Sakonnet Vineyards ~ The Whites

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

Continued from Thursday, October 22nd

Coastline, Newport County.  Photo Courtesy of Christy Sherard

Coastline, Newport County. Photo Courtesy of Christy Sherard

Sakonnet Vineyards falls within the Southeastern New England AVA which starts just south of Boston and runs along the coasts of southeastern Massachusetts, through Rhode Island and into southeastern and central Connecticut.  The region’s climate is similar to some of the cooler wine regions around the world, most notably the Loire Valley in France, and for Rhode Island winemakers in particular, the presence of the Atlantic Ocean coupled with the warmer waters of the Narrangasset Bay provide an ideal micro-climate for grape production.

Sakonnet produces eight whites from predominately Vidal Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer grapes. The tasting menu includes all available Sakonnet wines (white, red, and dessert), and you get your choice of up to six.  Having become old hands at this, it took no time at all for Christy and me to build our joint tasting menu, beginning with the

Vidal Blanc 2008 This was my favorite of the Sakonnet whites.  Made from 100% Vidal Blanc grapes aged in stainless steel with no oak, the wine has that lovely “vidal” nose – bright and fruity, with lovely notes of grapefruit.  The wine is smooth, crisp and very refreshing, with notes of grapefruit and a slight sweetness that balances out the grapefruity tartness.  Our host suggested that in addition to pairing with foods, particularly seafood, this is a great wine for use in cooking and recommended using it when cooking scallops.   I don’t eat scallops, but I could definitely see using it in a wine sauce to accompany grilled salmon.

Cock of the Walk White A blend of Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay, the tasting notes indicated “apple, melon and ATTITUDE.”  Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling the “attitude.”  Maybe it was the bottle we had, but I found the wine to be very light with no really strong discernible notes.  The nose was pleasant but light, and in the mouth the green apple notes were very subtle.  This is a low oak wine with a very light smokiness.  Christy also found it a bit anemic, and we both agreed the Vidal Blanc had more character and depth.

Photo Courtesy of Christy Sherard

Photo Courtesy of Christy Sherard

Fume Vidal Reserve 2007 Another very nice wine made again with Vidal Blanc grapes, Sakonnet’s “signature grape.”  Aged in small American and French oak barrels, the Fume Vidal is a drier and more aggressive wine than the Vidal Blanc.  The grapefruit notes in both the nose and the mouth are stronger, and the oak brings out sharper, richer fruit notes with a light toasty finish.  If forced to choose, my preference would be the Vidal Blanc 2008 for it’s crispness, but the Fume Vidal is an interesting wine, and definitely made my list of wines to watch for.

Reserve Chardonnay 2007 A pleasant wine, but overall not as interesting and distinctive as the two Vidals.  Barrel fermented and sur lie aged for one year in French Oak, the Reserve Chardonnay has lovely notes of both fruit and floral in the nose and soft notes of melon in the mouth.  The oak provides a light buttery smoothness and subtle notes of honey.  There’s a nice balance of acid to round out the wine and give it depth and interest.

Comparing notes as we rinsed our glasses in preparation for the first of the reds, both Christy and I agreed that the Vidals were definitely the stars among the whites.

The tasting continues Thursday, October 29th with the Sakonnet Reds & Dessert wines.

Sakonnet Vineyards is located in Little Compton, RI
See our 10.22.09 post for information on the winery including tasting room hours, winery tours, and contact information.

pixelstats trackingpixel
Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.