A tasting at Sweetgrass Winery and Distillery

One at a time. That is how I will visit our Midcoast wineries. My daughter Joy and I did a wine tour once in Temecula, California. I couldn’t drink another glass of wine for 3 months!! Even though I limited my tastings to 12 varieties and only a sip or two of each it was just too much! The tour was delightful though, if you are ever out that way.

First stop, Sweetgrass Winery and Distillery.

Sweetgrass Winery and Distillery

Sweetgrass Winery and Distillery

It’s a lovely country drive up to Sweetgrass. The winery is set on acres of farmland, a beautiful spot for a picnic.

Sheep grazing at Sweetgrass

Sheep grazing at Sweetgrass

The winery uses 70,000 lbs of Maine grown fruit and grain to produce their wines, gin, rum, and liquors. Essential for proper fermentation, they purchase ripe fruit from local growers. Mainers have a strong sense of community, supporting local farms and business whenever possible. Keith and Constance Bodine are no exception.

Keith received a masters in wine making 25 years ago from University of California at Davis. UC Davis was one of only two schools in the world offering a degree in wine making at the time. Keith Bodine also has a strong science background to complement his work.

Keith Bodine

Keith Bodine

Now for the tasting.

First up, a blueberry wine. Different from what I expected! My previous experience with blueberry wine was sweet, almost too sweet. But this one was quite dry, very nice. I would pair it with a savory pork dish.

Next up was a Beaujolais. It was just as described, hints of chocolate and raspberry. Complex in flavor. It would pair well with cheese and fruit, for an appetizer or dessert.

Wine and liquors at Sweetgrass

Wine and liquors at Sweetgrass

The Sparking Cranberry and Apple wine would be wonderful at a summer wedding in place of champagne. Light and fruity with small bubbles. (Preferred effervescence for a party.)

My favorite, the one I can’t live without, is the Rhubarb Smash liquor. The rhubarb is combined with elderberry for a smooth effect. We normally think of the strawberry rhubarb connection but this is by far a much better match, still slightly tart but more mellow.

Here is a refreshing summer cocktail for you:

2oz Rhubarb Smash

3oz gingerale

2oz tonic water

Muddled strawberries (optional)

Pour all over ice.

Back River Gin

Back River Gin

Sweetgrass is best know for it’s Back River Gin. It has won several awards (noted in their gin blog.

Antique car at Sweetgrass Distillery

Antique car at Sweetgrass Distillery

You might want a taste of their light rum as well. Add a little tonic water for a “grown up cream soda”. ( Constance happily served up this little combo.)

Since you are traveling up Rt 17 for a tasting, might as well stop off at Morse’s Kraut House first. Pick up a snack lunch then head on over to Sweetgrass to enjoy the tastes and the scenery.

 

Karen Olson

About Karen Olson

Karen Olson is an artist working in metal. Her blogs offer a global perspective, a celebration of art and culture. She 'lives like a tourist' in Midcoast Maine where she makes her home and finds inspiration for art and life in her travels. Follow her creative passion with Renuko Style at renukostyle.com and Coastal Collage, a Bangor Daily News Blog at coastalcollage.bangordailynews.com