Mulling Things Over at Sunset Meadow Vineyards

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Also on my New Year’s Day excursion was a stop at Sunset Meadow Vineyards, a fairly regular stop for me throughout the year, and with Connecticut Valley Winery, a particular favorite of the Sisters of the Wine Trail (SOTS).

Also a particpating winery of the Litchfield Winter Wine Trail, I headed over to Goshen after leaving Jerram Winery in the New Hartford.  Proprietors George and Judy Venice Motel have created a very comfortable and cozy space with the Tasting Room with the look and feel of a rustic, but well-appointed cabin.  When I arrived mid-afternoon, several small groups of people were already settled in enjoying both the wine and the roaring fire.  Judy Venice Motel was circulating through the room, and with the surrounding snow-covered hills and vineyards visible through the windows lining one wall of the tasting room, I felt like I had stepped into a ski lodge.

I grabbed a place at the bar and a tasting of five of my favorite of Sunset Meadow’s wines – the Riesling, the Vidal Blanc, Blustery Blend (a Cayuga, Seyval Blanc blend), New Dawn (a Malbec, Merlot, Frontenac and Landot Noir blend) and the St. Croix, all of which have been featured here at Vino Verve.

At the end of the tasting, rather than ordering a glass of wine, I was offered a small steaming mug of a mulled Merlot.  I’ve had mulled wine before – I mull wine myself several times each winter –  but this was the richest and most delicious mulled wine I’ve had in many an age.

The base for Sunset Meadow’s mulled wine is their Merlot, a 2010 Finger Lakes Wine Competition silver medal winner and a 2010 Grand Harvest International Wine Competition Bronze Medal winner.  To this they add cranberry juice and Crown Mulling Spices, a blend of spices that includes cranberry, cinnamon, and nutmeg among others.  The result was a rich, silky, fruity, robust mulled wine that was absolutely perfect for a cold, snowy afternoon.  I could have stayed there all afternoon drinking mugs of mulled wine; instead I contented myself with a sample and a mental note to order some Crown Mulling Spices and invite my fellow SOTS over for a Sunday afternoon in front of the home fires.

Note to the Motels ~ if you ever decide to bottle your mulled wine, drop me a line.  I’ll definitely be coming by to pick up a case!

Jerram Winery 1.1.11 ~ The Reds

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

My New Year’s Resolution should have been “don’t procrastinate on filing your Vino Verve posts!”   Although given that it’s not even the end of January and I’m already behind, at least I don’t now feel the guilt of having resoundingly failed at my resolution before the year truly got underway.

So, to catch us up ~ I kicked off the New Year on the Litchfield Winter Wine Trail; first stop Jerram Winery in New Hartford, Connecticut.  Having sampled the available whites, next up were the reds, which I was particularly looking forward to.  My first visit to Jerram was fairly early into my Connecticut Wine Trail adventures.  Jerram was one of the first wineries at which I tried a Marechal Foch wine (as opposed to encountering Marechal Foch as a blending grape), and the Highland Reserve, a Cabernet Franc/Marechal Foch blend was one of my favorites of that visit.  Not having been back in almost two years, I was looking forward to the new vintages.

Before either the Highland Reserve or the Marechal Foch, however, the first red presented was Sil Vous Plait, a 100% Cabernet Franc.  The nose has bright notes of cherry and that flinty, salt-tanginess of the Northeastern Reds.  Medium-bodied, the wine is slightly tart with cherry notes on the front and a lightly smoky finish.  The mouth-feel is soft, and there’s a slight bite towards the back of the tongue that makes the wine feel a bit young.  With Connecticut Cabernet Francs, I’ve found cellaring them for six to nine months and then letting them breathe a bit really mellows them and makes for a much richer wine.

Next up was the Highland Reserve, the Marechal Foch/Cabernet Franc blend.   The nose is softer and more subtle than the Sil Vous Plait, although the cherry notes are still the predominant note.  In the mouth the wine is lightly sweet and fruit forward with bright notes of cherry, which carry through from the front to the back of the tongue.  There are light notes of smoke and leather on the finish, enough to provide a nice balance but not so much that they overwhelm the wine.  Overall a lovely wine.

