Apothic White Winemaker’s Blend 2013

Apothic WhiteThe 2013 Apothic White Winemaker’s Blend cost a mere $8.99 a bottle with an ABV of 12% and had  an array of aromas and flavors that really surprised me. I like the red blend from this vintner so I thought I would give this one a try.

The second weekend of August was not as hot as the start of the month but was in the upper 70’s to low 80’s with a nice Northwesterly wind (red wine drinking in my book) but it still did not deter me from continuing my quest to find as many good, decent, inexpensive white wines for summer sipping.

The wine was pale yellow in color with good clarity and a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Riesling. Not sure what the percentages were but based on the aromas and flavors it was done just right.

On the nose I found pear, apple, melon and fresh squeezed lemon juice. The palate was a concoction of peach, melon, pear, and lemon rind with hints of sweet lemonade. The finish was that of sweet apricot iced tea. My only regret was not having another glass with the meal. I think it would have paired quite well. Another day perhaps?

The meal consisted of zucchini boats – huh?? Actually it’s a zucchini cut lengthwise and the insides scooped out and stir-fried with onions, broccoli and ground pork (you could use any other meat – ground beef, ground bison, ground veal, ground sausage and any other veggies you’d like to add in) and then baked in the oven until the outer zucchini was cooked but not mushy.

 

Waterbrook Mélange Blanc 2010

It’s that time of year where I tend to drink more white wine than I do the red stuff. Although, my real passion for drinking wine is in the deep garnet coloring of the delectable juice we know as “Wine”. The Waterbrook Mélange Columbia Valley 2010 vintage from Walla Walla, Washington is a surprising, wonderful concoction of 39% Riesling, 18% Pinot Gris, 14% Gewürztraminer, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 9% Viognier with an ABV of 11.8%. Don’t let the mere ABV percentage fool you, as this was packed with a variety of aromas and flavors.

Have you ever picked fresh peaches where you still have the twig and one leaf still attached to the peach? That kind of fresh peach aroma as you put it in the basket with a handful of other picked peaches is the kind of aroma that first hits you when you drop the “ol snozzola” into the opening of the wine glass. At first I thought “Is that it?” – well let that aroma savor for a bit. Then repeat the process of letting the aromas open in the wine glass, and uh, I would recommend using a Riedel or similar type wine vessel to open all the possible smells.

After you get the peach orchard smell, I found melon, honey, apricots, floral notes, fresh cut hay and lemongrass as additional aromas to the already present peach. The fresh cut hay and lemongrass were subtle yet letting you know its presence was real.  The flavors were a delightful blend of pear, apricot, peach and melon with sweet notes of honey. This clean, crisp white wine found the back palate with slight sweet vanilla notes. Although I wished this lingered longer than it did.

We served this well chilled with a baby spinach salad with bacon bits (from the fry pan, not from a jar – so pick your poison), thin apple slices (we used a Fuji apple but whatever suits your fancy & palate will suffice) topped with a mildly sweet salad dressing (recipe follows) and topped with chopped walnuts. For a meat protein topping, we used pan fried skinless chicken breasts sliced about an 1/8″ by 3″ (approx.) in a sage & onion infused olive oil (about a Tbsp) until cooked thoroughly. Just a note: the first glass of wine went down way too quickly but was an excellent complement to the meal. The second glass of wine sans the meal didn’t go as quickly but fear the bottle will not last through the evening hours on the deck. Not bad for a $13.99 bottle of wine. I don’t like spending a lot of money on white wines (there are a few though) and this was well worth the price we paid.

Salad Dressing:

3 Tbsp cider vinegar

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 Tbsp honey

1/4 cup shallots, minced

2 small garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and pour over the baby spinach, 1/4″ sliced bacon pieces, apples, strawberries (although the recipe didn’t call for this, we decided to add them) & walnuts. One thing of note – the above recipe is very vinegary, so my wife added more honey to sweeten it and that was more flavorful, so you’ll have to experiment a bit before pouring over the salad.

