Connecticut Corkers

Eighth Annual Connecticut Wine Festival

The Connecticut Wine Festival will be returning to the Goshen Fairgrounds in Litchfield County on Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24, for its eighth year of showcasing some of Connecticut’s best wines. Sponsored by the Connecticut Vineyard and Winery Association (CVWA) and presented by the CT Wine Trail, the festival features fine wines from a wide variety of local vintners. The festival also features wine classes, specialty food vendors, and artisanal crafts, as well as a variety of live musical entertainment.

Daily admission to the CT Wine Festival ($35 at the door), include free wine tastings, a commemorative festival wine glass for the tastings, and a tote bag. Guests under 21 and Designated Drivers can attend for a reduced admission price of $10. Photo ID with proof of age is required for the wine tasting. Hours for the Festival are 12:00 to 7:00 pm on Saturday, July 23, and 12:00 to 6:00 pm on Sunday, July 24. More information and a complete list of participating wineries can be found at www.ctwine.com.

Festival proceeds are used to promote the CVWA Wine Trail and the Connecticut wine industry. The CT Wine Trail, a state approved winery and vineyard awareness program, features trails that wind their ways through some of the most scenic and historic regions of Connecticut.

“We are very pleased to once again host 14 of Connecticut’s wineries and allow patrons to sample some of the many wines that are produced right here in Connecticut,” said Sherrie Palmer, Festival Manager.

Wine Institute of New England will be presenting a free wine seminar  – A Connecticut Wine Tasting: Discovering Our Local Vines – on Saturday, July 23, at 2:00 pm.

The specialty food vendors are primarily members of the Connecticut Specialty Food Association, an association that is part of the Connecticut Food Association. They feature local foods made in Connecticut. Adams Hometown Market, a Platinum Sponsor of the Festival, will also sell advance tickets at its stores throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts and also through its Better Valu and Tri-Town locations.

For more information, visit www.ctwine.com. You can also email info@ctwine.com or call (860) 216-6439.

2016 CSFA Products Award Wine Competition

The annual Connecticut Specialty Food Association’s Products Award Competition took place on March 22, 2016 at the Aquaturf in Plantsville. Below are the results of the Wine Competition.

2016 Wine Product of the Year 

Hopkins Vineyard Ice Wine 2014

 

Wine – Blush

1st Place           Jones Winery, Shelton, CT First Blush, NV

2nd Place          Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT Apple Raspberry Blush, NV

3rd Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT Sunset Blush, 2014

 

Wine – Dessert

1st Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT Ice Wine, 2014

*This wine received high enough marks from all of the judges to be placed in the Exceptional category, the highest category in which a wine could place.

2nd Place          Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT Pyrrha’s Passion, 2011

 

Wine – Dry Red

1st Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT Cabernet Franc, 2012

2nd Place          Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT New Dawn, 2014

3rd Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT St. Croix, 2014

 

Wine – Dry White

1st Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT Cayuga White, 2014

*This wine received high enough marks from all of the judges to be placed in the Exceptional category, the highest category in which a wine could place.

2nd Place          Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT Chardonnay, 2014

3rd Place           Jones Winery, Shelton, CT Pinot Gris VS, 2013

 

Wine – Fruit

1st Place           Jones Winery, Shelton, CT Blueberry Bliss, NV

2nd Place          Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT Celebration, NV

3rd Place           Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT Highland Red, NV

 

Wine – Hard Cider

1st Place           Holmberg Orchards &Winery, Gales Ferry, CT Cortland Hard Cider, NV

2nd Place          Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT New England Hard Cider, NV

 

Wine – Other Red

1st Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT Root 63, 2014

*This wine received high enough marks from all of the judges to be placed in the Exceptional category, the highest category in which a wine could place.

 

Wine – Other White

1st Place           Jones Winery, Shelton, CT Woodlands White, NV

2nd Place          Holmberg Orchards &Winery, Gales Ferry, CT Thamesview White, NV

3rd Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT Blustery Blend, 2015

 

Wine – Rosé

1st Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT Rosé, 2014

 

Wine – Sparkling

1st Place           Holmberg Orchards &Winery, Gales Ferry, CT Bubbly Blanc, NV

*This wine received high enough marks from all of the judges to be placed in the Exceptional category, the highest category in which a wine could place.

