Meredith and I first found out about the Jonathan Edwards Winery when we spent an evening at Black Trumpet Bistro, in Portsmouth, chatting over dinner with the very knowledgeable and incredibly friendly wine buyer, R. J. Joyce. He recommended a delicious 2009 Merlot that paired perfectly with our meal, and told us that if we were ever in southern Connecticut, that we should drop by the winery that had produced it. Last weekend, we took him up on his advice, and did just that while staying not too far away in Watch Hill, RI.
The Jonathan Edwards Winery, in North Stonington, CT, would be worth the visit even if the wine weren’t as wonderful as it happens to be. Situated on a picturesque 50-acre converted dairy farm, the vineyard and winery (in the remarkably-well renovated dairy barn) fit perfectly with the rural Connecticut countryside. With daily tastings and tours, that can be tailored for the amateur (Meredith and I) or the true oenophile, and a tasting room with comfy leather seating in front of the fireplace and a porch overlooking the vines, it’s the kind of place where one could easily lose an afternoon (and evening). They even hold a number of concerts, dinners, special tastings, and custom events on most weekends, year-round.
I’ll try not to show off my lack of wine knowledge, but I thought it was incredibly interesting to hear about how the winery is completely unique in its method of bi-coastal production. The Jonathan Edwards Winery grows some of its grapes on its own vineyard in Connecticut, and leases farmland in Napa Valley to grow other varietals. Because of this setup, the winery is able to offer an extensive list of wines, suited to the different climates and growing seasons.
On our visit to the vineyard, Meredith and I were shocked at how many people showed up on a wintery afternoon for the tasting and tour. With a light snow falling outside, we decided to warm up with the 7-wine tasting, and spent the afternoon with good conversation, an informative (but not overwhelming) tour, and some of the most flavorful and balanced wines we’d ever had the opportunity to try. When it was finally time to go, we selected a few of our favorites (the 2010 Merlot, the 2009 Cabernet Franc, and the 2010 Napa Chardonnay) and begrudgingly headed back into the cold.