When it comes to reasons to visit New Hampshire, wine doesn’t usually appear near the top of the list. Typically, the Granite State attracts visitors looking for outdoor experiences in the beautiful White Mountains or a relaxing weekend on the coast near Portsmouth. However, the state is also home to a number of exceptional wineries, including LaBelle Winery.
With locations in Amherst and Portsmouth, LaBelle Winery remains committed to producing wines with the unique characteristics of the grapes and produce in New England. New Hampshire wines aren’t like West Coast wines or like those imported from Europe or South America. With a short summer and no shortage of rain and snow, the state has a unique climate for growing grapes, as well as other fruits that are often incorporated into wines.
Labelle Winery’s award-winning red wines include the Granite State Red, which won the Bronze Medal at the famous Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in 2016. A blend of fresh blueberries and Marechal Foch, a French hybrid grape, this dry wine features berry flavors and pairs well with spicy dishes or grilled meat.
Other award-winning red wines include Americus, which took home the Silver Medal at the 2015 Finger Lakes Competition. A full-bodied wine, Americus is made from Cabernet Franc and Noiret, a French hybrid grape, and it goes well with grilled meats.
Also excelling in the white wine category, LaBelle Winery won the Bronze Medal for its Riesling at the Finger Lakes Competition in 2016. This semi-sweet wine features aromas of peach, pear, and apple and pairs well with seafood and poultry. The winery’s white wines also include the Gewürztraminer, a German-style wine with aromas of apricot and pineapple. This off-dry wine pairs well with sausages and sauerkraut as well as Asian and Mexican dishes.
The winery also produces a number of fruit-based wines, such as its award-winning Cranberry. Made exclusively from cranberries grown in Cape Cod, this wine took home the prestigious Gold Medal at the 2016 Finger Lakes Competition. The winery’s fruit-based wines also include the Virginia Mae Sweet Blueberry, which goes well on its own or with appetizers such as roasted peppers or mild cheeses.
Additional fruit-based wines include the Dry Apple, which is made with apples grown at Alyson’s Orchard in the town of Walpole. Ideal for those who love Pinot Grigio, this wine goes well as an aperitif or accompanied with poultry or seafood. Pinot Grigio lovers should also try the Seyval Blanc, which is made from a French hybrid grape that grows well in cool climates. This white wine features citrus notes and pairs well with creamy pasta sauces and seafood.
Finally, LaBelle Winery also produces dessert wines, including a fruity wine called Red Raspberry. In addition to pairing well with chocolate for dessert, this versatile wine can be used in several dishes. Specifically, Red Raspberry can be used in a reduction to go with pork roast or duck breast. The winery’s unique dessert wines also include the Spiced Winter Pear, which features hand-grated ginger and orange spices added during the aging process. This wine goes well with fine cheeses as well as profiteroles, cheesecake, and crème brûlée.
Three Kings Port, another dessert wine, is made with the winery’s Red Raspberry and Blueberry wines, as well as the Marechal Foch grape. Produced in Port style, this wine is also infused with apple brandy and pairs well with a variety of desserts, including crème brûlée and cheesecake.
Also making sparkling wines, LaBelle Winery offers a special wine called Shimmer. This sparkling white wine is a blend of the winery’s Dry Apple and Dry Riesling and features floral and fruity tones. Tempest, a blended sparkling wine, is made from Seyval Blanc, Red Raspberry, and the red grape Baco Noir. Finally, Sparkling Cranberry is a semi-sweet wine made from cranberries grown in New England.
Visitors can sample these and other wines during the daily tastings or during private tours. Further, on weekends, the Amherst location offers public tours of the vineyard and the production cellar.
Visitors can also try the wines paired with excellent fare at The Bistro at LaBelle Winery. A proponent of the farm-to-fork movement, the restaurant either grows or locally sources all of its produce and has been designated “Certified Local” by The New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection. Guests can find a variety of excellent entrees at The Bistro, from steak frites and pan-seared duck breast to seared scallops and grilled mahi-mahi.
To learn more about LaBelle Winery and its outstanding wine and food offerings, visit www.labellewinerynh.com.