If you thought the Berkshires “has it all” except the wine, think again. We may not have the ideal grape-growing environment, but we have wineries! We also have events featuring local, national and international wines served with complementary, locally-grown food. Some wine-tasting events are even timed with the full moon – a perfect combination.
Next week: Chez Nous bistro in Lee is co-hosting (with Spirited Wine Merchants) a Rioja Wine Dinner, on October 8, at 6pm. The director of Bodegas Franco Espanos, Juan Carlos Llopart, will be there to present their selection of wines. Chez Nous chefs, Franck Tessier and Rachel Portnoy, will be serving Spanish-inspired fare. Chez Nous is a delightful bistro located in a historic house in downtown Lee.
On October 9, Table Six Restaurant at the Kemble Inn in Lenox is hosting a wine dinner with wines from Portugal’s oldest winery: Jose Maria da Fonseca Vinhos. Co-sponsored by Nejaime’s Wine Cellars, chef Ron Reda will be serving a five-course dinner, each course accompanied by a different wine, starting with a Vinho Verde and ending with a Muscatel de Setubal.
If a wine-tasting trail is what you are after, here is your route: Balderdash Cellars in Pittsfield, Furnace Brook Winery in Richmond, and Les Trois Emme, in New Marlborough. They all offer wine tasting and tours of their operations.
Furnace Brook Winery (also included on the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail) is located on the 200-acre Hilltop Orchards, home of the award-winning Johnny Mash brand of hard cider. If you go now, you can combine apple-picking with wine-tasting and walks through the orchard. Go in the winter if you like to cross-country ski – they manage and groom nearly 4 miles of trails. On full moon nights year-round (bring your snowshoes in winter), they offer moonlight treks combined with wine tasting and a bonfire. The next one is this Saturday, October 4.
Balderdash Cellars produces ultra-premium wines from grapes grown in world-class California vineyards. Their tasting room is open on weekends, and private/group tasting can be scheduled by appointment. The founders, Christian and Donna Hanson, worked professionally in the wine business in California. When they relocated to the Berkshires, they continued to produce wines as a hobby, but couldn’t resist growing that hobby and infusing their wines – names and labels – with their personal flare.
When visiting Les Trois Emme winery, bring a picnic to enjoy on the picture-perfect grounds and patio after your tour. You may want to linger in the hills and views of New Marlborough. The winery is open for tours and tasting Thursday through Sunday (after November 8, only Saturdays and Sundays).