I was a guest of Saltwater Farm Vineyard who offered me a complimentary wine tasting. My opinions, as always, are my own!
On Sunday I packed up my things for a quick weekend trip to Mystic, Connecticut! Just a two-hour drive from Boston, Mystic is a great choice as an alternative to Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod. After dropping our bags off at our home away from home, my first stop was Saltwater Farm Vineyard in nearby Stonington. Co-owner Merrily graciously allowed us to come in for a wine tasting (although we only had an hour before they closed for a wedding!) and allowed us to try some of their signature wines. This was my first time on the Connecticut wine trail.
The story behind the property is really fascinating, the structure used to be an airport hangar until World War II. After the war, the property wore many hats including a restaurant, warehouse, etc. until Merrily and her husband purchased the property in 2001 and decided to transform it into a vineyard. It’s now a popular wedding venue in New England! It has the unique mix of a historical structure that appears sleek/modern but the dark wood gives it a rustic feeling. And with large decorating the property, I imagine it must be gorgeous during foliage season. A perfect backdrop for an October wedding!
Inside Saltwater Farm Vineyard, view from the tasting room’s mezzanine.
So we were escorted to the mezzanine level where they do all the tastings. It’s an open space with a wine bar and large barrels as stand-up tables. This space also gives access towards the balcony that overlooks the vineyard. They had two options for the tasting available, a “Signature Tasting” or the “Reserve Red Tasting”. We ended up going with the Signature option looking for a bit more variety! The Signature Tasting includes four types, 2016 “Runway White”, 2016 Estate Chardonnay, 2016 Cabernet Rose, and a 2014 Estate Cabernet Franc.
2016 “Runway White”
The “Runway White” is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewürztraminer. It was for sure the most unique out of the ones I tried. It was very elegant but was not my personal favorite. I can easily say I’m not this well versed in wine and definitely not the aging process but I get the feeling this one would be better as it ages? Both the Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer are from the property whereas the Chardonnay mostly comes from Long Island. The color is also really gorgeous!
2016 Estate Chardonnay
I have to say I’m not the biggest Chardonnay fan but I was pleasantly into this one! It has a very noticeable citrus tone to it which I appreciate. Their description says an Asian pear and lemon aroma with notes of green apple peel and pineapple. Those citrus flavors are definitely there which made the Chardonnay more enjoyable for someone who isn’t always a fan of Chardonnay. The Chardonnay for people who don’t like Chardonnay! I liked it. And this one was particularly mom’s favorite. But she is a Chardonnay woman.
2016 Cabernet Rosé
One of my favorites! I know rosé is huge right now but I was a really big fan of this one. It felt perfect for the season and time of day and was just delicious. Made primarily from Cabernet Franc grapes, mostly coming from the North Fork of Long Island. The first time they made it, it was because the grapes had not ripened enough for a good red wine that all they made was rosé that year. Next time it happened rosé had exploded in popularity and the demand is high so they now use the Cabernet Franc grapes both for the red wine and rosé. It was really excellent.
2014 Estate Cabernet Franc
This was another one of my favorites from the tasting but for a completely different reason. I found this one to be a lot spicier and although it was certainly delicious it felt a bit out of place for summertime – whereas the rosé fit in so naturally. This is the wine I would bring to Thanksgiving or a friends holiday party. It has a unique warmth to it. The Cabernet Franc is 100% Saltwater Farm’s grapes and was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, as opposed to the others that age in stainless steel. They also use the grapes here for a Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend.
They explained the tasting room is typically closed from November on and they reopen in April as wedding season picks up again! As you can imagine not many are interested in getting married outside during the cold winter months, although I bet it’s beautiful with a fresh coat of snow! This was my first time along the Connecticut Wine Trail. It’s rapidly developing as a popular wine region in the United States. I’m so happy to have marked my start here!
Anyone is welcome to go in for a tasting and during warmer months, they also have outdoor music for the public to attend and have picnics! View their website for more information. It was a great way to begin my time in Mystic! I will definitely stop by for the “Reserve Red” tasting next time I’m in town. They recently opened up a coffee/wine bar in Mystic called M/BAR for drinks and small plates. I didn’t get the chance to stop in but this is a great place to have a glass if you can’t make it the vineyard!
Do you have a favorite vineyard or wine (either in Connecticut or worldwide!)? I would love to hear your recommendations! xo, Rebecca
349 Elm Street, Stonington, Connecticut 06378 / website / ph: 860.415.9072