Monday, September 2, 2013

Hardwick Winery

Let's go on an adventure! That's what Seth and I decided to do yesterday after junky weather spoiled our plans for a picnic at Mount Pollux in Amherst.

Our choice of adventure: a trip to Hardwick Winery in Hardwick, about a thirty minute drive away. Seth and I love the Amherst Farm Winery a couple of miles down the street from our house, and the Hardwick Winery is owned by a family member of the couple that owns the Amherst Farm Winery.

When we arrived at the Hardwick Winery the place was hopping. There were dozen of cars in the parking lot. This was way busier than any of the other wineries we had visited where there were usually only one or two other people. Hardwick Winery appeared to be a major operation!

The winery was housed in a lovely old bar and featured two floors and a patio. One could enjoy a glass or bottle of wine with snacks on the patio or on the main floor of the barn. The top floor featured a bar where the tasting took place. There were also a number of chairs all around the outside of the winery where you could sit and enjoy beautiful views of the grounds.

They even had acres of grapes. A large percentage of the grapes in their wine are grown by the winery and the rest are sourced very locally. 

The wine tasting was held at the bar upstairs. We were given six one ounce pours, which allowed up to sample all six wines that Hardwick Winery produces.

 We had the following wines:
  • Giles E Warner: This was billed as their dry white wine and was said to be "clean, clear, and crisp." It was a lovely white, but definitely not as dry as I expected. I found it to be fairly sweet for a "dry" wine. It was light and pleasing though. 
  •  Yankee Boy White: This was their sweet white, and it was definitely sweeter than the first. You could taste the fruit in this, but it wasn't overly cloying. 
  • Yankee Girl Blush: I am not usually a fan of sweeter wines, but this wine was amazing. It was very very fruity with peach and melon. You could taste the peach flavors so strongly. It would be a wonderful wine for a warm summer day. I could imagine sitting on our patio and enjoying a glass of this. Seth loved it as well, and we ended up getting a bottle. 
  • Massetts. Cranberry: The wine was 90% grapes and 10% Massachusetts cranberries. Amherst Farm Winery has a cranberry wine, and this one was much tarter. I actually think I prefer it -- I loved how you could really taste the tartness of the cranberries coming through the wine. The label recommends this wine as a compliment to a Thanksgiving dinner, and I could imagine that would be an excellent pairing. 
  • Hardwick Red:  The Hardwick Red was the dry red wine that Hardwick produces. It reminded me a lot of the Barn Board Red that Amherst Farm Winery produces. It was nicely dry and had peppery tones. I really enjoyed it, and think it would be delightful with red sauce or meat in the winter.
  • Quabbin Native: The last wine we sampled, Quabbin Native was a sweet dessert wine "perfect for holiday fare." This wine wasn't that memorable for me. It was a sweet wine, but not an exciting sweet wine. I would rather have it been more fruity or more... something. For my dessert wine, I'll stick the the Raspberry Chocolate Diva from Amherst Farm Winery.

 After our tasting, we decided that we would head home instead of staying to have a glass of wine. It was kind of crowded and loud, plus we didn't want to have too much to drink with a drive ahead of us. We liked a fair number of the wines. Luckily, they carry them at Atkins, so we have easy access for getting a bottle whenever we feel like it.

When we got home, it was still too humid and soggy for an outdoor picnic, so we improvised. Indoor picnic!

Seth set everything up and I made dinner -- caprese salad and whole grain bread with dipping oil. All of the herbs we used -- the basil in the caprese salad and the flavorful herbs in the dipping oil -- were all taken from our herb garden.

We had loads of fun at our indoor picnic. A great way to cap off our Labor Day weekend and the end of an enjoyable summer!

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