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Visit to Hawk Ridge Winery in Watertown, CT

IMG_1432On a very soggy winter afternoon, we recently found ourselves in western Connecticut, and at the Hawk Ridge Winery in Watertown, CT.  Fortunately for us the winery has a big, beautiful new tasting and function building, so we were dry and warm while we tasted through the Hawk Ridge portfolio.  This place must be gorgeous on a warm, summer evening.

The story of Hawk Ridge Winery really begins with the purchase of 58 acres of surrounding property by Hidden Breeze LLC in 2012.  The land had previously been a horse farm, and Hidden Breeze decided to return it to a working farm status, bringing in farm animals and growing thirty acres of hay.  In 2014 they started to plant vines, and now have four acres in total under vine, bringing in about 10 tons of grapes this past year.  The varietals grown are hybrids, eight different ones to be exact, and they include standard New England staples such as Chambourcin, Cayuga and Traminette.  They make 11 different wines utilizing IMG_1430all, or some, of these estate grown grapes.  For the rest they bring in grapes, and a little juice, from places like California and Chile.

Everything is done on-site here.  A destemmer was right inside the production facility, surrounded by a large number of stainless vats.  Barrels are being procured for the next vintage, but until now they have made do with wood chips to get the oak nuances into the juice.  All the wines have been fermented in stainless.

We tried several varietals during our visit.  Several were out of stock, unfortunately.  Here’s what we sampled:

All Day Rosé – this rosé of Grenache carries some significant (14.6%) alcohol, which is typical of Grenache wines.  This is bone dry,IMG_1422 and had a very complex palate.  There is some nice berry fruit and some herbal notes.  It finished long and clean.  The reaction was a bit mixed among our group of four, but I quite liked this.

Rosé Bublé – this sparkler hits you with an incredible nose of raspberry, and then the palate follows through.  It’s actually too much raspberry for me, and the fruit essence dominates the wine.  Many are going to love this though, chilled and served on a summer afternoon.

IMG_1426White Hawk Reserve – this is predominantly Riesling, and carries some sweetness.  There are hints of almond, but it carries a fairly classic Riesling fruit profile and was fresh, clean and long.  I liked this wine.

Sky High White – this is a lighter wine, with fresh fruit aromas and flavors.  There is melon, some lemon and other citrusy notes.  Nice overall.

Nighthawk’s Watch – this Pinot Noir is made from Chilean grapes, and has some cherry flavor.  It is also quite perfumy, has brisk acid and finishes clean.  Nice color too.

Trooper’s Red – here we have Cabernet Sauvignon made with Californian grapes.  It features raspberry notes, a touch of menthol, IMG_1427some really nice caramel/chocolate and spicy pepper.  It also has some nice acid, with light and integrated tannins.

IMG_1417Hawk’s Ridge Winery is  work in progress.  The vineyards are just into their producing years, and I suspect they will planting more going forward.  American oak barrels will be replacing the wood chips, and French ones might also join the party.  This is also more than just a place that makes wine.  The setting is pretty amazing, and I would love to visit again in the summer.  They have a great looking food menu Friday through Sunday, so you can have lunch while you taste the wines.  Any variety of events can be held at the winery, from corporate events to full blown weddings.  They also have live music on the weekends.

Here are the particulars:

Hawk’s Ridge Winery

28 Plungis Road

Watertown, CT

860-274-7440  Website:

A votre santé!

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