Thursday, January 29, 2009

E.T. phoned home to RI

This evening I had the 2007 Sakonnet Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay. Sakonnet (it rhymes with bonnet) is a 125 acre winery in Little Compton, RI and it's the oldest winery in New England (full disclosure: I worked there over the summer of 2008). This is the new release of their unoaked chard. After talking with the winemaker, Elaine, she told me that 2007 was a "meh" year here, as there was quite a bit of fog and rains during and around the harvest.

When I poured it into the glass, it looked so light, like a pinot gris or a sauvignon blanc. On the nose, it smelled of peaches, pears, green apples, and a hint of melon. It smelled like a peach-based fruit salad. Really nice nose, but completely unexpected. On the palate, it explodes with green apples and continues on the fruit salad theme, although it's like someone put a leaf or two of basil in there for good measure (or just to mess with people). The wine has a more sweet edge, but it's not a complete sugar wine; there's some definite acidity there. Seriously, if I had this wine in a blind tasting, I would never guess chardonnay as the varietal! That being said, it's a pleasant wine. If you happen to visit Sakonnet, I'd suggest it on a tasting.

This chardonnay is like the Drew Barrymore of wines. Barrymore started off as a sweet child actor, then had many difficult years of substance abuse issues, and finally has emerged as America's sweetheart again. It's a lot like this chardonnay, where you have expectations for it, they're completely undone, but in the end, you're delightfully surprised. This chardonnay, although it seems more akin to a pinot gris or sauvignon blanc, is a nice detour from the buttery, heavy, and overoaked versions out there. Like Drew Barrymore, this wine provides an interesting story and some nice entertainment.


  1. You are an absolutely amazing reviewer of wine, seriously. Your witting is superb and your style reads like professional food journalist. Way to go! OK, enough of the praise, now check out loony liberal for the suggestions i just made on readings about the Catastro-fuck in the Middle east. Props again for your taste to page skills!

  2. Thanks Kevin! I appreciate the props. I'll be over to LL today to check out the scene. And I think "catastro-f*ck" was my favorite line from the Daily Show this week...

  3. I haven’t run into that wine yet. It would be interesting to compare to the [New Bedford, MA] Travessia 2007 Un-Oaked Chard – which has a nice crisp mineral bite along with citrus/green apple. Even the Oaked Chard from Travessia is nothing like its California equivalent (or even the Westport Rivers Chard I had a few years back, which was a bruiser).

    Little Compton is also home to a great food blog,, which focuses on New England heritage foods and local ingredients.