Les Trois Emme

I was getting to the end of my day for wine tasting and Les Trois Emme was my last stop of the day. Located in Southwestern Massachusetts in the Berkshires, it was quite a drive from where I had to be for the evening but it was worth the stop. I spent about 2 hours and 15 minutes here and it will go down in my top memorably wine experiences.

When I first walked in this is what caught my eye right off the bat.

Disregard the pad and pen off to the right of the table as this wasn’t supposed to “get in” the picture. (Note to self: Pay more attention to where you place the writing instruments). I immediately enjoyed the color scheme of the purple walls and the green doors. The only thing missing is the black ceiling I remember from my college days.

I was greeted by a lady named Mary Jane and she came right up to me and wanted to know if I’d like to do a wine tasting. You know what my answer was. But before we got to the wine we took a walk in the back where they make and bottle the wines. Although I have been to many of the back rooms and they are all quite similar, it amazes me how each winery I visit, add their own charm to the surroundings.  I must have left my camera out in the tasting room area as I do not have any pictures of where the wine is made. (Note to self: pay more attention to where your camera is).

During my conversation with Mary Jane, she commented that the name of the winery was named after her first three granddaughters – Megan, Madison, and Mary Katherine – hence, Les Trois Emme. Mary Jane, with a pleasing voice, began telling me “stories” about a lot of interesting subjects. I was so mesmerized with the “stories” that I forgot to write them down. (Note to self: pay more attention to capturing the “stories” you hear).

Normally you get around five wines for a $6 fee but somewhere along the line it was decided I would get to taste all of their wines and do the food parings as well. I forgot to write down all of the food I paired with which wines (Note to self: pay more attention to food & wine pairings). About this time Mary Jane’s husband, Wayne (he’s the chemist), came in for a quick visit and we also chatted for a spell – no, I didn’t write what we talked about – yeah, I know “Note to self” time.

Okay, on to the wines I tasted and yes, I did remember to write my impressions of the wine as I tasted each one:

Kiyo’s Sparkling Wine – $20: This was a semi-sweet sparkler made from the Chenin Blanc grape. I found pear with a hint of apple on the nose with pear and apple on the palate. This was a very nice sparkling wine.

Splash of White – $16: A blend of several white wines from French-American hybrids, this opened with an apricot nose. Megan (not one of the granddaughters, but the wine staff and a radio host) gave me a shrimp cake that had sweet potatoes, cumin, and red bell pepper as the ingredients. This went very well with this wine which had a pear flavor.

Cayuga White – $16: This is one of their medal winners and it was predominately pear and apple aromas and flavors. This was paired with a pot sticker (don’t ask for the ingredients as I didn’t write it down).

Nick Jackson Blush – $16: A blend of 90% Cayuga and 10% Marechal Foch produced pear on the nose with red cherry on the palate with a slight peppery finish.

Julia’s Ruby Red – $18: Red berries on the nose and palate, this was served well chilled and had a bit of sweetness to it. This was paired with a quesadilla.

Shiraz-Cabernet – $18: 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon began with plum and boysenberry on the nose. On the palate I got plum and black cherry with a slight peppery finish.

Old Vine Zinfandel – $25: On the nose were hints of black and red cherry followed by red cherry and raspberry flavors. I liked this one a lot and was probably my favorite of all the wines.

Malbec – $20: I paired the other half of the quesadilla with this. Raspberry on both the nose and palate with a slight mocha finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon – $22: This had black cherry all over it. Although one dimensional it was quite tasty.

Berkshire Red- $18: This blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec produced mostly black berry fruit aromas and flavors.

Stingy Jack’s Pumpkin Wine- $16: I got pumpkin rind aroma, like when you’re carving a pumpkin for the Trick or Treaters, but not too overpowering. A subtle pumpkin flavor unlike a pumpkin ale which is way too much pumpkin flavor for me. This was a bit softer. It was paired with a warm pumpkin soup and it went very well. The wine complemented the soup tremendously.

