Advocating for under-appreciated wine regions in the Eastern United States
It is no wonder that Bordeleau has a popular following. Shelton points out that “more than 50 percent of visitors are from out of the area and many come from surrounding states.” Its location on the Wicomico River allows some of those customers to regularly visit by boat. Oh, and in addition to the great tasting room and grounds, the price point of even of the top wines is quite reasonable.
Stopping in a Bordeleau Vineyards and Winery is kind of a no-brainer. I can’t say enough good things about them. If you want to join a wine club, this is one of Maryland’s top producers. You simply can’t go wrong. If you have not visited, you need to. After you stop in, please let me know what you think.
Open to Public
Wed-Sat 12 to 6; Sun 12:30 to 6
I sampled about a half dozen Bordeleau wines during my visit. I will say that, while the winery may have built its reputation on red wine, the whites are also pretty spectacular. All were well made, but the Reserve Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc were absolute standouts. I’m not typically a fan of oaked Chardonnay, but I will make an exception for this perfectly executed white done in French oak and sporting butterscotch notes in a very rich wine. The perfect balance of the Sauv Blanc with its citrus notes and crisp finish made it my favorite among the whites.
Only estate fruit is used to produce the 4000 to 5000 cases Bordeleau produces annually. Acreage and production levels are unlikely to increase. Objective is quality not quantity and the winery has certainly developed a reputation for excellent red wines.
Bordeleau Vineyards and Winery Profile
Written by Brian
On the eastern shore of Maryland, there are several wineries that one hears about regularly. Bordeleau Vineyards and Winery is one of them. Although the venue is quite lovely and an occasional music event is hosted in the tasting room, I believe it is the quality of wine that drives the reputation and drives visitors to the tasting room.
Inside one of Eastern Maryland's most popular tasting rooms.
One view of the tasting bar.
The Bordeleau wines use lot numbers rather than vintages.
One thing to note about the wine is that the bottles do not bear a vintage, but rather a lot number. This is because, Shelton explained, they use “selected barrels from multiple vintages [which allows them] to make more consistent wines. Typically a red wine is made up of barrels from three vintages and average time in the barrel exceeds 24 months.” The stated goal, according to Shelton, “is that any new wine bottled must be better than the previous Lot. This can only be achieved by using wines from multiple vintages.”
Owner Tom Shelton began planting grapes in 1999 and today has over 13 acres under vine in addition to apples, peaches, strawberries and blackberries. According to Shelton, it was only after he “determined that [he] could produce excellent wines from fruit grown on the farm [that he] applied for a winery license.” The vines were seven years old by the time a winery license was granted and Bordeleau sold wine wholesale and at festivals for another two years until the tasting room opened in 2008.
Reds, however, are definitely the main event. The Cabernet Franc was on the lighter side, but displayed ripe fruit and a bit of spice in the finish with no green notes. The Petit Verdot was another standout. It is a big wine sporting a lot of red fruit and a beautiful finish. While all of the reds kicked serious butt, the Malbec was my favorite overall. It is tough to find a good Malbec in the Mid Atlantic, but Bordeleau has cracked the code. It is a medium bodied wine that has brilliant fruit notes on the nose and palate. Ahh… and the finish is something to admire.
More than 13 acres under vine.
3155 Noble Farm Rd; Eden, MD 21822
The exterior of the Bordeleau tasting room.
Owner(s): Tom Shelton
Winemaker: Tom Shelton