This edition of Wine Battle is for the top spot of locally available Connecticut wine. Only a few of the wineries and vineyards across the state seem to distribute their bottles to local liquor stores, which is surprising considering exploding popularity of eat-grow-local movements.
We chose these two bottles because they are commonly available in Connecticut stores. Next time you visit your local shop, ask about their Connecticut wine and let me know what is available in your area. Tweet to me @ctfoodandwine. Feel free to reference Portlandia and ask the wine merchant several times, “Is it local?”
Two vineyards that I think are doing a great job both in wine making and distributing their products are Stonington Vineyards and Chamard Vineyards. Stonington is located in (you guessed it) Stonington and was established in 1987. They produce 5,500 cases each year and are best known for their barrel fermented Chardonnays. View the rest of our Stonington photo album on Facebook.
Chamard is located 40 miles West of Stonington in Clinton, and was established in 1983. They produce 6,000 cases annually and are also best known for their Chardonnays.
While these two wines are both Chardonnay, they are very, very different. Stonington’s Seaport White is sweet, floral aroma with a smooth full mouth feel and actually tastes more like a California Chard. My guess is the budding wine enthusiast will prefer this, and it is also cheaper at $11.99. I would suggest the Seaport for the average wine drinker who wants a good dependable bottle to enjoy on it’s own with a group of friends.
Chamard’s Stone Cold White is a completely different animal, and has a classic chardonnay flavor with strong crisp acidity. This cold-fermented, un-oaked Chardonnay will please the more experienced drinker who will appreciate the complexity of this wine, but will also have to pay a bit more for it at $15.99. This bottle pairs better with food because it is so crisp, and is far less sweet than Seaport white.
Outside the bottle, the best looking label hands-down goes to Chamard, with this beautiful image of a Stonehenge-like replica park located in Guilford, it is partially glossy and part matte which we really like. Aesthetically pleasing if you’re giving this as a gift or can appreciate the design elements. Does Chamard win the wine label points? Not so fast… Stonington is ahead of the curve with a QR code on their label, which is increasing in popularity in many products, not just in the wine world.
The codes have recently developed a unique use as a marketing tool, even though they first appeared in the early 1990′s. Back then, the scanners used for them were very expensive and not available to your average consumer. Fast forward to 2012 and nearly everyone that has a smart phone can download QR scanner applications to scan the world around them. Red Laser is one example, which works with standard UPC codes as well for price checking items with online sellers. While we like the look of Chamard’s label more, Stonington is the winner for it’s use of technology.
Overall, both vineyards are exceptionally beautiful and great examples of what the Connecticut Wine Trail has to offer. Chamard just slightly wins this head to head battle this time, but I can’t say enough about how different these two are- it really depends on your taste.