Tree Spirits Winery & Distillery, Oakland, ME

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On a recent trip through Maine to the Bangor area, we stopped at Tree Spirits Winery & Distillery, located in Oakland, ME. They have a nice little shop with a bar and stools for a tasting area.

 

Owner Bruce Olsen has been making wine since 1977. Around 2009 he began experimenting with distilling his wines to make Brandy and other spirits. In 2012 they expanded the business and their offerings.

 

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There were two tastings available, with and without Absinthe. Each tasting included 5 offerings of your choice.

Our tastings:

Pear Extra Dry
Sparkling wine, a little dry with a subtle pear taste.

Apple Picnic Wine
Light, crisp, not too dry but not too sweet. Perfect.

 

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Apple Extra Dry
Lots of fizz and sparkle. Sweet with apple taste, they say ‘delicious and crisp’, we agree! We went home with a bottle of this one.

Pom Sublime
Very sweet and juice like. Originally developed as a mixer, but some people liked it so much people do both with it, use it as a mixer and drink it straight. Definitely a fun summer drink mixer. We bought a bottle, will probably do both with it. Made with their Applejack, pomegranate juice, lime juice, ginger bitters.

 

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Maple Storm
Blend of their Maple Wine and Knotted Maple Spirits. Interesting maple flavor, Megan said sweet like syrup. Has a good taste, that sugary taste with a bite of booze, we both liked it, and bought 2 bottles.

 

Applejack
This is made as essentially a type of Brandy, though it can not be called Brandy because Brandy has to be distilled from grape wine. It was originally made it clear, but people didn’t want Brandy that was clear, they expected it to be brownish. They started barrel aging it for 2 months just to give it that color. We actually like the clear, unaged version better. Smelled and tasted a little bit more fruity.

 

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Maple Jack L- finished product, R- before being barrel aged

 

Knotty Maple – 80 proof
Strong alcohol taste with a light maple finish. It has a good taste, not too sweet which is good. It is basically a brandy, but not distilled from a grape made wine.

 

Absinthe Verte – 130 proof
The only asbinthe produced in New England, and one of only a few produced in the US.  They start with their Applejack and use organic herbs — anise, fennel, wormwood, petite wormwood, hyssop and lemon balm. Megan tasted this, very strong straight. It was then mixed  with sugar water for us and it was much tastier then.

 

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The owner was the one serving us, and was very welcoming and knowledgeable, of course. He told us a lot about the spirits and wines, the process and the story behind them. He was a good storyteller, which made the tasting not only tasty, but informative and fun.

 

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With their set up, it is easier to create more spirits than wines.

 

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Still in the back room.

 

 

Want to visit?
Hours
Wednesday – Saturday: 12:00 – 5:30

As always, check Facebook or their website for updated hours. Hours may
be different during the winter

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Other Places Nearby:

Dragonfly Farm and Winery, Stetson, ME

Oak Pond Brewing Company, Skowhegan, ME

The Liberal Cup Public House and Brewing Company, Hallowell, ME

 

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Travessia Urban Winery

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We recently took took a slight detour while on the way to the Cape to New Bedford to visit Travessia Urban Winery. Marco Montez is the owner and head winemaker at Travessia, which opened in 2008 to the public. Marco has spent his life around winemakers, from being born in Portugal where everyone made their own wine for family and friends, to experimenting with home made wine making himself.

 

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Travessia says on their website that: “We focus on making wine in small lots with primarily Massachusetts-grown grapes, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Vidal Blanc, and Pinot Noir. Travessia wines are an authentic reflection of our local soils and micro-climate. We love to experiment and push the boundaries but our wines are also made with simplicity.”

 

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The have a pretty big sized tasting room. They have 2 bars about the size of the one shown above and plenty of standing room. The room itself was very well put together. We each did a tasting of the 5 wines they had available for $6 each, and you get to keep the glass.

Their wines:
Chardonnay
60% unoaked – 40% oaked. Good flavor balance, slightly dry.

Riesling – Semi-dry
Right in middle of sweet and dry. Semi-sweet, tasty.

Vidal Blanc
This was the sweetest of their offerings. Made from a hybrid French grape, native to Massachusetts. We went home with a bottle of this.

 

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Rose Pinot Noir
Not what we were expecting from a Rose, as we usually don’t enjoy Rose wines. This one was semi-sweet with a good flavor, very drinkable, a good summer porch wine.

