Pleasant Surprises from My Home State of Connecticut: Miranda Vineyard & New England Brewing Co.

I must apologize to all of my loyal readers (all 5 or so of you) for my extended absence from this blog.  Since I have rejoined the workforce, opportunities to post — and for that matter, to taste — have been few and far between.  Yet I am fortunate this morning to have a chance to write a few words about a vineyard that I have been meaning to post about since Thanksgiving and a wonderful beer that I discovered just last week.

While my home state of Connecticut is not known for its wine country, it does have a growing number of vineyards and wineries.  Upon returning for Thanksgiving, I realized that I had forgotten to bring a wine to go with the turkey.  Although there were several wine shops close to home, I thought it might be nice to take a few hours and sample some local Connecticut wines.  Several of the vineyards I visited had improved in quality since the last time I had tasted in Connecticut, but one new vineyard stood out.

Miranda Vineyard is located on a quiet country road in Goshen, Connecticut.  Manny Miranda learned how to make wine from his father in Portugal, and has longed dreamed of opening his own winery.  It took Mr. Miranda about 50 years to plant his vines, and his patience showed as he waited years for the vines to mature before he and his wife, Maria, produced their first vintage.  But now his dream has come true.  Miranda Vineyard‘s most recent vintage shows great promise.  Indeed, two of Miranda’s current wines have already won Bronze Medals at the Big E Northeast Wine Gold Competition.

My family and I enjoyed a very pleasant tasting of 5 of Miranda’s offerings in its spacious tasting room.  Owing to the holiday season, I neglected to take detailed notes, but the Woodbridge White, a blend of seyval blanc and chardonnay, and the Merlot stood out among the quality selections.  A bottle of each came back with me to the D.C. area.  It was clear from our visit that the Mirandas have a passion for wine, and given the quality of such an early vintage, things can only get better.  Miranda Vineyard is well worth a trip to Goshen if you are in the neighborhood.  Luckily, for those of us who are not within driving distance, Miranda’s wines can be ordered online.

Coincidently, Miranda Vineyard is not the only pleasant surprise I have tasted from Connecticut in recent weeks.  A few days ago I stumbled upon another Connecticut treat right here in Northeast D.C. when a friend introduced me to Argonaut, a great little bar and restaurant.  As I perused Argonaut’s extensive and eclectic beer list, I noticed an entry from Connecticut.  Curious about this brew from my state of origin, I ordered New England Brewing Co.‘s Atlantic Amber.  The bright red and black can contained NEB‘s flagship beer, medium-bodied and made in the steam style of brewing.  My first impression of a high-quality amber was confirmed when a little research revealed that NEB‘s Atlantic Amber had won the Gold Medal at the 1993 Great American Beer Festival.  Atlantic Amber is not only available at Argonaut, but generally can be purchased for home consumption at Total Wine & More in Alexandria.

I love D.C., but it is always good to reconnect with home.  It is nice to know that, as the wine (and beer) industry continues to develop, everyone will be able to have a taste of Connecticut.


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Published in: on January 19, 2009 at 11:48 am  Comments (3)