Taylor Brooke Winery

Traveling through the scenic roads of Northeastern Connecticut along the rolling hills you eventually come across a gray New England style building enticing you to drop by. In back of the tasting room you can take some time from your trip to enjoy a self-guided tour of the vineyards amidst the many outlying trees and a gentle breeze. Then you are ready to embark on a wine extravaganza.

Taylor Brooke’s wine tasting fee is probably one of the best I’ve come across so far on my Connecticut wine trips. You can taste any two wines free of charge or eight wines for $4 or everything on their wine menu depending on the season for $6 which includes the tax. This is the first winery on my trip not to charge the CT sales tax as they have opted to incorporate it into the cost of the tasting fee. You can purchase their signature glass if you want to.

Upon first entering the tasting room you get a sense of New England at its best. The bar area would easily accommodate 12-15 tasters at a time without being crowded with enough room to swirl and sip your wine. They also carry local products from the area. The owners, Dick & Linda, are two of the friendliest people you’ll ever come across. Dick was a wealth of knowledge citing facts about residual sugar, brix, and of course, bud break.

I’ve never seen anyone so excited about “bud break” and after looking at some of the vines afterward I could see where “bud break” would be exciting. You see, bud break is when the bud breaks and begins the process of becoming a grape and you can guess what happens after it becomes a grape. Well, bud break is like stopping and smelling the roses or taking time to smell the coffee or watch the sun go down in the evening or watching the sunrise in the early morn or going to the beach at dusk and take a leisurely stroll just where the ocean hits the sand and you don’t care if the water gets your pants wet. It’s just a small aspect of life but it’s those small happenings that make us who we are. I think I like “bud break”.

Taylor Brooke winery has also set up a scholarship fund for a Woodstock Academy senior that will be entering the field of agriculture. They also have an “Adopt A Vine” program where you receive a certificate and for three years you get one bottle of wine from the previous harvest.

If this winery isn’t on your wine tour you should make a point of adding it. Usually when I visit a winery there is at least one wine that just doesn’t sit right with my palate and I wish I never tried it. Well, that didn’t happen here as I enjoyed all eleven of the wines I tasted and the wine quality was exceptional. Okay, on to the wines I tasted in the middle of spring:

Riesling: On the nose was a floral and fruity aroma sort of like a bowl of fresh fruit. The flavor was also like a bowl of fresh tropical fruit with a hint peach.

Traminette: This wine is a blend of Gewurztraminer and Seyval grapes and very similar to the Riesling.

Green Apple Riesling: What can I say, the aroma and flavor said “apple” but it’s unlike an apple fruit wine I’ve ever tasted. You can definitely tell the difference between the two. Try this on a warm sunny afternoon. It will cool you down with crisp clean flavors of apple. Try it with ham, chicken, or pork. Better yet cook these meals with the wine, the apple gives the pork and ham a great flavor.

Summer Peach: This wine is what the name implies – peach, pure and simple. Although I have not tried this with food as every time I open a bottle the temperature is usually above 80 degrees and slightly humid and between my wife and I this bottle is gone in seconds flat. Not really seconds flat but it seems that way as this is a great wine to sip on a hot sunny day. I should try this with grilled chicken and asparagus.

St. Croix Rose: I really questioned if this was a Rose as it was as dark as a Merlot but was not a Merlot. I’m not sure if it was a Rose either. Gee, I’m confused – think I need to go back and try this again.

Cabernet Franc: Lighter than most Cabernet Francs I’ve tasted with lots of fruit on the nose and palate with a hint of chocolate, my favorite part of tasting Cabernet Francs. Almost reminded me of a Pinot Noir.

Woodstock Valley Red: This medium bodied wine was full of cherries, with hints of bell pepper and spice. I could picture having this with grilled upland game such as pheasant or quail with wild grain rice and a medley of pearl onions and peas or perhaps Brussels Sprouts cooked with bacon.

Roseland Red: This is a blend of St. Croix, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I love the flavor of blends and this one didn’t disappoint. Both red and dark berry aroma and flavor took my senses into another world with a spicy finish. Yeah, you read my mind – pair this with a juicy steak.

Most of you know me well enough that I am not real fond of dessert wines especially with them being so sweet. Well, the following dessert wines are in a different class of dessert wines.

