Monday, June 27, 2016

Boordy Vineyard's Sweetland Cellars Wines

About a month ago, as we toodled up Long Green Pike on our way to visit friends in Forest Hill, we drove past Boordy Vineyards. Not having realized it was so close to us, we decided a visit was in order. That opportunity came more quickly than we anticipated, as we were soon invited to a dinner to celebrate the wine producer's Sweetland Cellars line of wines.

Formerly known as Boordy's "Just for Fun" series, products from the Sweetland Cellars brand are, as the name suggests, on the sweeter side.

Some folks may turn their noses up at sweet wines, but other people will drink nothing but. Personally, I think Moscato and some Rieslings are great "gateway wines" for the uninitiated. I grew up drinking my grandmother's home-made wine, which was very strong and very sweet. A shotglass-full was enough, but it was delicious and fruity. My tastes have expanded over the years and I can appreciate bone-dry wines, but there's still a special place in my heart for the sweeter ones.

Sweetland Cellars offers six wines so far, two whites, three reds, and a dark pink wine--Jazz Berry--that contains primarily strawberry and raspberry juices with some grape. Tango Peach is a Moscato flavored with peaches and White Sangria is infused with mango and citrus. The blueberry-infused Zinberry, the citrus and spice Viva Sangria, and the even spicier Spiced Wassail, round out the line.

While these wines would be great to sip with friends on a fun evening (or all alone in the privacy of your bathtub - we don't judge), we discovered that the Sweetland Cellars wines also pair well with food and can be used as ingredients in cocktails.

After an opportunity to taste the wines and snack on a spread of charcuterie and cheeses by Hampden's The Food Market served in Boordy's barn, we got a little tour of the Sweetland Cellars state-of-the-art winemaking facility, which was completed in 2013. Everything a winemaker needs is in this cathedral-like structure, the result of the De Ford family's many years in the wine business.

After the tour, we were treated to a five course small plates-style dinner with cocktail pairings, each including one of Sweetland Cellars wines.

The first course was tuna tartare with "everything" spiced aioli, dried veggies, and wheat toast. The accompanying cocktail, "Peach on the Beach," featured Sweetland Cellars Tango Peach wine. (The recipes for the cocktails we tried and more are on the Sweetland Cellars web site, but I've included them here as well.)

3 oz chilled Tango Peach
1 oz Citron vodka
2 muddled raspberries
Splash 7-up

The second course was spicy grilled shrimp with a charred pineapple "pudding" and chewy morsels of dehydrated pineapple. The accompanying cocktail was a "White Sangria Fizz," that complemented the sweet pineapple flavors.

3 oz chilled White Sangria
1 oz vodka
2 oz apple juice
Splash of club soda

Our third course was pan-seared duck breast with cherries, chocolate, and pecans served with a Jazz Berry chocolate martini.

3 parts chilled Jazz Berry
1 part Chocolate vodka

Another meat course of lamb chops with coffee, black garlic, goat cheese, and chimichurri evoked the flavors of India and was served with a "Zinberry Smash" cocktail.

3 oz chilled Zinberry
1 oz vodka
Muddled blueberries
Twist of lemon
Splash ginger ale
Splash tonic or soda water
Sprig of mint

Finally, we enjoyed desserts made by one of Sweetland's employees. The mini blueberry cheesecakes used Zinberry wine in the glaze, while the peaches on the peach cupcakes were poached in Tango Peach.

It was a fun night. Everything was so beautiful, from the grounds to the food, hell, even the people. The De Ford family was so nice and willing to answer any and all questions about their Sweetland Cellars products, and offered a good introduction to a line of wines with which we were not familiar. Time to stock up so I can drink alone in the bathtub experiment with wine cocktails to go with our own dinners.

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