Monday, July 16, 2012

Amherst Farm Winery

Today, Seth and I went on a little adventure. This adventure took us approximately 0.5 miles away from our cozy Echo Hill condo to Amherst Farm Winery.

It's odd to think that we hadn't been to a place that is so close to our house, but hear me out. To pass the winery, one has to leave our house and head towards Pelhem, which we basically never do unless we're heading out East on a trip. On those instances we were so focused on our travels, we sort of missed the winery.

We pulled into the parking lot to a very strange sight: a giant foot. Not sure why. I can only extrapolate that the foot is meant to elude to the stepping on grapes to make wine.

From the parking lot you could also see the vineyard. (Poor picture, I know, but you get the idea.)

The winery is located in a very neat 19th century barn. The barn used to exist as a dairy barn in the nearby Quabbin and was relocated and fixed up for the winery's usage.

When we first walked in, we got an excellent view of where they bottle and process the wine. None of this was happening today, but we got to see the bottling machine and the corking machine. All the labels are put on by hand! The Amherst Farm Winery has an excellent video on their home page, here, showing the process.

We arrived at the winery and were very nicely welcomed by Deb, who was serving bar on this very quiet Monday. She invited us to try a tasting. For $5 you got to try five wines in a glass to keep plus a bonus of their Winemakers Chocolate/Raspberry Diva. How could we say no?

The winery had a really interesting list of wines, many of which were mixed with fruit flavors. Seth and I decided to each have five different ones (from each other) so we could sample ten in all.

I started with the Weathervane White, as I tend to prefer drier wines. Seth is in his own words not much of a wine drinker. On the rare occasions that he has any alcohol at all, he prefers something sweet, so the fruit blends appealed to him. He started with the Apple.

I found the Weathervane to be delicious! It was my favorite I sampled -- very dry, kind of like a Pinot Grigio. The Apple was way to sweet for me, but Seth loved it, and I imagine my mother, who has similar taste in wines, would too.

Next, I tried the Sangria, which Deb said was their most popular wine. Seth tried the Blueberry. I liked, but did not love, the Sangria -- a bit to sweet. The Blueberry was really interesting. Both Seth and I liked it a lot. It had a nice mix of flavors.

Third, I tried the Barn Board Red and Seth had the Strawberry. The Barn Board Red was super interesting. It was very spicy and tasted a lot of pepper. I found it to be truly unique. I think I would love to sit down in front of my pellet stove with a glass in the winter. Seth very much enjoyed the Strawberry wine. It was very heavily Strawberry scented, but the taste wasn't overpowering. A great summer wine.

Fourth, I tried the White Hen and Seth had the Peach. The White Hen was kind of like a dry Riesling, which I found very pleasing. The Peach was again fruity, summery, and nicely scented. I found both of these to be good but not as standout as some of the others.

For the final set for our tasting, Seth tried the Raspberry, and I tried the Pear. Both of these were a big hit. In fact, I would say the Raspberry was my favorite of the fruit wines. Seth thought the Pear wine was very smooth. The pear flavor really shown through.

After our selections we were given a bonus try of the Chocolate/Raspberry Diva. What a fun wine! It wasn't a port or super sweet. It was just a perfect little treat. The taste was not cloying or overwhelming -- just a nice blend of chocolate and fruit flavors. Deb even said that people drizzled it over ice cream, which I could imagine being amazing!

After our tasting, we toured the winery building. The main room we were in with the bar also housed the wine, off that there was a large room with a fire place and a couch. I imagine it must be quite cozy in the winter. 

Of the back of the main area, there was a lovely patio. Deb said that people often come on the weekend and bring their own crackers and cheese or a picnic meal and order a bottle of wine to enjoy on the patio. This seemed a great idea, which Seth and I will have to try soon.

The owner is also currently in the process of finishing work on the upstairs of the building to make that a space for performances and hanging-out in the evenings.

We had a wonderful trip to the winery and took home our favorite two bottles of wine: Weathervane White for me and Strawberry for Seth.

We definitely want to take both my mom and Seth's father here. This seems a great place to take people visiting the area. A wonderful find in our own backyard!

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