Preston Ridge Vineyards

This past weekend I awoke on Saturday morning hoping to soak the deck in Australian Timber oil to protect the beautiful cedar boards so I can get our patio furniture out and I can enjoy the warm weather, if it ever comes this year.

It has to, I presume, because the local farmers have all spread manure on their fields and that is a sure sign that spring has sprung. But the only liquid soaking the cedar was from natural resources – rain, that is.

So, I’m moping around the house getting under my better half’s skin as she’s trying to study and I’m trying to have a conversation. So, I was politely told to go do something, go to a winery or something. Well, I don’t need to be prodded to visit a winery. So, I logged on the computer to see where I wanted to go and found a new winery I had not heard of yet.

Preston Ridge Vineyard opened last October but I was unaware as I had already turned in my CT Passport (no, I didn’t win) and was pretty much done for the wine season. Seeing as the vineyard was only 8-9 miles away, I figured what the heck and I gathered my keys to the car and hit the road. It didn’t take long and I was soon at the vineyard.

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After heading down the entrance the tasting room came into view and there were only about five cars in the parking lot and the building seemed to be fairly large so I was excited about visiting a new winery.

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Upon entering the wine bar is just to the right of the entrance. This is where I met Steve and Ann, the owners, and where I began my wine tasting.

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But not before I noticed the 144 bottle wine rack to the right of the wine bar. I have to get one of these wine racks.

I started my wine tasting with their 2011 Fieldstone White which is a blend of Cayuga grapes and it opened with peachy and citrusy notes both on the nose and the palate. Although it wasn’t a real warm day I could envision sipping this on a warm sunny afternoon out on the deck that is, if I ever get the Australian Timber oil on it.

Next up was the 2011 Chardonnay which had peach, apple, and pear aromas and as this was chilled to just about the right temperature the flavor was similar to the aromas as my palate found this to be clean and crisp. As many of you know I am not a real big Chardonnay drinker but I liked this one. On their tasting menu were two other Chardonnays of similar aromas and tastes, however the 2011 Chardonnay Reserve had a real buttery finish on the palate and the 2011 Chardonnay Premier Cellar Reserve finished with vanilla notes on the back palate.

Next up was the 2011 Zundell Farm Rose which was light and refreshing and reminded me of strawberry shortcake sans the cake but with the creamy topping. Again, another good summer sipping wine. This would probably go well with a cheese and fruit tray.

Now I was on to their reds and the first one was the 2011 Cabernet Franc which is one of my favorite reds – actually, reds are my favorites in general. This didn’t disappoint as jammy red raspberry, red currant, and red cherry flavors were plentiful with a slight peppery finish.

Then I tried the 2011 Estate Cabernet Franc and I found much the same as the previous Cabernet Franc but detected hints of plum with the same slight peppery finish. The the last wine on the wine list was the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon which consisted more of the black berry fruits of cherry, raspberry, strawberry, currant with hints of earth and leather.

Well, I thought this was the end of the wine list but Steve and Ann had a few more surprises. I was treated to a few barrel tastings (these are some of my favorite things) and was quite surprised to be offered a couple of Rieslings which weren’t even on the tasting menu. I couldn’t tell you specifically what the two were but the aromas and flavors were of peach, honeysuckle, and pear with slight hints of green apple. Clean, crisp and wonderful, however these won’t get bottled until the fall but worth the wait if you’re a Riesling drinker.

The last one was a Cabernet Franc. I really liked this one and it will be bottled in the winter which was a surprise to me as it tasted perfect. I’ll definitely be back to taste this one again when it’s ready. Bet you’re wondering what the aromas and flavors of the barrel Cabernet Franc – oohhh, you’re going to have to visit the winery and hope they bring some of this up to the tasting room to experience the nuances of this wine.

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When I was leaving I took this picture and I’m not sure what this is but I’d love to turn that into a bocce ball court.

