Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery
Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery
3155 Noble Farm Rd
Contact: Thomas Shelton
From start to finish, owner and winemaker Tom Shelton is involved in creating and perfecting all that it takes to make award-winning wines. He is particular about everything, from pruning vines to the operation of the bottling line to the freshness of the wines being served in the tasting room. Tom's hands-on approach is one of the reasons that Bordeleau is now recognized as one of the best wineries in Maryland.
With an early interest in agriculture and using management skills developed in the poultry industry, Tom followed an interest spawned when he started making fruit wines while still in his teens. After purchasing a farm in Allen, Maryland in 1998, he planted his first grape vines in 1999. Early plantings were Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc and Chambourcin, and he continued planting additional grape vines each year through 2003. Other varieties planted were Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Sauvignon Blanc.
After the 2003 plantings, Tom had to make a decision regarding starting a commercial winery. Weather and soils are critical to the production of good wines, so he had to convince himself that grapes grown on his property could consistently lead to the production of good wines. After considerable deliberation he decided to seek his commercial license in the summer of 2006. With the renewed commitment, eight and one half acres of plantings were added from 2007 to 2011, including new varieties such as Malbec, Petite Verdot, Pinot Grigio, Viognier, and Muscat.
Depending on the grape variety and style of wine desired, the fermentation process involves different methods. White grapes are pressed for the juice without destemming to improve juice quality. The fruit is chilled in a walk-in cooler before processing. Fermentation and aging occur primarily in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The only exception to this approach is the barrel fermented Chardonnay which is actually fermented in oak barrels to help intergrate oak flavors and then aged in the oak barrels.
Red wines are made in a totally different manner. The grapes are graded on a moving belt and then go into a destemming machine. The destemmer separates the grapes from the stems and breaks the skin on the grapes, then drops the fruit into large bins which are used for fermentation. The key to red wine making is the extraction of color from the skins of the grapes and the extraction of tannins from the skins and seeds of the grapes. After approximately 14 days the finished wine is then pressed to separate the wine from skins and seeds. After pressing, red wine is then transferred to oak barrels for aging. Most of Bordeleau's red wines age for a minimum of 24 months in a temperature-controlled room.
The oak barrels are made from white oak and are procured from forests in many different areas of the world. Barrels from different regions impart different aromatics and flavors to the finished wine.
Winemaker: Thomas Shelton
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