Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stonehedge Wine Tasting

Where in New England can you find a wine cellar with over 100,000 bottles of wine? It might surprise you, but that wine cellar belongs to the Stonehedge Inn & Spa in Tyngsboro. This inn is located on 36 acres of woodlands and can make for a delightful weekend stay, or just an evening for a fine dinner at the Left Bank Restaurant. The proprietors are Dawn and Levent Bozkurt and they have created an appealing haven not far off Route 3.

Stonehedge Cellars hosts monthly wine tasting events where they showcase 25 wines. Usually held Monday nights, the tastings last from 6:30pm - 8:30pm, and light hors d'oeuvres are served. There is a $20.00 charge for the event but if you purchase a case of wine, the money will be applied to the purchase price of your wine. They post a list of all of the wines for the upcoming event so you can see the wines you will get to taste.

I attended their April tasting event and was very pleased that I did so. First, it is an excellent venue for a wine tasting, presenting a very conducive ambiance. The walls have numerous wine-related paintings and you can see some of their wine storage units, including an impressive wine tower, pictured below. It was a spacious room with a number of tables and chairs available where you could take a respite during the event.

There were five different tables displaying wine, each with a different distributor showcasing five wines. All of the wines were for sale, ranging in price from $7.99 to $42.49, and there were discounts for buying by the case. Wines were from regions all over the world, from California to Italy, Washington to New Zealand. Plenty of people showed up for the tasting but you still did not have to wait too long to get wine at each table.

These are the wines that especially appealed to me at this tasting.

2008 3 Brooms Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand ($15.99): This wine was fermented entirely in stainless steel, sees no oak, and was made in an off-dry style. It has an alcohol content of 10.5%. This wine was a bit tart, with a strong green apple flavor, but also had a tinge of sweetness. It was a very crisp wine with a nice finish. A good wine for this style of Riesling, and very food friendly, especially something spicy.

2007 Notro Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($10.99): This is an unoaked and I enjoyed its nose, lots of lush berry smells. On the palate, it had a lot more power and complexity than I expected. Delicious flavors of ripe plum, blueberry, and black cherry combined with smoke, spice and tobacco. It is bigger than many other Malbecs I have tasted and at this price, it is very good value. I recommend having this wine with a juicy steak.

2007 Palazzo Pinot Grigio, Sicily, Italy ($7.99): This was a very different Pinot Grigio that had a banana smell to it. It also had a bit of a banana taste as well as some other tropical fruits. This is not your bland type of Pinot Grigio. It is crisp and light with a pleasant finish. A good wine, especially for the price.

2007 Terra Antiga Vinho Verde, Portugal ($9.99): This wine is a blend of 70% Trajaduro and 30% Albarino. It has a slight fizz to it with flavors of green apple, banana, and hints of minerality. A light and refreshing wine that will be perfect for the summer.

2006 Quinta dos Grilos Vinho Tinto, Dao, Portugal ($14.49): This was a light wine with a lush taste of blueberry and black cherry. This very smooth had undertones of spice and had a satisfying finish. An excellent easy drinking wine good with food or on its own.

2007 Pra Soave Classico, Veneto, Italy ($17.49): If you have a negative image of Soave, then you need to try this wine and see how Soave can actually be quite good. It is a dry wine with a good minerality, floral notes, and subtle citrus flavors. It is a crisp wine with plenty of character. A nice summer sipper sure to surprise wine lovers.

2007 Rosa del Golfo Rosato del Salento, Puglia, Italy ($13.99): This Rosé is a blend of 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera Lecce. It was one of the first Rosés in Italy to use cold fermentation. This wine has a very light pink color and a compelling nose of fresh strawberries. On the palate, this is a dry wine with delicious red fruit flavors and a rich mouthfeel. This is more of an Old World Rosé and the type of wine I really enjoy. Another great wine for the summer.

2005 Firriato Chiaramonte Nero d’Avola, Sicily, Italy ($18.49): After the Soave and Rosé, this was a radical departure. This dark red wine is big and powerful, with flavors of dark berries, tar, leather and spice. It has moderate tannins and a lengthy finish. This is definitely a food wine and has plenty of complexity, being more than just a powerhouse.

2006 Snoqualmie Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, Washington ($9.99): This is the type of Sauvignon Blanc that I prefer. It lacks the grassy smell and taste of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. It has a very light yellow color and a strong citrus aroma. It is a crisp wine with a full mouthfeel and delicious citrus flavors. Another good summer wine, something to sip by the pool.

2005 Villa Mt Eden Grand Reserve Antique Vines Zinfandel, Amador County, California ($14.99): This wine had a light red color and an intriguing nose of cherry and red fruits. It had a nice taste, bright red fruits, vanilla and spice, and a lengthy finish. Yet it was a milder wine, unlike some of the powerful Zins out there.

Overall, this was a very fun event and I found plenty of good wines. I recommend you check out the monthly wine tastings at the Stonehedge Inn & Spa. It is an excellent way to find some new wines and mingle with other wine lovers.
160 Pawtucket Boulevard
Tyngsboro, MA
Phone: (978) 874-3622

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