If you’ve been around here for a while, follow me on Instagram, or have seen even one Instastory, you are well aware I like my wine. In California, I did my fair share of visiting wineries and vineyards… and joined maybe one too many wine clubs. I absolutely love wine country and because of my visits to Temecula, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, and Willamette Valley in Oregon, my friends in Connecticut have dubbed me a little bit of a wine snob.
Now let me be the first to say, I know nothing about wine. Ok, I know a little but in no way am I any type of expert. Just a little bratty when it comes to taste and setting.
So, when I got back to Connecticut I decided I needed to visit all of the wineries out little state has to offer. Wine is defiantly different here. For one thing, I’ve never tried so much fruit wine in my life. And yikes! I don’t know how I feel about it.
I went to Hopkins Vineyard during my girl’s weekend up in Litchfield County. We didn’t realize it when booking the B&B but it is owned by the family with the same name and literally right across the street from the B&B in an old 19th century barn. When we first got there, we went upstairs to grab a bite to eat. They had a small selection of only cheese and meats but a charcuterie board and a glass of rose was just what we needed. When we finally got downstairs, there was a little confusion about what time they actually closed. Long story short, they told us we had 2 hours when we sat down upstairs and when we came down an hour later they told us we were closed and couldn’t do a tasting. After way too much debate, they finally let us pay for a tasting, which we completed in about 7 minutes. The wines were ehh. The Lady Rose was definitely my favorite and then they had a summer red called Sachem’s Picnic that I actually bought a bottle of. Served cold on a summer day, it was a good change from the normal Rose I was drinking all summer.
Saltwater Farm Vineyard
This was vineyard was the first of three on a little day trip out to eastern Connecticut this summer. Saltwater Farm’s building is a converted WWII era hanger and the runway of vines outside lead straight to the mouth of the Wequetequock River, which is perfect for the Connecticut coast line. We took a walk down to the water and back, but there is nowhere to sit down there. They should definitely take advantage of the view and put some picnic benches and Adirondack chairs. I would have loved to take a bottle of wine out there. Once we got upstairs, we realized that the tasting room is pretty small. It is in a loft of the hanger, and the main floor is actually where they do a lot of weddings and special events. There were no tables or space at the bar for our group of 5 so we hand to rely on the pourer to come out and bring us our next tasting. Lucky for us she was absolutely amazing and remember what tasting we each were having, and was super informative. My favorite was definitely their Rose (so basic, I know) and their Cabernet Franc Merlot blend. I love a red wine and even though you could taste the blackcurrant for sweetness, there was still an earthiness and smokiness to it that made me want fall… ASAP.
Stonington Vineyard was stop number two that day and I actually really enjoyed it. The building is absolutely stunning even though there isn’t an actual view. The property is surrounded by trees which definitely made it feel pretty secluded and quaint. You could tell the building is either pretty new or recently renovated because it defiantly had that clean, cookie cutter feel, and just didn’t make me want to stay and get comfortable there. On the other hand, I feel like out of the three wineries we went to this day, here had the biggest variety that I liked. I tend to lean toward drier wines, usually reds, and NEVER Chardonnays. A few different wineries in Connecticut have told me that their Chardonnay is Sauvignon Blanc inspired. Out of the wines I have tried so far, this one is the only one that I could actually say is. It didn’t have that buttery taste that I am used to with California Chardonnays, which is actually what I hate about it. This was much lighter and crisper. They also had an amazing Riesling that I enjoyed, but it was defiantly a wine you just want a small class of because it is very fruity and sweet.
Hawk Ridge Winery
Ohh my new favorite place! I don’t know why, but I just love me a farm house and farming landscape. I mean take away all of those nasty animal smells and I am in love. This winery was just absolutely amazing because it definitely has that farm feel. I love visiting vineyards during the week because the pourers get to actually talk to you about the wine making process, history of the wine and you get a lot more than the typical here is our two-sentence description of what you’re tasting. My sister, friend and I all had the same day off one Wednesday and headed up north to check out two wineries. Hawk Ridge had two options for Rose, I preferred All Day Rose over the Rose Bublé, although both were really good. The Talon Red was my favorite because of its equally earthy and fruity flavor. I will definitely be back for more of this.
Next month I plan on doing another round up of some more of the Connecticut wineries so if you are from Connecticut or going to be visiting, check it out. I’d love to try some vineyards out for you.