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An Excellent New England Red Wine from Saltwater Farm

When you make the rounds of New England wineries you quickly get the message that there will be good white wines, some fruit wines, some hybrids (like Vidal Blanc or St. Croix) some light reds (probably Cab Franc, maybe Merlot) and some more full bodied reds made from grapes or juice that were imported from somewhere else.  More and more wineries seem to be bringing in California grapes and producing their “own” style.  We’re not sure why we would pay $40 for a California Cabernet that is about the same as a $15 retail bottle, even though we love supporting local business.  It’s just the way it is, you can’t grow good vinifera reds, especially Cabernet Sauvignon in this climate.  There are exceptions, such as the estate Pinot Noir that Diamond Hill in Rhode Island manages to produce (they might be crazy growing Pinot here, but they are committed to it).  Some years the Cab Francs at a handful of wineries are very good.  The wine we’re talking about today is another example.

SW Farm Cab-MerlotWine: 2010 Saltwater Farm Cabernet Franc/Merlot       

Winery Location:  Stonington, CT

Tasted By:   Neil & Cheri                           

Date:   April 2014

Tasting Notes:     – this is very dark red, much darker than most New England reds would ever show.  On the nose there are red and black fruits, smoke and oak.  The fruit carries onto the palate, where the wine is medium+ bodied, with a long, smooth finish.  The tannins are well integrated.  It seems bigger than the 12.5% alcohol it’s carrying.  Overall this is a very good bottle of red wine.  For estate grapes in New England it’s a really stupendous bottle of red wine.  Now granted, if you take the short hop over the water to Long Island you can get some pretty impressive reds, but that short hop may as well be 1000 miles in wine land.  This is good juice, for anywhere.  Bravo.

Price Point –   I think it was about $35-$40, so it’s not cheap.  Can you get a better wine for that money? Yes you can.  But if you’re at the winery throw some support to the small businesses that keep our local economies going.  And if you’re going to do that this is a good bottle of wine to do it with.

Would We Buy It?  – sure.  The next time we visit I’ll buy another bottle if they still have it.  As of now it is still on their website.  I wouldn’t buy a case, but a bottle or two would work.

I think Saltwater Farm lost their Merlot vines a few years back.  When I was there picking two years ago there was one row of Merlot (which I personally picked)  and it was just starting to bear fruit.  I think they blended it in to other things.  Hopefully the vines are more prolific now, although it has been a tough couple of years around here.

You can visit their website here.  You can read more about my grape picking adventure in their vineyards here.  If you’re in the neighborhood stop in, as the wine is good, the tasting room is in an extremely cool building, and the property is just picturesque.

A votre sante!


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