Wizard’s Cranberry Wine – $16: A semi-dry wine infused with cranberry, hence you’ll get cranberry on the nose and palate.

As you can see from the above picture is was fairly light when I first arrived, however when I left, darkness had taken over the whiner-mobile. Their wine is made from the grapes that are located on their three acres in the vineyards as well as six acres from the Finger Lakes Region. They produce just over 2500 cases a year and Mary Jane is the taster and when she says says it’s ready, then it gets bottled. I’m going to take her word for it. (Note to self: take time to revisit Les Trois Emme).

Furnace Brook Winery

Furnace Brook Winery is located at Hilltop Orchards in Richmond, MA and I almost missed the turn but relied on my GPS to direct me to the right place. Located in the Western part of the Berkshires with great views, Furnace Brook Winery sells not only their wines but other delectable treats such as scones, cider donuts (yum), jams, and of course, fruit pies. My favorite of the bunch were some pickled garlic. I for one, love raw garlic just to munch on with some provolone cheese and crackers but the pickled garlic was really great.

Many of their wines were/are medal winners at the Big E Northeast Wine Competition for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 and upon visiting them the first wine is free and then for $5 more you get to try five more wines. And of course they bottle the wines in the Big Red Barn in the picture above.

Here are the wines I ended up ordering:

Chardonnay Special Reserve – $16.99: A pale yellow color yielded a lot of pear, apple, and grapefruit aromas on the nose. I also got pear and grapefruit on the palate with an apricot finish. I really like this wine as I’m not a real fan of Chardonnays but this was one I’d like to have more of.

Dry Riesling – $16.99: Now a dry Riesling is something I am partial to. I think of most of the white wines, a dry Riesling is one I look forward to trying each time I open a bottle. On the nose were nuances of apple and pear with neither one overpowering the other, a nice balance between the two. I got pretty much the same on the palate with a good touch of acidity.

Mead: This wasn’t for sale when I visited them but they had it on the tasting menu. According to the tasting staff, this is made from an Ethiopian recipe that opens with fresh cut hay and sawdust on the nose with hints of honey. Honey and golden raisin flavors followed and although a bit too sweet for me it tasted good nonetheless.

Cabernet Sauvignon – $18.99: Black berries and cassis on the nose led into red and black cherries on the palate with a neat little mulberry finish. I liked this but not as much as some Cabernet Sauvignons from France, Italy, and California. I’m not knockin’ New England reds mind you, it’s just that we’ve got a ways to go yet to be of the same caliber as those I just mentioned. We do well with white wines through.

Sparkling Blanc de Blancs – $16.99: One of my favorite white wines are of the sparkling kind. This had visions of a Brut Champagne with a pear aroma and apple and pear flavors. This was very effervescent like a sparkling wine should be. Really liked this one.

French Cidre’ – $12.99: This had a bit of sparkle to it but not like a sparkling wine and again it had apple and pear aromas and flavors too. I really liked this but thought it was a bit over priced as most ciders I come across are under ten bucks.

Seeing as it was chilly when I visited this winery they had the indoor fireplace crackling for the tasters to get close to while sipping some of the wines. It was real warm entertainment and quite enjoyable on a chilly afternoon, but where else would you go on a chilly afternoon?

 

Pioneer Valley Vineyard

The drive out to Pioneer Valley Vineyard was indeed, to say the least, a picturesque drive (sorry, didn’t take pictures along the way). It was a quiet drive along the back roads from where I hail to Hatfield, MA and upon arrival at the winery I found there was no tasting fee (see sign) for enjoying their wines.

Now when I first arrived I had thought the winery was through the front door of the white house (I think the flag threw me off),

but quickly realized the tasting room was located in the back of the house.

Now I was on the right track and could only imagine what may lie inside. I have found that many of the New England wineries are converted barns, out-buildings, stables, or any other combination of wood and nails to hold up the roof. So the inside looked like this.

