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.
The Butterfly Place in Westford, MA
4 years ago