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Visit to Diamond Hill Vineyards – Aug 31, 2013

Diamond Hill Vineyards in Cumberland RI is always one of our favorite winery stops.  There’s a calming,

Approaching the tasting room

relaxing atmosphere that just seems to exude from the place.  It flows out from the main house tasting room and over the front porch into the lawns and gardens beyond.  When we visit we usually bring a picnic lunch and take up residence for a few hours on the porch, along with a bottle of their estate Pinot Noir.  This is a great way to spend an afternoon.  Our backgammon set usually tags along and gets a workout as well.

They’ve been making wines here for a while, and you’ll get a complimentary tasting (yes, I said complimentary) from the owners and their family.  It is a very family business, and it shows in everything they do, all in a very good way. This applies to the wines also, which are very New England and generally very good.  You’ll find some unusual things as well, like a blackberry wine you can drink like a grape sipping

The relaxing porch

The relaxing porch

wine and a complex and excellent estate grown Pinot Noir.  There’s also a cult blueberry wine which you’d better grab when they announce it’s out, because it goes fast.

The wines are worth the trip, and we always buy some.  You can get wine and cheese and crackers to enjoy on the porch if you haven’t brought your own food.  Take some time and smell the roses, I’m pretty sure there are some around somewhere.

The wines:

River Valley White – this is a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Riesling.  I got peach on the nose and bright fruit.  It’s got a lot of fruit on the palate as well and a nice clean, long finish.  A good sipping wine and would be excellent with cheese.  Very nice.  Recommended and $12.75.

Estate Pinot Noir – there are a lot of estate pinots from New Engand wineries, and almost all are very light with little to no complexity and sometimes watery fruit.  This is the exception.  They’ve been growing Pinot here for a long time and are committed to it.  Somehow they get it right.  Now this is still New England and not Burgundy, so don’t expect Grand Cru depth and structure.  It is very complex however, with just a touch of funk and nice fruit that emerges in layers.  Claire says to decant it for 2 hours and we’ll try that soon with one of the bottles we brought home.  Straight out of the bottle it’s still very good.  This spends 12 months in French oak then at least 2 more years in the bottle prior to release.  $25 and recommended.  We always buy some.

Scarlet Run – This is 100% Zinfandel and saw no oak.  There is some nice fruit, but it finishes quite dry and a little tart.  To me the lightness of the vivid fruit calls for some residual sugar.  With some sweetness this would make a great picnic red.  $15 and not our favorite, but as you know if you read our blog we are not big red zin fans.  As such you should try it yourself

Peach – the color of spun gold this has an expressive bouquet, with peach and apricot aromas.  It’s not too sweet, surprisingly good, and finishes very nicely with a tangy trailer.  $12.75, quite unusual, and made to serve well chilled.

Blueberry – very popular and very sold out.  We’ll let you know how the next batch is when we get the release email.

Blackberry – in past years this has been quite sweet and pretty much an excellent dessert wine.  You could pour it over vanilla ice cream.  We’ve brought it to wine tasting parties and blown people away with the concentration of fruit – it’s like drinking pure blackberries.  This version is not overly sweet, and brings lush black fruit to the party in a way that works as a sipping wine.  You can just drink it and it is delicious and very unusual.  $17, highly recommended and yummy.

Crush – this is a mix of blueberry, blackberry and rasberry.  For me it never seems to quite work, as I get a sense of overripe fruit.  Cheri likes it though, so you’ll have to form your own opinion.  There is just huge fruit on the nose and the palate.  $16.50.

Spiced Apple – this is toned down from previous years, and the spice is more reserved much the like the sugars are in this years blackberry wine.  For me it works, and I generally don’t like the mulled, heavily spiced versions.  You could drink this warm, but I quite liked it chilled.  Different and certainly something for the holiday table.  $12.75 and worth a shot.

We always have a great time at Diamond Hill, and this was no exception.  We brought an awesome picnic lunch, opened (and finished!) a bottle of their Pinot and hung out for a coupe of hours.  There were lots of people around us doing the same thing and the wine seemed to be flying out of the store.  I can understand why based

Cheri in the wine room

Cheri in the wine room

on our tasting, as the quality is high and the prices are very reasonable for a local vineyard.

Their estate Pinot Noir is their only estate wine.  All the other fruit is sourced elsewhere.  They had just returned from a run for blueberries a few days ago.  One

This year's pinot almost ready for harvest

This year’s pinot almost ready for harvest

thing to note is that their fruit wines are 100% fruit, not grape wine with fruit essence as many wineries are doing.  It shows in the depth of flavor.  They really are in general quite yummy, and I think I’ve used that word multiple times in this blog.

We heartily suggest you visit and enjoy one of the rare free tastings still available.  Bring a picnic and enjoy the porch and the grounds.  This is a place to truly relax for a couple of hours.  Then bring some wine home with you for your friends to try.  They also do small events, and we played backgammon during the setup for a wedding a few years ago.  We didn’t crash though, and left before that party got started.

The particulars:

Diamond Hill Vineyards / 3145 Diamond Hill Road / Cumberland, RI 02864

401-333-2751

Current hours: Thursday – Saturday, 12 – 5 / Sundays 12 – 3

A votre sante!

3 comments to Visit to Diamond Hill Vineyards – Aug 31, 2013

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