 

 

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.

IMG_0168

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

IMG_0170

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

IMG_0171

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

IMG_0175

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

IMG_0176

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Saltwater Farm Vineyard – 2012

Driving down to Saltwater Farm Vineyard along the shoreline routes on a sunny afternoon with the temperature in the mid-80s I was, as they say, out for a Sunday drive. Although it was a Saturday it really didn’t make a difference as I was enjoying the day for what it was – just plain old pleasant. It was enjoyable because I didn’t have to go to work, I didn’t need to pay any bills, I didn’t need to wash the car, and I didn’t want to sit out on the deck and read. So what else was there to do? Yes, this is a rhetorical question as a wine tasting was in order. So, I was off to see what wines were in store for me to try.

Once I drove down the rock driveway I parked the wine mobile in the designated area and took in the incredible views of the vineyards. I enjoy the smell of the ocean air and seeing the many species of birds in their natural habitat.

Saltwater Farms is a great place to spend an afternoon on the back patio with a picnic lunch and a bottle of your favorite Saltwater Farms wine while overlooking the marsh and the wildlife it contains.

Although there wasn’t a sign that pointed directly to the tasting room the two enormous doors couldn’t be ignored and as an analytical individual I concluded this was the way I needed to go to start my wine tasting.

Inside there is a reception area where you check in and they direct you to an upstairs wine bar. Once I reached the second floor bar area I was met by Jessica (wine bar staff) and Paul (tasting room manager) and was immediately given a glass for tasting. The glass is a good sized one so you’re able to get the ‘ol schnozzola into the glass to fully grasp the wine’s aroma. The simple, but elegant egret in flight logo reminds you that the ocean is home to more than just wineries. Below is the list of wines I tried. Tastings are $10 per person and includes their signature logo glass.

2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($28): Aged in stainless steel tanks this opened with floral notes with a great explosive citrus aroma. On the palate were pear and sweet lemongrass. If you didn’t know you were at the ocean, this wine sure made you aware that you just might be. This was an excellent wine to start the tasting with.

2010 Estate Chardonnay ($18): Pear & nectarine combined to start this wine off on the right note. Pear, apple and citrus flavors were the highlights of this Chardonnay. Though I’m not a Chardonnay drinker, I was pleased with this one.

2009 Estate Chardonnay ($20): This portrayed citrusy notes on the nose with pear and green apple flavors with hints of nectarine and stone mineral notes on the back palate. This had a nice balance.

2010 “Gold Arc” Chardonnay ($27): A real nice citrusy aroma and flavor. Picture yourself getting off a plane in Florida during orange grove harvest time -yeah a bit like that. I did detect a hint of vanilla on the finish.

2011 Cabernet Rosé ($23): A product of Hurricane Irene’s salt spray yielded a French style rosé with an aroma of just entering the strawberry patch to pick fresh strawberries. On the palate were fresh strawberries galore. This had a real nice balance. I’m really beginning to warm up to rosés.

2010 Pinot Noir ($35): Barrel aged in French oak this opened with plum and pomegranate aromas. I found a soft plum flavor (my indication of a great Pinot). Made from estate and New York varietals, this for me, was the best wine of the tasting. A light garnet color, this wine also had a hint of pepper on the finish. If I had more time I would have purchased a glass and enjoyed it on the back patio.

2008 Cabernet Franc ($28): A nice plum color with blackberry fruits on the nose. Cherry candy, plum, and juicy blackberry flavors rounded out this wine.

2008 Merlot ($30): The last estate Merlot for awhile due to an early frost opened with raspberry and cherry aromas on the nose with surprising plum and raspberry flavors. this had a nice balance of flavors.

Stonington Vineyards – 2012

Before you enter the long and not so winding rock road you immediately see the vineyard sign welcoming you to the vineyard. For me this is when I get excited as I know I’m going to be tasting some wines in the very near future.