Pinot Noir – Dry
Not bad in regards to a darker Red. Megan would have it with a steak in the Winter.

 

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All the wines were pretty good, solid all around. We thought maybe these would be good wines to bring to a party where you were going to share, the wines are pretty drinkable and nothing is too extreme or harsh in flavor, making them enjoyable by all.

The downfall was really the service when we were there. They were not very welcoming when we first came in. We were kind of rushed through the tasting, it seemed like we were more of a distraction, even though there were 2 people working and we were the only visitors at the time. They did not really engage with us a about the wine, just gave us the one line or 2 description about the wine when we asked and that was about it.

We recommend going for the wine, but make sure you are just going for the wine, not the education. Hopefully our experience was abnormal, so let us know if you stop by!

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Hours

Wednesday – Saturday: 12:00 – 6:00

Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00

Boston Wine Expo 2015

If you follow Megan on instagram, you know we had a good time at this year’s Boston Wine Expo. Were you able to attend?

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We went to the expo for the Saturday Grand Tasting, and were able to spend time with some of our contest winners as well!

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Some photos from the day:

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Each ticket includes a collectible glass

We tried so many amazing wines. One of the great things about this event is that you can try such a great variety. Wines from all over the world are present, as well as all varieties. We were able to talk to those representing the vineyards more this year, and learned quite a bit about each wine.

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Chatom Vineyards, California. The owner of the vineyard was serving the wine, which was terrific. The knowledge she had was spectacular, and a good way to start our day.

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Anne Amie table- this Cuvee wine was delicious! This was a fun, and enjoyable summer wine.

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more from Anne Amie: Vin Doux & Vin Glace Dessert set. Comes as a pair. Vin Doux was like candy. It was pretty amazing. The Vin Glace was good as well, fortified with pinot noir brandy (almost made by them).

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we spent a fair amount of time at this table: Marisco Vineyards. The winery is located in Marlborough, New Zealand. The two guys at the table were fun and knowledgeable and walked us through the wines. They also knew were their wine was available locally, which is a plus if you are local.

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Thirsty Owl Wine Company, located in the Finger Lakes of New York. They offer a Pinot Noir Red, Diamond, Vidal Blanc, Dry Riesling and Snow Owl. Delicious!

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Standing Stone Vineyards, Finger Lakes, New York

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Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Finger Lakes, New York. Red Cat Wine is part of them, being “unpretentious and delicious.” We had a “cocktail” while at the table “Red Cat on the Beach.” This was Red Cat poured over ice, with a squeeze of fresh lime. We also enjoyed a piece of dark chocolate with the wine.

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Hazlitt is also home to hard cider!

 

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don’t you want one?

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barefoot

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meatballs!

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Mark and I with Kristen and David, two of our contest winners!

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chicken pot pie!

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Cucina Aurora Risotto! From Salem, New Hampshire and delicious!

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Yancey’s Fancy Cheese

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Milly’s Organic Salad Dressing- very good! Will be looking for it!

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MainleyHRT’s bottle tote. Great for traveling!

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More wine!IMG_1854 IMG_1855 IMG_1857 IMG_1859 IMG_1856 IMG_1858 IMG_1863 IMG_1867 IMG_1865 IMG_1866 IMG_1871 IMG_1876

 

Dragonfly Farm & Winery, Stetson, ME

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We recently visited Dragonfly Farm and Winery in Stetson, ME on our way up north to visit our friend Amanda.

They have a small tasting room, although it is much larger than their original. When the winery opened, the owners completed tastings in the breezeway of their home! They haven’t moved though- they just have a nice visiting room next door!

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This was the bar they did the tastings at.

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Now they have a nice little tasting house.

Dragonfly Farm and Winery makes mostly fruit wines. The use their own fruit, but if they need more, they get it from Wyman’s.

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Fields out back where they grow grapes and fruit.

They also make grape wines, but those are on a rotating schedule due to the quickness the supply and quickness they run out.  They started making fruit wines to fill in the gaps and those became even more popular. They make 36 different types of wine.

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The owners were mentored in Germany. They both still work full time while they operate the winery, which is crazy! Imagine working 80+ hours a week, every week?!

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Our Tasting:

Berry Con2sion
Sweet and smooth up front. Made with 50% Blueberry and 50% Blackberry, fermented with French Oak.

