It was the epitome of a gorgeous New England day as I made the drive to Preston Ridge Vineyard from Rocky Hill – sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and comfortable in the upper seventies with a slight breeze. I was anticipating a delectable meal and quality wines to kick off my last day of vacation after the 4th of July week, and I was not disappointed.
Arriving at the vineyard on July 9, I drove down the gravel path that leads to their event parking, and then proceeded to park in their grass lot by the vines. I made my way up a small flight of stairs to the landing and gave my name to the welcoming attendant outside the barrel room, where the event was being held.
I received my seating number and headed to Table #1 where I met the other seven attendees I was to have brunch with – three couples and one of the couples’ granddaughters. On the table were strawberry soup shooters, which were essentially a strawberry yogurt-type beverage in cute little pots, and beautiful lavender scone with clotted cream and lemon curd. I could smell the lavender as I bit into the scone – it was delicious! There were also glasses of water, orange juice, and a small pour of their first vintage Estate Dry Style Riesling for us to try.
We were then told that we would be receiving our crab cake benedict with parma prosciutto shortly. As we waited for our next starter course, we all chatted amongst ourselves. I was with a really fun group. One couple lived near Preston Ridge and visits the vineyard regularly. This was their second brunch at the vineyard; they had attended the first of the series and were back for their second event. Another couple had traveled to many of the vineyards throughout Connecticut, and was planning on visiting other Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts wineries new to them. The other party at my table had connections to wineries in Connecticut as well.
The crab cake arrived and it was quite tasty. It wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea per se, but I enjoyed every bite. I had never had a combination of crab cake and eggs benedict, but I thought it was unique and delicious.
When it came to the entrée portion of the brunch, Megaen and Cara of Preston Ridge let each table know that we would receive two other barrel tastings throughout the brunch. The next tasting was their “Stone Valley Red” – a Cabernet and Merlot blend, aged in steel, which they served chilled. It was a surprising taste to me, as I’ve only had a few chilled reds. This wine was refreshing on a warm summer day.
We then were sent up, table by table, to the buffet outside of the barrel room, which overlooked the grounds, vines and large event tent. The buffet featured short rib hash, scrambled eggs with cheese, crispy bacon, carved ham, and fresh pancakes prepared by On the Spot Catering of Plainfield, CT. I have to admit I filled my plate with a lot of bacon and pancakes, and of course cheesy scrambled eggs.
The third pour of Preston Ridge wine was a 2016 Cabernet Franc, fifth vintage and aged in French Oak. After that, we were told as part of the brunch, we were allowed to choose one full glass of wine. A short list was verbally recited to us; I chose a glass of their Fieldstone White, which is a white blend made primarily from Cayuga grapes. It is a refreshing, crisp wine with a citrusy undertone, which was perfect for a gorgeous summer day such as this.
After we finished up the main entrees from the brunch, each table was able to choose a fruit tartlet to enjoy as a dessert course to round out the meal. The tartlet was a slice of heaven with kiwis, strawberries and blueberries. We could then take our wine onto the patio or upstairs to use the “raffle” tickets we received for 10% off any purchase we made in the tasting room.
I ventured to the tasting room to get another glass of Fieldstone White. I sipped the wine on their beautiful deck overlooking the vines while talking to one of the couples I met at my table and Megaen, who had finished her shift after the brunch. It was a lovely way to end a delightful event.
I recommend visiting Preston Ridge for their next brunch event, or if you find yourself in southeastern Connecticut or by the casinos. The vineyard is picturesque and their wine is delicious. And, of course, they have a friendly staff that will make your visit one to remember.