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Home » FOOD AND WINE » CONNECTICUT » A Novice on the Connecticut Wine Trail
The Grounds at Chamard Vineyard
A Novice on the Connecticut Wine Trail

Part 3 - The End of the Journey

By Lorien Crow | January 19, 2011

Previous Article in this Series

In the third and final installment in this series, Lorien Crow completes the Connecticut Wine Trail.

McLaughlin Vineyards Wine

My journey through the Connecticut Wine Trail has been a wonderful experience. I started off in the spring barely knowing anything about wine, and while I’d hardly consider myself an expert today, I’m much more comfortable navigating a wine rack.

The wineries I’ve visited delighted the senses - stunning scenery, local art and music, roaring fires, friendly faces, and delightful tastes and aromas. I was most surprised by the variety of wines offered; from bold, dry reds to dessert wines redolent of chocolate and blackberry.   There is something to suit each and every taste on the trail.

Winter is a lovely time to visit the wineries on the Connecticut Wine Trail. What could be better than snuggling up next to a roaring fire with a glass of robust red wine as you gaze out across snowy fields? In the southeastern corner of Connecticut, there is a cluster of wineries perfect for doing exactly that. If you’re planning a visit to Mystic or the casinos, you’re within a short drive of the wine trail, and the choices in this region abound.

After the holidays, many wineries switch to winter hours until spring, so be sure to call ahead or check the website prior to your visit.

Maugle Sierra Vineyards

825 Colonel Ledyard Highway (on CT Route 117), Ledyard, CT 06339

(860) 464-2987


Maugle Sierra has a cozy cabin feel with its dimly lit, beautifully decorated tasting room (though a new, larger tasting room is planned to open in 2011).

Maugle Sierra Goddess

The forested grounds are artsy and eclectic. Several small garden vignettes feature statues from around the globe as well as work by local artists.   Visitors are invited to stroll the grounds at their leisure.

The vineyard recently released its “Trés Amorés,” a trio of decadent dessert wines. We adored the Estate Grown Espíritu De St. Croix red which, according to the website, is “best enjoyed in your jammies, in front of a fireplace, with your lova.” It was reminiscent of chocolate and perfect for sipping on a chilly winter day.

The Aura, a Late Harvest Vidal Blanc dessert wine, was also delicious.   The staff was friendly, informative, and knowledgeable about the area, offering suggestions for several area hotels and restaurants.

The vineyard also plays host to hives from Full Bloom Apiaries, a local producer of fresh honey, available for purchase in the tasting room.

Chamard Interior

Chamard Vineyards

115 Cow Hill Road, Clinton, CT 06413

(860) 664-0299


Chamard boasts the honor of being voted “Connecticut’s Best Wine” by Connecticut Magazine for the last twelve years.

The property is lush and green, best seen from the back balcony overlooking the pond and fountain. A large fireplace beckons in the tasting room, while seasonal displays throughout make the interior charming and homey.

As for the wines, the 2006 Cabernet Franc is described as having “aromas of smoked bacon, dried black fruit, dark chocolate and cinnamon spice” in their brochure, and there is a pleasant, faint smokiness that lingers but doesn’t overpower.

By contrast, the 2005 Estate Reserve Cabernet Franc tastes sweeter and is redolent of ripe red berries.

The vineyard offers local music on Friday and Saturday nights in-season.

Jonathan Edwards Winery

Jonathan Edwards Winery

74 Chester Maine Road, North Stonington, CT 06359

(860) 535-0202


Jonathan Edwards Winery sits on a scenic country road and has a lovely view of the surrounding ponds, fields and woods. A roaring fire and comfy couches welcomed us, but we braved the chill to enjoy the idyllic vista from the deck.

In addition to the vineyard-produced wines, we were surprised to find several Napa Valley offerings, which tended to be dryer and made for a nice comparison to the local wines.

We favored the crispness of the 2009 Estate Chardonnay. The gift shop was a highlight, as was the barrel room, which can be viewed from an overlook inside the winery.

I hope this series will encourage other novices to visit the Connecticut Wine Trail, to experience the wonderful places, and wines and meet the people that helped make 2010 such a memorable year for my friends and me.

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