Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Coastal Wine Trail

I think we've established the fact that food and wine is my life.

When I was 44 years old, I left everything for France. This goes under the heading of what is now my motto: 

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Since I was eating my way around France, I figured I should really learn about wine. So, I signed up for the Wine and Spirits Program at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. As you can imagine, I developed a taste for the good stuff. How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree? 

Flash forward to an undisclosed number of years later and I'm still on the hunt for a good time and a great taste.  

If, in 2018, you don't have a passport or the money to travel to the major wine regions here or abroad, you can get yourself a "Coastal Passport" and have a great time exploring the Coastal Wine Trail - fourteen wineries of the Southern New England Appellation from Cape Cod through southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. 

Your guide to a good time
Wine a little or a lot

This handy little guide with location information and hours of operation was indispensable for us in exploring the wineries. In the back of the guide is a page for passport stamps. In 2017 when we did a wine tasting, each of us had our own passport stamped at the wineries. I'm not bragging or anything but we collected 13 stamps (which means we visited 13 of the 14 wineries) and are both eligible to win a Bermuda Cruise as well as other fabulous prizes.

I believe that the wineries will be continuing the prize portion of their program for 2018. The adorable guy who runs the passport program and works at Running Brook Vineyard & Winery, Inc. could answer any questions you might have. This funky place is open year-round and features entertainment on the weekend. I recommend the spirits tasting here.

As you might imagine, each winery has its own personality.

Truro Vineyards is just about at the tip of the Cape in Truro, MA. If you're looking for a sprawling lawn with seating, you'll find it here along with a couple of tasting areas, a food truck on occasion, and the fabulous South Hollow Spirits Distillery. 

The most elaborate winery of the lot is Newport Vineyards, Middletown, RI, open year-round with several tasting bars and two restaurants. Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard, Little Compton, RI, also has several tasting locations and lots of outdoor seating to enjoy. It's owner is famous for her Alex and Ani line of jewelry. You'll find her pieces and other treasures for sale in the barn on the premises. You're welcome to walk throughout the sprawling property (but not in-between the vines) and relax on Adirondack chairs, some shaded with umbrellas, and enjoy a lovely outdoor cafe. (While some wineries may allow visitors to picnic on the grounds, outside food and beverages are not permitted at Newport or Carolyn's.)

Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard

Two wineries that we really enjoyed were Greenvale Vineyards, Portsmouth, RI and Langworthy Farm Winery, Westerly, RI. Greenvale offered some wonderful whites in an unpretentious, relaxing atmosphere. Langworthy was the smallest winery we visited. We had a tasting on the deck overlooking the vineyard and enjoyed a delicious cabernet-merlot blend.

An unusual owl overlooking the property at Langworthy Farm Winery

Some tasting rooms that are small and intimate include Langworthy Farm Winery, Westerly, RI; Maugle Sierra Vineyards, Ledyard, CT; and Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery, Westport, MA.

Outside and inside
Maugle Sierra.

Named after a couple: Maugle is the last name of the husband, Sierra - the first name of the wife

We found a few wineries very busy with private buses and vans, girlfriends all-a-twitter, and brides-to-be with their entourage. You just might catch a few in the bridal party all dolled-up with their bathrobes on. It seems that most of the wineries are available for weddings.

All the vineyards are beautiful, all the wineries unique, and all definitely worth a stop.             

The beautiful Jonathan Edwards Winery - one of my all-time favorites.
Some might say that they cheat by using California juice.

I say...

 If lovin' you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

Favorite tastes:

Zinfandel - Jonathan Edwards
Avondale Cabernet Merlot - Langworthy
Rose - Stonington 
Unexpected Miracles (Chardonnay) - Carolyn's Sakonnet
Brandies - Running Brook
Twenty Boat Amber Rum -  South Hollow Spirits (at Truro Vineyards)

Avondale Cabernet Merlot