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Now this is the way to do a wine tour!

 

 

Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery – 2012

Traveling to Paradise Hills Vineyard brings you to what you think is a residential area giving you reason to believe the GPS isn’t working quite well. But if you persevere you’ll find yourself in front of the wine barrel with the winery’s name on the front. And when you think otherwise, a sign points you in the right direction.

These are the signs I like to see  and after following the hand crafted sign I found my self right in the parking lot with the adobe style tasting room.

 

As you can see I had the place all to myself and could wander around at will and decided to visit the vines before entering the tasting room. I must say the grapes look enticing but seeing as I am a patient individual I can wait for the finished product.

Once inside the tasting room I was met by Richard, one of the owners as the wine staff for the tasting. The tasting fee is $8.00 for the five wines they have on the wine menu. You do not get a signature glass but their wine glasses are clearly 20 ounce or better wine glasses. I’m particularly fond of this venue as it really provides ample room to swirl the wine and get the full potential of the wine’s aroma and flavor. I have a gazillion wine glasses anyway and not getting another one wouldn’t bother me at all.

Before the tasting begins Richard gave me a run down of the history of the place (which I did not write down verbatim, so you’ll have to visit them and get the whole story) including the visit from George Washington traveling through the winery hillsides and the family initial above the wine bar. Then we got into the wines.

Washington Trail White ($18): A strong green apple aroma led into apple and tart pear on the palate. This was clean and crisp with a lingering finish. This is one you’ll want to serve well-chilled.

Chardonnay ($24.99): This is produced from Estate grown grapes which happen to be the ones I decided to visit (see previous picture of grapevines) before I entered the tasting room. This had apricot and honey on the nose with strawberry and citrus flavors and was served quite chilled. A bit more than I like my Chardonnay but good nonetheless.

After tasting the two white wines, Richard produced a new glass for the red wine tasting.

Trio ($22.99): A red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Carmenere revealed a mocha and cherry aroma which was quite pleasing to the ‘ol schnozzola. On the palate were chocolate and wild berry flavors with hints of pepper on the finish.

Riomonte ($22.99): This red blend was very similar to the Trio minus the Cabernet Saivignon but with an additional pronounced plum aroma and flavor. A slight peppery finish and after a few sips a chocolate flavor found its way to the back palate.

Cayuga White ($20.99): This opened with lemongrass and hints of peach on the nose. Semi- sweet flavors of melon, honeysuckle, peach and apricots on the palate.

In the event you want to stay for awhile grab your self a glass or bottle of your favorite Paradise Hills wine and sit out on the patio watching the grapes grow.

Connecticut Wine Festival – 2012

The CT Wine Festival was on the last weekend of July. The witless wine troupe (ah, that would be me & the missus and my sister- and brother-in-laws) started off the morning drive to the Goshen Fairgrounds in Goshen, CT under a partly cloudy sky but soon realized that it was not if it would rain, but when. We were hoping the inevitable dilemma of transparent moist daggers from the heavens would hold off long enough for us to enjoy the 4th annual CT Wine Festival.

The parking lot was as empty as could be, given that the wine festival would not open for another 30 minutes.

We arrived a half hour earlier than expected and you can see that we were among the brave and loyal wine enthusiasts to get a front row parking spot.

This is advantageous strategy on the part of us wine purveyors. You see, we didn’t need to worry about parking in the doldrums of the cheap seats, way back in swamp land, wondering if we would ever find the wine mobile without utilizing the panic button on the key fob.

Umbrella in hand, we marched on to the starting gate (see featured photo) to enter the world of fine wines.  You can see the line forming in anticipation of finding the best wines of the festival. Much to our surprise they opened the gates about 10 minutes before the announced starting times.

Fortunately we arrived early but so did many of the other wine enthusiasts as well but it was not yet to the point where you were four or five deep. So, the process of getting wine samples was still relatively easy to obtain. Here are just a few of the brave wine tasters waiting for samples or those purchasing wine.