Not a bad beginning to savor the wines I would choose.  I was greeted by Linda (one of the owners) and later Casey joined in the tasting festivities. Prodded by their son Josh (making home made beer for the lot to enjoy) and better half, Jen encouraged Ma & Pa to go into the wine-making business. Casey, being a farmer by trade, agreed and their wines are available October through December on Saturdays and Sundays.

Here are the wines I got to taste on a fairly warm day:

Frontenac Red (dry): This dry red wine is estate grown with blueberry on the nose and black cherry, almond, and pepper flavors followed.

Frontenac red (semi-dry): Same aromas and flavors as the Frontenac Red (dry) but with a bit of sweetness on the back palate.

Tomato Wine: This wasn’t on the tasting menu but they asked if I would like to try it. I didn’t know what to expect so…this was made from 50% Mountain Frost tomatoes and 50% Plum tomatoes. Well, you can definitely smell the tomato on the nose. This semi-dry acidic wine produced a distinctive tomato flavor. This would probably go good with cheese and crackers. Pasta wouldn’t be out of the realm either. I can’t put my finger on it, but I did like this wine.

Blueberry: Locally grown and the aroma and flavor said the same – fresh blueberries.

Raspberry: The only difference between the Blueberry and Raspberry wines should be obvious, but in case you want me to spell it out for you: R-A-S-P-B-E-R-R-Y both on the nose and the palate.

Strawberry: An orangy-peach color yielded strawberry on both the nose and palate – no surprise here.

Cranberry: Made from Cape Cod cranberries I found a nice subtle explosion of cranberry on the nose. This was listed as a sweet wine but thought it more of a semi-sweet one.

Blackberry: This was very nice with a rich dark berry aroma with a black berry flavor and a nice smooth finish.

Well, there you have it. Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Mineral Hills Winery

I was able visit only two wineries on this wine trip and this was my second winery of the day. Mineral Hills Winery is located at Godard’s Red Hen Farm and the tasting room looks like a converted apple orchard building. If you look real close and just to the left of the “Open” flag you can see stacks of apples for sale.

But once inside the resemblance stops at the threshold and it opens into their tasting room with many of their products on display. They are members of the Hampden County Beekeepers Association as well as the Massachusetts Farm Winery Association.

When I arrived, one of the owners, Larry was in the back room of which I was able to visit (more on this later in this post).

The tasting fee was $5.10 (including the tax) for any five of their wines and I started my tasting with the following and Larry put out several cheeses for the tasting:

2010 Chardonnay: This opened with floral notes with fruity aromas. Distinctive apple and pear flavors followed.

Seyval Blanc: A white Rose that was slightly sweet with grapefruit on the palate.

Apple Wine: This fruit wine had the aroma and flavor of fresh apples on a dew drenched morn in the apple orchard early in the picking season. Can you see the apples falling from the tree?

Mead (honey wine): This had a nice honey aroma on the nose. Then I tried the honey that produced this mead and then another sip of the mead wine, wow! The first sip of wine was much different after tasting the honey and taking a second sip. And yes I did come home with a bottle of this wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon: Plenty of fruit on the nose, plum with nuances of earthiness. Plum and black cherry followed on the palate with a hint of mocha on the finish.

Then I tried the barrel tasting of his newest Cabernet Sauvignon and the tasting notes were very similar to the Cabernet Sauvignon and it had an even longer finish with subtle hints of vanilla which complemented the mocha. I can’t wait for this to get bottled in 2012. Note to self: get back to the winery for this wine:)

One of the most exciting aspects of getting to go into the back room is seeing the following…

Yes, these bottles represent the winemaker’s “experiments” and I found that Larry and Sue are very passionate about making wine, being in the wine industry, and learning about wine in general. They were easy to talk to and the four other tasters and I had a great time conversing with both of them in the back room.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Hardwick Vineyard & Winery

Driving up to this winery I passed through some beautiful countryside scenes, however you could still see the devastation caused by both Hurricane Irene and winter storm Alfred. This was a really sad scene to see as so many tress were down across the area it’s a wonder they received power at all. But upon arrival at the vineyard the tasting room was in a big barn adjacent to the main house.

