Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Saltwater Farm Vineyard Continues to Excel (CT)

Merrily G. Connery

Saltwater Farm Vineyard is among my favorite wineries on the East Coast, and certainly one of the best in New England. Whenever I am out near Stonington, I always make sure it’s one of my stops. I love their wines.

Saltwater Farm Vineyard in Stonington, Connecticut is bounded by the tidal marshes of Wequetequock Cove. The site itself has a documented history that dates back to the 1600s and the founding of Stonington. In its earliest days it was used as farmland. In the late 1930s, William J. Foster opened a small community airport on the property with a World War II era hanger. It remained a small aircraft destination, among other things, for some time.

In 2001, Michael M. Connery, a former partner at the New York law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and a Rhode Island native, bought the long-dormant property along with his wife Merrily G. Connery. The Connerys purchased 108 acres and made the decision to convert the old airfield into a vineyard, at the same time maintaining a grassy landing strip. The vintage hangar was preserved and reimagined as a winery.

That Saltwater Farm should be so good should be no surprise. It sits directly across Long Island Sound from the North Fork. It shares the same micro-climates and minerality from river stone and sea shells as them as well.

Saltwater Farm Vineyard is also among one of the most beautiful winery destinations on the east coast and one of the top seacoast wedding venues in New England. 

I've been going to Saltwater Farm Vineyard since they first opened. Their wines were always very good. Delicate, well made, and well structured. But the last two visits have confirmed everything I have been thinking over the last few years .... the wines are only getting better. Amazing!

Let me say this right now, Long Island has been making some incredibly lovely Sauvignon Blancs these days. The Sauvignon Blancs from Saltwater Farm are every bit as good, and might be better! These stainless steel white wines explode with lemon and lime notes from the glass, with hints of tropical fruit. Incredibly zesty and refreshing! Both the 2013 and 2014 Sauvignon Blancs were tasty and incredibly drinkable! Fantastic!

Saltwater Farm Vineyardmakes two different Chardonnays: Estate and Gold Arc Estate. The Estate Chardonnay 2014 is a stainless steel chardonnay was clean and bright white wine with a big nose of fresh cut  granny smith apple and big citrus notes as well. Some nice minerality comes through also. The Chardonnay Gold Arc 2013 was aged in French oak. Bosc Pear and Empire apple give way to tangerine and apricot on the nose and palate. Big whiffs of caramel, toast, and vanilla fnnish the nose, and a lovely spice is on the nice creamy finish. Beautiful. Both chardonnays are light and minerally, and absolutely delicious.


Again,like Long Island, Saltwater Farm in making a dynamite rose' made from Cabernet Franc. Both the stainless steel Cabernet Rose' 2013 and the 2014 are a salmon-pink, dry French-style rosé. Notes of strawberry and lime overwhelm the nose, with again a wonderful mineral influence. Fantastic!

The Saltwater Farm Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 was a lovely garnet color. Big, big nose of bright cherry and dark cherry. Aged in French oak, there are hints of blueberry and smoke come through blended with a hint of mocha and vanilla. Absolutely lovely!

Again, like most of the other wines in this lineup, these Cabernet Francs have a lot in common with those of their winery neighbors across the sound. The Saltwater Farm Cabernet Franc 2012 and 2014 are both a deep garnet color. Aged in French oak, they both have big noses of cherry, raspberry and hints of blackberries, cassis and violets. Gorgeously rich with mocha, vanilla, and pepper, and a light touch of tobacco and graphite. These are beautiful Cabernet Francs. They are more classic Loire-ish styled Cab Francs, but I personally think that's a good thing. More cherry and bright fruit. Less bad phenolics and no green bell pepper.

Saltwater Farm Vineyards wines have continued o improved from very good to excellent! They are without a doubt in my mind some of the best wines in all of New England and belong with any east coast wines that might be on your table. These wines excel! You have to try them!