Tasting Notes at Hilltop Orchards

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Bess Loves Johnny Bess Dillman loves her job. You can tell by how much wine she gives at Furnace Brook Winery and Hilltop Orchards in Richmond, Massachusetts.

A teaspoon-size sample is what I’m used but not from Dillman. Her generous portions, including the first freebie, made up for the lack of snow in the Berkshires today.

Rather than cross-country or snowshoe, Mutti and her pet poodle Renee and I hiked behind the apple orchard where beautiful views of the mountains pop in the distance. The highest point of the trail was reached at 1573′. Traces of ski paths marked the ground where snow used to be, now covered with a thin layer of slippery ice.

Furnace Brook Winery gets their grapes from Long Island but brews their own cider ale, one called ‘Johnny Mash Cider’ and the other called ‘French Cidre Special Reserve.’ The latter is Dillmans favorite because of it’s a lighter more elegant dry blend. Mutti and I preferred the oaky notes of the McIntosh and Northern Spy apples in the Mash.

Another unique factor about this winery is the Ethiopian-variety of Mead. But be careful, at 13.8% alcohol the only-honey blend can knock your boots off!

One last mention is the Sparkling Muscato, a sweet and crispy bubbly mix voted the Best Wine in Massachusetts at the 2010 Northeast Wine Competition in West Springfield, MA.

For more information: www.hilltoporchards.com and www.furnacebrookwinery.com.

Furnace Brook Winery at Hilltop Orchards