And when I arrived there was quite a crowd and the sommelier, Becky, wanted to know if I was there because of the show Chronicle and as I looked perplexed and asked “What’s Chronicle”. One of the other tasters wanted to know if I was from Connecticut and when I said I was they all knew that I did not see this local show. Seems that a local TV station highlights “stuff” in the area and Hardwick Vineyard and Winery was featured on the show, hence the reason it was so busy. Well, busy is a good thing as were their wines.

The bar area was quite ample and there is room for a lot of tasters at once. The tasting fee was $5 for six wines of your choice and you also received a signature wine glass. Most of the wineries I have visited will give you an ample pour of the wine for your tasting pleasure. Here at Hardwick Vineyard & Winery the pours were at least 2 oz each so make sure you stay there for awhile after you have finished the tastings. Here are the wines I sampled.

Giles E. Warner: This dry white wine opened with orange peel and citrus notes on the nose. Orange slice with a hint of apple found it’s way to the forward palate and had good acidity with a clean crisp finish. This wine is a blend of the Seyval and Vidal Blanc grapes.

Yankee Boy White: Pear was the dominant aroma with hints of green apple. Sweet apple (dominant) and pear nuances on the palate. I found it quite interesting that the aromas and flavors reversed in its complexity. It was a really nice combination and a pretty good wine too.

Yankee Girl Blush: A blend of Seyval, Vidal, and Pink Catawba varietals was a peach colored wine more so than a blush colored wine and produced peach and tropical notes on the nose. The palate experienced peach and melon flavors. This was very nice.

Massetts Cranberry: Made with 10% local Cayuga grapes this had a nice cranberry aroma and flavor. A little too much cranberry for me though.

Hardwick Red: The Marechal Foch grapes in this wine found plum and dark berries with a hint of boysenberry on the nose. Mostly plum was found on the palate with hints of black cherry and boysenberry on the finish, maybe some fig as well.

Quabbin Native: Made from the Pink Catawba grape it opened with floral notes with some lingering grapefruit. The flavor was a delectable Peach Melba dessert. I got an unexpected surprise when Becky poured the same wine a second time that had been heated with mulling spices. It was remarkable and much better than mulled apple cider. This was the gem of the winery.

There was also an outside area that could also be utilized for relaxing on your visit although it was nice but chilly with temperatures nearing 60°.

Be sure to take the time and visit this winery in one of your future wine trips even if you didn’t see it on Chronicle. You can even book an event as they have plenty of room downstairs. One other note though; I read a saying that was on one of the beams above the bar area which stated: “Guests: If we get to drinking on Sunday and ask you to stay until Monday, we really don’t mean it“. Good thing I went on a Friday:)

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

 

Coastal Vineyards

I didn’t think I had the right place as I drove up and there was only one car in the driveway and it didn’t look open. So instead of just wandering off into the sunset I decided to call them to inquire if I was in the right place. Ah, indeed I was as Joyce, the sommelier came out of the back of the house and directed me to the tasting room.


As you can see the wine bar can accommodate about three tasters at a time. When I arrived I was the only one there and half way through my tasting another couple showed up and the bar was at full capacity. Don’t let the small bar area fool you though as the wines were quite good. They only had five wines available during my visit and it was worth the visit, I’m glad I called. I can’t remember what the tasting fee was as I do not have this in my notes, I’m presuming it was minimal, however I do not see a signature wine glass in my wine glass collection so I’ll presume they did not give one out. On to the wines I tasted.

Pinot Gris: Pear, peach, and nectarine aromas with crispness and good acidity on the palate. The flavors were much the same as on the nose. This was chilled just right.

White Wine: A blend of the Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer grapes provided a floral bouquet that ended with ripe pear on the palate.

