East Coast Wineries: Saltwater Farm Vineyard and Jonathan Edwards Winery

Saltwater Farm Vineyard Continues to Excel

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 Connery’s 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 Vineyard makes two different Chardonnays: Estate and Gold Arc Estate. The Estate Chardonnay 2014 is a stainless steel chardonnay. It 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 finish 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 rosé made from Cabernet Franc. Both the stainless steel Cabernet Rosé 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 that 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 to improve 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!

Jonathan Edwards – Excellence Continues

Jonathan Edwards founded their east coast Connecticut winery in 2000, after having purchased the old Crosswoods Vineyard in North Stonington and replanting it. Jonathan and his team make incredible wines, both in California and here on the east coast. What we’re much more interested in are the Connecticut estate wines. And I find, not only are they very good, but they are excellent.

As soon as Jonathan opened his winery, his estate wines went right to the top of the charts for quality and taste. They were impressive right off the bat. But the wines have only improved since then. I have returned almost every year. If I am in the area, I make time to stop in. Today, Jonathan Edwards estate wines are easily among some of the best wines, not just in the region, but on the east coast!

Jonathan Edwards in the co-founder and General Manager. His parents, Robert and Karen, stay mainly on the West coast, with Jonathan going back and forth. Winemaker Michael Harney and vineyard manager Christian Moore oversee daily winemaking duties in Connecticut.

Though they are located in North Stonington, in the old farm country, still, Stonington is right across Long Island Sound from the North Fork, and offers many of the same types of micro climates and sea breezes that have benefited that region. The region is producing some extremely lovely wines. Jonathan Edwards has been at the forefront of that movement.

The Jonathan Edwards Pinot Gris 2014 is a revelation. This estate wine explodes on the nose and palate with peach, apple, apricot and honeysuckle. And it has just enough zip to make it refreshing and delicious! Light, bright, and thoroughly impressive!

The Jonathan Edwards Chardonnay 2014 is a beautiful, light-bodied chardonnay with a nice minerally touch, that pops with bright fresh slices of pear and green apple, tinged with tropical fruits, and layered with caramel, toast and vanilla. A bright, springy fruit bomb up front dissolves magically in the mouth to a slightly creamy finish. This is a gorgeous, gorgeous east coast Chardonnay. This is the kind of Chardonnay you can serve to anyone, from anywhere, and they will be impressed! Even the most uptight of snobs will nod in appreciation!

The Jonathan Edwards Gewurztraminer 2014 is one of the prettiest Gewurztraminers being made on the east coast today! I would put it up against anything! The nose bursts with fresh cut green apple, and then is overpowered by a big explosion of tropical fruits with lots of lychee fruit and a zesty, citrus bomb ending. This is not a sweet wine, though the nose might fool you. It’s a brilliant, stainless steel white, with lots of flavor, light and layered, with a fantastic finish! Absolutely wonderful!

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