Many of you have heard about our Fancy Schmancy Initials Club so, can you spot Sparing Sharon and Cousin Carl?

Once we sampled the wines and made our purchases we found ourselves outside the tasting barns and out in the open where the skies threatened numerous droplets of rain but we were determined to visit the vendors of other products than wine before the wet stuff began. I’m particularly fond of the vendors selling oils and vinegars.

Once we had visited the outside vendors we got back to the car – oh, look at the parking lot now.

So, if you want to park in the front row, get to the wine festival early. Now, the only thing left to do now was stop at Apricot’s restaurant in Farmington to top off a perfect afternoon wine tasting. But outside under the tent the rains finally poured down upon us (sorry no pictures of the rain as the camera was in the car). I have to remember that I have a phone with a camera in it.

If you’re looking for a fun day and want to taste wine from many of the state’s wineries, you’ll surely enjoy this outing. So, put a reminder on your calendar for July 2013 to visit the Connecticut Wine Festival

Priam Vineyards – 2012

Priam Vineyards was the last winery visit of this wine trip and as it turned out it was a real good visit.  Not only did I talk with the wine staff, I also had several conversations with other tasters who happened to stop by . When I first walked in, Caroline, one of the wine staff wanted to know if this was my first visit (which was “No”, but first visit of the 2012 wine season) and she also asked if I wanted to do a tasting (and yes, I wanted to do a tasting).

Let’s back up just a frame or two…here is the entrance to the tasting room. And next to the cork wreath is their hours of operation.

Caroline explained they had two tastings to choose from. The first was $7 and included five wines and the other was $14 for eight wines with a larger signature glass for you to keep. I opted for the second tasting but I also indulged in the two Reserve and two Dessert wines on the menu as well. Each wine was an additional $2 each. What I didn’t expect was the barrel tasting Gary brought up from the cellar on the Salmon River Red which was quite a treat. Anytime you get to enjoy a barrel tasting please do so as you get a chance to taste future wine now.

So, Priam has two wine bars in which to serve the wines but seeing as there were only a half dozen tasters while I was there the first of the two wine bars was being utilized.

The first wine on the menu was their Chardonnay ($19.00) and it opened with apple and honeydew melon on the nose and followed with flavors of Peach Melba dessert and lemongrass on the palate. I’ll mention here that they stored this in stainless steel instead of oak and this is a first for Priam as they usually use oak barrels.

The second wine I tried was the Blackledge Rosé ($17.50) had summer fruits of fresh raspberries and strawberries on the nose. Although I prefer a hearty red I am warming up to drinking a Rosé from time to time. Pomegranate and plum on the palate with hints of white pepper. Another good thing about this wine is 15% of the purchase of this wine is donated to the Backus Hospital Breast Cancer Survivors Fund. It’s a good thing when local wineries give back to the community – this is why I like to support local wines.

Next up was the Riesling ($19.00) which is an Alsatian style Riesling, so it’s drier than some of the sweeter German Rieslings. I really am getting to like this type of wine a lot more than I ever have. It’s a very versatile wine and goes with a number of different cuisines. This had a fresh pear aroma with crisp, clean citrus flavors. On the finish I detected a bit of minerality that finished this tasting quite nicely.

The Jeremy River White ($16.50) opened with floral notes with a pleasing honeysuckle aroma. This semi sweet Riesling blend had peachy-pear and honeydew melon on  the palate with fresh fruit bowl on the finish. Very crisp with good acidity.

Late Harvest Riesling ($35.00) was the next wine I tried and as expected with many late harvest wines this was sweeter with a nice pear aroma and flavor. A pretty good after dinner wine to sip on out on the patio.

