The Porchlight Is On In Sharon, Connecticut
By CB Wismar
It was shortly after Brian and Tracey Abut settled into their weekend home in Sharon, Conn. that they noticed a bulletin board sign advertising a small local commercial space for rent. It didn’t take long for their years of dreaming and discussion to turn to a decision. They would open a wine bar in Sharon and call it The Porchlight.
In a comfortable setting, tastefully designed and executed by HendricksChurchill, a new, sophisticated wine and food venue is fulfilling their dreams. “The Porchlight is a wine bar,” says Brian Abut with the assurance born of focus and commitment. As such, varieties of excellent wines are the focus of this quaint (30 seats) comfortable space in the heart of Sharon.
Both Tracey and Brian have enjoyed their global travels, which, in many cases, brought them into wine-producing regions. They sampled and tasted, made notes and sought out their favorites when they returned to their New York City home. Those wines now appear on the menu.
Priced well within reason — the current wine list has wines ranging from $9 to $15 a glass — both reds and whites are well represented with sparkling white and rosés also available. Reading down the countries of origin, it’s clear that the Abuts are well traveled, and that they paid attention. France, Austria, Spain and Italy are all well represented, as are California, Oregon and Washington.
Unsure whether the MacRostie Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay will be more to your liking than the Jacques Charlet Macon Village Chardonnay from France? Ask for a sample and they will be happy to comply.
“Brian grew up in a Victorian house similar to this one, and the porch light was always on. It was home,” says Tracey. The Porchlight wants guests to feel just as comfortable.
With wine selection made, it’s time to survey the “Plates” section of the menu. This is not a full-course dinner restaurant, but a wine bar that offers food. Relying on the comfort foods of home, the menu is concise, but eclectic enough for the table to share. The Not-so-Deviled Eggs ($7) — Brian’s concoction — features locally produced eggs with dijonnaise, radish and a pinch of salt. A meat and cheese board ($20) with accompaniments features cheeses selected in consultation with the folks at No.109 Cheese and Wine in Ridgefield and Kent, Conn., and charcuterie from nearby Ancramdale, New York.
The flatbread with mozzarella, blue cheese, pears, arugula, walnuts and balsamic glaze ($15) is a wonderful combination of flavors in a serving size that can easily be a light supper. For more traditional snacking, the franks in a blanket ($5) served with a honey maple mustard feature a robust all-beef hotdog in puff pastry. The only caution is to plan on ordering two of them, since others at your table will likely need to sample your order.
For those who prefer a refreshing beer, The Porchlight has a modest but varied list of beers sourced from Texas to Belgium to right nearby in Connecticut. There’s even a non-alcoholic brew available for the “designated driver.”
The Abuts have been open since September, 2017 and business has been brisk, with several customers returning on a weekly basis — certainly a good sign. The list of wines will change with the seasons. Some of the lighter offerings have already given way to more robust selections as summer turns to fall. Winter will bring another shift in the menu.
It’s important to note that not only are The Abuts fully knowledgeable about the wines on their menu — and eager to share the reason each wine has been included — but their service staff has rapidly learned to answer any questions customers might have about the nuance and bouquet of the vintages. The resulting mood? Well, it’s like being at home.
19 West Main St., Sharon, CT
Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5-11 p.m.; Sunday, 1-6 p.m.
No reservations. Parking available in the rear of the building.