While most people are probably familiar with the top U.S. wine regions such as Napa Valley in California, and Finger Lakes in New York, many may be unaware that New England produces high-quality wines. Possessing a unique soil and microclimate, the region is home to a number of excellent wineries. Here are five of the best wineries in New England.
Nashoba Valley Winery in Massachusetts
Located in Bolton, Massachusetts, Nashoba Valley Winery is situated on a 52-acre estate that features a family-owned orchard, brewery, and restaurant. The winery produces more than 30 varieties of wine and has earned over 100 medals.
Nashoba Valley’s distinctive wines include its Blueberry Merlot. Comprised of both grapes and blueberries, it is aged in American oak barrels for eight to 16 months. White wine enthusiasts can try the Vidal Blanc, a light and fruity wine made with a French-American hybrid grape that is common in New England.
Nashoba Valley’s gourmet restaurant, J’s, which is located in a small country farmhouse, features a diverse menu of dishes to pair with the estate’s wines, including pan-seared flounder and American bison flank steak. After dinner, guests can sample the Apple Dessert Wine Zabaglione, which is made with a dessert wine that is created on-site.
Newport Vineyards in Rhode Island
With a history dating back to 1977, Newport Vineyards planted its vines on Aquidneck Island, which overlooks the Rhode Island Sound. The vines flourish in the area’s unique microclimate, which is one of the best in the world for agriculture, given the long, cool growing season.
Newport Vineyards uses mostly French oak barrels to age its wines, which include a Pinot Noir with hints of raspberry and pomegranate and a Merlot with a hickory flavor, as it ages longer than the winery’s other red wines. The winery also produces a Chardonnay with flavors of pear and light oak, as well as a selection of dessert wines, including a White Cap Port.
To accompany its wines, Newport Vineyards offers delicious food at its 100 percent from scratch restaurant, the Brix Restaurant, which overlooks the vineyard and winery. Guests may want to try the wine with a diverse selection of cheeses or choose from the Brix Restaurant’s entrees, including Rhode Island Seafood Risotto and Baffoni Roasted Chicken.
Cellardoor Winery in Maine
Cellardoor Winery, which is located in a 200-year-old barn in Lincolnville, Maine, offers a unique wine-tasting experience and tour of the 5.5-acre vineyard. Committed to sustainability, the winery only uses water from its natural mountain spring. Its winemaking facility rests on a hillside, where it can control the temperature and humidity in the barrel aging rooms.
The winery produces a wide variety of red and white wines, including a 100 percent Albariño that has received five awards, including silver medals at both the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and the Los Angeles International Wine Competition. Furthermore, Cellardoor’s Garnacha obtained a Double Gold award at the 2017 Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition and earned 92 points from Tasting Panel Magazine’s 2018 Publisher’s Picks.
In addition to its location in Lincolnville, Cellardoor Winery operates a tasting room and dining room on Thompson’s Point in Portland. Guests can sample the diverse menu of wines, along with charcuterie and cheese, in the elegant downtown dining room.
Truro Vineyards in Massachusetts
Located close to Provincetown on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Truro Vineyards is an expert in the art of maritime winemaking. With an estate located adjacent to 44,600 acres of national seashore, the winery is committed to protecting the local environment through sustainable winemaking practices, such as mulching pruned canes and composting grape skins and stems.
Truro Vineyards ages its red wines in French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels for 16 to 25 months in order to achieve a good tannic structure. The winery ages some of its white wines in oak barrels, while others undergo cold fermentation in stainless steel.
Truro Vineyards has garnered a number of awards for its wines, including bronze awards for its 2012 Triumph and 2013 Chardonnay, as well as a silver award for its 2012 Cabernet Franc, at the 2015 Big E Awards in western Massachusetts. The 2012 Cabernet Franc also obtained a double gold award at the Tasters Guild’s Annual International Wine Judging in 2015.
5. Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard in Rhode Island
Situated on more than 150 acres in Little Compton, Rhode Island, Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard is nestled amid a pair of waterways. The fog and salty sea breeze give a distinctive flavor to the vineyard’s grapes. Sakonnet Vineyard, which is known as the oldest winery in New England, offers 19 varieties of wine and has received many awards. Established in 1975, the winery includes a tasting room and café that concentrates on locally sourced ingredients. The winery ages its wines in American, French, Russian, and Hungarian oak barrels.
Possessing a broad range of white and red wines, Sakonnet Vineyard offers the Blessed Blend White. A blend of Vidal Blanc and Chardonnay, this white wine has hints of citrus and pineapple. Red wines include Aiman, which features the flavors of dark chocolate, raspberry, cherry, and cranberry. In addition, the winery provides dessert wines such as Amrita.
The winery’s café, Bar and Board Vineyard Bistro, offers an evolving menu that includes dishes such as organic salmon and Tuscan chicken, which can be paired with Sakonnet Vineyard’s wines.
While New England offers many more wineries, these five represent the high-quality wines coming from this underrated wine region. As you explore the wineries in New England, don’t be afraid to check out small boutique wineries that don’t get much exposure. By exploring the diverse wineries in this region, you can get a taste of how the diverse terroir and microclimates of New England shape the wines and give them qualities you won’t find in other parts of the world.