Thursday, October 13, 2011
Discovering Massachusetts Wines
As it is Regional Wine Week 2012 and I am home visiting family in Massachusetts I thought I would take the opportunity to check out some of the local juice.
Currently there are over 20 wineries in the state of Massachusetts with most of them in the southern half of the state. For my exploration (and my love of bubbles) I began with Westport Rivers.
Westport Rivers has been open for 25 years and can be found in Westport, a fairly small town in the southern part of the state. Westport Rivers is most known for their sparkling wine so I poured myself a flute of what put them on the international wine map...
2005 Westport Rivers RJR Brut (65% Pinot Noir 35% Chardonnay). Immediately as the flute approaches my nose I am greeted with delightful aromas of toasted brioche, baked pears and hazelnuts. It tingles the tongue and it's crisp and bright with notes of brioche, baked pears, hazelnuts and hint of lemon zest of the finish. Offer a glass of this to guests at the start of a party, pair it with seafood such as oysters or lobster or even end the meal with it and a slice apple pie!
If you do have a chance to visit Westport Rivers do try their still wines and beers they offer and their art gallery as well! Their property is just too fantastic to miss!
The other local winery I explored was Furnace Brook Winery and Hilltop Orchards in the Berkshires (Western MA) where I grew up. They had quite a selection of white and reds but I decided to focus on their two Rieslings...
2008 Furnace Brook Dry Riesling (Big E Northeast Wine Competition Bronze, 2011) Dry and refreshing with notes of lime zest, white peach skin and chamomile tea with lovely acidity. I would love this wine paired with sushi, maybe a spicy tuna roll!
2008 Furnace Brook Riesling (Big E Northeast Wine Competition Bronze, 2011) Semi-dry and lush with notes of ripe yellow peach, pear, white flowers and lime. I really enjoy thinking of all the fun options that this wine offers...try it with a Pad Thai dish or if one is feeling decadent, perhaps some foie gras kissed with peach preserves!
One last treat that I try and get a bottle of every time I am home to visit (if it's not sold out!) is their Furnace Brook French Cidre (Big E Northeast Wine Competition Silver, 2011). It's a sparkling cider made with Golden Russet and other New England apple varieties. It's slowly fermented on the skins and then aged in French oak barrels. Elegant with notes of baking spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Try this with a sharp Vermont cheddar or for an absolute delight pair this with a roast chicken with apples and onions!
As well as wine and cider tasting at Furnace Brook and Hilltop Orchards give yourself the time to enjoy all the other activities; pick your own apples, embark on one of their full moon hiking and bon fires or just relax by the fire and try their heavenly cider donuts or pies. Visiting the area? Stay at their gorgeous Garden Gables Inn in Lenox (about 15 minutes away).
Having visited 2 wineries this trip I have been impressed with what I tasted and look forward to many more wine discoveries in Massachusetts!