Caroline let me try the 2009 Westchester Red ($19.50) at room temperature which is a blend of six varietals (a well kept secret though) and opened with bing cherry and black cherry aromas. Sweet cherry and mocha flavors followed and had good tannins with a long semi-sweet chocolate finish. Then I tried this chilled (you know me with red wines – I like them room temperature and I actually cringe when someone tells me they put ice cubes in their red wine. But then again, that’s what’s so nice about wine – it’s all about personal taste.

Anyway, back to the chilled Westchester Red, now I found Cherries Jubilee as the aroma and Red Velvet cake with cherry sauce flavor on the palate. This was the best I had tasted here of this wine. I think I’m warming up to the idea of slightly chilled red wine. Why I’ll never know, but who knows what will happen next.

The Salmon River Red ($19.50) had red and black raspberries, blackberry, mulberry, some fig, tobacco, and leather on the nose. Blackberry, strawberry, and raspberry flavors with a long raspberry finish.

One of Priam’s reserve wines is the Salmon River Red PV ($32.00) had fig and pepper aromas with black cherry and chocolate on the back palate and it had a long, lingering finish.

Next up was the St. Croix ($22.50) and opened with cherry but not overpowering, a very subtle aroma with hints of oak. Cherry and raspberry followed on the palate. After this wine I tasted the Essence of St. Croix ($26.50) and found tobacco, leather, and earth notes on the nose. What followed was pure joy with sweet raspberry with hints of plum jam.

Then I had a real treat as Gary brought up a glass (not a sample mind you) of the Salmon River Red from the barrel in the back room. This had wild black raspberry and mulberry with chocolate and vanilla notes on the nose. Black cherry, bing cherry, and sweet ripe plum flavors with a smooth finish. Then I tried the same wine after having a Moser Roth chocolate which was 70% cocoa and definitely of European origin (my favorite). The flavor now became a Black Forest cake with cherries. It’s amazing how a wine changes complexity by the temperature it is served at or with certain foods it will take on a whole new identity.

Lastly, I tried the Late Harvest Gëwurztraminer ($35.00) and on the nose were floral notes with hints of peach, nectarine and apricot. As you would expect from a dessert wine the finish found sweet peach and pear on the palate.

Oh BTW, don’t forget to check out Priam’s unWINEd concert series. Every Friday from July through September from 6:00-8:30 pm you can enjoy a number of music venues. I went to one last year and plan on getting in a few in this year too.

Next week – Bishop’s Orchards Winery.

Lost Acres Vineyard – 2012

Lost Acres Vineyard is new to the CT Wine Trail Passport this year and their sign indicating where I should go to enjoy a wine tasting is one of the signs I look for.

But let’s back up for a minute so you can see where the tasting room and other wine activities are conducted.

Did you notice the deck on the right side of the barn structure. Looks like a great place to spend an afternoon sipping some wine while admiring the vineyards.

And yes, this is the path leading up to the tasting room where I have never been before but am willing to take the plunge. When I entered, the tasting room was cool as it was becoming warm outside once the sun was intent on staying for awhile.

As you can see there is ample room to accommodate a lot of wine tasters either at the wine bar or in many of the tables that are set up here. Once inside one of the owners, Michelle welcomed me to the vineyard. The tasting fee is $6 including the CT state tax (I always like it when wineries include the tax within the tasting fee) for trying six wines on their menu. Plus you get their signature wine glass too. So, on to the wines and where the fun begins.

First up was their Chardonnay ($14.99) which opened with lemon, melon, and lemongrass aromas leading into citrus and apple flavors. Serve slightly chilled this was a very good wine to start of the tasting venue.

Next, I tried the Wedge White ($13.99) which is a white blend consisting of Cayuga, Chardonnay, Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Traminette, and Vidal Blanc. I found this wine to have clean crisp citrus aromas and flavors with some good acidity. This would be a great wine to have on their deck enjoying an afternoon with friends.

The next wine on their list was a fruit wine called Old Orchard Apple ($12.99) and as the name suggests you get apple aromas and flavors with a neat little tart apple finish.

