There is still time to enjoy a long summer sip of some outstanding local wines at Maugle Sierra Vineyard’s second annual Wine and Music Festival this weekend, from noon to 6 p.m. today. With an abundance of vino, attractive surroundings, classic ambiance and soulful music, owners Paul and Betty Maugle invite all to come and try something new or enjoy something old.
Glasses swirled with reds and whites Saturday afternoon, Guests suggested different wines to one another and enjoyed the pastoral setting at the vineyard as Johnny and the East Coast Rockers played their classic swing music.
“We decided to do this every year to celebrate summer and get people together,” said Paul Maugle, who purchased the property in 2002 with the intent of turning it into a working vineyard. Twelve acres of the 97 acres that make up the 18th century homestead have been dedicated specifically to the vineyard, which grows St. Croix, Traminette, Cayuga and St. Pepin grapes, all of which do very well in Connecticut’s climate and Ledyard’s landscape.
“We have other vineyards in Brooklyn Connecticut, Long Island and Massachusetts,” Maugle said. “We take a different approach here to wine making than most other vineyards in Connecticut do. Sixty percent of the grapes used for the wines we sell here are grown on site. The other 40 percent come from vineyards that are within 100 miles of here.”
One of the most popular wines of this season is the Ledyard Sunset White, which is a white table wine, specifically made “for long summer sipping,” Maugle said.
Other favorites at the vineyard, which is known for its “fruit forward” wines, are their three new dessert wines, Tres Amore. The first is the “Espiritu de St.Croix,” which is a triple fermented wine, aged in toasted American Oak barrels. It is described on the website as, “…smooth, creamy currant, blackberry, plum flavors with a whisper of chocolate.”
For vanilla lovers there is, “Que Sera Syray,” a lush wine, describe as, “…silky smooth cherry and smokey plum flavors with a whisper of vanilla.” The trilogy is anchored by the “Aura,” a 2007 late harvested wine described as, “…a Vidal Blanc dessert wine with sublime pear and apricot flavors.”
Asked which wine is his personal favorite, Maugle, a food scientist by trade, laughed and replied, “What ever is left at the end of the night.”
Visitors from East Granby who were enjoying the wine patio and deck area were a little more particular about their wine selections. “The red St. Croix is the best red I have ever had,” says Art Cartier who frequents the vineyard often. “I stumbled upon this place on the way to the casino and I think it is the best winery I have been to in Connecticut.”
His friend, Keith Blakely complimented the newly opened Sierra Tasting Room. “We were here last year just out on the patio, the new tasting room is a great space and they did a wonderful job with it.”
The Vineyard is located at 825 Colonel Ledyard Highway. It is open May through November Wednesday through Sunday. Now through August there will be “Music and a Sunset” on Friday nights from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, call 860-464-2987 or go to www.mauglesierravineyards.com