West County Winery
Western Massachusetts retains much of the charm and allure of olden days. Sturbridge is known for its 1860s reenactment village, and antique shows. The Berkshires are gorgeous in fall foliage. It is fitting that this rich landscape is backdrop to the westernmost winery in the state - West County Winery. Recently we readied the motorcycle and took the back roads to explore the landscapes and flavors.
We took some lovely back roads out to Springfield, then headed north on 91 to Colrain. It was just 5pm as we pulled into the parking lot of West County Winery, but the friendly owner told us not to worry. Indeed, while we were there quite a few other people came in to buy things, having driven from quite far off to get their allotment of wines and ciders.
|West County Winery draws its raw materials from the many orchards which operate in the northeast Berkshires. We had driven past many of the orchards during our trek up here, admiring the growing fruit and viewing the results of several pruning operations.|
We began our tasting with a series of ciders. The Dry Baldwin Cider is effervescent, very fresh and apply tasting at 6.4% alcohol. Alongside that, the Extra Dry cider at 5.7% tasted much lighter, although retaining the apply, gently bubbly fresh flavor. Our favorite, however, was the Cidre Doux - a Normandy style cider with only 3.7% alcohol. This was very refreshing, easy to drink yet full of flavor.
|We moved on to the fruit wines. First was the Peach, a flavor I tend to enjoy a lot. This was quite delicious, with a fresh, truly peachy aroma and taste. It wasn't cloying and sweet - it was more like taking a bite into a ripe peach, right off a tree. This was a keeper.|
The Apple-Raspberry was also tasty, with both fruits coming through nicely and complementing each other. For a heavier wine, the Blueberry-Apple was fuller and richer, the fruit flavor quite strong and flavorful. The winery also sells jams and books about the region.
We managed to cram a few bottles of Peach as well as the Cidre Doux into our sidebags and headed back down the road a bit for dinner. While waiting in line for a table, we ran into other West County Winery lovers, who eagerly told us how much they enjoyed the wines created there.
Our ride home went past a landing hot air balloon, many waterfalls, and the cool forest by the Quabbin Reservoir. The heat of the afternoon wore off, and the cool air was welcome as we arrived home. Our house now has West County wines in its cellar, and we will be serving them to friends shortly, to share in our wealth!
Date Visited - 09/10/99
All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.