The Riesling ($17.99) was next up on the tasting menu and I found lemongrass and fresh cut hay on the nose with a lingering spice cornucopia. This was a really surprising array of aromas and the flavors consisted of sweet apple and pear.

The Rock Wall Red ($15.99) was a blend of Carignane, Gamay, Merlot, and Petit Sirah. This red blend opened with plum, blackberry and jammy aromas. Much the same for the flavors but a nice spice and peppery finish followed leaving a nice mouth-feel on the palate.

The last wine on the list was the Merlot ($13.99). On the nose I found jammy blackberry and wild black cherry and on the palate I found cherry hard candy and plum flavors with a nice complement of pepper. Then I tried a chocolate morsel and this seemed to bring out the plum flavor more and as it turned out the last wine I tasted was my favorite.

If you haven’t stopped here yet, you’ll want to make the trip. One thing that I enjoy so far and I know I’ve only visited two wineries so far but how pleasant and friendly the wine staff and the tasters are so far – let’s hope that the trend continues.

Next week – Arrigoni Winery

Les Trois Emme

I was getting to the end of my day for wine tasting and Les Trois Emme was my last stop of the day. Located in Southwestern Massachusetts in the Berkshires, it was quite a drive from where I had to be for the evening but it was worth the stop. I spent about 2 hours and 15 minutes here and it will go down in my top memorably wine experiences.

When I first walked in this is what caught my eye right off the bat.

Disregard the pad and pen off to the right of the table as this wasn’t supposed to “get in” the picture. (Note to self: Pay more attention to where you place the writing instruments). I immediately enjoyed the color scheme of the purple walls and the green doors. The only thing missing is the black ceiling I remember from my college days.

I was greeted by a lady named Mary Jane and she came right up to me and wanted to know if I’d like to do a wine tasting. You know what my answer was. But before we got to the wine we took a walk in the back where they make and bottle the wines. Although I have been to many of the back rooms and they are all quite similar, it amazes me how each winery I visit, add their own charm to the surroundings.  I must have left my camera out in the tasting room area as I do not have any pictures of where the wine is made. (Note to self: pay more attention to where your camera is).

During my conversation with Mary Jane, she commented that the name of the winery was named after her first three granddaughters – Megan, Madison, and Mary Katherine – hence, Les Trois Emme. Mary Jane, with a pleasing voice, began telling me “stories” about a lot of interesting subjects. I was so mesmerized with the “stories” that I forgot to write them down. (Note to self: pay more attention to capturing the “stories” you hear).

Normally you get around five wines for a $6 fee but somewhere along the line it was decided I would get to taste all of their wines and do the food parings as well. I forgot to write down all of the food I paired with which wines (Note to self: pay more attention to food & wine pairings). About this time Mary Jane’s husband, Wayne (he’s the chemist), came in for a quick visit and we also chatted for a spell – no, I didn’t write what we talked about – yeah, I know “Note to self” time.

Okay, on to the wines I tasted and yes, I did remember to write my impressions of the wine as I tasted each one:

Kiyo’s Sparkling Wine – $20: This was a semi-sweet sparkler made from the Chenin Blanc grape. I found pear with a hint of apple on the nose with pear and apple on the palate. This was a very nice sparkling wine.

Splash of White – $16: A blend of several white wines from French-American hybrids, this opened with an apricot nose. Megan (not one of the granddaughters, but the wine staff and a radio host) gave me a shrimp cake that had sweet potatoes, cumin, and red bell pepper as the ingredients. This went very well with this wine which had a pear flavor.

Cayuga White – $16: This is one of their medal winners and it was predominately pear and apple aromas and flavors. This was paired with a pot sticker (don’t ask for the ingredients as I didn’t write it down).

Nick Jackson Blush – $16: A blend of 90% Cayuga and 10% Marechal Foch produced pear on the nose with red cherry on the palate with a slight peppery finish.