As I turned around the slight bend to enter the parking lot I spot a black limo just sitting there with nothing better to do except wait for its inhabitants. Actually, this is a smart thing to do especially if you’re opting to drink instead of just taste the wines. Or, as I found out when I got inside there was a bridal party (hence, the limo outside the tasting room) visiting some of the local wineries to scout the place the bride would eventually tie the knot and hold the wedding reception.

Of course we cannot forget the proverbial signs letting us know where the wine tasting will begin.

Once inside the tasting room there is a person at the cash register asking if you want to do a wine tasting. The cost is $12 for 7 wines plus you get to keep the signature wine glass. So below are the wines I got to taste.

2010 Sheer Chardonnay ($16.99): On the nose I found apple orchard aroma just like the middle of October when apples are prime for picking. The flavor was pretty much like biting into that apple you just picked for the orchard plus there was some minerality on the finish.

2010 Chardonnay ($20.99): Again, I found apple on the nose but mixed in with this were hints of vanilla, subtle but nonetheless it was there. As no surprise apple flavor followed and was similar to their Sheer Chardonnay.

2010 Vidal Blanc ($12.99): This dry white wine opened with floral and citrusy notes on the nose and followed with a concoction of lemon, lime, orange, nectarine, and peach flavors. This was a delicious wine and the wine bar staff seem to have perfected the art of serving white wine at exactly the right temperature. This is one of the best Vidal Blancs I’ve had and it’s at a very good price too.

2010 Riesling ($16.99): Another favorite of mine is this wine also served at the right chilled temperature. It opened with grapefruit, orange, and pineapple aromas. So, this wine was off to a good start and the flavors just blew me away with papaya, apricot, peach, and mango with hints of lime on the finish proved to be my favorite Stonington Vineyards wine. And yes, I have a few bottles of this in my wine cellar.

Seaport White ($10.99): The Seaport White is probably their best selling wine. It is a crisp, dry, fruity wine with a fruit bowl aroma and flavor. I did find a bit of sweetness to the wine but it was definitely not a sweet wine which was very pleasing to the palate. This would go great on a picnic and would compliment a number of foods you’d likely take on a picnic. A really nice wine given the cost.

2010 Triad Rosé ($15.99): This wine really surprised me. It is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Vidal Blanc, and Chardonnay. The actual percentages are unknown as I did not inquire as to what they were. On the nose I found cherry and fruit bowl aromas. On the palate were cherry, spice and pepper flavors. Served slightly chilled would also be a great picnic wine too. I can see this going great with a variety of picnic sandwiches. I’m really becoming a fan of Rosés.

2008 Cabernet Franc ($20.99): The Stonington Vineyards Cabernet Franc has always been one of my favorite red wines. On the nose I found a medley of dark berries – cherry, blackberry, and raspberry with earth notes lingering at the end. The flavors were predominately cherry with nuances of mocha and spice with hints of fresh cracked pepper.

Can you guess the bridal party?

Next week – Saltwater Farms Vineyard

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

St. Francis Sonoma County Chardonnay 2010 Behler

St. Francis Winery is one of my favorite wineries if not my favorite winery – don’t you just love the bells. I have visited them in California at least eight times since my first visit in 2001. It was one of the most memorable wine experiences I have had. So, needless to say I’m quite fond of most St. Francis wines. Every once in a while I come across a wine that just doesn’t do it for me. I did chill this wine before opening it which I don’t do very often with Chardonnays as I prefer this white wine at room temperature.

The wine was a straw yellow color yielding ripe pear, apple, and honeysuckle notes on the nose. I got the same pear and apple on the palate but with a surprising vanilla finish which was the highlight for me. I’m not sure if it was the fact I chilled this before opening it or it just didn’t suit my fancy. Guess it wasn’t my day for Chardonnay and at $26.00 a bottle I was a bit disappointed.