Hermit Woods Winery holds their Second Annual Wine Release Dinner
Hermit Woods Winery, along with two other Lakes Region businesses, The Local Eatery and the Lake House at Ferry Point, held their second annual wine release dinner on May 16th. Every year Hermit Woods Winery partners with local businesses to invite the media to discover some of the wonderful new and creative wines and food being offered in the Lakes Region, as well as to showcase the businesses that are putting it together.
Attending this year’s dinner were Susan Laughlin from New Hampshire Magazine and her guest Barbara Lauterbach, a well-known author and culinary instructor with King Arthur Flour, Stefanie Phillips writing for the Hippo and her guest Tania visiting from Portugal, Bob Mignarri from The New England Wine Gazette, Cam Mirisola, Editor of NH To Do Magazine, and her fiancé Rob Bynum, and Charlie Burk from New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant and his wife Joanne Burke.
With such an esteemed list of guests, Hermit Woods and partners had their work cut out for them, and they did not disappoint. The evening started with a wine tasting at Hermit Woods Winery, where Ken Hardcastle, Hermit Woods Vintner, presented six new wines. Every wine was unique and well balanced, and served to demonstrate the depth and breadth of Hardcastle’s skills as a wine maker. Of particular note were the 2012 Whiteface, a crisp, complex, white wine made entirely from local, organic, whole quince, rhubarb, peaches, and rosehips, which Hardcastle compares with a Gewurztraminer, and the Kiwi Wine, made from local, organic kiwi berries.
Upon concluding the tasting at the winery, guests proceeded to the Lake House at Ferry Point, where cocktails (made with Hermit Woods wine, of course) were served on the porch overlooking Lake Winnisquam. Guests were treated to a brief tour of the Inn by Innkeeper John Becker, and soon after were invited to gather in the dining room for what proved to be a truly outstanding seven-course gastronomy extravaganza prepared by Chef Kevin Halligan of The Local Eatery. Having eaten at The Local Eatery before, there was no doubt that the meal would be excellent, but Halligan took it to a whole new level.
Chef Halligan procured the majority of the meal’s ingredients from farms in the Lakes Region and around New Hampshire. From pan-seared diver scallop to a lobster cocktail, organic mixed green salad, braised rabbit, and organic pork medallions, everything was prepared to perfection and beautifully complemented with unique and creative wines crafted by Hermit Woods Winery. Every dish was expertly presented and served at just the right pace to allow every bite to be savored. The two-and-a-half hour dinner concluded with a three-cheese blintz paired with Hermit Woods ‘Melange’ dessert wine.
After dinner, guests were invited to spend the night at the lovely inn, and most did, allowing them to wake up to a spectacular breakfast prepared by John Becker, again featuring mostly local food.
Hermit Woods, the Lake House at Ferry Point, and The Local Eatery did an outstanding job with every detail of this event, from the snail-themed place cards to the unique wines and foods expertly prepared. The event was a true testament to the power of local businesses working with local business to provide an exceptional experience for their guests.
Pan-Seared Diver Scallop, Basmati Rice, Rhubarb Chutney
Paired with Hermit Woods Lake House White, an engaging blend of local, organic, whole peaches, rhubarb, and rosehips, fermented and aged ‘sur lie’ with a White Burgundy strain of yeast – a ‘Peach Chablis’ of sorts but with no Chardonnay grapes – a crisp and deeply complex white wine.
Lobster Cocktail, Apple Chip, Cider Aioli
Paired with Hermit Woods Harvest Apple, an off-dry apple cider wine made with a blend of heirloom and sweet cider apples from Apple Hill Farm.
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Organic Mixed Greens, Apple Matchsticks, Honey-Glazed Almonds
Fresh Chevre, Honey Ramp Vinaigrette
Paired with Hermit Woods award-winning Three Honey Wine, a mead crafted from three separate, raw, unfiltered, wildflower honeys, each with a distinct contribution to the aromatic, light yet intense, long-lasting, complex flavors.
Braised Rabbit, Molasses Jus, Parsnip Puree
Sautéed Baby Kale
Paired with Hermit Woods Knot Mead, a dry, traditional varietal mead made from raw, unfiltered, honey sourced from Japanese Knot Weed flowers. This black honey has molasses and burnt sugar notes with a surprising light and clean sweetness captured here in this intoxicating, pure honey mead.
Pan-Seared Organic Pork Medallions, Sautéed Bears Head Mushrooms & Spring Onions
Potato Latke, Petite Blue Demi-Glace
Paired with Hermit Woods Petite Blue Reserve, fermented and aged with a Burgundy blend of French Oak, this wine is bursting with fresh blueberry aromas and flavors, and loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. An entire pound of wild, low-bush blueberries are in each and every bottle! Unlike many available blueberry wines, this is a dry red wine and more akin to a Pinot Noir.
Three-Cheese Blintz, Crème Anglaise, Blueberry Sauce
Fresh Whipped Cream
Paired with Hermit Woods Melange, a Melomel (mead made with fruit and honey) made from all local, all organic, raw honey, and whole blueberries, elderberries, blackberries, and blackcurrants. Utilizing cold fermentation to trap aromas, this sweet, port-like, higher alcohol wine makes for a great complex and engaging sipping wine.
About The Lake House at Ferry Point
John and Cindy first visited the Lake House at Ferry Point in September of 2011, and immediately knew that it was the place for them. They purchased the Inn on November 1, 2011, and moved in right away to begin designing the perfect destination for a lakeside getaway.
The Lake House has been a bed and breakfast for 27 years. It was originally built sometime prior to 1800, and at one time served as a vacation home for the Pillsbury family. The original building consisted of two rooms that are currently serving as the lobby and the dining room. Over the years, the house was expanded and remodeled into what is now a 12-bedroom, 13-bathroom house.
The Inn consists of 9 guest rooms, each with its own private bath. A massive stone fireplace, crafted out of rocks and minerals originally mined from Ruggle’s Mine, dominates the living room, which serves as a gathering place for guests year round. The 60-foot front porch is a favorite relaxation spot for guests throughout the warmer months. With 216 feet of lakefront property along the shores of Lake Winnisquam, guests enjoy our small sand beach, kayaks, rowboat, and peddle boat from spring to fall.
About Chef Halligan and The Local Eatery
Chef Kevin Halligan is a 2002 graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. He is a long-time Laconia resident, and his wife, Gillian, was born here. They have four children.
When Kevin purchased the Laconia Village Bakery in 2007, he knew it was a stepping-stone to bigger things. His goal was to provide top-quality meals made from local, organic produce and grass-fed, naturally raised meats and poultry. He began offering a daily “local” special lunch at the bakery, which proved to be the most popular menu item.
The Local Eatery opened in 2012 and features a year-round menu using as much local food as Kevin can find. Even through the winter, produce will be preserved from summer surplus or greenhouse grown by special arrangement with local farmers.