Saturday, March 01, 2008

Sakonnet Vidal Blanc - Simply Put, Wonderful!

Sakonnet is one of the most successful wineries on the east coast. Sakonnet Vineyards, in Little Compton, Rhode Island was founded in 1975 on the well-researched premise that the microclimate and soil conditions found along the Southeastern New England coast closely resemble some of the great wine regions of the world, particularly, the maritime climates of northern France.

At present, fifty acres are planted with many Vinifera varietals including Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc as well as Vidal Blanc one of the French-American hybrids. Wine production has climbed to over 30,000 cases annually with many wines receiving awards in domestic and international competitions.

The drive out there, especially if you are coming from Newport, Rhode Island is absolutely breathtaking, complete with craggy stone walls, old New England farms and cottages, and the sea all the while in the background. IT is somewhat daunting in fall, but gorgeous in its gray, cool austere way. In summer it is absolutely stupendous. I have ben told by many poeple that Litte Compton is what the Hamptons used to look like back in the 1960s.

Vidal Blanc is Sakonnet's signature wine. The Sakonnet Vidal Blanc 2006 is wonderful. The grapes were harvested in mid-October. Flower and fruit both come across on the nose. It's got some real fruit up front, but finishes with a green apple, so it's relatively dry. There is some residual sugar. But this is not a sweet wine. The finish is very dry - reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. It's made 100% stainless steel fermented at an average temperature of 50°F for two months.

This is a wine I am very fond of, and we serve it often at dinner parties. People who claim they like Australian or New Zealand whites often find they are shocked when they like this. It's that good!

Congrats to the folks at Sakonnet!