And last, and certainly not least, my favorite the Marechal Foch. The nose is earthy with notes of grass; a definite surprise after the more strongly cherry noses of the first two wines.  Medium-bodied, in the mouth the wine, like the Highland Reserve, is fruit-forward with notes of cherry, but there are earthy notes as well which keep the wine from the sweeter notes found in the Highland Reserve.  The tanginess and “bite” that is a characteristic of the Marechal Foch grape (or to be more precise the Marechal Foch wines I’ve encountered) is present but not distracting.  The wine is quite smooth and feels more robust and mature than other Marechal Foch wines I’ve tasted.

If anything could be considered Jerram’s “signature” wine, it would be the Marechal Foch.  These are the first vines Jim Jerram planted when he established the vineyards in 1982, and the first wine he produced in 1986.  Over the years he’s expanded to other grapes and wines, but the Marechal Foch maintains a place of prominence in the Jerram Winery lineup.

Jerram Winery 1.1.11 ~ The Whites

Jerram Winery, New Hartford, Connecticut

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

I managed to start the New Year as planned, spending New Year’s Day re-visiting a couple wineries that I hadn’t visited in almost a year.  The weather certainly helped; after a Boxing Day snowstorm dumped 12″ of snow on most of Connecticut, New Year’s Day dawned bright and sunny and hit the 50s by early afternoon.  The sun glistening off the snow in the hills was beautiful as I made my way over to my first stop of the day, Jerram Winery in New Hartford, Connecticut.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to Jerram, despite my liking their wines enough to have brought home one of everything the last time I was there.  So I was looking forward to tasting the latest vintages of some of my favorites and seeing if they had any new wines on the menu.

It was pretty quiet when I arrived; owner and winemaker Jim Jerram was at the Tasting Bar engaged in a lively conversation with a gentleman who, it appears, has recently bought a place – or is considering buying a place in New Hartford.   The interior is bright and cheery – just as I remembered it – and both the ambience and the company welcomed me warmly.

There are 11 wines on Jerram’s current wine list, six of which are available for tasting, three whites and three reds.  First up was the

White Frost, a 100% Chardonnay lightly oaked.  This is a very dry Chardonnay, and those who dislike the fruity, buttery, sweeter Chardonnays should really like this wine.  In some respects it reminded me more of a Sauvignon Blanc than a Chardonnay – crisp, with light notes of lemon and a nice bite of acid on the finish.

After the Chardonnay, I had my choice of Seyval Blanc.  Jerram produces two Seyval Blancs each year, one sweeter and one drier.  I opted for the drier, but in hindsight I realized not only had I sampled the dry Seyval before but had a bottle at home.  I would have done better to choose the sweeter Seyval Blanc BC for the contrast.  Live and learn… and an excuse to return soon.  Despite the oversight I very much enjoyed the Seyval Blanc.  Crisp with light notes of lemon and grapefruit, particularly on the finish, this is my favorite of the Jerram whites.

When I returned home, I looked back over my notes from my first visit to Jerram Winery – almost two years ago.  I had no idea it had been that long!  Turns out the Seyval Blanc BC is one of Jerram’s newest wines, having bottled the first vintage not long before my visit.  Man, I definitely should have opted for the BC!

The whites concluded with the sweetest of Jerram’s whites, the Aurora, a Villard Blanc/Aurore blend.  This is a really nice wine, and one of Jerram’s most popular.  The wine has a soft, sweet nose with notes of apricot and honey both of which blend nicely in the mouth.  Semi-dry, the Aurora is fruit forward with lovely notes of apricot immediately apparent.  The honey is more subtle and really comes through with subsequent sips, providing the wine with a nice depth and complexity over time.

Not on the tasting menu that day, but a wine which I recently enjoyed at home is Jerram’s Gentle Shepherd, a blend of Cayuga, Chardonnay and Aurore grapes.  This was the bottle I opened two weeks ago to launch my vacation – and the holidays.  Nice point/counterpoint to the holidays.

Having finished the whites, it’s time to clear the palate and rinse the glass before proceeding to the reds…


Jerram Winery
535 Town Hill Road
New Hartford, CT 06047
860-379-8749

Litchfield Hills Winter Wine Trail

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

For the second year in a row, Litchfield area wineries have joined together to sponsor the Litchfield Hills Winter Wine Trail.  Hosted by six local wineries, the Winter Wine Trail kicked off on January 1st and runs through the end of February.   Pick up a Wine Trail Card at any of the six wineries, get it signed at each winery, and drop it off at the last winery you visit to be entered in the drawing.

