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5 Local Wines For Thanksgiving

While you're setting the table, buying groceries and trimming the turkey, it's easy to grab the first thing you see at your local wine shop. But this year, why not try something a little different? There are wineries popping up all over New England. In 2010, 36 wineries produced 134,724 gallons of wine and generated $9.3 million in sales. That was up from 2007 when 29 wineries produced 111,446 gallons of wine and generated $7.3 million in sales. Overall, the state's wineries are very small - with only four wineries producing more than 10,000 gallons a year. So that's why it's even more important to support our local farmers and "drink local" this holiday season.Here are some wines, perfect for Thanksgiving, that are made locally.
Thanksgiving Wines
Jewell Towne Vineyards, North Hampton, N.H. (Katie Katzman/WBZ)

Old Vine Zinfandel & Marechal Foch Traditional 2012 - Jewell Towne Vineyard, South Hampton, N.H.

The Old Vine Zinfandel has hints of cranberry and cherry with lush tannins and perfect acidity. If you crave Beaujolais each November, you don't have to give it up in order to drink local. The Marechal Foch Traditional is in a Beaujolais style, meaning it is fruity and easy to drink. Both pair exceptionally with turkey and will impress a wine novice or connoisseur.

Cocktail Talk: In 1990, Jewell Towne Winery was established and named after the historic district it's located in. Dr. Peter Oldak, a former ER doctor, narrowed the focus of his grape growing to approximately 20 varieties and worked on honing his wine making skills. In 1992, at the American Wine Societies National competition one of his wines, South Hampton White, won a gold medal and best hybrid of the show. Another wine, Alden, was awarded a silver medal. This was the beginning of the 'hobby run amok' as wife Brenda, a former nurse, is fond of saying. Open year round, you can chat with both of them in the tasting room, just about any day of the week.

Thanksgiving Wines
Flag Hill, Lee, NH (Katie Curley Katzman/WBZ)

Flag Hill Red - Flag Hill Winery, Lee, N.H.

Medium bodied dry red wine of blended Flag Hill red grapes. If you're looking for spice and fruit to get you in the holiday spirit, this one is lightly oaked with a smooth finish, loaded with flavor. The tannins are very well-balanced to create that smooth flavor.

Cocktail Talk: Flag Hill was started in 1995. The winery produces various types of wines including grape, fruit, and dessert wines as well as New Hampshire's first port. All the wine is produced and bottled on site.

nashoba bottles
(Credit: Nashoba Valley Winery/Facebook)

Upland White Apple Wine - Nashoba Valley Winery, Bolton, Mass.

Nashoba Valley Winery excels at fruit wines such as their apple and blueberry varieties. The Upland White is perfect for white wine lovers. It's tart, tastes of fresh apples with a beautiful earthy finish. The apple wine will pair perfect with cheese and dessert.

Cocktail Talk: It takes 12-to-14 pounds of fruit to produce one gallon of wine. The apples used in Nashoba Valley wines are grown in the Nashoba Valley apple orchard, on site.

Plantation Red
Plantation Red from Mill River in Rowley. (Credit: Mill River)

Plantation Red, Mill River Winery, Rowley, Mass.

Why not have something on your menu to honor the start of Colonial America? This is a dry, red wine with flavors of red raspberry and light oak.

Cocktail Talk: The wine was named 'Plantation Red' to honor Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, who organized a company of 20 English families to sail to the New World on the "John of London." This is not only a well-balanced wine to serve but you have a story to tell during cocktail hour.

Eden Vermont Ice Cider (Credit: Eden Ice Cider)

Heirloom Blend Apple Ice Wine 2011 - Eden Ice Cider Company, Newport, V.T.

We couldn't give you a Thanksgiving list without at least one cider. This is the one to make sure you have on hand. Beautifully complex, the wine is a blend of MacIntosh, Empire, and Russet apples for sweetness. Calville Blanc and Esopus Spitzenburg provide acidity and citrus notes, and Ashmead's Kernel provides natural tannins for structure. This is the wine you welcome your guests in with. Pour it with cheeses and appetizers and your holiday will start off on the right foot.

Cocktail Talk: Apples are harvested from their trees at peak ripeness and kept in cold storage until the onset of consistently cold winter temperatures. The freezing and melting process results in a residual concentrate that is naturally high in sugar and flavor.

Katie Curley-Katzman loves learning, collecting and writing about wine. She holds a certificate in wine tasting and education from the Institut d'Oenologie in Aix-en-Provence, France and is a graduate of Salem State University with a degree in English and French. Her wine writing has appeared in the Quarterly Review of Wines Magazine.

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