A toast to Maine’s first vineyard at Cellardoor Winery
With the rolling green hills of mid-coast Maine as its backdrop, the setting of Cellardoor Winery looks like it belongs to Virginia’s popular Piedmont region. Don’t be mistaken though, this winery is 100% Maine and very proud of it. Owner Bettina Doulton purchased the property in 2007 and transformed a 1790s farmhouse into the winery and tasting room with a rustic luxe touch in order to keep the character of the original building. Maine’s rocky soil and harsh winters have not usually been kind to grape vines in the past but with ingenuity, a classic New England work ethic, and I suspect a dash of Maine stubbornness (coming from a long line of Mainers myself I can say that) the winery had a successful harvest in 2012 that will be used in making future vintages.
Of course in order to thoroughly review this winery I had to sample some of their offerings, so I bellied up to the wine barrel bar to peruse their selections.With over 30 offering on pour it was hard to narrow down my tasting selections so I went with a mix of personal favorites and regional specialties.Visiting Maine in the summer there was definitely going to be some lobster in our near future and a bright, citrusy white was in order. I found this in a glass of Perfect Stranger, an easy drinking cayuga varietal perfect for sipping on a summer afternoon.
I’m a Cabernet girl at heart so I was immediately drawn to the Prince Valiant, a blend of Cabernets Savignon and franc and with some Merlot and malbec added in for good measure. This is truly a prince among the estate’s wines. Whatever you’re looking for in a red wine you’ll find here; a bold, fruity start, a little tannic(but not too much) and a spicy finish that will leave you thinking about your next sip. Oh, and a hint of blackberry too. Because all good reds have a hint of blackberry, don’t you think?
The standout of the day for me was their C’est de l’Or, a port style maple syrup infused brandy. Maple syrup. Brandy. Need I say more?
Now if you know what you like you can buy a glass and a cheese plate then head out to the deck and enjoy one of the prettiest vineyard views on the East Coast. Situated a few miles from Maine’s famous rocky coastline and the postcard worthy town of Camden, the pastoral hills dotted with lakes and ponds that Cellardoor Winery calls home may be one of the most scenic places I’ve had the pleasure of savoring a sip. After my tasting I enjoyed meandering through the vineyards contemplating where to find the best lobster roll. With views like this its easy to see why owner Bettina Doulton left behind the rat race of life as a financial analyst in Boston for something this idyllic.
Ready to sample the fruits of Cellardoor Winery yourself? Be sure to checkout their website for directions, hours and a list of events.