Late Harvest Riesling: Although this was sweet it seemed more to have sweetness without being too sweet. I got a whole lot of fruit on this from nectarine, peach, pineapple, honey, and apricot to name a few. A real delectable concoction of fruits.

Chocolate Essence: When I first heard this was a chocolate infused Merlot Port I had to make sure I heard correctly so I said “Chocolate infused what…?” Well, I’ve been told by some that the chocolate reminded them of a Tootsie Roll and others have said it reminds them of Dove chocolate. The first time I tried this was quite the experience and each time I try this it never ceases to amaze me how they even got three distinct flavors in a wine. On the first sip it was like a dark chocolate Hershey Kiss exploding on impact with my taste buds. Let that mouth feel sit for a spell before taking the next sip. When you feel adventurous enough take a second sip where you’ll get a fruitful concoction of raspberries and cherries (flavors indicative of many Merlots). Again, let this sit for a while and when you get brave enough have a third sip of the Chocolate spirit and you get the pungency of port. How the wine maker got three distinct flavors and at different times of the sipping wine cycle is magical – is his name Merlin?

Raspberry Rendezvous: This is a raspberry port style wine and yeah, you guessed it – raspberry, raspberry, and raspberry in this. It reminds me of a raspberry sundae. Get the picture? I wonder if I mixed the Chocolate with the Raspberry – Hmmm, I don’t even want to think of the possibilities.

If you’re not a fan of dessert wines you will be after you’ve tried these. They also have the following wines but were sold out and I’ll have to wait for their next release: Woodstock Hill White, Autumn Raspberry, Winter Pomegranate, and Cherry Riesling. Taylor Brooke will be coming out with an inaugural release of 100% Connecticut grown Merlot  from the Dave Brown Vineyard sometime in the fall. I have already marked my calendar for the weekend I think it will be available.

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

Cassidy Hill Vineyard

Driving to Cassidy Hill Vineyard I went through the farmlands of Connecticut complete with nuances of cow manure in the air: you either love the smell or despise it. Driving down the last turn from the secondary road I almost felt like I was in the Twilight Zone episode, Walking Distance. Eerie, but not spooky. Anyway I decided to have lunch here as it was around 12:15 pm and it was such a gorgeous day I opted to eat outside with a sandwich and bottle of water I brought along before going in to taste the wines.

Coming into the Cassidy Hill parking lot the vines are viewed from your left (unless, of course, you drove in backwards, then they would be to your right) and the day I arrived I found the parking lot quite full and had to park on the lower level. It was a gorgeous afternoon and I wasn’t going to let an extra 250 feet distance keep me from enjoying some wine. On the patio to the entranceway there were picnic tables and iron cafe tables with chairs for you to enjoy the warm sun with a chilled glass of your favorite Cassidy Hill wine. Entering the tasting room, the decor included a stone fireplace with seating for several parties. It was an open, high ceiling room and the walls were light pine paneling but well done.

Cassidy Hill’s tasting fee is $5 for six wines and if you wanted a signature glass they sold for $3. And you got to taste the wines at a long bar that accommodated about 20 tasters.

Winding Brook: A blend of the Chardonnay and Viognier grapes open with tropical and floral aromas then into melon and peach on the palate. This was crisp and well chilled.

2010 Chardonnay: Fruit aromas with mostly pineapple flavors.

2009 Riesling: Floral, honeysuckle, orange peel aromas led into honeydew melon, tangerine, and nectarine with a hint of cantaloupe. This was very pleasing to the palate.

2010 Summer Breeze: Wow! This wine exploded with strawberry aromas. Strawberry and citric flavors abounded upon the palate. I could have taken a bottle of this wine and sat on their patio all afternoon enjoying the wine and fine weather. It was an exceptional wine.

2009 Malbec: Red berry, clove, and smoked bacon aromas even Cousin Carl would appreciate were on the nose while flavors of red berries and earth tickled the taste buds. This wine was quite like the Argentinian Malbecs I love so much. I was mildly surprised a CT red could be so good.

2009 Coventry Spice: Spice (what did you expect) and boysenberry aromas were the dominating aromas, there were more but I couldn’t detect them. Spice (what did you expect) and fig flavors rounded out this decent red wine.

