In an attempt to keep the winter blahs at bay AND have a little fun we set out to see what Rose Vineyards & Winery was all about. Perched on the edge of a centuries-old family farm and orchard, this North Branford winery checked all our boxes. We had a little education, a delicious wine tasting, and a scrumptious lunch. Our host and sommelier was the knowledgable owner/vintner, Ellen Rose. She and her husband Jonathan, a member of the 12th generation of the Rose family, opened the winery in October 2019.
The sturdy and stylish building (built by the Rose’s residential construction business is home to the tasting room where they serve their selection of wine along with CT wines and craft beers (neighbors Stony Creek, DuVig and Thimble Islands included). There’s lots of outdoor space and seating plus big woodfired pizza oven.
The Dining Room at Rose Vineyards
We opted to have our lunch and wine tasting at a table in the spacious and sun-filled dining room, adjacent to the Tasting Room. First, we noshed on the chef’s special of grilled polenta with sundried tomatoes, Burrata and caramelized bacon over greens. While wine tasting, we nibbled on a Cheese Plate which included Arethusa Blue, Triple Cream Kunick, Manchego and more plus Marcona almonds and red onion jam. We couldn’t pass up the Charcuterie Plate with piles Prosciutto de Parma, wild boar salumi, cornichon and local bread (Bread and Chocolate in Hamden). Everything is served on perfectly crafted dishes by Julia Bonilla from Earth and Fire Studio in Essex. There’s also a lounge area that occupies a section of the Dining Room, perfect for swilling vino by the cozy fireplace in comfy couches and chairs. Some nights there’s live music, too!
Rose Vineyard’s Wine Tasting
The Rose’s produce 9 wines from grapes that arrive in full clusters from California and Chile. They crush and press them, ferment and bottle on site.
Our favorites were:
Reisling 2019 – Made from Chilean grapes and much drier than expected. We liked this one so much we bought a bottle!
Chardonnay – Also made from Chilean grapes and tends to appeal to both those who prefer oaky and those who do not. Has just a “kiss of oak” from a 3 month start in oak barrels and then transferred to stainless steel so the flavor is light and very crisp.
Pinot Tage – Grapes come from a family farm in Lodi. They call this one BBQ in a glass due to it’s smokey, earthy notes.
Ellen gave us a tour of the stunning, subterranean wine cave (pictured above). It’s a consummate venue for private parties, special events, paint nights and festive dinners.
We came away from the afternoon feeling refreshed and delighted by this local addition to the growing roster of CT wineries. This fresh-faced winery, tasting and dining room makes for a most perfect afternoon for a gaggle of gals (or couples!) for lunch, wine, and cheese, or dinner.
2 Valley Road in North Branford (Turn at Van Wilgen’s garden center or you’ll miss it!)