Gewurztraminer: Floral and fruit bowl aromas on the nose led into tropical fruits, pear, and apple flavors with a clean, crisp acidic finish. Very nice.

Vidal Blanc: Floral notes on the nose with apple and pear on the palate and the sweetness balanced quite well with the acidic finish.

Seaside Red: A blend of 70% Cabernet Franc and 30% Chambourcin. It had a light garnet color with a light berry aroma. Candied red apple and cherry on the palate with subtle hints of mocha and vanilla. A very decent New England red wine that I was quite pleased with.

Their vineyards are 95% planted on 8 acres of land with the other 5% of the grapes coming from local wineries truly encompasses the ideal of being a local winery, not that world wide wines aren’t good but local wines in New England are starting to get some recognition.

So, when you get a chance, stop by their tasting room and experience their wines as they only produce around 600-700 cases per year. They also bottle exclusively with screw tops, but with an average of 3% spoilage from tainted corks I can fully understand the need to incorporate this into the wine bottling process. You all know how I feel about corks but I would rather open the wine with the knowledge that what’s inside will be fresh and delectable.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…

Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery

Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery sits on approximately 450 acres of land of which about 80 acres are planted with a variety of grape vines. The day I visited was rain-soaked but I still had a great time. The walk from the driveway to the tasting room was a short distance but was very picturesque and the rain held off for a short spell to allow me to get some pictures of the winery sign at the entrance and this one showing the tasting room.

Upon entering the tasting room you see two wine bars although the first one seems to be reserved for purchasing wine, signing up for their wine club, etc. They  have two wine clubs available for receiving wine right at your door. You can sign up for either their 4- or 12-bottle shipments that come out three times a year. They also have a VIP club that provides special deals whenever you visit the winery or their on-line store. The VIP membership is free with the 12 bottle membership but costs $20 for the 4 bottle membership.

The second wine bar, just pass the fireplace, is where they conduct the wine tastings which are $6 for the wines available on their tasting menu. You do not get a signature glass either but I did get to meet CJ and Kyle (the sommeliers) that explained the nuances of their wines.

First on the tasting menu was their 2000 Blanc de Blancs: Made from 100% Chardonnay in stainless fermentation, this bubbly was quite dry (I prefer this), had a pale straw color with an apple aroma with a hint of grapefruit and yeast on the nose. It was a very pleasing aroma. The flavor, however, was what really pleased me as I found grapefruit, tart apple, and a subtle finish of apricot. I really liked this sparkling wine.

Next was the 2006 Westport Brut RJR: Again I got an apple aroma with a hint of grapefruit but found less yeast on the nose. The flavor was much the same as well as my impression of the bubblies – quite good!

2009 Chardonnay: Apple pie and apple blossoms on the nose with flavors of pear and apple delicately balanced where neither flavor overpowered the other. It was a very nice Chardonnay.

2010 Pinot Noir Rose: Candied apple aroma led into a red berry flavor (I couldn’t pinpoint a particular red berry so I just categorized it as just red berries) with a distant flavor of cranberry.

2009 Riesling: This wine opened with tropical fruits on the nose, had crisp acidity with minimal minerality – a very decent balance of the two. This had predominately apple flavors, the others I couldn’t detect.

NV Pineau de Pinot: This dessert wine was awesome and my favorite wine here. Aged in French oak for approximately three years the wine had a pinkish color and a delectable combination of red cherries, apricot, and orange on the nose. The flavor was reminiscent of Cognac with candied cherry, fig, and honey. I didn’t know if I was drinking a dessert wine or a Cognac.

In their gift shop you can purchase other items in addition to their wine such as t-shirts, wine accessories, and books. It was a fun place to visit and the wines were quite good. If you haven’t been here yet, it’s worth the trip. I know I’ll make more than just one trip here.

BTW, CJ says to watch out for an independent movie called Footprints, a Shepard film.

Running Brook Vineyard & Winery Inc.

