La Belle Winery, Portsmouth and Amherst, NH

 

 

La Belle Winery is one of the bigger and more well known wineries in New Hampshire. They have been officially producing wine since 2012. Their main space is in Amherst, NH where they produce the wine. They also have a Bistro that does lunch and dinner, a large event space and what was their only tasting room, until recently.

 

 

In January of 2018 La Belle Winery opened a Portsmouth, NH tasting room and store. This is not the first time we have seen a winery open a city tasting room location. The tasting room is much closer to us so we went there with Mark’s sister Michelle. We were too busy tasting wine too take many pictures.

 

They do flights of 5 wines for $10 and flights of 10 for $15, at both locations, so we each did a flight of 10.  Between the three of us we tried quite a few different wines.

 

Michelle and Mark

 

Whites

Dry Apple
Dryer than Mark was expecting, even though Dry is in the name. Nice aroma of apples, dry throughout.

 

Seyval Blanc
A crisp wine wine with citrus notes and a clean finish.

 

Dry Pear
Dry and fruity, Marked liked this better than the apple.

 

Granite State White
Described as similar to Chardonnay, oak aged and clean, Megan thought it was just ok, not her style.

 

Gewurztraminer
We all tried this wine. Fruit forward and tropical, and a little on the sweet side. We liked it.

 

Heirloom Apple
Not sweet, but a complex flavor, both Mark and Michelle agreed and liked it.

 

Riesling
Complex and aromatic as they described it, floral and honey notes, on the sweet side but not too sweet.

 

Granite State Apple
Michelle got this and did not like it, and apple wine with maple syrup. Mark agreed it was not a great mix of flavors.

 

Blush

Apple Cranberry
This is 50% apples and 50% cranberries. Perfect blend of these too fruits, not too tart or too sweet, but a little bit of both, pretty tasty.

 

Megan

 

Reds

Dry Blueberry
Another fruit wine Mark picked that was a little too dry for him. Made for wine drinkers who like regular wines and not sweet fruit wines. Drinks like a light Merlot in body and style, really dry.

 

Granite State Red
Megan said it’s a good, easy drinking red with a hint of blueberry. Could see it pairing well with steak and other grilled meats.

 

Americus
Made with New England grapes, rich in tannins, aged on steel then additional aging in oak, Megan did not like this wine as much.

Americus Reserve
They talked Megan into trying this wine even though she didn’t like the last one. Much different flavor aged all in French Oak, amazing what that can do! This one was really good.

 

Petit Verdot
Megan really liked this, bold red with strong floral and fruit notes, her kind of rich red wine.

 

Virginia Mae Sweet Blueberry
A very deep, rich Blueberry flavor, not sweet or syrupy but rich, and very tasty.

 

 

Dessert Wines

Chambourcin
Port style wine, which means it was fortified with Brandy, cherry and chocolate flavors, dark and rich but again not overly sweet which was nice.

 

Red Raspberry
Sweet dessert red that is balanced out nicely by the acidity from fresh raspberries. Smells like raspberries, sweet and a bit tart.

 

Three Kings
Megan said it tastes like jam. Blend of Blueberry, Red Raspberry and Marchol Foch wines.

 

 

They have a pretty decent size bar area, that we didn’t get a picture of. They have a lot of other items in their shop besides wine, but plenty of wine, too!

 

 

 

Wide variety of jams

 

Check Facebook for seasonal hours

Advertisements

Our 40th Visit!! Walpole Mountain View, Walpole NH

100_1196
100_1197

We visited Walpole Mountain View Winery in mid December, which waiting for a snowstorm to set in. Walpole Mountain View Winery is located in Walpole, New Hampshire. We became slightly lost on the way there thanks to our GPS, but were able to get there in one piece. Definitely a food day to test out how my fairly new tires handled the snow covered roads.  100_1181 100_1182
When we pulled up to Walpole Mountain View Winery, we thought it looked very pretty, all dressed up for Christmas. When we entered, we were greeted by David, who introduced us to the Winery. The tasting room has a bar along the right side, and many bar height tables, with comfortable chairs to sit in to have your tasting. 100_1195 the menu100_1194David showed us the wine list, had us pick a glass (stemless or traditional), and told us to pick out 6 wines each. The wine list was extensive, but was easy to view. It was a two sided menu, with dry wines on one side and sweeter (greater than 1% residual sugar) on the other side. They were then listed by dryness or sweetness level. Once we picked out our six, David brought us to a different room to view a short video tour.

