Saturday, December 09, 2006

Boston Magazine Picks Best New England Wineries

Of Local Vintages
New England isn’t a wine destination yet, but superior sips do exist.
By Christie Matheson

In terms of charm and pastoral beauty, the handful of wineries that dot southeastern New England stand up to the country’s best. A few even make decent, sometimes excellent, wines. We found three on the Coastal Wine Trail, which recently launched a passport program: Visit all the vineyards, get the passport stamped, and win fabulous prizes (coastalwinetrail.com).

Tasting sparkling wines at Massachusetts’ Westport Rivers (417 Hixbridge Rd., Westport, 800-993-9695, westportrivers.com) in the midst of rolling vineyards gives us a greater appreciation for the care that goes into growing chardonnay and pinot noir grapes close to home.

The last few miles of the drive to Sakonnet Vineyards (162 W. Main Rd., Little Compton, RI, 800-919-4637, sakonnetwine.com) through the farmland of Tiverton and Little Compton, Rhode Island, are pleasant enough to make us forget we’re only about an hour outside Boston. An airy tasting room and 50 acres of vineyard await. Try the vidal blanc, gewürztraminer, and rightly acclaimed dessert wines.

The smallest of our favorite New England wineries, Portsmouth’s Greenvale Vineyards (582 Wapping Rd., Portsmouth, RI, 401-847-3777, greenvale.com), is still working to improve the quality of its wines. The location, though, is irresistible. During a rainy weekend, we make our way up Greenvale’s long driveway, and the afternoon sun breaks through with a huge rainbow arching over the 150-year-old farm: a sight and setting we won’t soon forget.


Originally published in Boston Magazine, September 2006.