Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 29th 2014 Contents |WINE|
Every trip I make to a wine producing country,
I always make time to visit a winery in the area.
Last month I travelled to Providence, Rhode Is-
land for my daughter Racquel's graduation, and
took some time out to visit Newport Vineyard,
which is just about an hour's drive south of
Providence on America's east coast. Now, RI is
not your typical wine tour destination; however,
as a wine professional, I am always interested
and eager to experience new wines.
Newport Vineyards has a history dating back
to 1917 when the grandfather of the current
owners, brothers John and Paul Nunes, ac-
quired 51 acres; today, only 30 acres are under
wine cultivation and the rest of this original
farm that dated back to 1707 is listed on the
national Historic register.
The vineyard was originally planted in 1977 on
a hill overlooking Rhode Island Sound, with the
goal of producing fine wines and as a way of
preserving beautiful agricultural land from rapid
development. This extraordinary micro-climate
is created by a combination of the warm wa-
ters of the Gulf Stream to the south and the
moderating effects of Narragansett Bay. These
conditions provide a long, cool growing season,
ideal for developing complex flavours in wine.
Newport Vineyards is the largest grower of
wine grapes in New England, with nine planted
varieties of vinifera, and is recognized as a land-
mark attraction in Newport County and contin-
ues the tradition of growing quality wines on
Newport Vineyards boast of many wine
awards since it started production; the first
was a gold medal in 1998 for "Great White" at
the Eastern International Wine Competition,
which has since become their bestselling wine.
Since then there were many medal winners,
with their 1999 Ice wine voted in the top 50 US
wines at the Jefferson Invitational.
A very charming and quaint looking gift shop
greets wine aficinado, who, like me, are there
for a tour and tasting. A unique feature of this
winery is that they do specialised labelling; spe-
cially printed wine labels can be done as me-
mentos and keepsakes in celebration of
anniversaries, weddings or birthdays. The gift
shop carries all of their wine labels plus wine
paraphernalia. Also there are banquet and
meeting facilities with in-house catering and, of
course, wine pairings with the meals.
Although she just recently joined the winery,
our wine tour guide, Eileen Ganz, is quite knowl-
edgeable on the history and wines of the vine-
yard and proved to be an interesting wine
conversationalist during our tasting session.
Going through the variety of wines I was quite
excited to taste some wine produced with
grapes that are pretty much unknown to most
wine drinkers, including Blaufrankish (Lem-
berger), an Austrian grape which produces a
rich red wine and is well suited to the maritime
climate of RI. Being an adventurous wine per-
son, I opted to taste the wines and blends
made with the not-too-common grape vari-
etals. The following are just some of what I
Gewürztraminer --- this white wine is finished
in an Alsatian style, which is a perfect harmony
of fruit and spice. Aromas of rose petals and ly-
chees, with rich flavours of apricots and pears.
This goes particularly well with Asian cuisine.
Tranquillity --- a white wine blend, a harmo-
nious Alsatian style blend of Muscat Ottonel
(50%), Pinot Gris (15%). Riesling (25%) and
Gewürztraminer (10%).This wine promotes a
state of tranquillity, calm, peaceful and relaxed
feelings, just good for those long hot summer
days of the North; perfect pairing with Thai cui-
sine, duck, and sharp cheddars.
Rochambeau 2012 --- a blend of Merlot, Caber-
net Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Landot
Noir, bright berry flavours similar to Bordeaux-
styled wines with lots of dark fruits; can be
paired with roast beef and barbeque.
Vidale Ice Wine --- harvested after the hard
frost in November/December, press-frozen to
capture the richest nectar. This ice wine has a
seductive bouquet of fresh peaches and apri-
cots, making it a truly unforgettable dessert
Rhody Coyote Hard Apple Cider --- could not
miss the opportunity to taste this cider, as I
was told this is very "Newportish", made from
fresh local apples, fermented to 7% alcohol,
cold-fermented to a fine sparkle and quickly
bottled. This was quite a spunky number; the
acidity and tartness was a little too much for
me. It has to be an acquired taste.
While most wine critics have described the
wines of RI as quirky like its people, I find the
wines were good overall, and very drinkable, but
then again, taste is subjective. The wine styles
are quite interesting and are supported by the
grape varietals and maritime climate. Like I al-
ways say, wine is personal to the drinkers'
taste, so if you are ever in the area, it might just
be worth your while to visit Newport Vineyards
and broaden your wine tasting experience.
10 | MAGAZINE
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