2nd Place          Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT Rubus Nightfall, NV

 

CT Wine Festival at the Durham Fair 2015

Wine Institute of New England

presents

Loca-Pours for Locavores!

at

The Connecticut Wine Festival

at

The Durham Fair

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

at 1:00 pm

 

Connecticut Wine Festival 2015 in Goshen

Wine Institute of New England

presents

Loca-Pours for Locavores!

at

The Connecticut Wine Festival

Goshen Fairgrounds

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

at 3:00 pm

Hands Holding Wine

Photos from A New England Wine Dinner

Thank you to all our friends, both old and new, for making our New England Wine Dinner such a tremendous success. Cheers!

A New England Wine Dinner

Wine Institute of New England

presents

A New England Wine Dinner

with

Chef Daniel Chong-Jiménez

dcjpic

Join us for an unforgettable wine dinner focused on the wines and cuisine of New England. Chef Daniel will prepare a delectable 5-course meal based on seasonal native foods. Each course will be expertly paired with regional wines by WINE’s director, Renée Allen, and presented with food and wine pairing tips and techniques.

Saturday, June 20th

6:30 pm

The Crush Club

65 South Colony Road

Wallingford, CT

Menu subject to change based on availability.

Menu

Domestic Cheese, Nut & Fruit Display

paired with Hopkins Vineyard Gold Label Sparkling Wine*

New England Cheddar Apricot Tartlet

paired with Sunset Meadow Vineyards Blustery Blend*

Stonington Scallops on a Bed of Brussels Sprouts Sauerkraut topped with Red Pepper & Bacon Relish served with Mini Arugula Salad with Egg Crumble

paired with Sunset Meadow Vineyards Cayuga* or St. Croix

Tenderloin of Beef with Twisted Connecticut Butter Emulsion Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, Rosemary New Potatoes, Connecticut Butter Cabernet Emulsion

paired with Jones Winery Cabernet Franc*

~ Study in Chocolate ~

Mini Lava Cake with Pana Cotta Quenelle & Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Bark

Westford Hills Eau de Vie Chocolate Cherries

paired with Hopkins Vineyard Night Owl

$99.00/person

*These wines won 1st place in their categories at the 2015 CT Specialty Food Association’s Product Awards Competition.

About the Chef

Chef Daniel won many awards and pleased many palates as the Executive Chef of the Norwich Inn & Spa for 11 years. One of his signature dishes made Connecticut Magazine’s 50 Dishes To Try Before You Die. In addition to his award winning cuisine and innovative approach to nourishment, Chef Daniel is well known for his entertaining hands-on cooking classes.

2015 CT Specialty Food Association Wine Competition Results

IMG_3349-1On March 24, the CT Specialty Food Association held their annual CT Product Awards Competition, which included Connecticut wine. All wines were required to be made from 100% Connecticut grown fruit. I was pleased to put together an expert panel of wine judges, including several newcomers this year. We spent several hours in each other’s company contemplating 34 Connecticut wines, and engaging in a few lively debates. When the dust settled, some clear winners emerged. Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen had a very strong showing, placing first in 4 categories, and competition newcomer Preston Ridge Vineyard in Preston secured a second place finish in the Dry White category.

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L to R: Roger Collinge, CSW, Doug Croll, CSW, Renée Allen, CSW, FWS, Ken Turcotte, CSW, WSET Adv. Brad Haywood, WSET Adv.

And the winners are…

2015 Wine Product of the Year

Sunset Meadow Vineyard, Goshen, CT   Blustery Blend, 2014

Wine – Blush

1st Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT   Sunset Blush, 2013

Wine – Dessert

1st Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT   Ice Wine, 2013

*This wine received high enough marks from all of the judges to be placed in the Exceptional category, the highest category in which a wine could place.