Julia’s Ruby Red – $18: Red berries on the nose and palate, this was served well chilled and had a bit of sweetness to it. This was paired with a quesadilla.

Shiraz-Cabernet – $18: 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon began with plum and boysenberry on the nose. On the palate I got plum and black cherry with a slight peppery finish.

Old Vine Zinfandel – $25: On the nose were hints of black and red cherry followed by red cherry and raspberry flavors. I liked this one a lot and was probably my favorite of all the wines.

Malbec – $20: I paired the other half of the quesadilla with this. Raspberry on both the nose and palate with a slight mocha finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon – $22: This had black cherry all over it. Although one dimensional it was quite tasty.

Berkshire Red- $18: This blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec produced mostly black berry fruit aromas and flavors.

Stingy Jack’s Pumpkin Wine- $16: I got pumpkin rind aroma, like when you’re carving a pumpkin for the Trick or Treaters, but not too overpowering. A subtle pumpkin flavor unlike a pumpkin ale which is way too much pumpkin flavor for me. This was a bit softer. It was paired with a warm pumpkin soup and it went very well. The wine complemented the soup tremendously.

Wizard’s Cranberry Wine – $16: A semi-dry wine infused with cranberry, hence you’ll get cranberry on the nose and palate.

As you can see from the above picture is was fairly light when I first arrived, however when I left, darkness had taken over the whiner-mobile. Their wine is made from the grapes that are located on their three acres in the vineyards as well as six acres from the Finger Lakes Region. They produce just over 2500 cases a year and Mary Jane is the taster and when she says says it’s ready, then it gets bottled. I’m going to take her word for it. (Note to self: take time to revisit Les Trois Emme).

Hardwick Vineyard & Winery

Driving up to this winery I passed through some beautiful countryside scenes, however you could still see the devastation caused by both Hurricane Irene and winter storm Alfred. This was a really sad scene to see as so many tress were down across the area it’s a wonder they received power at all. But upon arrival at the vineyard the tasting room was in a big barn adjacent to the main house.

And when I arrived there was quite a crowd and the sommelier, Becky, wanted to know if I was there because of the show Chronicle and as I looked perplexed and asked “What’s Chronicle”. One of the other tasters wanted to know if I was from Connecticut and when I said I was they all knew that I did not see this local show. Seems that a local TV station highlights “stuff” in the area and Hardwick Vineyard and Winery was featured on the show, hence the reason it was so busy. Well, busy is a good thing as were their wines.

The bar area was quite ample and there is room for a lot of tasters at once. The tasting fee was $5 for six wines of your choice and you also received a signature wine glass. Most of the wineries I have visited will give you an ample pour of the wine for your tasting pleasure. Here at Hardwick Vineyard & Winery the pours were at least 2 oz each so make sure you stay there for awhile after you have finished the tastings. Here are the wines I sampled.

Giles E. Warner: This dry white wine opened with orange peel and citrus notes on the nose. Orange slice with a hint of apple found it’s way to the forward palate and had good acidity with a clean crisp finish. This wine is a blend of the Seyval and Vidal Blanc grapes.

Yankee Boy White: Pear was the dominant aroma with hints of green apple. Sweet apple (dominant) and pear nuances on the palate. I found it quite interesting that the aromas and flavors reversed in its complexity. It was a really nice combination and a pretty good wine too.

Yankee Girl Blush: A blend of Seyval, Vidal, and Pink Catawba varietals was a peach colored wine more so than a blush colored wine and produced peach and tropical notes on the nose. The palate experienced peach and melon flavors. This was very nice.

Massetts Cranberry: Made with 10% local Cayuga grapes this had a nice cranberry aroma and flavor. A little too much cranberry for me though.

Hardwick Red: The Marechal Foch grapes in this wine found plum and dark berries with a hint of boysenberry on the nose. Mostly plum was found on the palate with hints of black cherry and boysenberry on the finish, maybe some fig as well.