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

Priam Vineyards

Located in Colchester the winery is a barn-like structure with an outdoor seating area. There were a few picnic tables out in the lawn area so visitors could eat their picnic lunch along with their favorite Priam wine. The vineyards are just to the left of the tasting room as you enter from the parking area. Upon entering the tasting room you get the sense that wine making has just finished as the staff is bustling about getting ready for the day with abundant wandering wine tasters from within the state and surrounding neighbor states. In the parking lot I saw vehicles from New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, and I thought I was going to be the first one in but as it turned out my car was the only one with Connecticut plates.

The sommelier greeted me cheerfully and was eager to explain the wine tastings. You have your choice of three tastings. Tasting level one included five wines (Barrel Select Chardonnay, Salmon River White, Riesling, Westchester Red, and Salmon River Red) for $7, tasting level two included the wines from level one and four additional wines (Cayuga, Blackledge White, Late Harvest Riesling, and a St. Croix – PV) for $14. There were two reserve dessert wines (Salmon River Red – PV, and Essence of St. Croix) for $2 each, and you get to keep the signature wine glass as part of the tasting fee.

Priam also sponsors a dinner with a chef from a Hartford area restaurant paired with each of their wines. In July they host an “unWINED Concert Series” featuring music genres of folk, blues, rock, acoustic, alternative, country, and Americana. I believe I’ll make a couple of these venues. In the latter part of July they host a New England clam bake where part of the proceeds go to the American Heart Association and the New England Seafood Council.

Here are the wines I tasted:

Barrel Select Chardonnay: This wine was well chilled and had an oaky aroma with a hint of vanilla. On the palate I found melon and grated lemon peel. It finished with a peach flavor. This was a really very nice wine – I hope my red wine drinking readers are just skipping over these as I don’t want them to think I’m going soft on my white wine drinking readers.

Salmon River White: This barrel fermented Gewurztraminer/Chardonnay blend opened with fruity aromas leading into apple and peach flavors with a hint of honey. I think I would pair this with Asian cuisine.

Riesling: Floral and fruit captured your schnozzola immediately upon lifting the glass to enjoy the aromas from this wine. Tropical fruits hit the palate much the same way a German Riesling does. As a matter of fact, I thought I was enjoying a German Riesling. I would also pair this with spicy food.

Westchester Red: Black cherry and fig awakened your proboscis leading into European chocolate, cherry (more black cherry than red cherry, but both were there), a hint of vanilla and there were some smokiness, like when you smell a BBQ somewhere in your neighborhood, yeah like that.

Salmon River Red: This is a Bordeaux style wine. The aromas were of smoke, leather, and black cherry. Although I detected black cherry on the palate I found raspberry to be the more prevalent flavor. Not sure if the wine had chocolate undertones or it was because I had a piece of chocolate with the wine; probably the latter.

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

Chamard Vineyards

Turning into the stone and gate entrance up the short rock road on my mission to the tasting room, one wonders or not if I stepped into another portal as I almost thought I was back in Napa Valley. On one side of the driveway were rows of vineyards whispering to no particular tune (or maybe it was the radio station I was listening too), but it was simply gorgeous to see them thriving in the sun-filled day as this was my last stop on my Connecticut Wine Trip #1. Anyway, the parking lot was completely full and I had to park in the back lot pass the pond and water fountain carefully watching for picnic-goers as the place was riddled with people walking around.

Once up in the tasting room I had trouble locating a spot at the wine bar as it was packed like sardines (and I don’t even like sardines). My first thought was to turn around and come back another day but I never look a gift horse in the mouth. BTW, what does a gift horse look like?? The room on a normal day is still small but comfortable as today was packed. Which is a good thing as wine lovers, wine drinkers, and winos are at least out touring the wineries. They did have a nice picnic area in the back of the winery complete with a pond.

The tasting fee was $10 for five wines or you could upgrade to a Riedel wine glass for $15. Remembering that I have several Riedel glasses at home I opted for the $10 tasting and I got to bring their signature glass home. The wine glass however, is more suited for cordials, a shot of Sambucca, a dessert wine, or an ice wine than it is for wine. It was tough for me to get my schnozzola into the glass. I could picture Cousin‘ Carl smirking in the corner of the tasting room while watching me getting my proboscis stuck in the glass. Gee, what a sight this must have been.

Here are the wines I got to taste as the two Cabernet Francs on their wine menu were not available. I was a bit disappointed but I did get to try some other wines.

Stone Cold White: This wine was well chilled and I got an immediate bouquet of citrus and floral notes on the nose. Tropical fruits and lemon flavors rounded out this surprisingly tasty white wine.