2nd Place          Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT   Midnight Ice, 2013

3rd Place           Jones Winery, Shelton, CT   Seven Generations, NV

Wine – Dry Red

1st Place           Jones Winery, Shelton, CT   Cabernet Franc, 2012

2nd Place          Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT   New Dawn, 2012

3rd Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT   Lemberger, 2012

Wine – Dry White

1st Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT   Cayuga White, 2013

2nd Place          Preston Ridge Vineyard, Preston, CT   Estate Vidal Blanc, 2013

3rd Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT   Vineyard Reserve, 2013

Wine – Fruit

1st Place           Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT   Celebration, NV

2nd Place          Jones Winery, Shelton, CT   Harvest Time, NV

3rd Place           TIE

Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT   Apple Raspberry Blush, NV

Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT   Enchanted Apple, 2013

Wine – Fruit/Sparkling

1st Place           Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Guilford, CT   Rubus Nightfall, NV

*This wine received high enough marks from all of the judges to be placed in the Exceptional category, the highest category in which a wine could place.

2nd Place          Holmberg Orchards & Winery, Gales Ferry, CT   Macintosh Hard Cider, 2013

Wine – Other White

1st Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT   Blustery Blend, 2014

*This wine received high enough marks from all of the judges to be placed in the Exceptional category, the highest category in which a wine could place.

2nd Place          Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT   Vidal Blanc, 2013

3rd Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT   Westwind, 2013

Wine – Rosé

1st Place           Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen, CT   Rosé, 2013

Wine – Sparkling

1st Place           Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT   Gold Label Sparkling Wine, NV

2nd Place          Holmberg Orchards & Winery, Gales Ferry, CT   Bubbly Blanc, 2013

A New England Wine Dinner

Wine Institute of New England

presents

A New England Wine Dinner

with

Chef Daniel Chong-Jiménez

dcjpic

Join us for an unforgettable wine dinner focused on the wines and cuisine of New England. Chef Daniel will prepare a delectable 5-course meal based on seasonal native foods. Each course will be expertly paired with regional wines by WINE’s director, Renée Allen, and presented with food and wine pairing tips and techniques.

Saturday, April 11th

6:30 pm

The Crush Club

65 South Colony Road

Wallingford, CT

Menu subject to change based on availability.

Menu

Domestic Cheese, Nut & Fruit Display

paired with Hopkins Vineyard Gold Label Sparkling Wine

New England Cheddar Apricot Tartlet

paired with Sunset Meadow Vineyards Blustery Blend

Stonington Scallops on a Bed of Brussels Sprouts Sauerkraut topped with Red Pepper & Bacon Relish served with Mini Arugula Salad with Egg Crumble

paired with Sunset Meadow Vineyards Cayuga or St. Croix

Tenderloin of Beef with Twisted Connecticut Butter Emulsion Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, Rosemary New Potatoes,  Connecticut Butter Cabernet Emulsion

paired with Jones Winery Cabernet Franc

~ Study in Chocolate ~

Mini Lava Cake with Pana Cotta Quenelle & Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Bark

Westford Hills Eau de Vie Chocolate Cherries

paired with Hopkins Vineyard Night Owl

$99.00/person

About the Chef

Chef Daniel won many awards and pleased many palates as the Executive Chef of the Norwich Inn & Spa for 11 years. One of his signature dishes made Connecticut Magazine’s 50 Dishes To Try Before You Die. In addition to his award winning cuisine and innovative approach to nourishment, Chef Daniel is well known for his entertaining hands-on cooking classes.

The CT Wine Festival at the Durham Fair

Wine Institute of New England 

to present free wine appreciation seminar

at

The Connecticut Wine Festival at the Durham Fair

Durham Fairgrounds

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

at 2:00 pm

Hands Holding Wine

Summer Breeze, Makes Me Feel Wine…

What better way to spend the first day of summer than sipping the wines of the Southeastern New England AVA at the Coastal Wine Trail's Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival? This event was promised to be the first of several planned this year to celebrate the Southeastern New England AVA's 30th anniversary. The Wine Institute of New England left the familiar surroundings of Connecticut and headed for Westport, Massachusetts to see what the rest of New England was pouring. 

coa_int_logoThe Coastal Wine Trail weaves its way along the Southeastern New England coastline from Connecticut to Cape Cod. Each winery has its own distinct flavors and personality it brings to the trail. In attendance were ten wineries, each offering tastings of 4 wines to ensure there was something for every palate. The wineries pouring were Stonington Vineyards, Coastal Vineyards, Greenvale Vineyards, Langworthy Farm, Newport Vineyards, Running Brook Vineyard & Winery, Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard, Travessia Urban Winery, Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod, and Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery.

