Travessia Urban Winery
by Sara Hellmold
While Massachusetts has a long, proud brewing tradition predating even the legendary Sam Adams, viniculture has not enjoyed the same notoriety in the Commonwealth. Happily, local outfits like Travessia Urban Winery in New Bedford are working to change that. Owner and winemaker Marco Montez, and his cousin Edson Pereira, the company’s tasting and sales manager, source 80% of their grapes from nearby vineyards in Westport and Dartmouth. Once they bring the grapes to their urban winery, the magic begins.
Tucked into a downtown storefront whose walls and ceilings are covered in vintage patterned 1906 tiles, huge stainless steel tanks, coiled hoses of every size, and rows of barrels stacked neatly on their sides leave no doubt about what goes on inside. Just a few steps away, a long high counter and tall racks of bottles create an intimate setting for tastings.
Travessia’s wines pair well with a range of foods, among them many of the classic dishes of Marco’s Portuguese heritage, specialties of several nearby restaurants. Travessia’s collection of white wines, which includes an unoaked chardonnay, pairs especially well with traditional grilled seafood and shellfish. Or try the 2010 chardonnay with codfish cakes, bacalhau de sa, or barbequed chicken. Floral vidal blanc enhances a plate of good olives and cheese, or summery desserts like peaches and strawberries with angel food cake. Alternatively, Marco recommends it with curried scallops or your favorite Thai dish.
The South Shore’s wet climate is far more hospitable to the varietals used in white wines, and Travessia often has to source grapes for its reds from outside the area. However, the long, hot, dry summer of 2010 created the perfect conditions for Travessia’s first ever 100% local red wine, a pinot noir. Marco points out that the last time Westport’s pinot noir grapes were ripe enough was in 1991. (That’s 20 years, for those of you as bad at math as I am.) Although the harvest produced only enough fruit to make four barrels, or about 100 cases of wine, that’s still enough to complement salmon or stuffed mushrooms.
Whatever you’re cooking for dinner, stop at Travessia Urban Winery for a local wine to make your meal extra special. Cheers!