Chardonnay: This was an okay chardonnay and for my taste it was nothing outstanding, but did have a fair price for the wine.

Estate Reserve Chardonnay: This chardonnay however, was quite tasty with tropical fruit aromas and melon flavors with a smooth buttery finish. I do prefer buttery chardonnays over oaky ones and this one sure fit the bill.

Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: I got to taste this as both of their Cabernet Francs were sold out much to my disappointment as I have had their Cabernet Franc in the past and was quite pleased with it. Albeit, this wine had pleaseant boysenberry and mulberry aromas which led into black berry and licorice (yeah, this surprised me too) flavors with a hint of pepper. A very decent wine with good acidity and tannins, usually estate wines are better than their average ones and this one didn’t disappoint.

Merlot: This Merlot was made of 75% Merlot grapes and the rest with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Pinot Noir. For all intents and purposes, this is a Meritage but because at least 75% of the wine is Merlot they get to call it a Merlot, however I think it is better suited as a blend as it was quite tasty with a cherry jam aroma with black berry and pepper flavors with a really nice mouthfeel. I liked this one a lot.

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

Bishops Orchards Winery

Arriving at the winery the scene is a typical farm market complete with carriages to carry your foods, fruits, pies and other delectable farm ware. Upon entering the building, fruit was upon the nose (gee, what did I expect, you’re in a fruit winery, no an orchard, no a fruit stand, no a pie shop, okay, where am I)?

Okay, let’s presume I’m in a winery to taste some wines and here’s what is on the wine menu of which you can pick six wines for $6 and you get a signature wine glass to take home with you: Honey Peach Melba, Berry Best Friends, Whitfield’s Pearadox, Pearadise Celebration, Happley Impeared to name a few. Hey, I didn’t make up the names, remember you’re in a winery where the wines are made from fruits like apples, pears, apricots, raspberries, etc., etc., etc. Please do not call the Witless Whiner help line at 1-800-888-5555 to express your concern over anything in this post unless you want to face a pearilous pearsecution as that may come to be and you certainly do not want to face that wrath. As you have guessed I’m not a fan of fruit wines but to tell you I was mildly surprised with what I found here. The sommelier, are they called sommeliers in a fruit winery or are they called applepearliers? Only kidding:)

Here’s what I tried:

Whitfield’s Pearadox: Yup, you guessed it – pear, pear, and some more pear. No matter what I did, swirled and I got pear, smelled and I got pear, smelled again and I got pear, tasted it and I got, yup, pear. You guys catching on yet?

Happley Impeared: Uh, where do I start? Okay, see Whitfield’s Pearadox.

Faulkner’s Spiced Apple: Okay, pear everywhere, sorry I think I’m trapped in a Twilight Zone episode. Actually, this apple wine reminded me very much like an apple pie (my favorite pie) complete with the cinnamon finish. I was very surprised with this wine. I almost bought a bottle. Did I say that out loud or was I thinking it?

Honey Peach Melba: This was almost like a peach melba dessert made with apples only in liquid form. I prefer the one I can eat.

Apple Raspberry Blush: Now this didn’t seem like a fruit wine as it was quite tasty with a good combination of apple and raspberry flavors one no more dominant than the other and a nice complement to each other.

Strawberry Delight: A really nice dessert wine. Strawberry explosion is more like it.

I do have to mention that the sommelier was quite knowledgeable about the wines I was tasting and she recommended what dishes would pear, pare, uh, I mean pair well with each wine and she did a remarkably great job.

BTW, I did buy an apple pie for dessert that night and it was just like the Faulkner’s Spiced Apple wine only in solid form. It was a real treat.

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

Jones Winery

Jones Winery was the third winery I visited on the Connecticut Wineries Tour #1 and the farm was a typical New England farm setting, complete with the red barns. After I parked the car I took a leisurely stroll about the vineyard and winery grounds and then went to the tasting room. Upon entering the tasting room you get a sense of enormity as the room could easily fit approximately 100 people in it with around fifty at the wine bar. A very rustic stone wall and glass enclosures gave it a very rustic yet modern look to it. Nice place to have a family reunion as it would accommodate most families comfortably.