This year’s Grand Prize is a package of 2 free wine tastings at each participating winery.  Second Place Prize is an overnight stay at a historic New England Inn, the Toll Gate Hill Inn in the heart of Litchfield County wine country, and Third Place Prize is dinner at a Litchfield County restaurant.

The 2011 Winter Wine Trail wineries include:

DiGrazia Vineyards, 131 Tower Road, Brookfield, CT
Haight-Brown Vineyard, 29 Chestnut Hill Road, Litchfield, CT
Hopkins Vineyard, 25 Hopkins Road, New Preston, CT
Jerram Winery, 535 Town Hill Road Rt. 219, New Hartford, CT
Miranda Vineyard, 42 Ives Road, Goshen, CT
Sunset Meadow Vineyards, 599 Old Middle Street Rt. 63, Goshen, CT
You can find a list of our posts about each winery on the Connecticut page under “Win(e)ding Roads”

If you’re new to win(e)ding roads adventures, winter wine trails are one of the best ways to start.  With the exception, perhaps, of the Valentine’s Day weekend, the wineries are much quieter in the winter, the setting more relaxed.  You’re in little danger of being overwhelmed by the crowds one can often find on busy summer weekends.  And because these are local farm wineries, the winemakers themselves are often on hand and more than willing to kick back and chat about their wines, winemaking, and pretty much anything else you want to discuss.   All six participating wineries also have very welcoming and comfortable Tasting Rooms where you can sit, often by a fire, with a glass (or bottle) of wine after you finish your tasting.

Hopefully I’ll see you on the trail one weekend soon.

Spending Time With… Jerram Winery’s Gentle Shepherd

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

I have the luxury of being on holiday for the next two weeks – heaven!  Of course achieving that was a direct result of not using more of my PTO during the year.  I’m also forgoing the stress of holiday travel this year – the thought of NOT worrying about dealing with busy airports full of people who travel infrequently, overbooked flights and the expense – double heaven!  Not that I won’t miss spending the holiday with family and friends, but I am looking forward to a quiet, relaxing holiday at home.

So after spending Saturday and a good portion of Sunday finishing the decorating, wrapping and Christmas Cards, I headed down to the basement to select a bottle of wine I could kick back and relax with, something light which would be a good sipping wine.  As I scanned through the whites, my eye it upon Jerram’s Gentle Shepherd, a bottle I picked up about 18 months ago.

A blend of Cayuga, Chardonnay and Aurore grapes, Gentle Shepherd was an inspired choice.  The wine is made for sipping and relaxing.  The nose was more subdued than I originally remembered, but that my be a result of my leaving the wine so long before drinking.  In the mouth, the fruity sweetness of the Cayuga and Aurore grapes is balanced by the buttery smoothness of the Chardonnay.  Light citrus notes combine with the softer sweetness of apricot.   It’s a deceptively simple combination with a silky mouth feel that makes the wine stand well on its own.

Generally I’d have said this was a great summer wine – served chilled on a hot summer afternoon – but turns out it is also the perfect accompaniment to a cozy afternoon in front of the fire.   The wine holds up well on the second day – although I recommend sealing it well.

Spending Time With… Jerram Winery’s Marechal Foch

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Whenever I hit the wine trail, I head out armed with my trusty GPS, a list of wineries, and a cooler with ice packs for the wine I know I’ll be bringing home.   I try to be judicious, don’t want to bankrupt my retirement after all, but there’s only so much you can tell about a wine from a 1oz sip – particularly when it’s tasted in the midst of a number of other 1oz sips that day.  So whenver I find a wine that catches my attention – sometimes it wows me, sometimes I can see potential, and sometimes it’s just different enough from anything else I’ve ever tried – I take a bottle home.  This provides the opportunity to sample the wine in larger portions, pair it with food, and see how it stands up after a day (unless I have guests, it’s usually 2-3 days per bottle of wine).

And though this has been my practice since I started on the wine trail, I’ve never bothered to put my new impressions to paper.  Hence the launch of a new occasional series, “Spending Time With…”, follow-up posts on my impressions of a wine after spending some time with it.  Keeping with the theme and focus of Vino Verve, these will primarily be “local” wines, wines I’ve picked up on my various travels.  That’s not to say that there might not be the occasional post about a wine I picked up in a package store, but here at Vino Verve we like to focus on celebrating local wines, rather than just a running commentary of “what I drank last night.”

I launch the series with Jerram Winery’s Marechal Foch.