Blackberry Bewitched
Blackberry flavor, not too sweet, a little too syrupy, maybe a touch too much blackberry for us.

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Raspberry Riot
Smells like raspberry jam, and tastes like raspberries.

Blueberry Bliss
Good blueberry flavor, a sweet desert wine.

Candle Waster
Cranberry wine, taste like cranberry juice.

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The woman who led our tasting was nice and gave us a fair amount of information about the winery. There was a large group that arrived just after us, so our tasting was quick, but still good. The winery had a nice feel to it, the hostesses were nice, and there were friendly people visiting as well.

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Want to visit?

Thurs, Fri, Sat: 10-6

Sunday: 12-4

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Other Places Nearby:

Tree Spirits Winery and Distillery, Oakland, ME

Oak Pond Brewing Company, Skowhegan, ME

The Liberal Cup Public House and Brewery, Hallowell, ME

 

 

Mill River Winery, Rowley MA

 

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Mill River Winery is located in Rowley on the North Shore of Massachusetts. We had been meaning to stop in here for a while as we had heard many good things. We stopped on the way down into Boston for the Boston Wine Expo preview event.

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They renovated the Dodge’s Cider Mill from the 1890’s. The building has a rustic feel with a mix of original wood, reclaimed, and rustic wood that creates a cool environment for tasting wine.

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They had 2 predesigned flights when we were there, so we both ordered a different one so we could try most of their wines.

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Naked Chardonnay:
aged in stainless steel. Lemon zest and pear aromas. Dry, but not as dry as you expect a Chardonnay to be. Full bodied.

Plum Island White:
Balanced in sweetness. Semi-sweet with pear, citrus and honey aromas. Smooth and easy to drink.

Riesling:
Off dry, slight citrus flavor with a vanilla finish

Barrel Fermented Chardonnay:
Oak aged. Very smooth. Dry. Megan liked the Naked Chardonnay better, but could understand what the draw was for the oaked flavor.

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Plum Island Red:
Berry and light. Tried this wine both chilled and room temperature. Chilled, it took on more white wine/fruit wine characteristics. This wine they tried to model after and Italian style Chianti, so you can drink it throughout the day. 30% white wine, 70% red.

Plum Island Red Dory:
Dry mouth feel. Nice fruit flavor, with the aromas of plums and blackberries, without being overly sweet. 5% white wine. More complex than Plum Island Red.

Plantation Red:
Light in oak flavor. Dry. Well balanced with the aroma of raspberry jam

Pinot Noir:
Light bodied, smooth at first with a bite at the end. Cherry flavor, but not sweet. Megan liked the flavor at the end

Select Cabernet Sauvignon:
Not as dry as we expected. Full bodied. Flavors of chocolate and deep, dark fruit

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Bucket of Fun:
Rose. We both liked this one. At their blending bash, people create different wines and the winner receives a case of wine and their wine is created. This was the winner!

 

It was not busy when we were there, and we received plenty of attention. The server was friendly and knowledgeable about the wine and the winery.

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Before the tasting…

 

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fun chandelier made from wine barrels

They had a cool chandelier made from wine staves. You can see the post and beam construction in the background as well.

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They have a gift shop with locally made jams and all kinds of wine accessories.

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Wine serving tray

 

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A table you can stand around if it is busy

 

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Want to Visit?

Winter hours:
Tasting room open Fri 11 – 7pm, Sat & Sun 11 – 6pm
Tours Sat & Sun at 2 & 4pm.

Boston Wine Expo, February 14-15 2015!

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We recently went to a “sneak peek” of the 2015 Boston Wine Expo.
Delicious and worth the trip to Boston.

***

With the upcoming event, we wanted to share some of the awesome vendors and wineries that will be at the Boston Wine Expo 2015 AND…

OFFER YOU a PAIR of TICKETS to this years event! More on that later…

***

The Boston Wine Expo will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center, on Valentine’s weekend (February 14 & 15, 2015). Last year’s event was fantastic- we tried wine we wouldn’t of otherwise, and learned about wine as well as cheese and Italian beer. This year, w expect nothing short of excellent.

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view of the Seaport World Trade Center

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what was available for our preview event

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what was available for our preview event

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delectable food- I wonder what there will be at this year’s event!

