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A Wine Tour of Boston’s North End

Whether you are a local Bostonian, a New Englander or just someone visiting from another state or country, there is an excellent opportunity to sample some world-class wines while visiting some of the local Boston neighborhoods and local restaurants.

City Wine Tours is a company that provides guided tours that explore multiple neighborhoods in Boston including the South End, the North End, Back Bay and the latest edition to their tour list: a sparkling wine tour of Harvard Square in Cambridge.

The company provides an opportunity to tour each neighborhood, visit a few local restaurants and wine shops, with great wine and a sampling of food to enhance each stop. The tours offered are a fun way of exploring new wines, restaurants and learning about wine in a warm atmosphere.

Of course, being an Italian wine blogger and lover of all things Italian, I chose to attend the North End Tour, which was led by wine ambassador Joanne Frette.

Joanne Frette

Joanne Frette

Joanne is originally from Scotland and has been living in Boston for the past couple of years. She is also a WSET Advanced Certificate holder, which is one of the world’s top wine certifications from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

We began our North End tour at the Aragosta restaurant located at the Fairmont Battery Wharf Hotel, tucked away off of Atlantic Ave., where we were greeted by Joanne and a group of about 13 wine and food lovers.

The tour kicked off at an intimate part of the bar where we were introduced to one another and the wines of the day. Joanne educated folks on how to read Italian wine labels and the process of viewing the color, aromas and tastes of each wine. We sampled wines from the Veneto region, including Prima Perla Prosecco DOC and the 2013 Cantina Santa Maria la Palma Vermentino di Sardegna. It was served alongside a nice platter of fresh sliced meats, cheeses, fruit and figs.

We then walked up to the main street of the North End, Hanover Street, where we paused briefly in front of the Old North Church for a quick historical background. Then we made our way over to Gennaro’s at 5 North Square, where we sat in their dining room upstairs and sampled wines specifically labeled for Gennaro’s, including the Gennaro 1st edition 2013 Pinot Grigio and 2012 Valpolicella Classico from the Veneto region of Italy. Both wines were paired with a variety of cheeses and meats.

Our last stop was right around the corner at the Wine Bottega on Hanover Street, where we headed downstairs to the shop’s wine cellar.

City Wine Tours at Wine Bottega in Boston's North End.

City Wine Tours at Wine Bottega in Boston’s North End.

Katie from the Wine Bottega introduced the 2013 Cellario Favorita and Dolcetto from the Piedmont wine region.

The Wine Bottega sells wines that are organic without additional additives. I’ve attended wine tastings there in the past and if you have the opportunity to meet a winemaker or a representative from the wineries themselves I recommend it. It’s the best way to get a true understanding about the winery and the land where the wine comes from.

Each tour offered with City Wine Tours lasts about two hours with the opportunity to sample six wines in total between the restaurant and wine shop visits… not bad for only $66 a person! The walking is very minimal as you leisurely stroll between establishments. The tours are led by knowledgeable wine ambassadors that are all certified or have direct experience within the wine industry.

It’s a nice way to meet folks from around the country or world while getting a taste of the local flavors of Boston’s neighborhoods and the world of wine.

For more, visit www.citywinetours.com.

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About Jennifer Martin

Jennifer Martin is a Boston-based Italian wine blogger. Her love of wine first started years ago when she studied abroad in college in Florence, Italy. She's traveled to Italy a multitude of times now and her love and passion for Italy not only comes from her experience of living there, but also due to her Italian heritage. Jennifer now runs her own company and website, Vino Travels, specializing in wine travels to Italy.