I love Vermont. Mark and I spent a weekend in Burlington this past winter and had a blast. So when the opportunity to spend a few days at Smugglers’ Notch Resort came along, I jumped at the chance. Vermont has a rich food culture. I was especially impressed with the wine tasting and tour at Boyden Valley Winery in nearby Cambridge.
Originally a working dairy farm, the Boyden family started planting grapes in 1996. The barn now houses the wine making operation along with tasting rooms and a retail shop. Inside we were greeted by Cathy who helped us select the wines we would taste and show us where the wine is made.
We were presented with our choices categorized into white, rose, red, fruit wines, hard cider, dessert specialty wines, ice wines and cream liqueur. A typical wine tasting includes your choice of seven from the list. The wine is listed from dry to sweet. It’s no surprise that I love wine and cheese. We started with the Seyval Blanc. This was hands-down my favorite. (Full disclosure: I bought four bottles of this wine. It was that good.) Aged in stainless steel with no added sulfites, a bottle should be finished within three days. No problem. I can beat that deadline easy. It’s good with food or on its own.
Another wine that I really enjoyed was the Cow Tipper. First off, how could you not like awine called Cow Tipper. Seriously. It’s described as ‘fresh and fruity with a flavor of pear and subtle notes of apple and apricot’ and I’d have to agree.
We had a beautiful cheese plate to go with our wine.
The Big Barn Red was fantastic! And, yes, I bought a few bottles of that too.
Other notables that I ended up purchasing were the Gold Leaf, a dessert wine, that is reminiscent of a Sauterne. It has notes of toasted coconut and would make an excellent aperitif.
The Rhubarb fruit wine was fabulous. I am not a fan of sweet wine so the hint of tartness that comes from the rhubarb works nicely with this wine. Cathy suggested using this to make sangria. Great idea!
Last, and definitely not least, is the Vermont Ice Maple Creme. OMG. Absolutely delicious. Imagine that Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish Cream had a baby with a hint of maple. I can’t wait to make a B52 coffee with this.
After tasting, Cathy took us to see where the wine is made. We learned that the farm is approximately 800 acres. Nearly 300 of those acres are sugarbush maple. The grapes are tended, and harvested, mostly by hand. The farm has been run by the Boyden family for nearly four generations.
The winery is open 10 am to 5 pm, May – December. Hours are extended to 6 pm, June through October. In the winter (January through April) the winery is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.
For more information, or to book a tour, visit their website www.boydenvalley.com or call (802) 644-8151.