The tasting fee was $6.75 plus state sales tax and you tried six of the nine wines they had. Plus you got to keep the signature wine glass too. Off the tasting room was a gift shop with wine paraphernalia, t-shirts, and other such stuff plus a few wine racks displaying their wines. The wines available for tasting were: the Pinot Gris Vintner, Stonewall Chardonnay, Woodlands White, in the white wine category. For red wine they had a Cabernet Franc Vintner Select, a Merlot, and Ripton Red. One fruit wine called First Blush. The dessert wine list had the Black Currant Bouquet and the Raspberry Rhapsody.

I chose the following wines:

Pinot Gris: This opened with floral notes and citrus on the nose. Honeydew melon was the dominant flavor. I would have liked to pair this with steamed shellfish such as clams or oysters (although I prefer the oysters raw) or maybe mussels. If not steamed then a hot grill would work well too.

Woodlands White: Made from the Cayuga grape this semi-sweet wine had floral notes and melon aromas and flavor. This should pair well with sharp cheeses, grilled chicken and asparagus, or maybe a grilled cheese sandwich – hmm, I’ll have to think about that a bit more.

Cabernet Franc: Opening notes were of earth and spice. Red berry fruits on the palate with a raspberry finish. A very decent Cabernet Franc.

Ripton Red: A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Estate Grown Connecticut grapes. This was very earthy  (or as one of our oenphiles said: “It’s like chewing on sticks!”). However, this reminded me of a decent Chianti. And yes, I would pair this with Grandma’s spaghetti and homemade marinara sauce with plenty of Italian bread to soak up the extra sauce you put in the bowl.

Black Currant Bouquet: A dessert wine, and you guessed it, black currant aromas and flavors abound in this nice after dinner wine with hints of plum on the finish.

Raspberry Rhapsody: Sweet with everything raspberry as the name suggests. This would go well with European chocolate or for that matter, any chocolate. The sommelier remarked that this wine “was a party in a bottle” and I couldn’t agree more. This wine really popped.

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

McLaughlin Vineyards

McLaughlin Vineyards located in Sandy Hook which was in an out of the way place and if it weren’t for the GPS this vineyard would have been a bit tougher to find than most. Driving down the long and winding road (Deja Vu?), a rock road I might add and on the last turn of the road up a slight but steep hill I came upon an old-style baseball game complete with the bases, the battery, the infielders and outfielders all dressed in the early 1900’s baseball garb. I thought I was watching a movie scene called “Batter Up” starring good ‘ol Abner Doubleday (although Alexander Cartwright was credited with inventing baseball and not Doubleday).

The entrance to the winery is preceded by a steep rock stairway and you needed to watch your step here as the stairs were a bit uneven. Just outside the tasting room was a nice picnic area overlooking the vineyards and a good view, albeit a long one, of the vintage baseball game in progress. Once inside you entered a small gift shop with a couple of wine racks displaying their wines. You walked through this room into a small hallway leading into the tasting room. There isn’t a whole lot of room, so 15 occupants would be considered crowded.

The tasting fee was $8 plus tax and you tasted all six of their wines – three whites and three reds. You also got to keep their signature wine glass. The wine bar was approximately 4 feet wide which limited the number of tasters that could surround it and was modern in style not the rustic feel I was hoping for. Luckily I was the only one in the tasting room and there were two separate couples outside in the picnic area seemingly enjoying their wine and the vintage baseball game.

Here are the wines I tasted:

Chardonnay: This wine was aged in stainless with oak added to enhance the flavor. I got a lot of pear both in the aroma and flavor of the wine. I also detected apple and had a nice smooth finish. I would venture to say this would go well with a creamy chicken dish or a good casserole.

Blue Coyote: Made from the Vidal Blanc and Aurore grapes. This wine opened with spice on the nose with flavors of apple (probably green apple I would think) and a hint of smokiness. This was my favorite wine at this tasting. I would probably enjoy this with a spicy dish, preferably an Asian style dish. I think it would pair well.

Snow Goose: This is a blend of estate grown Connecticut grapes and had citrusy fruits in both the aroma and flavor. It was fairly fruity semi-dry to dry wine. I liked this but not as much as the Blue Coyote.

Red Fox Rose: This was a fairly dry red wine with hints of strawberry and good acidity. This might go well with the favorite backyard cook-out in the heat of the summer and well chilled.

Vista Reposa: This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and the Cabernet Franc grape varietals. This opened with red raspberry with hints of mint on the nose. The flavor also consisted of red raspberry with pepper and spice mixed in.