I’ve had this bottle about 18 months, having picked it up during my first visit to Jerram just after Christmas 2008.  At the time I was still a newcomer to the  Marechal Foch grape and  wasn’t really sure I was a fan, finding the grape often tart and the wines “young.”  My prior encounters had not left me with an overall great impression of the grape.  However, Jerram’s Marechal Foch caught my attention; it felt more complex than some of the other wines I’d tried, and the cherry notes, while still bright and slightly sour, seemed to make more sense in Jerram’s wine than they had in previous Marechal Foch wines I had tried.  I remember liking all of Jerram’s wines and actually going home with a bottle of each, but the Marechal Foch was one that stood out for me that day.

18 months later, I continue to be impressed.  The wine held up well, smoothing out just a bit.  The fruit notes are a bit stronger than I had noted during my original tasting, but they’re richer as well.  The nose is dusky and earthy and there’s very little hint of the tangy cherry I found in the mouth.  The wine starts out dry and slightly earthy, dusty almost, and then opens up into the bright notes of slightly sour cherries that are so characteristic of Marechal Foch.  The finish is definitely smoother than my first tasting, mellower – the cherry tartness hits the roof of your mouth towards the front, and then the wine mellows as it moves back through the mouth.

I let the wine breathe for about 15 minutes before pouring the first glass, which I had on it’s own.  I then paired a second glass with a grilled steak and beefsteak tomato salad.  The wine held it’s own against the steak, but I don’t know that it was the right pairing, neither seemed to add anything to the other.

I finished the bottle on the second evening, when I paired it with a Greek casserole dish made of beef sauteed in onions, garlic, tomatoes, oregeno and basil pasta, and feta cheese.  The heartier, spicier food was a much better pairing – the cherry notes in the wine became more juicy, and while there’s still that sour tart “bite” that is one of the grape’s hallmarks, it worked really well against the salty brine of the feta cheese.

Overall, a strong Marechal Foch, one I’ll definitely be adding back to my “cellar.”

Jerram Winery is located in New Hartford, Connecticut.  They are open Thursdays through Sundays, 11:00 – 5:00 from May 1st to December 31st.  Their website has a list of locations that sell Jerram’s wines, all local to Central Connecticut.  You may also want to contact the winery to see if they will ship directly.

Connecticut Valley Winery ~ The Reds

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Connecticut Valley leads off the Reds with their Chianti, the only wine produced in the Northeast that’s allowed to be called a Chianti.  In 2004, the United States and the European Union reached an agreement prohibiting the use of wine labels, such as Chianti, that had become “semi-generic” to only those wines produced in specific regions within the European Union.  Also included in the agreement are “Champagne,” “Madeira,” “Port,” among others.   Certain US wines, such as Connecticut Valley’s Chianti, were grandfathered in, thus allowing this to be one of the few non-European wines allowed to be called a Chianti.

Chianti Connecticut Valley’s Chianti is a blend of 7 different grapes, 4 grown locally, including Grenache, Sangiovese, Chianti and Chardonel grapes.  The result is delightful: rich, medium garnet color with a lovely, fruity nose with rich plum notes.  In the mouth, the wine is very smooth and fruity with notes of both cherries and summer berries.  The wine is dry and lighter-bodied, with very low tannins, producing a nice smooth finish.  This is a great summer sipping wine and would pair well with grilled meats and fish.

2010 Ruby Light A rosé style wine, the Ruby Light is a 50/50 blend of Frontenac and Chardonel. Deeper and richer than the Chianti, the wine has lovely notes of plum on the palate and a touch of pepper on the finish which provides some complexity.  The nose is bright and fruity with a slightly floral citrus note.  Like all the Connecticut Valley wines, the Ruby Light is smooth with low acidity.  I found I would have liked a bit more acid on the finish to open up the wine.

2010 Deep Purple An estate-bottled Chambourcin, the 2009 vintage was completely sold out on my previous visits, so I looked forward to this with great anticipation.  The nose is quite strong with lovely notes of cherry.  On the palate, the notes of cherry predominate, bordering on overwhelming the wine.  The cherry notes add a strong sweetness, and despite being a dry wine, it borders on the semi-sweet due to the strength of the cherry.  The couple next to me at the tasting really liked this, and those who prefer sweeter wines should really like this.  The Deep Purple should hold up well when paired with meats such as beef and pork.  Overall an interesting wine, but not one of my favorites.

