162 MAY/JUNE 2019 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
Big Cork Vineyards
is situated on a
There’s music on
local cheeses and
BIG CORK VINEYARDS
Big Cork is the class of the field. ;e facilities are new and first-rate, the brand already established and the wines delicious. ;e drive
is the longest from Bethesda—almost to West Virginia, but worth it.
;e winery is large and modern, situated on a remote hilltop. Parking is ample, and the building is striking from its wide-open interior
and witty cork furnishings to its welcoming views and its cork wall art
depicting the winemaker. ;ere is a cigar lounge on one side and space
for the kids on the other. ;e tasting bar is spacious, and many groups
take their selections (poured into Riedel tumblers) to their own tables.
;e site was first planted by Dave Collins in 2011, and the first wines
were produced in 2013. ;at first vintage of 2013 petit verdot won the
Maryland Governor’s Cup Best in Show in 2015. Big Cork has kept up
the pace ever since.
HIGHLIGHTS: ;e 2017 chardonnay has sweet pear flavors and a crisp finish,
while the viognier has honey citrus and subtle floral notes. ;e reds I
tried were a malbec with its inky color and ripe fruit, and a barbera that
tasted like a pinot noir with amped-up dark plum flavors.
PRICES: Tastings are $10; bottles range from $21 to $56.
FOOD: Assorted local cheeses and charcuterie are available.
EXTRAS: Music on weekends; a bed and breakfast is on-site.
4236 Main St., Rohrersville; 301-302-8032; bigcorkvineyards.com
HIDDEN HILLS FARM AND VINEYARD
Hidden Hills planted its first grapes six years ago, after the owners decided
to forego farming hay for their horse farm and
boarding enterprise. ;ey have been planting
2 acres of grapes a year, with a goal to have 20
acres under vine. ;ey have decided not to
rush their young vines into production, so for
now you’ll be drinking mostly California wines.
Unlike other new local wineries, which usually
use local grapes only, Hidden Hill sources most
of its grapes from the Golden State.
Regardless of the source, the wines are
delightful and well made.
All tastings are done by reservation. ;e
lane to the winery winds through a few small
vineyards and ends at a lovely hilltop home,
where small signs direct you to the lower level
entrance by the pool. You enter what feels
more like a handsome basement of a private
home than a winery tasting room. Classic
movie posters cover the walls, and the furniture, including the six stools at the tasting bar,
HIGHLIGHTS: ;ere are two wines made with
Hidden Hills fruit: ;e rosé is Provençal in
style, both crisp and fresh, and the chambourcin has great body for the grape and
isn’t harmed by the o;-flavors that are often
encountered in it. ;e vidal blanc, made from
grapes grown in Cumberland, Maryland,
o;ers fresh pear flavors, is juicy on the palate
and has a creamy finish. Hidden Hills doesn’t
have its own facility yet, so all of the wine is
produced at Maryland Winecellars in Westminster. Of the wines made from California
fruit, the cabernet franc is bold and peppery,
complementing food nicely rather than overpowering it.
PRICES: Tastings are $10; bottles range from $25
FOOD: Charcuterie and local cheeses are for sale
and presented in ample portions.
EXTRAS: ;ere are occasional special events,
such as March Madness parties.
7550 Green Valley Road,