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Visit to Amherst Farm Winery

This was an unexpected visit, as we had no intention of going, and really didn’t even know it existed.  Yet we were on our way to Amherst to visit the University of Massachusetts campus.  On our way we passed an innocuous looking building with a wine tasting sign out.  Never ones to pass up some wine we filed it away for the return trip and stopped in later in the day.  It was a pleasant surprise.

First of all, they have a giant foot sitting on a trailer in the parking lot.  This alone is almost worth the trip, as I had never seen one before quite like this.  Here it is:

Not something you see every day.

Not something you see every day.

There was wine however, and it was a working winery.  The grapes are not grown here, they import from the Finger Lakes region.  This seems popular of late as the wineries we visited in Cooperstown had much the same story.  Good wines can be made with other people’s grapes, so we soldiered on.  As I said, the building was modest and the front entrance looked

The front entrance to Amherst Farm Winery

The front entrance to Amherst Farm Winery

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Much bigger than it looks!

like the side door to something.  Their sign was hanging on the wall.  Once you get inside it is a whole different story however.  The building is much larger than it looks.  There is a beautiful tasting bar, a large (actually very large) retail area with wine and wine related items, a very nice back room with a fireplace that you can sit in and enjoy your wine.  You can also bring in you own food.  I was not expecting this based on the outside.  On Saturday’s they have live music from 2-4 in the afternoon.  They are closed during January and February.

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The tasting bar

The wines were poured by Debbie, who was an excellent host.  Cheri and I shared everything, and between the two of us we pretty much went down the entire list.  Unlike many New England wineries that make true fruit wines, the wines here are grape wines infused with fruit flavors.  This worked well in some and not so much in others, but across the board you get a less heavy, less sweet fruit sensation.  If you ever had a good blueberry wine there is a really dense blueberry flavor that hits you immediately.  These were more subtle (and the blueberry was very good).

To the wines!

Blueberry – again this is grape wine infused with blueberry flavor, and it is quite ice.  Not too sweet, the blueberry flavor comes across nicely.  It’s a little tart and the flavors last.  I would buy this.

Cranberry – here the fruit flavor doesn’t really hit home enough.  I prefer true cranberry wines to this.  It really is a  nice, easy drinking, off dry rose.  You would never guess cranberry if you didn’t know.  This is a good wine.

Pear – I’m not going to say much about this other than it really highlights how people have different tastes.  This was Debbie’s favorite.  I really did not like it.  It was one of the least favorite wines I’ve ever tried.  To each their own.  If you go to Amherst Farm let me know if you like the pear wine.  I am really curious.

Sangria – some nice fruit flavors embellishing a smooth white.  If you like sangria you might like this as well.  It wasn’t my favorite.

Apple – this was OK.  Not too sweet, it didn’t pack the pure apple flavor I want when I pick up an apple wine.  It was not as harmonious as the cranberry either.

Weathervane White – this really surprised me.  It’s made with Cayuga, which in my experience has always produced a sweeter wine.  This was almost dry.  Very nice, with crisp flavors – you’ll think it’s a vidal blanc.  This is good and very unusual.

White Hen – this was also nice.  Reminiscent of a Riesling it had some light citrus flavors, a very pleasant after taste and good length.  You could substitute this for a quality Riesling.  If I was in need of some Riesling I would have bought some of this.

University Blend – finally the reds.  A very nice start to the reds as well.  This was off dry to semi-sweet.  It is delicious and will make a great sipping wine.  Nice fruit too.  We bought some of this.

Barn Board – This had very little body, and was also extremely light in color.  Not quite dry it just didn’t work for me.  Not a fan of this.

Red Rooster – this is made with Foch, and most of the wines I’ve had with this grape turn into tasty summer picnic wines.  In fact an old favorite of ours was from Hopkins Vineyards in CT, and it was called Picnic Red.  This tastes just like it.  Beautiful fruit flavors, light to medium body and just plain delicious.  You could drink a bottle of this in no time, so be careful.  Also, this was a Silver Medalist at the Big E fair.  We brought some home.

Now the Dessert Wines:

Chocolate Rasberry Diva – never in a million years would I guess that I would like this wine.  I would usually not even try it for several reasons: first the name, then the fact that it has chocolate in it, then the fact that it has rasberry in it, and finally that it has rasberry AND chocolate in it at the same time.  One of my pet peeves is desserts in restaurants, where they feel compelled to add rasberry to a chocolate dessert.  Chocolate stands alone, or at least it can and should be given the opportunity.  Do not drizzle rasberry sauce on my chocolate cake.  That said – this was really good.  The nose was all chocolate, really yummy and homey and comforting.  The palate was all rasberry at first, and then it turned into a chocolate Tootsie Roll.  I liked it very much, as did our son Alex.  We bought some of this, which still surprises me.

Pumpkin Frost -very pumpkinny.  I don’t like pumpkin so I didn’t like this.  Cheri likes pumpkin so she did like it.  The question is: do you like pumpkin?

Mulled Wine – a spiced wine that can be served warm or cold.  I personally didn’t like it either way.  There was too much clove for me, and it was kind of overpowering.  Some people will like this however.

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Wine for sale

That’s the lineup.  All in all there are a lot of very nice wines here.  We bought three, and could have rationalized some of the Weathervane, the White Hen and the Blueberry.  All in all pretty impressive.  Prices are very reasonable for a small local winery as well, with bottles either $12 or $14.  There were also a couple of wines we did not try, so you might want to hit those as well some time.  Alex will be going to grad school elsewhere, so it’s not likely we’ll be in the area again anytime soon.

Thanks again to Debbie for hosting us.  If you’re in the Amherst area I suggest you stop in.  It’s certainly worth it.  Information on the winery is below.  A votre sante!

Amherst Farm Winery

OPEN SUNDAYS Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, January, February and Easter Sunday.

Amherst Farm Winery is located 15 minutes from the lovely Quabbin Reservoir. 10 minutes from Both Amherst College & UMASS. Easily Accessible to ALL AREA COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES!
EASY ACCESS on the PVTA GOLD LINE (click for map)- They will Practically drop you Off & pick you Up right at our

The Wine Bottle Christmas Tree

The Wine Bottle Christmas Tree

Door!

www.amherstfarmwinery.com/

Route 9, 529 Belchertown Rd. Amherst, Massachusetts

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