Ankida is one heck of a road trip. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, at 1700 feet it is also one of the highest elevations of any Virginia winery outside Appalachia. Suffice to say, you won’t see many casual tourists here. Pay close attention to the directions they post on their website; GPSs aren’t a lot of help. Then just keep following the road past the ‘end of state maintenance’ and go up…and up…and up…
Initially nobody seemed home, but eventually owner/winemaker Nathan Vrooman heard my car and was kind enough to open the tasting room. As he poured, he gave me the low down on the wines.
The name “Ankida” is Sumerian for ‘where heaven and earth join’. It’s an apt description; the view is magnificent. Nathan’s parents purchased the property without thinking of making it into a vineyard. But when they did plant, they discovered this is one of the best locations in all Virginia for Pinot Noir.
The tasting room is new-ish; his parents were actually in a festival selling their wines. But they do have the occasional event for wine enthusiasts who want to enjoy the view with a good pinot.
What I tried:
Chardonnay: Very good; both toasty and creamy. I can see why this has won so many awards.
2012 Rockbridge Rouge Bordeaux blend: Very earthy
Vin Doux port-style made with Chambourcin: Reminded me more of a tawny port than a ruby port; bought a bottle
“Vert” Vidal Blanc: My notes fail me so I can only assume I neither liked or disliked it, although Vidal Blancs are always a hard sell for me.
Pinot Noir: Best of the bunch, and some critics would say this is Virginia’s best Pinot. This grape needs a high altitude to grow well, so few VA wineries can do it. But Ankida’s location is perfect for it, and it shows in the results.