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Nominated for Tales of the Cocktail 2008 Spirit Award for Best Cocktail Writing


Mermaid Hill Vineyard, Concord, New Hampshire, USA - Swirl, Sniff, Sip PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   
Mermaid Hill Vineyards - Marquette Grapes - Conccord, NH - photo by Luxury Experience We visited a mermaid! In keeping with the farm-to-table movement in Concord, New Hampshire we visited Mermaid Hill Vineyard, established in 2012, and met with Hugh Herr, Ray Conner, and vintner John Temchack, the trio behind the luscious wine, and took a tour of the vineyard to learn more about their grapes. Of course, there was lovely wine to experience as we swirled, sniffed, and sipped as we discovered more about Mermaid Hill Vineyard.


Mermaid Hill Vineyard - Concord, NH - photo by Luxury Experience
Marquette Grapes

A beautiful day walking in their scenic vineyard on Sunday, September 1, 2019 and tasting their delectable Mermaid Hill Vineyard wine, was a perfect finale to our visit to Concord, New Hampshire. Taking a tour of the vineyard with Ray Conner, we learned that the grapes were planted in 2012, Hugh Herr purchased the property in 2016, and they have been managing the farm organically for the past two seasons, meaning that they use no herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides, they do a lot of work by hand, and have volunteers to help them. Their goal is to produce certified organic wines in 2021.  

Merimaid Weathervane - Mermaid Hill Vineyard - Concord, NH - photo by Luxury Experience
Mermaid weathervane watching over the vineyard

During the tour of their attractive vineyard where the mermaid weathervane oversees the grapes, Ray pointed out the trellis system used for their grapes which allows for more air flow and light around the grapes and makes harvesting easier to simply snip off the bunches of grapes. They also net the grapes to protect them from birds. With an eye on organic farming, they started using landscape paper between the rows of grapes this year to keep the weeds from encroaching. This was an experiment that they tried in sections of the vineyard and left a few rows natural (meaning that they needed to mow and weed between the rows.) Although Ray was told by many that they would have mold and other problems, as she had successfully used landscape paper in past organic farming, she went a head and the grapes are actually thriving and the rows with the paper are doing better than those without the landscape paper.  

Ray Conner - Mermaid Hill Vineyard - Concord, NH - photo by Luxury Experience
Ray Conner on a vineyard tour

The vineyard grows Marquette grapes for their Estate Red wines. Interesting to note is that Marquette grapes are an inter-specific hybrid red varietal that was developed at the University of Minnesota and introduced to the market in 2006. The Marquette grape is a cross between two hybrids, MN 1094 and Ravat 262. Cold-hearty and disease resistant, the grapes grow well in New Hampshire, in the Midwest, and up into Quebec, Canada. They have a high sugar content and moderate acidity resulting in a luscious dry red wine with notes of dark fruit on the palate and a rich mouth feel.  

Hugh Herr - Mermaid Hill Vineyard - Concord, NH - photo by Luxury Experience
Hugh Herr
Swirl, Sniff, Sip

Always with an eye to the future and developing their wine selection, they recently started growing two white varietals, Itálica and LaKaty Blanc grapes, which they will blend to create a field white to add to their wine production.  

John Temchack, Edward F. Nesta - Mermaid Hill Vineyard - Concord, NH - photo by Luxury Experience
John Temchack talking about the Marquette grape with
 Edward F. Nesta 

One of the great tips we learned that gardeners with deer problems will especially appreciate, is that they cut up Irish Spring soap into small squares, carve a hole into the soap portions and hang them from the trellis lines, as the strong smell of the soap keeps the deer away.  

Mermaid Hill Vineyard - Concord, NH - photo by Luxury Experience
Mermaid Hill Vineyard

Like the film, The Biggest Little Farm, Ray Connor has a vision for the farm and wants to create "loops." One of the new introductions was the addition of goats, whose waste by product is collected and used to help fertilize the land. Of course, as animal lovers, we had to go and see the goats and play with them. 

Debra C. Argne at Mermaid Hill Vineyard - Concord, NH - photo by Luxury Experience
Debra C. Argen getting to know some of the goats

Mermaid Hill Vineyard is a vineyard to watch as well as to add their wines to your cellar. Although lovely to drink now, the wines will also cellar beautifully and will add more depth and complexity.  

Mermaid Hill Vineyard Estate Red 2017 Information
 

Vineyard:

Mermaid Hill Vineyard

Wine:

Estate Red 2017

Grapes:

100% Marquette Grapes, locally grown

Alcohol:

14%

Suggested Pairing:

Lamb, Cheeses

Mermaid Hill Vineyard Estate Red 2017 is an aromatic wine with a stunning deep red color. The artisanal Estate Red was made with 100% locally grown Marquette grapes, and was made in small batches. On the nose, there is a heady richness of dark fruit,with black pepper, spice, and oak on the palate. It is a delectable wine to enjoy by itself or to pair with food. Decanted for 30 minutes before serving and the wine opens up and rewards with a rich mouthfeel.  

