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‘Tis the Season to Harvest, with an Old World Twist

 

‘Tis the Season to Harvest, with an Old World Twist

Saltwater Farm Vineyard kicked off this year’s harvest on Wednesday with our Pinot Noir, the first of five varietals to be picked. The crop yielded a modest 800lbs of grapes granting Vineyard Master Dave Verhasselt the pleasure of using an “old world” method of stomping the grapes by foot (yes, we’re talking ‘I Love Lucy’), instead of the mechanized method we typically use.

3inlineAlthough it was a limited amount, the grape quality is divine and a true testiment that hard work, patience, and a little luck can make all the difference. This harvest was particularly exciting because it was only the second time Saltwater Farm has harvested the Pinot Noir grapes with the intention of making a stand-alone wine. The grapes are happy and currently fermenting on-site.

Want to get involved in the Harvest? Stay tuned to your e-mail or like us on Facebook
for more details as to when you can join in on the fun of harvesting the rest of our 2013 crop!

Cheers to Pinot Noir… and making it the old fashioned way!

SFV

p.s. Kim can tell you first hand that it is one heck of a workout, but a lot of fun. A video will be posted soon of her “happy grape dance”.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc

2012 Sauvignon Blanc

The patio furniture is out, our propane tanks are full, and we are in the midst of summer. If you are like me, you are enjoying your fair share of Sauvignon Blanc, the perfectly refreshing white wine to a hot and humid New England day.

Not too long ago, this vivacious varietal had trouble catching on within the US market. It wasn’t until the 70’s when Californian Vintner, Robert Mondavi dubbed his struggling Sauvignon Blanc, “Fume Blanc” that wine enthusiasts accepted the grape. Interestingly enough, this is exactly what happened with the well known (and loved) Chilean Sea Bass around the same time. Originally called the Patagonian toothfish, it is not truly sea bass, nor from Chili. What was once shunned by the masses is now prized by chefs and foodies alike, simply by giving it a chic name.

bottleSauvignon Blancs’ continued success is based on its zippy reputation. New Zealand plays a large role in the popularity of this varietal and after 40 years, are still churning out multi-faceted expressions of the grape. The growing popularity has inspired vintners to offer a Sauvignon Blanc unique to their area. This grape takes its cue from the climate and soil, making it one of the most transparent varietals from grassy and herbaceous notes, to flinty mineral qualities, and of course the infamous fruit forward expressions. The acidity, however, is what makes this white wine stand out amongst the rest.

Though it did have humble beginnings on American soil, it is currently one of the most widely and successfully planted varieties. For this reason, it can be one of the best values on many restaurants wine list.

Among its offerings, Sauvignon Blanc has a superb affinity for many of our favorite New England summertime dishes: seafood of every scale or shell, and big bountiful salads. Find fresh, local ingredients to pair with your glass of wine at the Stonington Farmers Market every Saturday from 9am until 12pm. The Saltwater Farm Vineyard 2012 Sauvignon Blanc offers a balance of citrus and steely Stonington minerals, the perfect accompaniment to the Asparagus Salad and Grilled White Fish recipes below.

Cheers to staying refreshed,

KR

Asparagus Salad

INGREDIENTS
:
One bunch of young fresh asparagus – washed and ends trimmed, thinly sliced crosswise
4 oz of soft goat or sheeps milk cheese – crumbled
1/3 cup chive blossom vinegar or white wine vinegar

¼ cup High quality extra virgin olive oil

Fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt to taste

DIRECTIONS
:
Toss all of the above ingredients together, that’s it! Garnish with smoked finishing salt if you happen to have some.

NOTE: Don’t have chive blossom vinegar? Add a thinly sliced shallot instead.

Grilled White fish

Halibut is a good choice for grilling
*Brush your grill with your preferred oil and Preheat to high (have patience, this part is important)

INGREDIENTS
:
Individual portions of your fresh catch – cut to size and brushed with oil, season well with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

2-4 lemons sliced crosswise into rounds and arranged in a single layer on your grill (just before you are ready to cook the fish)

Handful of mild herbs (such as chives, parsley, chervil, thyme, etc) – place on top of lemon

TO PREPARE
Cook your fish directly on top of the lemons and herbs, about 6 + minutes per side depending on the thickness of your fish. The flake test is the best way to check for doneness, use a fork to peel off a flake of the fish. If it comes off with no issue and is opaque all the way through, your fish is done.

Serve with a chilled glass of Saltwater Farm Vineyard 2012 Sauvignon Blanc

Find more delicious recipes at Smashed Garlic

Terroir, Part 1: Coastal Influence

 
Terroir, Part 1: Coastal Influence

Working in the tasting room, I am frequently asked about the effects the salt water has on our grapes. The simple explanation is that our unique location, as with any other vineyard or farm, is what distinguishes our product from any other in the world. In France, they would describe this as our terroir. What is terroir? So glad you asked…

Terroir is a term used to embody the cumulation of all the factors that influence a property’s inherent growing conditions. This includes not only geography and climate, but also geological and human influences as well.

Being located so close to the salt marsh and Little Narragensett Bay definitely has its benefits. Our proximity to the water, which surrounds the property on three sides, keeps our temperatures cooler in the spring and milder in the fall. This is important in that it reduces our risk of frost damage on both fronts. Cooler temperatures in the spring are helpful because it delays the beginning of the growth cycle by a couple of weeks relative to places more inland. For us, once growth begins the threat of frost is almost nonexistent. A frost post bud break can cause any growth on the vines to die, which would in turn set back the growing season for the year to come.

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Our coastal influence also extends our growing season by several weeks in the fall. Typically, we can leave our grapes on the vines until the middle to end of October, where more inland one might be forced to pull the grapes earlier if the weather forecast calls for chillier temperatures. More time on the vine is important particularly for the red grapes which require higher sugar levels than white grapes to produce good wine. This makes our wine makers job much easier when working the harvest’s final product.

We are also fortunate in that, being so close to the water, our water table is quite high, and once the vines have fully matured, they can in a sense self-hydrate and do not require a lot of rain. As James explained to me, 20 mornings of heavy dew is equal to one inch of rain, about what a healthy grape vine requires per month. It is harder to keep your grass green in the summer than getting grapes to grow. As I have always said, “If I’m at the beach, the grapes are happy.”

Cheers to basking in the sun,

JM