything but wine tasting is just too subjective. Still makes me interested in trying out a Black Ankle though.

Go to Barbousville, skip the tasting room and go to the library. You will probably have to ask as most don’t go there and probably don’t know. The library is a much better experience. It’s sit down and you pay by the flight or by the glass. They have some limited snacks. It’s more like a wine bar where we like to relax and have never felt the pressure to purchase. Probably because it’s priced like a wine bar.

I find with the barboursville wines that it pays to taste first. I have loved some vintages of the Nebbiolo and Octagon and others not so much. The cheap fizz that they bring in from Italy often serves a roll in our house especially in summer. But a quick check of the web page shows the price has crept up so probably not the bargain it once was.

A number of years ago, RdV set up a blind tasting of their 2009s against the 2009 Lynch Bages and the 2009Camus SS. They didn’t reveal what the French and CA wines were until the reveal so we just knew two from VA, one Bdx, and one CA. The Camus stuck out as obviously CA but I thought that the Lost Mountain had to be the Bdx and the best wine of the tasting. One datapoint only.