Traveling to a few of the Massachusetts wineries on a rain soaked morning with plenty of fog cover nonetheless did not “dampen my spirits” –  no pun intended until after I wrote this and realized what it said so, what the heck! It’s a been a week since I visited the Maine Coast for relaxation and the trees in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are well on their way to fall foliage. I think upper New England needs to get with the fall program.

When I embark on a wine trip I have no preconceived notions of anything, I’m just out to enjoy the day and seeing as this was Friday and I was on vacation – well, you get the picture. I usually try to visit 3-4 wineries per trip as after four wineries my palate is shot anyway and I would not be able to give you an honest assessment of the winery. So, I like to limit my winery visits to no more than four at a clip. The reason I’m rambling on is this wine trip, albeit rain soaked, was the best wine trip I’ve ever been on. And you’re wondering why this is? Blame it on the sommeliers in each of the wineries I visited – Running Brook Vineyards & Winery, Coastal Vineyards, and Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery. It was way too crowded in New Bedford to stop into Travessia Urban Winery so I’ll make another trip on a less hectic day such as a Saturday or Sunday.

You must put this on your “wineries to visit” trip list as the wines were very good but the “stories” were great. Here was my experience at Running Brook Vineyard & Winery…

This winery wasn’t much to look at but looks can be deceiving. The inside of the winery was small but was well organized.

The wine bar as you can see will accommodate several tasters at a time but I hit it on a day where I had the place all to myself. Pat, the sommelier, has a great personality and a wonderful sense of humor in the hectic hubbub of winery life. Not only was she attending to my wine samples, she was answering phones and giving me some history of the owners/winemakers. Manny and Pedro were from the Azores in Portugal. Manny is the farmer and grape grower and Pedro, a dentist by day and winemaker by night put in many hours to make the fruit of the vines come to reality for our pleasure. They produce over 2500 cases per year.

They have two properties, one in Dartmouth with 8 acres of planted vines and in Westport they have 13 acres planted. They grow Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, and Pinot Gris. And they’re all locally grown. Locally grown grapes in New England are becoming a staple of the area – so here’s my “in” to tell you to support locally produced wines.

Pat was also kind enough to share the following tidbits of information Running Brook has categorized as “frequently asked questions”.

Oak barrels

hold 225 liters (60+ gallons) yielding 24 cases which turns into 288 bottles. One tank of the delectable juice holds 500 gallons, a large tank (my favorite one) holds 1, 500 gallons=7,500 bottles=625 cases=10 tons. Wow, now you’re talking some numbers.

Oh, I’m not stopping here:

Grapes:

One ton makes 150 gallons of wine.

1 grape cluster=75 grapes=1 glass of wine

4 clusters=1 bottle

40 clusters=1 vine=10 bottles (now we’re getting somewhere)

1200 clusters=30 vines=1 barrel=60 gallons

400 vines=1 acre=5 tons

5 tons=332 cases

Okay, on to the wines they produced. There was no tasting fee for trying the nine wines they had for offerings then again you did not get a signature wine glass either.

2010 Unoaked Chardonnay: I found pear and apple on the nose which continued onto the forward palate with good acidity on the finish.

2008 Chardonnay: This is 60% oaked and 40% unoaked which I found much the same as I did with the 2010 unoaked Chardonnay but I did detect a bit of apricot on the nose and this could be why I preferred this over the unoaked Chardonnay. Note: they will soon be releasing a Reserve Chardonnay (see above oak barrel marked 82 W) – it may be worth the two hour trip to taste this.

2008 Pinot Gris: A floral nose with citrus notes on the palate. This semi-dry full bodied white wine had a crisp clean finish.

2008 Vidal Blanc: Kitchen fruit bowl aroma with an emphasis on pear and apricot lead into a tropical fruit flavor on the palate. This was very nice and I can envision having this on a warm evening on the deck with spicy Thai cuisine.

2010 Vidal Blanc: Bartlett pear aroma and flavor. This was somewhat sweeter than the 2008 version. It had minimal acidity on the back palate.

