Sunset Hill Vineyard, Lyme
The most important harvest of the year is currently taking place. Yes, wine grapes! And, lucky us, we’ve got a winery right here in our backyard. Donna and Matt Caruso of Sunset Hill Vineyard, long-time friends, and neighbors, have started the laborious (but loving) process of analyzing, picking, soaking and crushing for this year’s bottles of vino in their Lyme vineyard. This “east meets west” couple – Donna is from California, Matt from Lyme – have come home to Matt’s family farm to share with our community their knowledge and affection for wine – skills they cultivated for years out west sampling vintages all over the Central Valley of California. A portion of what was once a working farm is now meticulously planted with rows of perfectly placed vines covering the hillside on the corner of 156 and Ely’s Ferry in Lyme.
Wine fans can belly up to the Tasting Room in the great barn on the edge of the property known as the Winehouse (after Amy) and the vintners will pour sips of each bottle on their roster. You’ll receive an education on the grapes, their process, and terroir.
After, we grabbed a glass and made our way up to the deck overlooking the vineyards. We spent a peaceful autumn afternoon basking in the sun, making pretend we were in Napa.
Sunset Hill Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 – A non-oaky Chard that leans slightly towards a Sauvignon Blanc
CHB Chardonnay 2014 – Also non-oaky but distinctly different from the first. These grapes came from across the river, just 5 miles away.
St. Croix 2014 – A rose style red wine. Can be served chilled. Spent just one hour in the tub before pressing.
St. Croix 2015 (Donna’s favorite) – A slightly fuller red that resembles a Pinot Noir. These grapes spent 3 weeks in the tub.
Cab Franc 2015 – A robust red featuring one of Sunset Hill’s Limited Edition Artist Series labels. As a celebration of Lyme’s rich art history, local artists design labels in this collection and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the wine is donated to a charity chosen by the artist. Leif Nilsson and Michael DesRosiers have participated thus far and next up is Adi Dahlke.
Rebelgria 2015 – Donna’s suggests making sangria with this wine and her secret recipe is on the bottle.
Tastings are weekends and by appointment only. The tasting fee is $12. Wines by the glass are $8. 10% discount on all cases. The Tasting Room closes for the winter on 11/5 and reopens in May.
Donna and Matt
Laura and Erica enjoying the deck overlooking the vineyards on a beautiful fall day!
by Laura Williams