Some of the many featured wines

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the lady bug is a natural predator that feeds on insects harmful to plants.
the wine has flavors of black cherries and raspberries, with aromas of spice and espresso

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90+ Cellars, a favorite from last year

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90+ cellars

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We hardly ever say this, but we liked all three of these red wines. They all had a different place for enjoyment

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Megan’s favorite of the three

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Our tips from last year:

IF you go…
Go with a goal… maybe to try a particular country. At previous wine events, I have focused on a particular type of wine, however trying by country is easier with the layout here.
Try a wine you’ve never heard of
Don’t say that you don’t like a particular type of wine- you might just not like the way that winery makes it. Try it somewhere else.
Stay hydrated”

Are you going? Have you gone before? What are you looking forward to? Comment to let us know!

But wait! We have two pairs of tickets to giveaway!! Enter here!


Please note, you must be available the weekend of February 14/15 2015. Winners will be notified Jan. 23. Winner must respond within 24 hours, or another name will be pulled.
For Facebook and Twitter entries, you must like, tweet, follow, etc as it states, or your entry will not be qualified.

Hermit Woods Winery, Meredith, NH

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Hermit Woods Winery is a small boutique winery located in Meredith, New Hampshire. We visited with Megan’s sisters Heather and Sam; Sam’s boyfriend Dustin and our friend Bre. We had a good feeling when we entered the winery, as well as when we left. Sometimes when we visit wineries, due to us being fairly young, we are not taken seriously. We are often greeted with a feeling of “why are you here,” or no greeting. This is not across the board, but often. We often end up surprising them with our questions and comments…
At Hermit Woods they were nice right from the beginning, greeting us when we walked in. There were 6 of us (between ages 22-30) and they were truly excited to share their story and information with us.

 

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We had a choice of a large glass or a smaller glass, with a minor price difference. The larger glass enabled you to try the Premium wines. Between all of us, we were able to try each wine.  They make plenty of traditional wines but also have plenty of unique and non-traditional wines. They use locally grown fruits like peaches and Maine blueberries to make some of their more unique wines.

 

We were served by Ken at the bar, and he is also their head wine maker. He was obviously very knowledgeable, but also very friendly and willing to share his knowledge with us.

 

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2013 Lake House White
Listed as a dry wine, but still surprised Mark that it was dry because it is made from local, organic whole peaches, quince, and rosehips. No grapes are used at all.

 

2013 Kiwi
Heather thought it was a little sour. This wine is made from locally grown kiwi berries. These are not the type of kiwi’s you by at the store.

 

2013 Harvest Apple Wine
This wine is made from fresh pressed, local cider. Heather liked the smell.

 

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2013 Knot Mead
A varietal, dry, traditional mead made from raw, unfiltered, honey sourced from Japanese Knot Weed Flowers
Good flavor, not overly sweet like some meads are. The Japanese Knot Weed is an invasive flower, in case you were wondering, and bee’s love it.

 

2013 Three-Honey Wine
Three separate, raw, unfiltered, wildflower honeys are blended together to make this wine
All locally sourced honey, of course. The 2011 won Gold at the Colorado Mead Cup.

 

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2013 Petite Blue
There is an entire pound of blueberries in each bottle! They are wild Maine blueberries. It is a dry wine, but tasty. This was aged in different oak barrel’s for extra flavor. Recommended for people who don’t enjoy red wine. This was Megan’s 2nd favorite.

 

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2013 Chuck’s Peach Folly
Sweet, light taste. It smelled a little funny but everyone liked it. It was Heather’s favorite, and Megan’s 3rd favorite. Made from whole, locally sourced peaches.

 

Heirloom Crabapple
15% abv, made with 95% Adobgo? crabapples and 5% blueberries. Sweet and a little tart. This is their best selling wine and Megan’s favorite. In the 1800’s people used adobgo crabapples to make hard cider.

 

2013 Deep Blue
18% but still sweet, really good. It is made from a port base. Only a small, half bottle, with a pound of blueberries in this small bottle.

 

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Sammies favorite wines were Deep Blue, Peach Folly, Heirloom Crabapple, and Petite Blue. They were the somewhat sweeter wines here.

 

Dustin liked most of the wines because they weren’t overly sweet.

 

 

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Want to visit?
Visiting Hours:

Monday – Thursday 1:00 to 5:30
Friday 12:00 – 6:00
Saturday 11:00 – 6:00
Sunday 11:00 – 5:00