The evening of Friday, February 10, was a night of old Hollywood mystique and glamour at Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington. It’s always fun to attend the vineyards after dark, especially after “the blizzard of the year” that we had the day prior. Also marking the start of Valentine’s Day weekend, this was a night of romance, lovely atmosphere, and delectable food offerings. And, for $30/$35 at the door, it was a great value for the night of quality wine and entertainment.
The night began as any good event should – by being handed a wine glass. The personal welcome and introduction to the itinerary for the night was helpful. Within seconds, you knew where everything was and where to put your coat.
Wine & Small Bites
Upstairs in the tasting room, one could get a half-glass of DARK, Jonathan Edwards’ limited 2012 Petite Sirah Port Wine (only available for sale the day of the event), or a full glass of any of the other delicious wines on their tasting menu in exchange for one of the two wooden chips we were given at the door.
The second chip could be used to cash in for the Sexy Soba Noodles courtesy of the Food Extrovert, a New Haven-based food truck, that had a table downstairs in the candle-lit barrel room (or it could be used to get another glass of wine, as I did). I shared a cup of noodles with my boyfriend Konrad, but as I have a strange allergy to spinach, I opted out of a cup of my own. Beyond that, wine club members could get a 20% discount on bottles of wine, and anyone could buy a bottle or wine by the glass upstairs or at a small bar in the barrel room.
Konrad stuck to his favorite JE wine, the Gewurztraminer – not only fun to say, but a really delicious Connecticut white. It is a bright, clean and refreshing white, with hints of lychee fruit and citrus. It’s sweet on the nose, but crisp to the palette. I opted to try the DARK…as it was the focus of the night and only available that day. It was really delicious and sweet! It paired wonderfully with the chocolate truffles (raspberry, chile, and salted caramel) they had on-hand from Hauser Chocolates in Westerly, RI. My second glass of wine was the 2014 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon, a full-bodied red with notes of cassis and cedar.
In the barrel room, it was a night of entertainment produced by CHIFFEROBE, a boutique production company that specializes in period-inspired entertainment. There was live music by the Michelle Cruz Trio – a jazz pianist and bass player accompanied by goose-bump inducing vocals by Michelle. She was dressed to the nines, looking and sounding like Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald. They played the classics, which provided perfect background music. Many couples opted to dance later on in the evening.
The first dance performance of the night was by burlesque performer Bettysioux Tailor. She had two routines that evening, and effortlessly exuded sexiness, confidence, and good humor… all while being scantily dressed in a chilly barrel room. Her first number was followed by jazz and tap performances by members of the vintage dance troupe, TropiGals.
Earlier in the evening, the TropiGals were themed servers, strutting around in red and white striped garments and fishnet stockings, carrying stadium trays full of chocolate truffles. They then changed into black flapper-esque ensembles and tap shoes for their numbers. The seven members of TropiGals are true professionals, inducing the feeling of another era – from their dramatic rendition of “The Charleston” to their Betty Boop-like facial expressions and long false eyelashes. The dedication to their craft – both in costume and choreography – is admirable.
DARK & Decadent was a night I’ll never forget… a night I would love to return to in the future. This annual event is not to be missed by lovers of old Hollywood glamour, jazz music, great wine and great company!
For more information on upcoming events at Jonathan Edwards, visit their online store.