Merlot: The last wine I tasted was their Merlot which opened with a red and black cherry aromas and lead into a black cherry flavor with a fairly smooth finish.

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

DiGrazia Vineyards

Upon first entering DiGrazia Vineyards you are greeted by enormous trees lining the driveway as you view a rustic wine/water tower giving you the sense of the history of wine making. Here I was, excited about embarking on my wine trip. This is the first time I have been to this vineyard and I was pleasantly surprised with my visit.

Just before entering the wine room there is a sitting area under a trellis bearing vines and you can imagine wine making from the beginning of time. I could envision myself relaxing under the trellis having a picnic lunch with some of the delectable wines I was about to encounter.

I really was not prepared for what was about to happen next. Upon entering the tasting room I noticed another couple enjoying the fruits of the vine while speaking with a lady from behind the counter. There was also another gentleman behind the counter and I was greeted with a great smile and a welcome to the winery. He inquired if I was interested in a tasting – what was I to say?

The tasting fee is $6 (did not include a souvenir wine glass) and let’s not forget the State of Connecticut wants to get in the act and has now started taxing the tasting fees with a 6% sales tax. You picked six wines from the fifteen wines listed on their menu (although he did let me try eight of the wines). The tasting room decor was in dark wood giving you a rustic setting with soft lighting and setting the mood for a wine tasting you hope is great.

Anyway, the sommelier behind the counter noticed I had my notebook and asked “Are you a professional wine taster?” With a simple smile I confessed I was a novice tampering with the written word for a wine blog. Well, was I surprised to find out that the gentleman I was speaking with was the owner of the vineyard. Dr. DiGrazia has been interested in wine for many years as he studied in Switzerland.

During our conversation he retold a story of when he spoke at a wine convention in Oakland, CA many years ago. He mentioned in his speech that his winery was capable of producing 1,000 bottles an hour. He was interrupted by one of the members of the audience that remarked “I understand that you are from Connecticut (sounding out each syllable phonetically while emphasizing the last syllable) that the 1,000 bottle an hour for California wineries would be considered an experimental batch of wine with an air of snootiness. All this was being conveyed while I was on a private tour of DiGrazia’s wine room and accessories used to make the delectable wines produced in this small vineyard amongst the many old pictures he had on the wall. You could almost envision working in the fields with a slight wind on a hot, humid day picking grapes that were mature and ready to begin its journey into the fermenting stage.

An hour later I finally left the winery with some memories of a kind soul that made a difference in how I viewed wine and life.  Alas, I had four other wineries to visit but could have easily spent the afternoon listening to his stories. After all, stories are what keep us going. If you haven’t visited DiGrazia you should put this on your list of wineries to visit this year. This was my first visit here but definitely not my last. Now, the wines I tasted…

Winners Cup: This dry Vidal Blanc had great acidity with tart apple and floral notes along with citrus flavors. I would have liked to pair this with shrimp and broccoli over angel hair pesto as I think this would make for a great meal and wine pairing.

Anastasia’s Blush: A rose wine with a lot of sweetness with great floral notes.  Honey-dew melon and cantaloupe dominated this wine. Serve chilled. I could imagine having this on a hot summer night.

Newbury: This red wine opened with raspberry and cherry notes on the nose with an explosion of red berry flavors. Although medium bodied it had a lot more oomph and I would attempt to pair this with grilled lamb or rabbit.

Paragran: A red wine with strong pomegranate aromas just like opening a fresh pomegranate and sticking your ‘ol schnozzola right into it. What a pleasant aroma! I found not only pomegranate flavors but pear as well. I do believe when I open a bottle of this wine there would be no use in re-corking it later as I doubt any wine would be left – and that’s just me drinking it.

White Magnolia: Most of you already know that I’m a fan of ports. Well, my white wine oenophile neophytes, this wine is laced with brandy and I was quite impressed with this. White grape juice aroma and the flavor was quite pleasant with the brandy. I could have this for dessert every evening.

Wild Blue: This wine was also enhanced by brandy and you guessed it – this was everything blueberry with sweetness in the finish.

Blacksmith Port: Ah yes ports, one of my favorite sipping liquids. This had the pungency of ports that I like and a nice long finish.

Signature Blacksmith Port: Just like the Blacksmith Port only intensified. This is a winery -only wine so you have to visit them to buy a bottle. If you’re a port lover this won’t disappoint.

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