Monday, August 3, 2015

An Afternoon at Westport Rivers

Summer is made for weekend day-trips like the one Mr. Chat and I took to Westport, MA. Located approximately 60 miles southeast of Boston, you'll find a rural enclave adjacent to the sea. There's a whimsical road and it's nestled between bountiful vines that sway along a country pasture. Welcome to Westport Rivers, a dream come true for proprietors Bob and Carol Russell who purchased the former dairy farm in 1982. 

The first vines were planted in 1986 with help from the couple's two sons. Six years later, Westport Rivers opened to the public. Today, this family-run business holds accolades galore that serve as a testament to the South Coast's thriving wine region. As the largest vineyard in New England, the winery boasts a sprawling 400-acre lot, but only 80 acres are cultivated for vinifera (the wine family that includes varietals such as pinot noir and riesling).
After years of buying Westport Rivers at our neighborhood wine shop, Mr. Chat and I finally took a drive to sample these luscious libations in person. The vineyard is open for tastings and tours Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A mere $10 will please your palate with six varieties – all generously poured, I must add. Here's a look at our tasting menu...


2007 Westport Brut RJR
An array of zesty bubbles dance through notes of brioche, green apples and candied lemon making this blend of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier perfect for entertaining. 

Farmer’s Fizz “Sec”
A prosecco-style blend of chardonnay and mouth-watering peach housed in a unexpected beer bottle. It's effervescent, sweet and frothy, but as a lover of dry wines, it's too overwhelming for my taste.

2013 Chardonnay 
France has made its way to southeastern Massachusetts with this crisp and dry white - a total 360 from the Farmer's Fizz. There's a glorious aroma of baked pear, rich cream and white cherry with added richness from the oak. Chardonnay lovers rejoice! 

2014 Cinco Cães 
I fell in love with this name immediately! Cinco cães means "five dogs" in Portuguese and is named after the five dogs the family owned. This zesty varietal is a celebration of five grapes: rkatsiteli, pinot gris, gruner veltliner muscat and chardonnay. The scent of lemon, lime, peach, pineapple and white pepper invite you to stay for another glass. 

2012 Pinot Noir 
This two-time silver medal winner is a delicious light bodied red harboring notes of cherry, plum and pomegranate.

Grace Pinot Noir Aperitif, anyone? The Grace is a darling after-dinner drink resembling a rich tawny port. With help from an outside vendor, pinot noir grapes are transformed into brandy. Once complete, pinot noir juice is added to the batch and the concoction is then aged in French oak barrels for five years. You’ll taste caramel, dried figs and dark cherry.

2014 Pinot Noir of Rosé

Oh. My. Word. This is an incredible rosé, my friends. It wasn't part of the official tasting, so I'm glad we scored a sample. White cherry and strawberry aromas hit your nose as you go in for the first sip. Refreshingly zest and with a firm acidity. One word: delicious.

Lastly, no vineyard is complete without a resident cat. That's right. I said cat. When's the last time a cat curled up to you and your chardonnay... and you weren't sitting on your sofa? Yeah, I thought so. Meet Mao. He's a pretty cool dude and it's safe to say that even dogs are afraid of him.!

Mao photo courtesy of Jessica Weeks

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