LaBelle Winery Review
Address: 361 Horace Greeley Hwy Amherst,New Hampshire 03031.
Phone Number: 603-828-2923
Tasting Hours: Sun 11:00-5:00, Mon-Tues 11:00-3:00, Wed-Sat 11:00-9:00
Region: New Hampshire
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Review Date: 6/18/2014
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Legend has it that Amy LaBelle started making wine in her small, Boston apartment using berries she purchased at Whole Foods. Its a fun story, and one that the tasting room manager, Jen Pratt, enjoys telling as she pours samples of LaBelles outstanding wines from behind a splendid bar, housed inside one of the largest and most architecturally impressive wineries in New Hampshire.
The tasting room is lined with shelves displaying all varieties of LaBelles wines. They stand meticulously placed like little vino soldiers, highlighted by large red lamps. The tasting room also serves as a bistro, and tables are placed on one side of the room and along the bridge that overlooks LaBelles massive wine tanks. The tanks, 23 feet tall and each holding 3300 gallons, were special-ordered and shipped from Italy and stand inside the attached restaurant area as an impressive testament to the winerys success. In addition to the tasting room and restaurant, LaBelle also has a grand event space, perfect for large gatherings such as wedding receptions or Christmas parties. The patio outside boasts a sizable seating area complete with a fire pit for sipping your favorite wine by the light of the moon and fire.
As with any good winery, however, the best part was the wine. The tasting menu was impressive in length and diverse in content. LaBelle offers wines that range from sweet/dessert to dry, and are made in a variety of styles. Some wines, such as the Dry Riesling and the Gewurztraminer, are vinifera made in a classic style, while others, such as the Chambourcin and Granite State Red, reflect a more local flavor. Theres something for every wine love at LaBelle; we particularly enjoyed the sparkling wine and loved the Port-style as well as the cooking wine (jalapeno being our personal favorite) so much that we flew some of it back to Nebraska for a special treat. Like most New Hampshire wineries, they also make a good amount of fruit wine. LaBelles special twist on some of those, however, is to fortify them with apple brandy, creating unique and tasty dessert wine offerings.
Great wine and a beautiful setting can be ruined, however, by lackluster staff. LaBelle again shines in the area of service. Jen Pratt was behind the bar to serve whoever came in, and the entire staff appeared ready and eager to help at a moments notice. Further, Amy LaBelle herself took the time to come out and greet customers from time to time, including us. She spoke to us about her dream-come-true, and made sure we were enjoying ourselves. We certainly were.
LaBelle Winery truly has the entire package when it comes to a great wine experience. The wine stands on its own, but it’s LaBelle’s staff and ambiance that creates an intriguing wine experience. From food pairing in the bistro, to take-home recipe cards for cocktails using LaBelle wines, they make enjoying their wines both memorable and special. If youre in New Hampshire for just enough time to visit one winery, we suggest you make it LaBelle.