Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jonathan Edwards Cabernet Franc 2011 (CT)

I have been a big fan of Jonathan Edwards since I first happened upon them, while traveling through northeastern Connecticut, near Mystic and the surrounding environs. North Stonington, Connecticut has a history rich in both agriculture and industry. Thanks to its many waterways early mills sprung up with such a proliferation, that the downtown village was once known as Milltown. Although the milling industry is long gone, the agricultural nature of the town continues. Anyone who drives the back roads of North Stonington will see some of the most beautiful farms anywhere. The Edwards family is proud to have joined this longstanding history and agricultural life.

Their farm is situated on Chester Main Road. It was a classic New England dairy and cattle affair for over a century, and early maps of town show that during the 1700′s this was once the Williams Homestead. In the late 1970’s the farm was donated by Carol Maine to a church in town and it was subsequently sold to a family who started Crosswoods Vineyards in the early 1980’s. Despite a massive effort, a stunning renovation of the barn and an aggressive expansion of the vineyard, success was ultimately elusive and the winery closed. During the next decade a portion of the land was subdivided but the heart of the farm was preserved. In 2000, 48 acres were purchased by the Edwards family. The property included the winery, the historic farmhouse, overgrown but very fertile fields, and even the original “3 holer” outhouse. Farming continues to this day.

The wines from Jonathan Edwards are incredibly polished. And that's because a four man crew tag-teams the wines in a seamless effort to create quality products. Of course Jonathan Edwards himself takes the lead. Jonathan Edwards co-founded the winery in 2000. A former speech pathologist at Walter Reed Hospital, he graduated from University of Massachusetts 1993 and received his masters craft_mike
Michael Harney has been the day-to-day winemaker at Jonathan Edwards Winery since 2003. He has a B.A. University from Colorado, Boulder (1998)
Robert Edwards was a co-founder of the winery in 2000. Jonathan received his B.S. Penn State University in 1964. His very impressive resume includes being Vice President Global Sourcing at
Warner Lambert; he was Vice President Technology and Manufacturing at Novon Products; and President General Electric Plastics in Spain.
Justin Sutherland I the assistant winemaker at Jonathan Edwards Winery, and received his B.A. Johnson and Wales University 2009.
I have had a number of bottles of Jonathan Edwards over the years. A wonderful winery experience awaits you if you go there, or if you just find a bottle of their wine. A few months ago I went to Providence, RI, and had dinner at one of the better restaurants in that city, Gracie's.

At Gracie’s their mission is simple – enhance and educate the palate with the freshest ingredients and flavors. With an eye toward sourcing the freshest ingredients, they change their menu seasonally to reflect the flavors found at each time of the year. And, they look to their local farms and purveyors, and even their own roof-top garden, to reap the best each season has to offer.

I ordered a beautifully prepared pork chop from a local, Rhode Island farm. And I was THRILLED to see some local wines on the menu!!!! One of these was the Jonathan Edwards Cabernet Franc 2011.

Jonathan Edwards Cabernet Franc 2011is an estate-grown Cabernet Franc. It's a classic cool-climate red wine with bright and ripe red cherries, a hint of graphite, and lovely light cranberry. A beautiful slight scent of vanilla and cedar characteristics. Lovely fruit up front, and with a nice amount of acidity to keep that fruit lingering, and nice, soft tannins. Very well balanced.  The pork chop was spectacular (I apologize for a less than fabulous photo) that was served with a lovely polenta. The wine went beautifully with the meal. Fantastic! The wine and the meal were both exceedingly wonderful!!! I laude Gracie's for carrying local wine! And of course, I lade Jonathan Edwards for making great quality wine.

However, the real test was just a few weeks ago when I put out a bottle of the wine at a small get together. The bottle was looked at quizzically by our guests. Connecticut wine? Red wine?! But once people started drinking it, the wine flew out of the bottle. These were foodies. Hard markers. And this wine was the instant talk of the crowd. A shocker and a success!

I urge you to try Jonathan Edwards!!!