Raven Hollow Winery, Westfield, MA
Neil and I are currently visiting New England for some fall foliage traditions and family time. Over the weekend, we hit the country road that lead to Kosinski Farm in Westfield, MA. (www.kosinskifarms.com) Not only did they have a farm stand, pumpkins, pastries and lunch, but there was also a winery on the property. We had learned about Raven Hollow Winery (www.ravenhollowwinery.com) in the “Autumn Drives” article in the local Pennysaver newspaper.
Every Columbus Day weekend, my family makes their way to a farm in Western Massachusetts to see the changing leaves, eat some baked goods and take a few pictures. This tradition has gone on for many years with my mom and Aunt Jackie and this year, their cousin Karen came to join in the fun.
We arrived at the winery, just as it was opening on Sunday. There were over a dozen wines to sample and for $7.50 you could pick four wines and keep your souvenir glass (Note the “spooky tree” on their logo, very appropriate for our fall festivities) This winery just opened last year but according to their brochure, it’s been part of the long term plan since they opened this location. The winery is run by the same folks at Kosinski Farm and uses a lot of their local fruit to create the wines. In addition to the fruit wines, they also offer some more traditional Napa Valley grape wines.
The night before we had done some wine tasting at home so everyone was ready to swirl and sip to see what distinct aromas and flavors they found. In order to be safe and not overindulge on the wine, we split up the tasting into 2 teams: Jackie and Karen; and Neil, Mom (Betty) and I. Here’s a list of what we tried:
Sue’s Red Plum
Among the fruit wines, the apple was definitely the favorite. I liked that you could notice different flavors of apple and that it was much more complex than just apple juice. Jackie and Karen agreed that it tasted good. Neil identified not only apple but honey flavor. Betty was just getting over a cold so she didn’t try this one. Karen liked it so much that she purchased a bottle and was already planning the pork tenderloin recipe that she would prepare to go with it at home.
The other fruit wines had quite a bit of mixed reviews. Many of us found them to have a very light fruit flavor but sometimes an overpowering negative aroma. We noticed aromas of vinegar, nail polish, nail polish remover, and Worcestershire Sauce. Betty liked the plum wine flavor though and said it didn’t even taste like alcohol. I thought the cherry wine had a nice texture that was smooth and little more full-bodied.
We weren’t nearly as critical when it came to the more traditional, grape wines. Neil and I both picked up a peach aroma in the Chardonnay and Jackie liked the flavor of white grapes. When I swirled the Merlot, I noticed dark fruit aromas and Jackie and Karen enjoyed it’s smooth texture. Even the Petite Verdot smelled similar to other wines I had tried in the past made from this varietal. Neil described the aromas as cassis, sweet and jammy but the flavor was kind of flat. Maybe it needs to age more?
Although some of the wines weren’t quite our cup of tea, we all had lots of fun tasting wines together. And we got to see some fall leaves in the process. Thanks to our wine tasting hostess, who shared in the fun and helped us have a great time!