Luxury Experience Mermaid Chicken dish - photo by Luxury Experience 

Luxury Experience's Mermaid Chicken with Black Figs on Creamy Polenta 
Serves 2 

After tasting the Mermaid Hill Vineyard Estate Red 2017, we knew that we would love to drink this wine as well as use some in a classic coq au vin recipe, (chicken in a red wine sauce). Luxury Experience's Chef Debra C. Argen donned her chef coat and went in to the kitchen to create Luxury Experience's Mermaid Chicken with Black Figs on Creamy Polenta. The addition of fresh Black Mission Figs adds a delicate hint of sweetness to this irresistible recipe. Served on a bed of creamy polenta, the dish is a harmonious balance of flavors and textures. Bon Appetit!  

Chicken and Figs Ingredients

 

2

Large

Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless

1

Large

Shallot, minced

2

Tablespoons

Butter

0.25

Cup

Flour

0.5

Cup

Mermaid Hill Vineyard Estate Red 2017

 

 

Salt and Pepper

10

 

Black Mission Figs, halved

Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius).  

Pat dry the chicken breasts. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Using a strainer or a sifter lightly dust both sides of the two chicken breasts.  

Heat an oven-proof skillet over medium heat on the stove. Add the butter and let it melt. Add shallots and sweat until translucent. Add the chicken breasts. Cook until golden brown on each side. Add the Mermaid Hill Vineyard Estate Red 2017 and the figs. Cover and place in oven to finish cooking. Bake until chicken is cooked through. Remove pan from oven. Remove chicken and figs to a cutting board to rest.   

Place pan on the stove, stir the juices and reduce to create a sauce.   

Creamy Polenta Ingredients

 

1

Cup

Water

1

Tablespoon

Butter

0.25

Cup

Polenta

 

 

Salt and Pepper

Method: Add water, butter, and salt toa boil in a small saucepan. Add polenta and stir. Cover. Cook until creamy. Set aside. 

Presentation: Spoon polenta on 2 dishes, top with sliced chicken and fig halves. Spoon the wine sauce over the chicken to finish the dish.  

Mermaid Hill Vineyard Tours: For 2019 are conducted the first Sunday of each month where visitors have the opportunity to meet the farmers and vintners, tour the grounds and taste their wine. Tours are hourly from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm. In 2020, tours will be provided on Saturdays, so please visit their website for the most up-to-date information.  

Ray Conner, Hugh Herr - Mermaid Hill Vineyard - Concord, NH - photo by Luxury Experience
Ray Conner and Hugh Herr

"Established in 2012, Mermaid Hill Vineyard is a small winery located in Concord, New Hampshire. Our farmers and vintners believe that positive change in the world is born from a diversity of ideas and is essential to making great wine. Our team has an eclectic and expansive set of knowledge and skills that combine to develop the complex character of our wine: a physicist, therapist, linguist, permaculturalist, vitaculturalist, designer, oenologist and musicians all collaborate to grow soil and grapes, make wine, and bottle, cork, label and distribute an end product that is as beautiful as it is delicious. We employ technologies and processes that promote environmental and human health and paya fair wage for hard work. Solar energy makes our Marquette grapes as sweet as sunlight and provides the electrical power we need during each step of the wine-making process. We use no synthetic herbicides, insecticides or fungicides in our vineyard, focusing instead on plant health and keen observation. The Mermaid Hill team is excited to bring you a great New Hampshire wine. We wholeheartedly believe that where there is a good wine, there is good life."   

For more information about Mermaid Hill Vineyard, please visit their website: www.MermaidHillVineyard.com  

To purchase Mermaid Hill Vineyard Wines, please email them at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Mermaid Hill Vineyard - Concord, NH

Mermaid Hill Vineyard
82 CurrierRoad
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
United States
Telephone:         +1-772-341-1850
Email:               This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website:            www.MermaidHillVineyard.com
Facebook:          www.facebook.com/mermaidhillvineyard/?modal=admin_todo_tour 

Read more on Concord, New Hampshire in the Destinations, Hotelsand Resorts, Restaurants, and Chefs' Recipes sections.  

Important Travel Information 

Getting There by Plane 

Private aircraft may fly into Concord Municipal Airport, which is 1.5 miles from downtown. Commercial flights fly into Manchester-Boston Regional Airport as well as Logan International Airport in Boston.  

ApproximateDriving Distances 
 

Boston, Massachusetts

68 miles

Hartford, Connecticut

151 miles

Manchester, New Hampshire

18 miles

Manhattan, New York

261 miles

Providence, Rhode Island

117 miles

Salem, New Hampshire

38 miles

For more information on Concord, New Hampshire, please visit the website: www.visitconcord-nh.com or visit them Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm.  

Visitor Center at the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce
49 South Main Street, Suite 104
Concord, NewHampshire 03301
Telephone:     +1-603-224-2508
Email:            This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  
Website:        www.concordnhchamber.com
Facebook:      www.Facebook.com/ConcordNHChamber 

Follow Visit Concord on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ConcordNHChamber  

Follow Luxury Experience on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LuxuryExperience to see photos and videos.

Follow Luxury Experience on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/luxurypair  @luxurypair

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© September 2019. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com.  All rights reserved.

 
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