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Home » FOOD AND WINE in CT » CONNECTICUT (all topics) » A Novice on the Connecticut Wine Trail
McLaughlin Vineyards
A Novice on the Connecticut Wine Trail

Part 2 - The Fun Continues!

By Lorien Crow | December 08, 2010

Previous Article in this Series

With each sojourn onto the Connecticut Wine Trail, I find I’m absorbing some basic knowledge without even realizing it.

McLaughlin's Country Store

Much to my amazement, I referred to a wine as “dry” the other day (dry is really just the opposite of sweet).

I’ve also learned that the term “Reserve” typically refers to a wine that the winery feels is of their highest quality.

“Estate” means that the grapes were grown exclusively on house-owned and controlled vineyards, and not imported from anywhere else outside the region.

So, an “Estate Reserve” wine should be a high-quality wine made from local, vineyard-harvested grapes.

Sure, you can probably Google these terms in a matter of seconds, but where’s the fun in that? I, for one, take my research extremely seriously, especially when it involves wine tasting!

A Sign at White Silo Winery

White Silo Winery

32 Route 37 East, Sherman, CT 06784

(860) 355-0271

White Silo Winery Website

White Silo Winery is a small boutique winery specializing in wines made from their own “farm grown fruit.” They offer four dry wines and four dessert wines made from raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb and black currants; for $6, you can pick four of the eight to try.

Since I tend to prefer sweeter wines, I opted for all of the dessert wines, favoring the Sweet Blackberry, which could really be sipped as a dessert in and of itself. We also sipped the house “sangria,” a luscious mix of the Sweet Blackberry and Dry Rhubarb wines. The winery offers a bottle of each in a special package for $27.

Situated in a rustic, restored red barn in the rural farm country of western Litchfield County, the site is also a raspberry farm and in September and October, you can pick your own raspberries. The main tasting space is also a gallery, exhibiting local artists, photographers and jewelry makers throughout the year.

DiGrazia Vineyards

131 Tower Road, Brookfield, CT 06804

(203) 775-1616

DiGrazia Vineyards Website

DiGrazia's Outdoor Seating

From White Silo in Sherman, it’s a busy but pleasant drive down Route 7 South to Brookfield.

Just north of Brookfield Center with its white clapboard churches, DiGrazia Vineyards rests in a peaceful, wooded setting.A trellised patio canopied with grapevines invites an afternoon of sipping, as do more private, individual tables with umbrellas scattered throughout the grounds.

DiGrazia has one of the largest selections on the trail, offering fifteen or more wines, depending on when you visit. There is a vast range from dry and semi-dry to blush, dessert wines, and port. It’s a tough choice to narrow it down to six for a tasting!

The Wind Ridge Seyval Blanc was crisp, and I clearly tasted the apple flavors mentioned in its description.   The White Magnolia was a true original - a white port wine with brandy. The Signature Blacksmith Port was ruby-red and deep, perfect for sipping by a fire. Our favorite was the Autumn Spice, with layers of honey, pumpkin and cinnamon. This would be a great one for the holidays.

McLaughlin Vineyards

14 Albert's Hill Road, Sandy Hook, CT 06482

(203) 426-1533

McLaughlin Vineyards Website

McLaughlin Vineyards is situated in the tiny town of Sandy Hook, which is just down the hill from Newtown’s historic Main Street.

McLaughlin Vineyards Wines

The vineyards and tasting room are set deep in the forest, down a dirt road, on 160 rural acres that offer a bevy of hiking trails (you can get directions and trail maps at the winery) as well as cross-country skiing in season.

There is also a 50-acre wildlife and bald eagle sanctuary on the property: the eagles winter in the tall pine trees on the banks of the Housatonic River, which is just a short walk through the woods from the winery. A country store on the premises sells maple syrup made on site and other Connecticut-made products, including meats, cheeses, and crackers, making McLaughlin the perfect place for a hike and picnic before or after your tasting.

Of the five wines on offer, we enjoyed the Coyote, a semi-dry white reminiscent of green apple. As it turns out, the Vidal and Aurore grapes that go into the wine are grown next to the green apple orchard, and grapes tend to pull flavors from the surrounding soil. The Merlot was served with a piece of dark chocolate, which brought out a deep, black cherry flavor. The bottles are lovely, featuring labels designed by local artists, depicting pleasant scenes of country life.

Lorien completes her tour of the Connecticut Wine Trail next time.

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