Jewell Town Vineyard, South Hampton NH #44 (a little out of order)

100_1281We recently visited Jewell Towne Vineyard. We decided it was a great idea to go out during a snow storm, which in a way was true. Not that fun to get there (for me, although luckily Mark drove) but once we found Jewell Towne, we were the only ones there. We had just missed two car loads of people. IMG_0269
Jewell Towne is located in South Hampton, New Hampshire and is very close to the Massachusetts border. We were in New Hampshire, and drove through Massachusetts to get there. It is a little difficult to find, so pay attention to their directions as found on their website.100_1280  100_1279   100_1283  100_1282

Time Line:
1982- owners Peter and Brenda planed six grapevines
1990- Jewell Towne was established
1994- Jewell Towne Vineyards became a licensed commercial winery
1998- the winery was built, a 18th century reproduction

Facts:

  • Since they began, Peter has helped other wineries become established in the area, offering his knowledge of viticulture. Peter leads the way for the wine industry for New Hampshire. Peter has also helped with legislation in regards to the the winery industry.
  • Jewell Town is New Hampshire’s oldest winery
  • They have won over 150 medals in national and international competitions
  • Their upstairs art gallery features local artists, as well as Brenda’s work
  • They produce 6 thousand cases of wine every year
  • Their wine can be found in over 150 stores and restaurants in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, as well as at many Farmer’s Markets (Portsmouth, Concord, Greenland, Newburyport, Middleton and Gloucester)
  • Their tours as well as their tastings are FREE
  • You won’t find other fruits here- they produce only traditional style wines
  • They currently have 5 acres of grapevines
  • Many grapes they use are grown there, but some are contracted in (due to climate)

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IMG_0271the tasting bar

Our tasting:

Not all wines are open at once. They have a dry-erase board with their current offerings, and you may choose 6IMG_0272

Aurore: hints of green apple, dry

Riesling: hints of honey and orange

Seyval 2012: “off dry” description fit well. Not too fruity, good plum flavor

Vignoles 2012: honey and lemon flavor. Off dry

Traminette: relative of Gewurztraminer. Had a touch of sweetness to it

Steuben: sweet rose with flavors of ripe strawberry and fresh pineapple. yum!

Leon Millot: smooth, off-dry. Light red wine with cherry and black raspberry flavors.

Sparkling Marechal Foch: unintentional (sparkling) wine. Festive flavor. Good for sangria.

Rhapsody in Blue: ice wine. Strong hints of honey. yum!

Everyone there was very friendly. The two women who were working in the tasting room, as well as Peter. It was one of the women’s first day there, but it didn’t show. All were very knowledgeable and friendly. Jewell Towne Vineyard would be a good place to go for those who know their wine, as well as those that are new to wine.

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Want to visit?
Hours of Operation: 
11am – 4pm Wednesday through Friday
11am – 5pm Saturday and Sunday
Be sure to visit their website before you plan your visit
so you don’t get lost!

 

Cape Cod Winery, East Falmouth MA

imageOn a rainy camping morning, my sister Sam mentioned that she wanted to do something, and then had the grand idea to go to either a winery or a brewery. Sam had recently turned 21, and had never been to a winery or a brewery. This  Since it was a Sunday, breweries in the area were closed, so we decided to go to the Cape Cod Winery. This was also the first visit to a winery for two others who went with us, my sisters Heather and Jessica. Andrea, a literally life-long friend (met when we were 3 years) had been to one winery previously.

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Andrea, Jessica, Heather, Samantha, Mark and I pulled up to Cape Cod Winery and could see all of the beautiful grape vines growing. The signage on the property directed you inside for a wine tasting.image (4)
When we walked inside, I was somewhat surprised at the size of tasting room. Although I have been to smaller tasting rooms, like that of Gilmanton Winery, I expected something more like Flag Hill’s tasting room due to the location. Cape Cod is a vacation land, and when it rains everyone looks for something to do. The winery was very busy, due to it sprinkling out, and we weren’t the only ones with the great idea of going to the winery. I was just a little surprised about the size of the tasting room.

image (13)The tasting was $5 per person and included a full sized wine glass.

