You might think that the winter would bring a lull in my win(e)ding road adventures, but there are quite a few wineries that remain open year-round, particularly here in Connecticut. Some may take a short break for the month of January, but many are open again by February for Valentine’s Day if nothing else.
In addition to wineries January is the month for wine expos with both the Boston Wine Expo and the Mohegan Sun Winefest at the end of the month. And February brings both the New York Wine Expo and Open That Bottle Night. Given this bounty of wine activity, New Year’s day generally finds me on the computer planning my winter adventures, which for 2011 include:
For the second year, six Connecticut wineries have joined together to form the Litchfield Hills Winter Wine Trail. For more information about the wine trail and participating wineries, check back here at the end of the week.
What better way to kick off the New Year than stopping by a few local wineries I haven’t visited in a while?
Completing A State
I have two wineries left in Connecticut before I can say I’ve completed the state; unfortunately, both are seasonal wineries only open in the summer, and one is only open the first weekend of each month. That doesn’t mean there won’t be stops at local wineries between now and then sampling the newest Connecticut vintages across the state, but my goal of completing the Connecticut “wine trail” is another six months away.
In the meantime, though, I have only one winery left in Rhode Island, Diamond Hill Vineyards in Cumberland just north of Providence. They are open year-round, so one weekend this winter will find me heading over to Rhode Island (perhaps with my fellow SOTS in tow?) to visit the fifth and final Rhode Island winery. A sixth winery, Shelalara Vineyards & Winery doesn’t appear to be open to the public, but their wines are readily available in package stores across the state. I’ve asked via email if they have a tasting room, but even if not, I will certainly pick up a few bottles to sample at home. The trip to Diamond Hill will also mark a first for us here at Vino Verve – we will now be able to say we have visited and/or tasted wines from every winery in a single state! You’ll definitely see a virtual celebration here when we hit that milestone.
Boston Wine Expo
January 22nd will find me heading north to the Boston Wine Expo to explore French wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux. Not a big fan of the overcrowded Grand Tastings, I tend to spend my wine expo time in the seminars. I also tend to select seminars that offer me the opportunity to taste wines that I would not normally experience – such as last year’s Boston Wine Expo seminars on the 2007 Chateauneuf-de-Papes and the two vertical flights from Maison Louis Latour and the Frescobaldi Crus seminar at the Mohegan Sun Winefest in 2009.
The seminar selection this year was particularly good, and it was a bit tough to choose. But I ultimately settled on two:
Taste the Terroir of Burgundy with Laurent Drouhin of Maison Joseph Drouhin. I’m fascinated by the concept of terroir and what better way to learn more about it than through a tasting of great wines from Burgundy. This seminar features two flights of four wines each, one white (different villages and different vineyards) and one red (different vineyards) from the same house.
2009 Bourdeaux with Jean-Christophe Calvet, President of the Aquitaline Wine Company. The Bordeaux seminar has sold out at the previous two expos, but this year I ordered tickets early enough that I snagged a seat!
Mohegan Sun Winefest
I’m still deciding about the Mohegan Sun Winefest, which is the weekend of January 29th and 30th. There are two seminars that look interesting, Charles Krug’s Sesquicentennial and Duckhorn’s Taste of Terroir. The Duckhorn would certainly be interesting as a counterpoint to the Burgundy seminar the weekend before, but it’s also late Sunday afternoon. Of course I could also take a 1/2 day the following Monday… Decisions… Decisions…
Completely up in the air is the New York Wine Expo the last weekend in February which also happens to be Open That Bottle Night. I’ve been contemplating hosting an OTBN party, but the final seminar list hasn’t been released yet. If there’s a “too good to pass up” seminar, I may have to bag the party, nab my friend Maree and head over to the Wine Expo. It’s nice to have choices.
Finally, interwoven through all of this activity are, hopefully, one or two trips with my fellow SOTS members, Deb, Cheryl and Jean. Since we first headed out last year, all three have become big wine trail fans and have converted husbands and friends to wine trail aficionados as well. Cheryl has even ventured as far afield as Brotherhood Winery in the Hudson River Valley after sharing a bottle of their Riesling with me one lazy Sunday afternoon.
It all sounds very busy, and we’ll see how much I actually get done. It always sounds great as I sit on my couch planning my weekends on the computer. However, somehow by the time the weekends arrive too many other things get in the way. At the very least, there are the two seminars in Boston to look forward to.