The ride from home to the coastal region of Rhode Island began with a beautiful gorgeous day that was sure to thrill me mile to mile on my trek of New England wineries. First up on my Rhode Island tour and Coastal Vineyards Passport series is Sakonnet Vineyards.
On the back roads of Rhode Island I reached the Little Compton winery via a scenic route indicative of the New England coast. Driving down the long dirt road (yes, we continue to go down long dirt roads) the winery is in the tradition of New England style coastal homes with plenty of room for outdoor seating in a multitude of areas: by the pond, by the vineyard, outside the vineyard tasting room entrance, outside the tasting room under a covered patio. There is a lot of room to sit if you want to spend a bit of time here. The grounds were manicured exquisitely without a tree limb out of place, but of course that was before tropical storm Irene hit so I’m sure they came under some high winds and plenty of rain.
Once inside the small boutique shop, there were many wine items to buy at reasonable prices. You also paid for your wine tasting here which cost $10 for six wines of your choosing plus you get to keep their signature wine glass. Entering the tasting room you immediately realized it was quite large with room for a couple of dozen tasters at a time and along the walls were racks of their wine ready for the taking. Once inside the room, I walked right to the wine bar and patiently waited to begin my wine experience.
Here are the wines I tried:
Vidal Blanc: This wine opened with grapefruit and orange zest on the nose with a nectarine flavor with hints of lemon-lime on the finish. Quite a nice tasting wine that I would tempt to pair with a cedar plank salmon, roasted red potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. And yes, sourdough bread would be nice too.
Gerwurztraminer: The Estate grown, French style dry Gewurztraminer would go well with spicy Asian cuisine as it opened with spice notes on the nose with a lemongrass flavor and nice acidity.
Chardonnay: Steel fermented this opened with apple on the nose with a slight hint of pear. The apple continued to the palate but the pear was missing so this wine didn’t do it for me.
Rhode Island Red: Their most popular selling wine found black cherry on the nose and the flavor as well with a slight peppery finish. I had a bottle of their 1999 vintage about eight or nine years ago and it was much better than their current release, hopefully with cellaring it will be just as good.
Cabernet Franc: One of my favorite wines (well, I guess most wines are my favorites) the medium ruby colored wine found bell pepper and the aroma was almost like standing in a back yard garden. Plus there was a lingering fig aroma too. It was actually quite pleasing. This medium bodied wine found red cherry and pepper flavors complementing the aromas quite well.
Claret NV – 35th Anniversary: Blackberry aroma with fig nuances on the nose with a hint of bacon just starting to cook. Cassis and black currant on the palate. A slight pepper finish most likely white pepper. A nice stand alone wine as well as pairing it with a grilled steak, corn on the cob, and a garden salad with balsamic vinegar dressing.
Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…