Quabbin Native: Made from the Pink Catawba grape it opened with floral notes with some lingering grapefruit. The flavor was a delectable Peach Melba dessert. I got an unexpected surprise when Becky poured the same wine a second time that had been heated with mulling spices. It was remarkable and much better than mulled apple cider. This was the gem of the winery.

There was also an outside area that could also be utilized for relaxing on your visit although it was nice but chilly with temperatures nearing 60°.

Be sure to take the time and visit this winery in one of your future wine trips even if you didn’t see it on Chronicle. You can even book an event as they have plenty of room downstairs. One other note though; I read a saying that was on one of the beams above the bar area which stated: “Guests: If we get to drinking on Sunday and ask you to stay until Monday, we really don’t mean it“. Good thing I went on a Friday:)

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

 

Hopkins Vineyard

Hopkins Vineyards, founded by Elijah Hopkins in 1787 is located in New Preston, CT in the Litchfield hills. They currently have about 30 acres of 11 different grape varietals of Vinifera and French hybrid grapes. Inside the tasting room there is enough space for 6-7 wine tasters at a time and they have a small gift shop with wine “stuff”. The walls were decorated with portraits and paintings from various artists. It wasn’t a rustic decor but not modern either but yet pleasing to the soul. It was a good atmosphere for a wine tasting. After all, this is why I’m here.

This past May, Hopkins held their 32nd Annual Barrel tasting where activities included a wine tasting, select barrel samples, local artisan foods, live music, and of course, a signature wine glass. However, back at the ranch their normal wine tasting fee is $6 for 7 tastes. Plus you get to keep the signature wine glass.

On to the wines I tasted in their tasting room:

Duet Estate Bottled: Their description of this wine is of honeysuckle, crisp Granny Smith apples, hazelnut, and stone fruit. Well, although the wine was okay, the hazelnut ruined it for me. This isn’t what I look for in a wine. SOme of you may indulge in thhis but I’ll stay out of the ring on this one.

Vineyard Reserve Estate Bottled: I got a floral aroma with flavors of honey suckle minus the hazelnut and this was pretty good.

Lady Rose Estate Bottled: The wine label pictured Lady Godiva and had both apricot and raspberry for both the nose and palate with a pleasing apricot flavor.

Cabernet Franc: This wine had earth, cassis, and fig aromas with a blackcurrant flavor.

Sachem’s Picnic: I got a hint of raspberry and fig on the nose with a black berry finish and a slight strawberry finish. I think my nose is going…

Westwind Estate Bottled: A semi-sweet white wine made with the Cayuga grape found a  citrus nose with a lingering grapefruit aroma. The palate found lemony and melon flavors. A good wine for appetizers.

Night Owl Dessert Wine: A late harvest from the Vidal Blanc grape yielded pear and apricot nuances with a hazelnut flavor. Hazelnut is not for me.

Visit them atwww.hopkinsvineyard.com

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Rosedale Farm & Vineyard

Arriving at Rosedale Farms & Vineyard there was ample parking and even though the parking lot was quite full I had to park closer to the vines than I did the tasting room. But that was okay as I got to take a closer look at the grapes.

Just outside the tasting room was an outdoor covered seating area with picnic tables to have some food and wine of your choosing. It was a very warm summer afternoon with temperatures around the 90 degree mark but I didn’t find it too warm as I’m like a lizard on a rock and I just love the hot weather.

Inside the farm market which included their wine bar for tasting it was rather cool with the doors opened and a warm breeze blowing in made it quite comfortable. Seated at the wine bar with room for around ten wine tasters and as I was waiting for the sommelier to pour my first wine, I noticed a sign above me that had the following inscription on it Live Well, Laugh Often, Live Much. Pretty good saying. I must say that I am very pleased with the “Farm Wineries” this year as the wines have been very good and not what I expected out of a farm winery.

