Spending Time With… McLaughlin Vineyard’s Coyote Blue

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Hats off to Gretchen for covering for me this week.  I usually try to stay ahead of my posting – writing at least one or two posts a weekend.  If I’m really good, I can often be 3 or 4 weeks ahead, taking the pressure off if I don’t have time to sit down on a particular weekend.

Unfortunately, I skipped too many weekends recently, and the posts caught up with me.  And of course it would happen on a week when I was scheduled to be out of town at a conference.  Oh well…  I’ll get back on track for next week.

So if I wasn’t writing posts – what was I doing last weekend you ask?  Well, as it was Halloween and quite chilly here in New England, I built a fire in the fireplace, roasted a pork loin, opened a bottle of McLaughlin’s Coyote Blue wine and waited for the trick-or-treaters.

McLaughlin Vineyards was one of the first wineries I visited when I began my Connecticut Win(e)ding Road adventures just about 2 years ago.  I like their wines, the coziness of the winery and tasting room, and most importantly love hanging out with Dee, the winery host.  I find myself returning fairly regularly and often dragging friends and relatives along with me.  I’ve been back a number of times since that first trip, including attending one of their Blind Tasting events at which great fun was had by all.

On one of my earliest jaunts, I picked up a bottle of McLaughin’s most popular white, the Coyote Blue, a blend of Aurore (add another grape to the wine century list!) and Vidal Blanc grapes.  At the time of the tasting I found myself really drawn to the hint of  green apple in this semi-sweet wine.  The balance of the green apple tartness of the Aurore with the sweet Vidal grapes made for a rather appealing wine; certainly one I wanted to get to know a bit better.

I recently pulled that bottle out of the cellar where it had been for probably a good 18 months.  I’m not sure why I waited so long to open it, but now am glad I did.  The additional bottle aging softened the wine a bit; it’s lost some of the tart crispness I noted during my initial tasting, but the apple feels more integrated with the wine overall.   Keeping to my “spending time with…” protocols, the first glass was drunk on its own, not paired with food.  The nose was a bit musty with earthy notes, making me worry that perhaps I had left the wine too long before drinking.  But my fears were for naught.   The wine retains much of the sweet richness of the vidal blanc grapes which provide a nice context for the apple notes.  There’s still a touch of tartness on the finish which balances the sweetness and results in a more satisfying wine.

My second glass I paired a roast pork loin with rosemary potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts.  I deliberately chose the wine because of the apple notes which, as to be expected, paired well with the pork.  Together the two were a really nice complement.  The pork and rosemary softened some of the green apple tartness of the wine, while the apple, not surprisingly, really brought out the richness of the pork.  I’ve often paired hard cider with pork, but found myself really liking the softer, yet still crisp, notes of the apple in the wine.  It’s a more delicate balance and worked well with this meal.

As that was the only bottle of Coyote Blue in the cellar, I expect next weekend will find me back on the road heading west to Newtown for yet another stop at McLaughlin.

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