It's no secret we've been long-time advocates of Massachusetts' very own Westport Rivers Winery. Their sparkling wines are consistently head-turners (see the White House wine list...) and their diverse selection of single varietal wines additionally worthy of exploration each vintage. They are a family-owned operation that is truly in it for the love of it. And we heart passion - because without heart, we'd be relegated to drinking mediocre plonk (and the craft beer market wouldn't have any competition at all)! But we're not the only ones, as Westport, MA, where this winery cultivates its fruit and produces its wine, is a Right to Farm Community; agriculture is king, with 100% protection (so if you don't like the neighbor's chickens crowing at dawn or the horses down the street, you better find alternate real estate). Such an attitude certainly can't hurt a winery as dedicated to farming and the expression of terroir as Westport Rivers Winery. Last week we were able to get out of the office for the day and take a few curious friends with us down to the Cape to enjoy our first-ever, long overdue, in-person visit at the Winery. In only an hour and change we arrived at our destination - it is so close, yet such a world away, we immediately wondered how we hadn't cut the cord from our usual day-to-day sooner. The grounds offer that certain New England charm you can't help but love, and beckon a picnic or at least a pause on your way to the beach. But with our Official Business hat on, we clamored inside the welcoming Tasting Room first and saddled up to their Tasting Station to see what they had open.
Their very reasonable $10 Tasting Flight delivered a sample of SEVEN of their selections - several of which we hadn't ever had the pleasure of exploring (some of the wines are available at the winery only and not available in retail/restaurant locations due to limited production):
We kicked things off with one of our favorites (and the White House's), the RJR Brut; Farmer's Fizz was next in line, a delightful thirst-quencher more reminiscent of a sparkling cider given its gentle carbonation and apple/pear flavor profile. Next we moved into their still wine offerings: and the current (2012) vintage of their Chardonnay KNOCKED OUR SOCKS OFF - the last vintage we tasted lacked the uber-clean, mineral-rich perkiness that this wine delivered with aplomb, and which we seek out more often in acclaimed French Burgundy! Another FAVORITE was their 2012 DRY Riesling, a wine which balanced prettiness and restraint to tantalize our taste buds with grass, honeysuckle, traditional "petrol" notes and ripe stone fruits in a silky sweep of flavor. With only 1% residual sugar, this wine delivers a flavor explosion that refreshes as much as it delights, and suits a wide-range of cuisine!
But all this isn't to say the whites or sparklers don't have worthy competition from WRW reds. Their 2010 "Second Flight" Pinot Noir was ANOTHER SHOW-STOPPER, more reminiscent of the great Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs with beautiful cress and earth notes buoyed by cranberry and cherry fruit (and, available at the winery, comes in at a remarkable $29.99 price tag!).
Perhaps in another post we'll wax poetic about how the unique terroir at Westport Rivers Winery impacts the truly remarkable wines they are creating.... but for now, we want to just encourage you to take a road trip this summer. There are ample opportunities to make an even bigger day of it, with their picnic style Sunset Music Series rolling out ALL Summer (Fridays, and some Saturdays) June 20 through September 13. And, along with other participating wineries on the Coastal Wine Trail, they will celebrate 30 years as an AVA with their much-anticipated Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festivaloff-sight at the Westport Fairgrounds on June 21.
Shop local. Support independent businesses. And toast to a happy summer excursion!