About a year ago a new little winery opened its doors in Rowley, MA called Mill River Winery. To my knowledge there aren’t a ton of winery options up in these parts so it came as even more of a surprise, when the Love Muffin and I decided to stop in last Sunday for a tasting, that the grapes for their wines are locally grown in Amherst, MA. And let me tell you – the wines were good!
Mill River Winery is located in Dodge’s cider mill. The inside has such charm and character. I could have lounged there all afternoon. Alas there was more important business…the tasting! I was distracted by some local cheese as we walked in (hi! bonus!!) and after we made our way back to the bustling tasting bar (read: so many people that we had to wait, but it was okay) we were able to peruse the wine list.
They had four wines available to try for $5 – a steal if I do say so myself. I’ve done my research work (read lots of wine tasting) on the Connecticut Wine Trail, so I was prepared for more of the same here in Massachusetts. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We tasted two whites and three reds (yes that is five not four, the woman pouring was so nice that she gave us an extra taste, bonus!).
The first one we tried is their flagship wine – Mill River Naked Chardonnay. Let me say for the record that I usually cannot stand chardonnay, but this one was excellent. It’s not aged in oak, so you don’t get any of the buttered popcorn flavor that usually accompanies this wine. This was slightly sweet, crisp and would be great sipping on a hot or cool day.
The second wine we tasted was their Plum Island White. This wine was much sweeter than the chardonnay and would be great as a dessert wine or paired with a fruit dessert.
The third wine we tasted was the Plantation Red. This red was slightly oaked and had a very dry finish. It would have been great to taste this decanted or with food.
The fourth wine we tasted was a treat, as they weren’t selling it yet. It should be available in another week or so – Red Zinfandel. This was the highest in alcohol of the four wines we had tried. It was aged in oak and crafted in the traditional French style. After tasting this, I think it would just be better to drink alongside a large, well seasoned steak. Although it’s definitely not just a drinking wine, I could appreciate the craftsmanship that went along in its creation.
Lastly, we got a small sample of the Plum Island Red. They call this an East meets West creation, as it’s a blend of both California and Massachusetts grapes. This red was sweeter than expected and would be perfect as part of a sangria or paired with small, spicy appetizers.
All in all, it was a great stop on a somewhat cool and dreary day. Their tasting room is open to guests daily from 11 a.m. ET – 6 p.m. ET and you can also rent it out for private functions (perhaps a birthday celebration is in order??). They just planted their first set of grape vines earlier this spring and expect to start using the fruit in about three years. They also planted apple trees, so come September you’ll have even more of a reason to stop by. The wines are very reasonably priced and come on, grapes from Massachusetts!?!! You can’t go wrong with local.
If you’re not going to be on the North Shore soon, check them out on Facebook, Twitter or via the website. They’re doing it right! I’m looking forward to my next visit and if you’re lucky, maybe I’ll bring you with me.
That’s all for now!