Although I am a native of New England....I had not yet become a wine drinker when I moved away as a young adult. This past weekend, I took a trip home, and was able to finally visit what I hope to be the first of many New England Wineries.
As we made our trek up to Maine for an amazing Lobster Dinner (shout out to Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier!), we stopped along the way. Our first stop was at Mill River Winery, in Rowley, MA. This is a fairly new winery, having only been open for about a year. They are in a renovated 1890s Cider Mill on Rt. 1. Their wines are made on site, but they use grapes sourced from MA, NY, CA, and Chile. The wine list consisted of 10 different wines, but we were only able to taste 5. We started off with the Plum Island White, which was a white blend of CA and local grapes Macabao and Pinot Grigio. It had a floral nose to it and was a bit sweet on the palate. The second wine we tasted was the Naked Chardonnay, which was made from CA grapes and was done in all stainless steel, which is how I like my Chardonnays typically. The third wine we tried was a Riesling, and I din't catch where the grapes were from on this one, but it was quite enjoyable. Turning to the reds, we tried the Plum Island Red which was a blend of Merlot, Carignan and Cabernet grapes from both MA and CA. The last wine we tried was the Plantation which was a dry, lightly oaked red that was 95% Merlot with some Cabernet, all from CA grapes.
After we left Mill River, we continued on up the coast and stopped at Jewell Towne Vineyards, which we discovered is the oldest winery in NH (opened in 1994)! It is located in South Hampton, NH, right near the Amesbury, MA border. They had a beautiful Barn as their tasting room, and a wide variety of wines on their tasting sheet. We were allowed to pick 5 each, and after the first round, we realized we should divide and conquer so we could sample more. So between the two of us tasting we sampled the following:
Pinot Grigio - Light and refreshing with aromas of honeysuckle and melon.
Seyval 2011 - A dry white with a sweet nose, but more apple and citrus on the palate.
Riesling - This white had a floral nose with hints of honey and orange, and was more citrusy on the palate.
Valvin Muscat - An off-dry, but clean white with aromas of orange blossom and flavors of lemon and lime.
"Red Cap" Marechal Foch 2011 - A full bodied, off-dry red that had a red current on the nose and cranberry flavor on the palate.
"Gold Cap" Cabernet Sauvignon - A dry red with fruity flavors of plum and cherry.
It was really great to finally have a chance to try some of my native hometown area wines...and I can't wait to go back and try more!