2007 Pinot Noir: Cherry blossom aroma (if you’ve ever been to Washington, D.C. in April you’ll know what I mean) with a hint of bell pepper. The aromas were a nice combination. On the palate I experienced cherry hard candy and a hint of fig with a chocolate finish. A very nice sipping wine.

2010 Cabernet Franc: Black cherry and blackberry awaken your senses before leading into a black cherry flavor with a subtle hint of white pepper. I liked this one.

2007 Auslesen (OWZ-lay-zun): Honey and golden raisin was found both on the nose and palate. This semi-sweet dessert wine had a lot of character with just two distinct aromas/flavors of honey and golden raisin. I don’t know what they did to make this dessert wine pop the way it did but this knocked my socks off. And yes, I did get a bottle of this. For me, this was the gem of the winery.

2010 Frost: This is a late harvest dessert wine made from the Vidal Blanc grapes which are left on the vine for a “couple” of frosts. I found subtle hints of pear and candied apple on the nose with sweet apple on the palate. It had a nice balance between sweetness and acidity.

Truro Vineyards

North Truro is almost to the Eastern end of Cape Cod save for Provincetown and is a three hour plus ride from Southeastern Connecticut but then again I’m on my quest to visit as many, if not all, of the New England wineries within the next year. I’m about 40 % complete so I’ve got a ways to go. You can really see the devastation Hurricane Irene left as many of the trees have lost their leaves and they are severely salt damaged by the storm. However, Mother Nature has a way of mending.

Driving just off Route 6A, the winery is a couple of hundred feet to the right as you enter a spacious parking lot which was nearly full. To the left of the winery tasting room, the vineyards had a lot of grape clusters just waiting to be harvested. This is a sight wine enthusiasts get excited about. The tasting fee for five wines is $8 and if you go with a partner you can taste all ten wines if you “partner up” and each of you pick alternate wines, etc. You also get to keep their signature wine glass to add to your collection.

Upon entering the tasting room the gift shop area is just to your left with many wine items to choose from to make your wine experience a more enjoyable and albeit, easier one from the many gadgets available.

The wine bar was spacious enough but I learned that the wine tastings would be on the patio where there was another wine bar and each party had their own table to sip the wines being offered.

I chose a sunny table to sip and taste the wines. The tastings are held every hour hour and the sommelier greets you with an overview of each of their wines prior to pouring them. Just a note here as I chose one white and four reds to taste, I should have opted for more whites as I found the red wines to be a bit flat, some were watery or lacking deep fruit flavors. Although the red grapes do look delicious.

The one white I chose however was the best of what I tasted hence in retrospect I should have tasted more whites. So, on to the wines I tasted:

2010 Vignoles: This semi-dry white wine had tropical notes on the nose with a hint of cantaloupe and orange zest. Upon first sip a subtle sweetness approached the palate with a delectable tropical blend with undertones of citrus, apricot, and pineapple. A slight mineral finish complemented the tasting experience.

2009 Cabernet Franc: A medium bodied ruby red wine with dense forest, herbs, and earthy aromas. Although the nose was quite pleasing the flavor did not blossom as it did with the nose as it had a touch of cherry and pepper but it didn’t pop.

2009 Zinfandel: Raspberry and plum artfully balanced on the nose yielded an oaky cherry and raspberry flavor with hints of plum and spice. Probably the best of the red collection.

2008 Triumph:  A Meritage blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot revealed raspberry and cherry notes on the nose with a slight hint of bacon just starting to cook. The aroma was very pleasing, however it stopped there as the raspberry and black cherry flavors were flat and missing was a mocha finish I seem to experience with many red blends.

Cranberry Red: One of their Lighthouse Series and a blend of Rougean and Syrah varietals and infused with cranberry. I got mostly cranberry on the nose which is what I expected but that was it. This was served chilled and the cranberry flavor was as I expected but I didn’t expect the pomegranate finish which delighted my expectation of the wine.

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…