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Visit to Saltwater Farm Vineyard – July 2013

The last weekend in July we took Alex and headed for a day trip down to Stonington, CT.  The village in Stonington is quaint, and home to some good shops and restaurants.  One of our favorite restaurants is Milagro’s, which serves excellent Mexican food in a cozy atmosphere and has a great tequila selection.  You can read more about Milagro’s on the Food Page.  Also in Stonington is Saltwater Farm Vineyards, a small winery with a beautiful location, a great building and some pretty good wine as well.  I went down for the harvest last fall and picked grapes for half a day. That was fun, but this trip was about tasting the wines, and it was worth the drive.  You can read about the pick here.  Detailed info on Saltwater Farm including tasting hours is at the bottom and on their website.

CIMG1883Saltwater Farms is located on a saltwater marsh, hence the name.  The property is gorgeous.  It also was underwater after the recent hurricane, but so far so good and it looks like the vines have survived relatively unscathed.  All worry is not past however, as they tell me the effect of the salt can manifest itself at any time, so it will probably be well into next summer before they start to truly breath easy.  Here’s hoping it all works out.

The winery is housed in a very cool and meticulously restored old CIMG1884airplane hanger.  Inside is a mezzanine which houses the tasting bar.  Off to one side is a suite for brides to be, and the winery does a lot of weddings, also a testament to the beauty of the property.

You could have done anything with this building and it would have been fabulous.  The fact that it is a winery just makes it better.  As you walk in there are some shelves with wine showcased on display.  Then the space opens up into the main area.CIMG1885  On the ground floor are tables, which can support a fair sized reception or gathering.  Behind that is the wine making area, with the stainless fermentation tanks and barrel area.  More tables and parties can be accommodated on the patio.  Beyond the patio is a grassy expanse that leads to the vineyards.  It really is a nice spot

I believe I mentioned they also have wine.  They do, and it’s pretty good.  We ran through the tasting and were impressed overall, with the majority of the wines from estate grapes and well crafted.  Estate grapes are becoming less prevalent in local wines as wineries bring in grapes and concentrate, and sometime wine, from other regions.  Saltwater does use a good amount of Long Island grapes in their CIMG1887Sauvignon Blanc, and some Merlot as a blending wine, but that is it.  A saving grace of the Blanc is that it is really good.  We visited another winery on this day as well, and they use a bunch of grapes and wine from other regions, and the wines are not very good.  That is not a particular impressive business model.  Another story for another blog, let’s focus on Saltwater Farms here.

The wines from Saltwater Farm Vineyards are:

2012 Sauvignon Blanc – this is made from a lot of Long Island grapes and a little estate.  Light straw in color it has some nice citrus tones on the nose, with them following through to the palate.  It is a little tart, but in a very nice way. We liked it very much.    100% stainless here, and refreshing.  It’s $28, and that’s a little steep, but it is very good and worth considering.  Very well done.  Recommended.

2012 Estate Chardonnay – this is 100% estate grape, and it also has a light straw color.  There is vivid pear on the nose, and overall it presents as very bright and crisp.  The palate is not quite on par with the nose, but it is a good wine, with very good length.  $20 a bottle, but I would put the Sauvignon Blanc first.  Still, recommended and yummy.

2012 Cabernet Franc Rose – also 100% estate grapes.  In 2009 the Cab Franc didn’t quite ripen, so they tried a blush.  People loved it and they kept making it.  This version has some strawberry on the nose and a very pale color.  The palate is not pleasing to my tastes.  I get a shoe leather/shoe polish kind of taste out of it.  Still, a very popular wine for them so many will like it. $25.

2010 Estate Cabernet Franc – aged in French oak this has a nose of bright fruit with cherries dominating.  It’s medium to light bodied, with the fruit carrying over to the palate and integrating with the wood.  Actually there are some tannins hanging in there and they are well integrated as well.  Overall this is quite good.  $28 and recommended.

2010 Cabernet Franc/Merlot Blend – using 40% Long Island Merlot grapes, this medium bodied red brings the added depth of the Merlot and takes the Cab Franc to another level.  It’s a light ruby red, with some tannins evident.  There is a lot of complexity here, and the wine is almost too easy too drink.  Very delicious and well done.  At $36 this is pricy, but we still bought a bottle.  It’s very good and recommended.

Overall the wines were a rousing success and well done.  The small local wineries will never be able to pump out a good $10 red, but the wines here are well made, delicious and worth a bottle or two.  The Cab Franc and Cab Franc/Merlot blend are really quality wines.

CIMG1888

The vineyards

I suggest you take the ride and visit Saltwater Farms Vineyards and try these for yourself.  Maybe you can get lunch at Milagro’s and take in Stonington village as well.  It makes for an enjoyable afternoon.  With any luck I’ll get down to Saltwater Farms again this year for the harvest.  I’m looking forward to the 2012 Cab Franc, which I can say I contributed to in a tiny way by picking some of the grapes.  That’s kind of cool.

A votre sante!

Here are the particulars for Saltwater Farm Vineyards:

Website: http://saltwaterfarmvineyard.com/

Tasting Room Hours Through August 31st

Wednesdays 11am-5pm
Thursdays 11am-7pm
Fridays 11am-3pm
Saturdays 11am-3pm
Sundays 11am-3pm
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays


Thursday Night Music Series Continues Through 8/31
Live music every Thursday 5pm-7pm
7/25 Bob Lavalley (singer/guitarist)
8/1 Sarah Windsor (singer/guitarist)
with Tom Duxta on mandolin
8/8 Shawn Taylor (singer/roots music)
8/15 Deborah Lynn Alt (singer/guitarist)
8/22 T-Ray (singer/guitarist)
8/29 Guido Favilene (acoustic singer/guitarist)


Call the tasting room manager Paul Peloquin directly
at 860.415.9072 or email
paul@saltwaterfarmvineyard.com for more information.

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