2010 Midnight An estate-bottled Frontenac, this is one of my favorites among Connecticut Valley’s wines.   The nose is soft and rich, with lush cherry notes, although thankfully not as strong as those in the Deep Purple.  Like the Deep Purple, the cherry notes are very strong in the mouth, but the Midnight has a slight finish of chocolate/mocha, which likely comes from the dark french oak barrels in which the wine is aged, that smooths out the wine and balances the cherry.  The result is less sweet and more interesting than the Deep Purple.  This would pair well with drier, richer foods.  Judith Ferraro also uses the Midnight as the base for a mulled wine, combining it with cranberries and mulling spices.  She always keeps a batch going during the winter and offers it at the end of a tasting.  The result is absolutely divine – and the perfect wine for those cold northeastern winter evenings in front of the fire.

2009 Black Tie Cabernet Franc This is Connecticut Valley’s most awarded red wine.  75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Geneva 7 (GR7), a hybrid grape produced by Cornell University and first released in 2003.  A hardier grape designed for colder-weather climates, the GR7 is used primarily as a blending component.  Connecticut Valley’s Cab Franc is a smooth, dry wine, the driest of Connecticut Valley’s wines.   In the mouth, the wine is soft and silky with notes of cherry and a peppery finish that doesn’t linger overlong.   This should age very nicely, and I imagine it will really open up if allowed to cellar for a couple of years.   Each time I taste the wine, I find myself more and more intrigued, and after the third tasting have added it to my list of favorite Connecticut Cabernet Francs with Gouveia‘s and Chamard‘s.

The tasting finishes with Connecticut Valley’s one dessert wine, the

Black Bear A port-style wine, the Black Bear has a strong, rich deep nose with notes of both cherry and chocolate.  As with the Black Tie and the Deep Purple, the strongest notes present on the palate are those of cherry, although there are slight notes of raspberry and dark chocolate both of which provide a slightly tart bitterness to balance the cherry and keep the wine from being overly sweet and cloying.  The finish is smooth with light, lingering notes of chocolate.

That concluded the tasting, and as I didn’t have another winery on my list for that afternoon, I indulged, ordering a glass of the Chardonel a plate of crackers and cheese and settled into a comfortable chair on the patio for an hour in the sun.

In addition to the wines, Connecticut Valley also hosts wine-pairing dinners featuring the cuisine of local chefs paired with Connecticut Valley wines.  Their most recent dinner was Valentine’s Day.  If interested in future dinner, check out their website and/or send them an email and Judith will put you on her watch list and contact you once they’ve scheduled the next dinner.

The winery is open all year round Saturdays and Sundays 12-5 or by appointment.  They also have extended hours during the summer wine season, call 860-489.WINE for details.

Connecticut Valley Winery ~ Whites and Specialty Wines

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

In addition to being voted Best Connecticut Small Winery at the Big E competition, Connecticut Valley also won the distinction of being the Sisters of the Connecticut Wine Trail’s favorite winery.  The whole group loved both the winery and the wines – and trust me, they are not an easy group to please!

The tasting menu starts off with the

Chardonnel A hybrid grape, the result of grafting Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc grapes together, the result is a lovely, crisp, refreshing white wine – one of my favorites across the Connecticut wine trail.  Like all of the Connecticut Valley wines, the Chardonnel has only a light touch of oak.  A pale yellow color with a soft, lightly fruity nose with notes of apricot and peach, the wine is soft and silky in the mouth with light notes of peach and bright citrus and a soft buttery finish.  The Chardonnel would pair well with a wide variety of foods, but I prefer it on it’s own – lightly chilled, it’s a perfect wine to relax with at the end of the day.

Dolce Vita An estate-grown Cayuga White, Dolce Vita is proprietor Tony Ferraro’s favorite wine, according to his son, Jason, who was my host for my third and most recent tasting.   The color is an extremely pale straw.  The nose is soft and both fruity and floral with lovely notes of orange blossom.  In the mouth the wine has subtle notes of pineapple and touches of melon.  On my most recent visit, the gentleman next to me during the tasting said he was picking up watermelon.  I took another sip and thought about it and could get just the barest hint of the watermelon he was experiencing, but for me the overall impression was that of pineapple.  Regardless, it is a lovely wine.

