Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gift Guide: NH Wines for Everyone on Your List

Wine is a great holiday gift, especially when it comes from a New Hampshire winery and supports local businesses. Here are some suggestions sure to please every wine lover on your list.

Coffin Cellars in Webster makes an Apple Wine that celebrates one of fall’s favorite fruits and utilizes apples that would otherwise only be acceptable for cider or compost. Using fruit from Carter Hill Orchard in Concord, the Austins have created a wine that is crisp and smooth, perfect for white wine drinkers. At only $15 a bottle, it is also a very affordable gift. You can pick up a bottle at the winery, open year round on weekends from 1 to 5 p.m. or at many local retailers, including the Concord Co-Op, Korner Kupboard and River Hill Market, all in Concord.

For the port or dessert wine fan, Hermit Woods Winery recommends their 2012 Deep Blue, an intense after dinner treat loaded with blueberry aromas and flavors. This wine is not only delicious, but contains antioxidants and nearly a pound of low bush blueberries in each bottle. This wine was just released this year
Earlier this year, Bob Manley, Hermit Woods co-owner, described this wine as a “party in the mouth” and suggested trying it drizzled over blueberry pie and ice cream.

At $32 a bottle, this wine is worth the splurge. Hermit Woods Winery is currently closed for the season before they open in their new location in Meredith next year, but this wine is available at Oglethorpe’s in Meredith. There, you can pick up a handcrafted gift to go along with the wine.

Zorvino Vineyard’s number one selling wine, Fragole Z, also makes a great gift for a variety of wine lovers. “Fragole” means strawberry in Italian and this wine is loaded with luscious fruit aromas and flavors without being too sweet. At $14.99, it is affordable and can be found at the winery in Sandown or at many gourmet shops and wine retailers.

In addition to an impressive selection of many grape and fruit wines, Zorvino’s tasting room also includes a variety of gift items, including cork holders, gourmet foods and clothing.

Jewell Towne Vineyards in South Hampton recommends their Seyval, an off-dry, crisp white wine with hints of pear and apple. The grapes are grown right in the on-site vineyards, which span across the border of New Hampshire into Massachusetts.

According to owner and winemaker Peter Oldak, “Seyval is a white grape variety which does very well in the New Hampshire terroir. It makes a wine that is excellent with poultry or fish or as a sipping wine. It would be a nice complement to a Christmas dinner.”

Like Zorvino, the Jewell Towne tasting room also contains a selection of great gifts for wine lovers, including handy branded tote bags perfect for carrying wine to holiday gatherings.
If you know a white wine fan who likes something light and sweet, get them a bottle of Sweet Baby Vineyard’s Niagara. According to owner and winemaker Lewis Eaton, “This wine is perfect for the holidays and pairs with ham, turkey and a wide range of desserts.”

It can be purchased at the Kingston winery or at several other retail locations. Niagara is a cousin of the Concord grape that originated in New York. It produces wines that are slightly more ‘grapey’ but still very drinkable.

This wine is available at the Kingston winery or at several retail locations. They recently redesigned their labels, which are eye-catching yet sweet. Pair a bottle of wine with a set of their stemless glasses as the perfect gift set.

If you are in the southwestern part of the state, pick up a bottle of Barnett Hill Blush from Walpole Mountain View Winery. This semi-sweet blush wine is a blend of eight grapes with aromas of spicy orange and sweet tea and tart kiwi flavors.

According to owner and winemaker Virginia Carter, this wine pairs well with a turkey dinner with all of the fixings, complementing sweet and savory dishes because it isn’t too sweet or dry, with some fruit. As it is a blend, it is also a good choice if you aren’t sure if someone likes red or white.

All of the grapes in this wine are grown right in Walpole Mountain View’s vineyard and is available for $16 at the winery and in area stores. Stemless glasses are also available in the tasting room.

New Hampshire wines make great gifts because they support local businesses, and in many cases, local farmers as well. If you can’t get to one of the wineries, look for these wines at several supermarkets like Shaw’s, Hannaford and Market Basket and in N.H. Liquor and Wine Outlets.

In addition to glassware, these wines can be paired with a variety of accessories, including decanters, wine charms, toppers and chillers.

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