When I arrived at the Williams Barn Groton Farmers Market last Friday, a woman is waiting for me in the parking lot. We’ve never met and she tells me that she’d heard about our (Groton Local) collecting money and buying from the farmers to contribute to food pantries. She gives me a generous donation and thanks us. And I’d like to thank her here, and all the others who make this possible.
While Groton Local volunteer Carol Quinn sets up our donation table, I wander across the field. Today I want to meet some of the new vendors and I approach Zoll Cellar winery. I stand off to the side, not wanting to interfere with business, and observe.
Frank Zoll clearly knows his wine as he offers a potential customer a tasting cup of Lighthouse Red, “serve it cold and it makes an awesome sangria. Awesome. It’s real fruity.”
He discusses the five wines that he and his wife make in their wine cellar at their home in Shrewsbury. “We have a fruity red, a medium bodied red, a heavy red and we also have a late harvest.”
Chat a little, sample a little, and a sale is made.
The Zolls have a small vineyard on their 1/2 acre of land in Shrewsbury. Using those grapes, as well as grapes from several states across the northeast, they produce about 500 cases of wine per year. These they sell at Farmers markets, online, and at some area wine stores.
Zoll is proud of a service that they offer in addition to the wines that they make for their label. “Private wine making is one of the most unique services that we offer. It allows people to come in to our winery, which is located in the cellar of our home and they can select grapes from anywhere n the world to ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬customize their own private label. Now, they’re making a small barrel of wine, which makes a hundred and twenty bottles. And you get to be part of the action, to help crush it, help press it. You don’t have to do all of the work, you just have to tell me what kind of grapes you want me to make into wine. It’s kind of unique because there’s a lot of people out there holding onto that one bottle that they love and can never get again. They hold onto it so long it turns to vinegar.
“So we try to help people recreate certain flavor profiles with a variety of grapes and it’s interesting because we can do blends of grapes from California, Oregon, New York, Virginia, Ohio, Mass, Connecticut… you name it. You can create this global blend, something that is completely unique.
There are four days that the customer can come: to help crush the grapes, press the grapes two weeks later, and about a month or two months after that you get to put the wine in the barrel. People always want to be there to crush and bottle. The other stuff; they’re happy to let me do the work, but they always want to be there to bottle. And you get to put your own label on it, put a picture of you crushing the grapes on it, whatever you want.”
I ask him to consider some pairing suggestions based on his wines and the products available at the market.
We start with the Smith’s Country Cheese gouda, available at The Emporium. Zoll recommends his Dry Riesling, crisp “with a subtle spice,” according to their website.
The site, www.Zollwine.com describes their other white, the Late Harvest Vidal Blanc: “It is so decadent.”
“This is a sweet wine, and would it go with something very rich, perhaps from Sweet Lydia’s Marshmallows?” I ask.
“that would go perfectly,” Zoll agrees, eyeing the treats.
When I ask for a recommendation for grilling, Zoll recommends the Cabernet Franc: It has a “lighter body than a cabernet sauvignon, slightly spicier component to it. For an everyday red wine, have that with salmon or grilled chicken, it’s nice. And certainly you could have it with steak or roast pork, and also for grilled zucchini; for anything grilled.”
The Sandcastle blend is “A heavy, heavy, red. I would say it would go nicely with either the duck confit or the truffled wild mushroom ravioli that they make.” Zoll says, pointing to Valicenti Organico, “Something really heavy and rich.”
The Lighthouse blend is fruity and refreshing “I would say would go with fresh peaches.” Also sangria — see today’s recipe, below.
Another customer comes over, and the offer, “would you like to try some…”, and it’s time for me to let him get back to work.
Recipe: Lighthouse Red Sangria
Summary: Zoll Vineyard’s red blend is fruity and refreshing and “Would go with fresh peaches.”
- 1 -750ml Light House Red Wine Blend
- 4 ounces Triple Sec or Peach Tree Schnapps
- 4 ounces Brandy
- 2 ounces Agave nectar
- 1 pint Ice
- 2 Ripe peaches, stone removed & quartered
- 1 Orange, dliced
- 1 Granny Smith spple, sliced
- 4 Mint leaves
- Place sliced fruit and mint in a pitcher with ice.
- Stir in wine, brandy, triple sec, and nectar.
- Mix well and serve chilled.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4