The next three wines, the Specialty Wines, are all fruit-infused wines, and as Jason Ferraro described them “the dangerous wines.”  First up is the

Just Peachy 75% Chardonnay and 25% Seyval Blanc infused with a peach essence, the result is a delightful, soft, eminently drinkable table wine.  The color is a soft gold.  The nose is soft and peachy, but not overpoweringly so.  In the mouth, you realize at once this is not a fruit wine – the Chardonnay/Seyval base produces a dry, lightly oaked table wine and the peach essence provides a depth of fruit that blends beautifully with the notes already present in the grapes.  The result is a delightful, not-sticky-sweet, wine that would pair well with spicy dishes, chinese and even pork.

Raspberry Delight Like the Just Peachy, the Raspberry Delight is a white table wine infused with raspberry essence.  The result produces a very pink wine.  The nose is soft raspberry; a more subtle nose than I had anticipated.  In the mouth, the wine is also more subtle than I anticipated.  There are strong raspberry notes, but rather than overpowering the wine, they produce a bright, crisp, tanginess at the start that smooths out to a lightly sweet finish.   I definitely preferred the Just Peachy to the Raspberry Delight, but the Raspberry Delight has it’s charms.

Orange Delight This is vintner Jason Ferraro’s favorite wine, as well as one of my favorites, to my great surprise.  I did not anticipate liking this as much as I did.  As it was being poured and described, I expected the orange to be too strong a flavor, overpowering the wine altogether.  I have never been so pleased to be proved wrong.  A 50/50 combination of Orange Muscat and Vidal Blanc grapes, this is a semi-dry wine.  Like the Dolce Vita, the color is a very pale straw.  The nose is soft with strong notes of orange floral.  In the mouth the orange, rather than being too sweet, has a slightly bitter/tart edge that balances the fruity sweetness and creates some depth and complexity in the wine that is really interesting.  Overall it’s a very different wine, and not the kind of wine people will be on the fence about – you’ll either like or you won’t.  Regional wine judges and critics do like it, and it’s won multiple medals in competitions, including a perfect score at the Fingerlakes Wine Competition.  One judge liked it so much that after the competition, he called the Ferraros directly to tell them how much he loved the wine – now that’s a fan!

Connecticut Valley also produces two sparkling whites:  the first a blend of chardonnel and cayuga and the second a spumanti produced from the orange muscat grapes.  Like all sparkling wines, neither is included on the tasting menu, but I’ve promised myself I’d stop back and pick up a bottle of each.

Next up: The Reds, including the only wine in the Northeast allowed to bill itself as a Chianti.

Start a New Locapour Holiday Tradition

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Shortly after I heard about the New Jersey Thanksgiving Wine Trail weekend, I received an email from Haight-Brown Winery in Connecticut announcing their participation in the

1st Annual Litchfield Hills Winter Wine Trail

The winter wine trail is comprised of six participating wineries all clustered around Litchfield, Connecticut.  Visit any of the wineries between December 1st and March 15th and pick up a Winter Wine Trail registration card.  Get your card stamped at all six wineries by March 15th, and you’ll be eligible for the grand prize drawing of an overnight stay at a Litchfield County Bed & Breakfast with second and third prizes being a a family 4-pack of passes for Ski Sundown and dinner at a Litchfield County Restaurant.

The participating wineries include:

CT Valley Winery ~ New Hartford, CT
Jerram Winery ~ New Hartford, CT       **Vino Verve Visited**
Haight-Brown Vineyard ~ Litchfield, CT     **Vino Verve Visited**
Hopkins Vineyard ~ New Preston, CT     **Vino Verve Visited**
Miranda Vineyard ~ Goshen, CT       **Vino Verve Visited**
Sunset Meadow Vineyards ~ Goshen, CT      **Vino Verve Visited**

The Litchfield Hills are lovely any time of the year and the towns scattered throughout the region often feature charming 18th and 19th century farmhouses and Queen Annes (or newer houses styled like more historic buildings), local farms and vineyards with a wide area of fresh produce and wines  and picturesque town squares (particularly in the town of Litchfied).  Decked out for Christmas, especially if there’s snow on the ground, the area is practically a Currier & Ives lithograph come to life.

Combine all that with the chance to win some great prizes, and you’ve got a new Locapour Holiday Tradition.

I’ll be hitting the trail on Saturday December 5th with three of my newest wine-trail buddies, Cheryl Grayson and sisters Deb Shaw-Esteves and Melissa Shaw.   It will also give me the chance to check off one more winery in my quest to complete the entire Connecticut Wine Trail.   Hope to see you there!