While I sort through and reflect on my amazing trip to Bordeaux last week, I wanted to tell you about a nice winery I visited just a few days before I left for Europe. I have passed the sign to this winery countless times in my life, usually on the way up north to ski the Berkshires or Green Mountains, and this is right off the path on Route 7 in northwestern Connecticut. My wife and I were on a quick overnight getaway to the Historic Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The Berkshires are especially beautiful this time of year, and a favorite place to visit. This time was no exception — the leaves were in full transition, and the inn had all the history and charm I’ve expected all those times I drove by.
We decided on the way up that we would stop on the way back the next morning, having frequented enough wineries in the tri-state area to know that most are open for tastings in the late morning.
We passed a quarry that was truly massive in scale just down the road from the winery. Turns out, it was a limestone quarry, natch. Well, the owner of the vineyard later informed us this quarry has been around for about 250 years and also the source of stone for the famous landmark on the wineglasses and their logo, the Beckley Furnace. This is a 40 foot high limestone blast furnace that made ‘pig iron’ from 1832-1923. It has been preserved and remains at the site as a local tourist attraction thanks to local supporters raising funds to maintain it.
Land of Nod is a farm winery, and the tasting room is situated in an old red barn, surrounded by tractors and typical farm machinery. The fruit for their non-grape based wines is also grown on site. This farm and outlying homes have been in the Adam family for as long as the furnace, and their relatives are among the original owners. There is true history here. The winery itself opened in 1998, having planted vines for the first time 4 years earlier. They take their name from a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. It is the northernmost winery in the state (as our host jokingly said, the ‘top’ winery) and on the Connecticut wine trail.
We tasted 7 wines that morning for a mere $4. We of course walked out with no less than three bottles, one of each of our favorites.
The first on the tasting sheet was a Bianca dry white. It is made from Malvasia Bianca grapes grown elsewhere, but vinted and bottled here. You know how I feel about that – I think a winemaker can add plenty of their own style without having grown their own grapes. It was very pleasant with light acidity and pear notes, and I could enjoy this with a light chicken dish or a salad.
Next up was the 2010 Rosé. It too was vinted and bottled, but not grown here. It was dark-berry colored, with more berry on the nose and Reminded me of one of the high quality North Fork Rosés I had in March. It had some slight floral notes to it and overall it was a great wine. We bought one of these.
Their 2010 Ironmaster Reserve, the name inspired by the furnace and local history, was actually aged in local Connecticut oak. I don’t believe anyone else in the state is doing this. From what I’ve been able to find online, the blend is St. Croix, Marquette and Corot Noir. It had the complexity, currant, cherry and pepper of a fine European wine, and I brought one of these home too. I may add to these notes when I open my own full bottle, and have fully experienced it, perhaps with food. The tannins were soft and it was a very smooth red.
The first of the all-fruit wines we tasted, the Raspberry Wine was obviously loaded with concentrated raspberry fruit, and if that’s what you’re in the mood for, you’re in luck. I don’t drink too much sweeter wine (although I had a 2005 Sauternes this past week in Bordeaux that knocked me out!) as the sugar eventually gets to me, and I also don’t have much of a sweet tooth. But I could easily enjoy a glass with an apple or mixed berry tart and be content. Note it was not overly sweet. They also made a Blueberry-raspberry medley along the same lines with of course, some blueberry. It too was semi-sweet.
Their locally-famous Chocolate Raspberry dessert wine was next. We tried this with chocolate-covered coffee beans, and it was beyond delicious. High acidity, and full-bodied, and almost like a port — a definite winner. There was no question about buying this one, and I did.
Last but not least, the Peach Wine was 100% peach like its blueberry and raspberry counterparts but as peachy as you can imagine, even the fuzz.
Visit them here
Land of Nod Winery
99 Lower East Canaan Rd. Canaan, CT. 06024