Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Red, White and Black?

While on the Connecticut Wine Trail this past weekend, we came across a local winery that, by my own criteria, I shouldn't review. When I started making the rounds at Connecticut wineries, I vowed not to review any fruit (non-grape) wines. This despite the fact that so many wineries in the Northeast make them.

When we got to the White Silo Winery on the western edge of the state, in Sherman, we discovered this particular winery serves nothing but fruit wines.

I stand firm. I am not going to review these wines. But all was not lost because I discovered some nice dessert wine to go over those strawberries or ice cream at the 4th of July picnic.

Open to the public for four years now, White Silo is a small, family-run business that features wines made entirely from fruit grown on the farm, including blackberries, raspberries, cherries, black currants and rhubarb. And, get a load of this, I actually liked the rhubarb wine. The only one, really, out of the dry wines that I cared for. It was a nice, simple white wine that could pair nicely with light appetizers, salad meals or white fish.

But the real specialty here is the dessert wine, which, for some reason, they bill as semi-sweet. Trust me, almost all are darned sweet. In fact, some more or less fall into the category of syrupy cordials. But the raspberry and blackberry wines would go wonderfully over some summer desserts. Add a little whipped cream and you've got red, white and...too bad they don't make a blueberry wine.

You're not going to impress anyone with these wines on your dinner table, but there are times when a simple taste of the farm will do. The winery itself is located in a converted dairy barn. The ambience is very much about farm life, rather than today's winetasting circuit. Little has been done to the simple interior, which is framed by a concrete floor and an unadorned, planked ceiling. The wine bar and the numerous paintings by local artists are the only concessions to tourists.

One word of warning. The Connecticut Wine Trail brochure says that winestastings are complimentary. They are not. It is $5 to taste the majority of wines. You may have to ponder whether the price is justified, considering the fact that you are not going to get the product you might expect for such a tasting fee. Personally, I love visiting local farms but don't usually pay for the privilege.


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