When one thinks of the acclaimed wine regions of America, such places as California’s Napa Valley or the Texas Hill Country come to mind. Or maybe the Finger Lake Region of New York. But within the postcard-worthy villages and lush, rolling hills of southeastern New England lies a collection of flourishing vineyards. The Coastal Wine Trail quietly meanders from the coasts of Connecticut and Rhode Island to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Fourteen wineries and vineyards grow along the trail, embracing the fertile soil and warm ocean air of coastal New England. And fall is the perfect time to explore this little-known wine country. The summer crowds are gone and the splendor of the changing leaves are in full effect. Here’s a taste of some of the wineries found on The Coastal Wine Trail.
Maugle Sierra Vineyards
The last rays of the evening sun were slowly slipping behind what remained of Connecticut’s fall foliage. The only sound to be heard was the rustling of the fallen leaves and the clink of our wine glasses as we finished off the last of our Ledyard Sunset White. The crisp blend of Long Island Riesling and estate grown Cayuga perfectly complemented our Adirondack chairs overlooking the 11 acres of grapevines of Maugle Sierra Vineyards.
Tucked away on a gentle slope just north of historic town of Ledyard, Connecticut lies the first and most westward of the wineries along the Coastal Wine Trail. The 97 acre farm of Paul Maugle and his wife Betty are just minutes away from the noise and lights of Connecticut’s “Casino Country”.
For over 25 years Maugle worked around the globe as an aquaculturist and food scientist. After retiring he returned home to New England. He brought with him his worldly culinary and vintner knowledge and planted the beginnings of his vineyard. Due to the unique conditions of coastal New England, Maugle sought out grapes perfectly suited to Connecticut’s mineral rich soils, harsh winters and limited growing season. In order to truly reflect the unique nuances of Connecticut and New England, Maugle Sierra Vineyards strive to craft their wines from estate and region grapes as much as possible.
Their 1740 Ledyard House Rosé is a delectable blend of St. Croix and Cayuga grapes grown sole on the grounds of Maugle Sierra Vineyards. Development in Wisconsin as a versatile cold-climate variety that could stand up to the Midwest’s brutal winters makes St. Croix wine grapes a great option for New England vineyards. The flexibility of the grapes to be picked early or remain on the vines after freezing assures their favor to winemakers who know too well that Mother Nature keeps her own schedule. Nominally dry with fruity aromas, this rosé is a great accompaniment to buttery New England lobster or spicy Thai dishes.
Rendezvous is a clean white wine as refreshing as the fall breeze coming off the Sound. The mineralogy unique to Connecticut comes through the Riesling while the bright citrus notes of the Chardonnay and Cayuga come together for perfect pairing to fresh Atlantic seafood. For a full bodied, ruby red that goes great with hearty meat and smoky cheeses, try the House Red. This blend of St. Croix, Merlot, and Syrah is aged in oak barrels and has a slight peppery nose and mellow currant finish.
For $12, visitors can sample these wines and more in the earthen toned 2,050 square foot Sierra Sunset Tasting The patio looking down on the sloping valley and setting sun makes an enticing alternative.
Follow the complete Coastal Wine Trail series at The Rooted Gypsy on Miles Geek.