IMG_1135

 

My invitation included entry to the "Media Tent." Although it may have been the lure of V.I.P. treatment that lulled me in, it was what I found under the tent that kept me there. Along with a small showing of select wines, it was here I found the grape growers and winemakers.

IMG_1144I started off with the 2010 Chardonnay Select from Greenvale Vineyards, a perfect summer sipper. Winemaker Richard Carmichael was on hand to talk about the winery. In addition to three Bordeaux grapes (merlot, malbec and cabernet franc), and two hybrids commonly grown in this region (cayuga and vidal blanc), Greenvale is growing albariño on their 22 acre vineyard. Carmichael explained how this white grape indigenous to northwestern Spain seemed to thrive in the maritime climate at their vineyard in Rhode Island. Albariño grows in Rias Baixas within a region known as "Green Spain" due to its wet, cool climate. Planted 3 years ago, Greenvale's albariño will be making its debut very soon. I can't wait.

IMG_1136 Some cute as heck graphics caught my eye on what looked like a large bottle of beer. It was in fact a beer bottle, but it definitely wasn't beer; it was Farmer's Fizz from Westport Rivers Vineyard. Unlike the original Farmer's Fizz, this newer version of their popular bubbly was produced in the style of a Prosecco. Meaning what? It went through two fermentations, both in the tank (rather than the second one ocurring in the bottle, as in Champagne). Made from 3 chardonnay clones, pinot gris and pinot blanc, it was fizzy, off-dry, refreshing and fun. Grape grower Rob Russell told me that, although they produce excellent examples of several styles of wine, traditional method sparkling wine is the style at which this winery excels. In addition to spotlighting sparklers, Westport puts an emphasis on using estate grown grapes for their wines, the majority of which are dry.*

IMG_1142While enjoying his 100% Estate Grown 2011 Cabernet Franc, I chatted with Dave Nielson, winemaker and owner of Coastal Vineyards. Coastal produces 15 wines from their 8 (soon to be 10) acres of vines, including one from the French-American hybrid, chambourcin. Chambourcin, popular on the East coast, was commercially released in 1963 and is typically used as a blending grape due to its intense color. Chambourcin is resistant to fungal diseases, allowing the grower to use fewer chemicals. Coastal makes a sparkling wine from chardonnay and pinot noir using the traditional, or Champenoise, method. Look for this winery to release a red dessert wine this year.

IMG_1145I was happy to spot a bottle of Stonington Vineyards 2011 Cabernet Franc, one of my favorite Connecticut red wines, poised at the end of the table. Standing next to his creation was Mike McAndrew, grape grower and winemaker at Stonington. Although the winery mainly produces single variety wines a là Burgundy, France, McAndrew revealed that a pinot noir-riesling blend, aptly named "Pink Noir," is joining the lineup. While it may be a break from Stonington's more traditional offerings, it is probably not a bad marketing move. Sales of rosé wines increase every year, with imported rosés experiencing 9 straight years of double digit growth, inlcuding a 39% increase in volume in 2013. Like it or not, pink is still in. I happen to like it. (If you like pink, too, click here to sign up for our upcoming class, Looking at the Wine World Through Rosé Colored Glasses)

IMG_1138IMG_1148There were many other wines being poured that were worth a second sip. The Blessed Blend Limited Edition by Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard (owned by bangle buff Carolyn Rafaelian of Alex and Ani) was a lively, lip-smacking blend of vidal blanc and chardonnay. I also enjoyed the lineup from Running Brook. The festival coordinators broke the day down into sessions. This was great from the public's perspective as it kept crowding at tables down to a minimum. I am already looking forward to next year's festival. In the meantime, this Connecticut dweller will definitely be hitting the Coastal Wine Trail again this summer. 

To see what else the Coastal Wine Trail has in store to celebrate the Southeastern New England AVA's 30th anniversary, visit their site: CoastalWineTrail

*During my discussion with Mr. Russell, I was persuaded to visit Wesport Rivers Vineyard & Winery after the Festival. Check future posts to read about my experience there.

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