Cayuga White – This is a crisp, fruity white that would be great with chicken or fish. I was quite impressed; the wine has a complexity that is interesting in the mouth. The tasting notes indicate grapefruit, melon and peach. I must admit I wasn’t able to discern any specific fruit, but the medley of flavors that balanced nicely, and in the end I find prefer wines that balance to those that have strong notes. The Cayuga was awarded a Bronze Medal in the 2008 International Eastern Wine Competition.
By: Marguerite Barrett, Contributing Writer
Land of Nod Winery
After a several month hiatus, I returned to the CT Wine Trail this summer. My original intent had been to use my home base in central CT as a jumping off point to leisurely explore the entire wine trail over the spring and summer, hitting one winery every other week or so. Unfortunately life intervened as it is wont to do, and it took the arrival of my friend Carol from Texas for a long weekend visit to kick-start my wine trail adventures again.
Carol and I spent a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in late August touring several of the wineries in the northwest corner of CT. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, these are the hills of Litchfield County, which begin in the foothills of the Berkshires (near the Massachusetts border) and wind down through Litchfield and Fairfield counties until you hit the Western end of Long Island Sound. The scenery is exquisite and you travel primarily along state roads through small towns and forests.
We began our tour at the Land of Nod winery, one of the newer additions to the CT Wine Trail. Land of Nod is located in East Canaan, CT – in the western CT Highlands, close to the Massachusetts border.
The farm and winery, which is owned by the Adam family, is a National Bicentennial Farm, which means the farm has been in the same family for at least 200 years. Land of Nod bottles red, white and fruit wines. The two reds we tasted, the Cabernet Franc and the Pinot Noir, were both nice table wines. The one white, the Bianca, was a stronger, more complex wine. However the fruit wines, the Raspberry and the Blueberry-Raspberry medley really knocked our socks off.
I am not usually a fan of fruit wines – I often find them too sweet even as dessert wines – however, I fell in love with both of these. Very mellow, sweet but not cloyingly so, both wines would be excellent as aperitifs, dessert wines, paired with light pasta or vegetable dishes or just for sipping. I was so excited by them, I even sent two bottles to Kevin for his birthday – and Kevin generally is less of a fan of fruit wines than I am, a fact of which I am well aware. But lo and behold I got a call a month later from Kevin saying he and Gretchen and finished both the Raspberry and the Blueberry-Raspberry Medley and enjoyed both! I have to say I did respond with an “I told you so!” (ed. Totally true. They were fruity, not cloying, dry even which was a particular surprise. We would certainly enjoy trying them again… hint, hint!)
As much as Carol and I enjoyed the wines, we enjoyed the winery and the tasting even more. We spent almost an hour at Land of Nod hanging out with Bill, the owner, and his son, leisurely sampling his wines and just hanging out and chatting about anything and everything. Carol and Bill traded pictures and stories of their dogs, and Carol also went home with hand-spun yarn from a local farm for a knitting project. Bill and his family are great hosts, the tasting room is comfortable and there’s a small patio area out front if you want to sit, sip and enjoy the scenery.
At the end of our tasting, Bill brought out their new Chocolate-Raspberry fruit wine. It was still being bottled and labeled so it wasn’t available for sale, but he gave us a tasting on the house. My first thought when he introduced it was “Chocolate wine – are you kidding me?” But once tasted, I was a fan. Like the other fruit wines, it is not too sweet, and the chocolate taste is rich without being overpowering. It is currently available for sale, and I’m planning on picking up several bottles to bring to Thanksgiving dinner with my cousins.
If you do get a chance to visit the CT Wine Trail, don’t be deterred by the fact that Land of Nod is up in the corner of the state. It is definitely worth a visit; the drive is gorgeous, and it’s really not that far from other wineries on the list. If you’re coming from the
We at VinoVerve were sad to learn of the passing of David Lett of Eyrie Vineyards in Dundee, OR. Mr. Lett died in his home on October 9th surrounded by family. He was 69.
Mr. Lett was a pioneer Oregon winemaker. He was the first to plant pinot noir in the Willamette Valley and the first in the U.S. to plant pinot gris. His 1975 Eyrie Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir won 10th place in the 1979 Wine Olympics in France. He later took a 2nd place award, with the first place going to Robert Drouhin of Maison Joseph Drouhin, who was so impressed with Mr. Lett’s work bought land in Oregon and opened Domaine Drouhin Oregon.
The family welcomes condolences and remembrances of the man, known locally as Papa Pinot. They can be sent to:
Diana, Jim and Jason Lett
Post Office Box 697
Dundee, Oregon 97115
or donations can be made in his name to his favorite charities:
1000 Friends of Oregon (land use advocacy)
534 SW Third Avenue, Suite 300
Portland, Oregon 97204
Families United For Independent Living (supports assisted living for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities)
PO Box 473
McMinnville, Oregon 97128 0473
A notation on Eyrie Vineyards website indicates that a memorial service has yet to be scheduled, however in keeping with Mr. Lett’s wishes it will be held AFTER harvest.
Apples of course! I am sure that the Washington Apple Growers Association wouldn’t agree, but then they are probably not hanging around here at VinoVerve either, are they?
Anyway… Here is Rory taking a break from his wine trek to eat an apple and hear about how the cultivation of apples and wine grapes are similar!
at around 9:00pm I got the following message on Twitter:
garyvee Boarding a plane to Springfield Illinois! HUGE day for me tomorrow!
I Tweeted back asking if this meant that Gary Vaynerchuk was going to be named Barack Obama’s Vice Presidential candidate… but I never heard back..
I am sure he is just being coy!
Rory’s Pinot Camp Diaries continue. After breakfast at the Evergreen Aviation Museum (Home of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose), we meet the Oregon Pinot Camp Counselors.
The Court of Master Sommeliers are in Chicago again to test for Certified Sommeliers (12 of 23 passed at the Conrad today, one of them being Rachael Johnson one of the Sommeliers on staff here at The James – Congratulations Rachael!). Tomorrow they will administer the Introductory Course to future Sommelier hopefuls.
Court of Master Sommeliers, have you heard of them? I hadn’t until 2002 when I was hired as a waiter at Blue Fin in New York City’s Times Square. The restaurant wine program was lead by corporate beverage director Greg Harrington, MS. Those last two letter referring to the title ‘Master Sommelier‘. Back then, as I was told, Greg was a pretty big deal. Not only was he one of 50 or 60 Masters in the country, but he also had the record for being the youngest to ever pass the test. Like I said, Greg was a pretty big deal. These days there are almost 100 Master Sommeliers in the US, with 9 newly anointed MS titles going out in 2007 alone. So what does it mean and why is it a big deal?
The Court of Master Sommeliers originated in London (where they take wine very seriously) and an American chapter was initiated in 1977. The goals of the organization include setting a benchmark and awareness of service standards and knowledge in the sales and service sector of the wine industry. Not a bad goal. So what does one need to do to become a Master Sommelier? Let’s just say that its really really hard. Those that even get invited (yes, you have to get invited) to take the MS exam have already passed a series of rigorous tests that include blind tasting 6 wines in 24 minutes, answering detailed questions about obscure wine regions, and exuding graceful and composed service while being harassed by sitting Masters. That process will get you a title of Advanced Sommelier and allow you into the world of eligible Masters candidates.
To become an Advanced Sommelier you must receive sponsorship from an MS, and have also passed the Certified Exam. I passed my Certified last March here in Chicago and will hope to sit for the Advanced in early 2009. Now that Rachael has passed the Certified I have a great study buddy and blind tasting partner.
More on the Court of Master Sommeliers to come…