Here are the wines I tasted:

Simsbury Collection: The 2010 wine is 100% Estate grown, this is great to see instead of wineries importing their grapes. I see this more and more, as the Connecticut grapes are Estate grown. This had a tropical fruit aroma. The palate found melon and citrus flavors with a hint of apricot and a touch of mineral.

Three Sisters: This wine is made from the Cayuga grape and I found melon and apricot aromas with a hint of pear. On the palate were smooth crisp apple and pear flavors with a fresh lemon zest finish.

Serendipity: A blend of Vignoles, Traminette and Vidal grapes produced a pear aroma with tart green apple flavor.  This would go well with seafood dishes.

Lou’s Red: A blend of St. Croix, Marchal Foch, and Marquette crafted with California Merlot, Sangiovese, and Mouvedre grapes produced a good amount of earthiness with blackberry and smoke aromas. Boysenberry and pepper flavors followed with a long finish.

Farmington River Red: I don’t often buy Connecticut red wines as they are not of the quality of the wine produced in California, Italy, Spain, France, Argentina, or Chile, but I did pick up a bottle of this one. The deep garnet color had a great looking clarity and a purplish rim indicating it was a young wine and I was excited to try this one. This wine was quite robust with a black currant aroma with a hint of blueberry. On the palate I found dark cherry flavors with a hint of chocolate. What’s not to like with this one?

Summer Bouquet: Made from the Cayuga grape infused with raspberry juice gave the wine a raspberry wine jam aroma. This was really a great aroma so I savored this for a good minute before tasting it. The raspberry flavor was sweet but not to sweet and you know how I feel about sweet wines although they do have their place in the wine hierarchy.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Miranda Vineyard

A short hop from Sunset Meadows, Miranda Vineyard is located just down the street with the iron gates opened to invite you along for a wine tasting event. After you have visited the vineyard just off the parking area and you get ready to enter the tasting room just to the left of the door is an antique wine press greeting you with whispered stories.

Inside the building was a modern decor with a small wine bar that would fit maybe 4-5 tasters although I do not know how comfortable it would be. Off to the right of the wine bar are several tables that fit four each (I guess in waiter/waitress slang is known as a four-top) to accommodate a few small parties.

The tasting fee is $7.00 for seven wines of which you got to pick from eight selections. It would seem to me that they would offer all eight wines for the same tasting fee. You could also taste their white Port style wine for an additional $2. I did and was glad I had done so.

Here are the wines I tried:

Seyval Blanc: This crisp white wine opened with pear, apricot, and nectarine aromas and had a nice pear flavor.

Chardonnay: A much more full bodied white wine produced apricot and peach aromas.  On the palate all I could taste was butternut squash. This truly did not sit well with me at all. This is the first time I have tried any wine that had a butternutty flavor -no, not for me, sorry this wine will not be in my cellar.

Woodridge White: A blend of Seyval Blanc and Chardonnay grapes and aged in oak for one year revealed a grassy marsh aroma like being close to the ocean with a ripe pear flavor. Again, this did nothing for my palate. Well, on to the next wine.

Cayuga White: Now this was more like it. It started with an apple orchard aroma at around dusk and was followed by apple and pear flavors with a nectarine finish. Oh yeah!

Goshen Farmhouse Red: A garnet colored wine had blackberries on the nose with the same flavor and was very fruity.

Merlot: This was quite a different Merlot than what I’m used to. It started with dark cherry and a hint of fennel on the nose. The palate revealed a forward cherry and licorice flavor which blended well with each other. After consuming a dark chocolate morsel, the licorice seemed to blossom.

Rose: With melon and fresh cut watermelon on the nose, the palate revealed a strawberry finish that had sweetness without being sweet. A nice summer sipping wine.

Vinho Fino: This white Port style wine had an apricot aroma with a peach flavor and a sweet lemony finish. This was the gem of the winery.