Monday, June 25, 2012

A Visit to The Land of Nod Winery (CT)

The Land of Nod is a far away fictious place, like Honalee in Peter Yarrow's classic, Puff the Magic Dragon, or Barrie's island in Peter Pan. It is a place hard to get to, that bannishes the cares of the everyday world. The name of the winery comes from a Robert Louis Stevenson poem for children.

The Land of Nod
by Robert Louis Stevenson

From Breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay,
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.

All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do--
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.

The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the land of Nod.

Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.

The Land of Nod Winery is located in the rolling hills and lanes of East Cannan, CT, in the state's northwest corner, only a stone's throw from New York and Massachusetts state borders.

The Farm in a Bicentennial Farm. The same family must own the farm for at least 100 (Century Farm) or 200 (Bicentennial Farm) consecutive years. A family member must live on the farm on a permanent basis; and the farm must consist of at least 10 acres of the original holding, OR gross more than $1,000 annually from the sale of farm products. It tells you something about where you are.

The farm keeps sheep. And the winery sells skeins of wool yarn for knitting in lots of colors. Photos of the sheep abound.

On to the wines!

The first I started off with was the Bianca. Ths is quite simply one of the nicest white wines in New England, and can give any white form the east coast, including New York and Virginia a run for it's money. Very aromatic with pears and exotic spices on the nose, with lovely fruit and a good solid dose of acidity. It's light, bright and refreshing. An absolutely elegant wine. Fantastic!

The next was the rose'. This was a shock. The wine was absolutely lovely, with hints of pears and raspberry. In fact the winery takes the Bianca, and tinges it with raspberry wine. But if I poured a glass of it for you and din;t tell you, you wouldn't have known it. The wine had a beautiful nose, nice acidity, and tremendous flavor. A nice, refreshing rose'. As good as any rose' I've had from the east coast. Tremendous.

This was followed by a raspberry wine, made from 100% raspberries. Not a heavy wine, more like a rosato in color. Light, with good acidity. A lovely picnic wine. Not too sweet at all, in fact it had very little sugar in it at all. Very nice.

Ironmaster Reserve was the next wine. This was a dark red, dry wine made with equal parts St. Croix, Marquette, and Corot Noir, aged in local oak! A huge white oak had fallen in their farm, they had it milled into staves and aged them, and then brought the wood down to Jim Beam, to have them made into oak barrels.The only Connecticut winery to use local oak barrels. Very cool. The wine was dark, dry, and red, and very palatable. It had a lot of fruit on the nose, with a nice dry finish.

Blueberry-Raspberry Medley is the first of the semi-sweet wines. It's basically a semi-sweet blush, and is one of the winery's most popular wines. In the time I was there, every customer bought at least one bottle of it in their order.

The other wine I'll write about is the Chocolate Raspberry Dessert Wine. Now, I know what ou're thinking, because I wrinkled my nose as well. But this is one of the wines that The Land of Nod is known for. People come from miles around just to try it. And here's the shocker - it was wonderful! It's a raspberry wine with (and I am guessing heres) some kind of essecence of chocolate. When you smell the glass (and the wine is only a dark pink wine) you are overwhelmed by the smell of raspberry and chocolate. It smells like a fruit-filled bon-bon. It smells like a box of chocolate covered fruit. The taste on the other hand was fascinating. This is a full out, sweet dessert bomb. I nice, lucious, unctious, full-bodied dessert wine. Tremendous acidity, which keeps the wine honest, and keeps it from becoming overbearing. The wine itself is an absolute treat! A unique experience. Absolutely meant to go with chocolate desserts, or just to sip by itelf. Incredible.

The tastingroom is small, but in the summer, there is a tent outside where people can buy a glass, and enjoy it outside on a nice summer's day. It seemed a popular idea when I got there. For such a small, out-of-the-way winery, the tasting bar continually turned over a new crowd every half hour. They are obviously making something poeple like.

Now, your visit done, you must stop by the Beckley Furnace. The Beckley Blast Furnace was one of three blast furnaces in operation along Lower Road and the Blackberry River in East Canaan during the period 1832-1923.

Beckley Furnace was built in 1847 by John Adam Beckley, great-grandson of Esquire Samuel Forbes and grandson of John Adam, Jr., the founders of the Forbes & Adam Iron Company. It was acquired by the Barnum & Richardson Company in 1858. Beckley Furnace (also known as "East Canaan #2" during the Barnum and Richardson years) produced pig iron until the winter of 1918-19.

Constructed of locally quarried marble, the furnace was originally thirty-two feet in height and thirty feet square at the base. Later, after it was acquired by the Barnum Richardson Company, the height was raised to forty feet making it one of the largest of forty-three blast furnaces in the Salisbury Iron District.

The blast furnace is all that remains of an entire foundry. And it is absolutely fascinating.

The Land of Nod is a small little winery, but it's history and it's environs make for a wonderful little trip out of time...and thus, it is indeed The Land of Nod.