We tried six wines:image (5)
Pinot Grigio: smooth, notes of apricot, hazelnut and pear. The grape skins are left on for this wine (like a red) for 24 hours to create a richer, fuller flavor and a golden color. Jessica thought it was good for a white wine. Andrea, Mark and  I would drink it, but it wasn’t amazing. Heather didn’t enjoy it, and Sam’s face spoke what words could not.
Nobska White: a blend of Seyval and Vidal grapes. Some tropical fruit highlights, but no where near the tropical fruit flavors you might get from a Cayuga. Andrea, Heather and I enjoyed this one more. Mark and Jess also enjoyed, with Mark commenting that it had notes of tart apples. Sam still didn’t enjoy this wine.
Nobska Cranberry Blush: Seyval white wine with a splash of cranberry. This wine sits for six months with whole fermented cranberries. Prior to trying this wine, I had assumed this would be a favorite- cranberry wines from southeastern Mass & the Cape are usually quite good. Jess, usually a cranberry fan, did not enjoy this one. It was too light in cranberry flavor. I thought it was the best I had tried at the time (and then the 2nd favorite of mine there). Mark, Heather, Sam and Andrea agreed.
Merlot/Cabernet Franc: 50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc. Aged in oak barrels. Jessica really enjoyed this one (red wines are her favorite, especially merlot). Sam, Andrea and Heather tried it and then passed their pour on to Mark. Mark and I thought it wasn’t bad, but too dry for our tastes.
Nobska Red: was not available for tastings, as it was waiting to be bottled.
Regatta: sweet, with a slight (very slight) strawberry flavor. At this point, we were rushed to our next taste and I wasn’t really able to find out other’s opinions. Would have loved to learn more about this one, especially since it was not listed in their wine list pamphlet. I think it was a dessert wine??
Nobska Blue: mezzo dolce wine, a blend of blueberries and grapes. This was Heather’s favorite (mine as well, I went home with a bottle). Heather mentioned that it would be great with real blueberries as garnishment. If you are someone who likes their blueberry wine chilled, you could also freeze blueberries and use them as ice cubes! image (8)

image (6)Also available for tasting were two jellies. It was good, but seemed like a typical jelly

The Cape Cod Winery grows the majority of the grapes they use on their property- Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Seyval, and Vidal Blanc. These are grapes most commonly found in southern France and northern Italy. Cape Cod Winery chooses to grow organically.

image (12)Pros:

organic

Local

Have a tasting notes/order sheet you can pick up

Offer $1 off a bottle for purchasing a tasting/glass

Offer other discounts (3-5 bottles, $3 off; 6-11 bottles, $8 off total; 12 bottles, $20 off)

Cons:

not a good winery to go to with people who are new to wine or wineries- not a good first impression of the way things work

not enough room to have a tasting unless you are the only people there (and this one I tried to hard to go with because I work in the industry!)

Not enough people working to learn about the wines (although he did a great job with making sure everyone was trying, we just didn’t learn anything)

Wine was expensive to purchase ($14-$17 per bottle)

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Want to go?

Summer Wine Tasting Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, June 26th through Labor Day 11-4 pm.

Fall Wine Tasting Hours are Saturday and Sunday, 11-4, through Christmas.

 
This winery was one that I am glad I went to so I can now cross it off my list, but not one that I would want to go to again.
My thing is that if you don’t like wine (or beer), it’s that you haven’t found one that you like yet and you should continue trying different ones. Hopefully, those that also went with me and didn’t find anything worth bringing home (I was the only one to buy a bottle) will try another winery with me again soon… Or maybe it will be a brewery next time 🙂

Delicious wine… and alpacas?

We recently visited the Gilmanton Winery, located in Gilmanton, NH with our friend Bre in 2013. IMG_2362Gilmanton Winery is located in the former home of Grace Metalious, author of Peyton Place. Peyton Place was a novel written in 1956 that is comparable to today’s Fifty Shades of Grey.

Marshall and Sunny Bishop (owners of the winery) moved to the property so that Sunny could have an alpaca farm. Marshall planted fifty grape vines for personal use. People began to stop by the house, to see who was living there now and to see the house formally owned by Grace Metalious. Marshall and Sunny began offering a monthly brunch, for those that wanted to stop by and see the house. The monthly brunches turned into twice a month, and are now weekly. People also began to ask about the grape vines, and the amount of grape vines grew to 750 plants. IMG_2393 IMG_2368IMG_2363

When we arrived at the winery, Marshall greeted us immediately, and brought us into the wine tasting room. He told us about how the winery started, and the property.

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IMG_2367Malbec: really good red! Would be great with steak.

Concord: usually used to blend with or used for grape jam. Good, but dry

Seyval: tarter than usual due to little critters. Not too dry or tart. Really good

Graces: named after Grace Metalious. Blend of Seyval and Concord. Takes the edge off of the concord

Peyton Place Rose: Malbec skins, sugar and yeast. Sweet, but still Malbec like. Bre left with a bottle of this

Blueberry Surprise: blueberry and Cabernet. Smooth, not too much blueberry or Cabernet. Good balance.

Chardananny: really good! Smooth, easy to drink. Light. (and yes, it is charda-nanny.)

House Wine: port like. Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Skins

House Chocolate Wine: Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Skins with the addition of Hershey’s syrup. So good! Does not smell like chocolate, but the taste was amazing! We were very surprised to find out that the “secret” was Hershey’s syrup and not something crazy rich (although it tasted like it was!). Both Bre and I left with a bottle.

After the wine tasting, we went to visit the alpacas. IMG_2371

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IMG_2377IMG_2379 IMG_2377IMG_2394IMG_2384Bre and I pretending to be alpacas
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IMG_2395If you go, make sure to call ahead. They offer tastings on Saturdays, from 1-5pm by reservation. They also offer a family friendly, sit down dinner every Saturday evening. Adults are $15pp, children pay their age. They also offer a 5 course brunch on Sunday mornings, for $15.95.

We were really pleased when we left the brewery, and I can’t wait to open my bottle of House Chocolate Wine!