Walpole Mountain View Winery Facts:

  • Family run winery, with each member taking part
  • 2000- they began to think about the land (rolling hills, wind and sun) and how located elsewhere, it would be great as a vineyard. They started to look into grape varieties that would work for them
  • 2004- they started to plant the grapes
  • 2009- made their 1st wine
  • They currently operate on 5 acres, with 32 varieties of grapes, producing 28 wines. 4 varieties of grapes they grow are table grapes.
  • They are one of the few estate wineries in New Hampshire. An estate winery is when all grapes used in their wine comes from their property
  • March of every year brings pruning
  • Harvest is mid-September to October
  • Autumn–> Spring= wine production time
  • All grapes are hand picked
  • They add oak chips during some red wine fermentation
  • They strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible

When we finished our video tour, we went out to the deck area to see that setup. The deck area had 3 long, bar height tables with stools. Overhead heat lamps were set up, making the room good for most weather, although too cold for that particular day. 100_1183 Mark, testing the heating lamps  100_1185  100_1188  100_1184 100_1187 View from the deck area

We then went back to the tasting room, where Alysa had put together our tasting trays. David brought them over to us and instructed us on how to properly complete the tasting.

100_1189 My tasting tray

100_1191 the tasting table set up

Our tasting:

La Crosse: white varietal ’11. Oak aftertaste. Only oaked white in ’11. Crisp, warm tart flavor, slight lingering flavor.

Barnett Hill White: plum nose. Easy mouth. White blend, 2012

Seyval Blanc: white varietal, 2012. nose- honey/mead like. “Slowly tart,” a great description- not quite tart. Unfiltered

Marquette ’10: great red, tart and fig. Bold. Would enjoy with a steak dinner.

La Crescent ’12: Sweet with a tartness. Sweet apple and pear with a slight citrus flavor. Unfiltered, white varietal.

Frontenac Gris: white varietal, 2012. Mark said that Kiwi flavor was a good description, smooth also makes sense. Unfiltered.

Leon Millet ’11: off dry red. Nose- cranberry, cocoa, molasses, jam. Mouth- dry, maple, cherry. Yum & great nose! We really enjoyed this one!

1761 Walpole Red: red/white blend. Good nose- peppery. Fruity but not sweet, with a slight spicy tingle.

Mountain View Red: red/white blend, 2012. Raisin with a hint of chili pepper. Fruity taste, but not too sweet. Bolder.

Marquette ’11: red, roasted red pepper. Chili powder with a slight mushroom nose. Berry, cherry and bold.

La Crescent “Late Harvest”: 75% 2009, 25% 2010. Peach & Citrus. Notes of melon. Very sweet and tasty dessert wine.

Cayuga White “Late Harvest”: tropical like; dessert wine

We had a great experience at the Walpole Mountain View Winery. David was very friendly, and made us feel very comfortable.
The set up was interesting, in a good way. We liked that you sat down, chose your wines to taste and went to watch the video tour before coming back to enjoy the tasting. This not only made for a good experience for us, but we can envision this set up working very well during high traffic times.

Want to visit? They are currently closed for the winter, and typically reopen Memorial Day weekend. 

2013 Hours (check their website and facebook for 2014)

Memorial Day- Halloween
Fridays 5-7p
Saturdays: 12-6p
Sundays: 1-6p

November 1st-Late December
Fridays 4-6p
Saturdays: 12-5p
Sundays: 1-5p