Lori and I were in New England last week for a wedding. End of September in New England: beautiful weather, beautiful leaves, old friends, the son of those old friends getting married; how could we not attend? Driving up from Boston to New Hampshire for the wedding we stopped at a rest/tourist information area. Glancing through the brochures we found one titled Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Trails in New Hampshire. OK, you had us at wine, but the rest is not bad either. We had a free day after the wedding, and wanted to tour around; might as well have wineries etc. as a target for that driving.
We first visited Gilmanton Winery and Vineyard. Actually, bad timing on our part. They not only make wine, but also serve brunch on the weekends, and it’s a very popular place. So popular that they didn’t have anyone to serve us in the tasting room. The closest we got to tasting was grabbing a couple of grapes from the vines growing there. What was growing there was Concord grapes (perfectly ripe), so it was just like tasting grape jelly.
Getting to Gilmanton involved a couple of dirt roads, and took us past a small pond where the leaves were just starting to turn colors. Beautiful day, beautiful scenery.
Chocolate was next on the list. We went to Kellerhaus in Weirs Beach, which boasts of having an ice cream sundae smorgasbord. It did, and we did. Choose the cup size and ice cream flavor(s), then serve yourself hot fudge, marshmallow sauce, butterscotch sauce and all sorts of toppings. They also have a full selection of chocolate truffles and other candy delights.
Last on our list was Newfound Lake Vineyards, just on the other side of the lake from where we stayed for the wedding. They grow some of their own grapes right there, and also get some grapes from Suisun Valley in California (just east of Napa Valley). What they grow there is a white varietal called Edelweiss, which was pretty good. We bought a bottle and took it back to our friends’ house, where we had it with Thai food the next night (a pretty good pairing). The California grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which they make into both individual varietal wines and also a blend, called “Wicked Good Red,” or WGR. We liked the WGR a lot, and bought a bottle, which was consumed that evening with our friends and the bride and groom while watching the lunar eclipse.
I don’t think wine should be your primary reason for going to New Hampshire, but if you’re there and wandering around, visiting wineries is a great way to see the state and have some extra fun while you’re at it.