Five Wines to Try at Newport Vineyards
We taste five brilliant wines at Newport Vineyards— and you should too!
It feels like only yesterday that our Wine Lover’s Getaways issue was on newsstands (is it just us, or did October fly!?). But it certainly doesn’t mean it’s too late to hit up a vineyard, so that’s what we did this past weekend to much success.
Newport Vineyards is like a slice of Napa Valley was taken and airlifted onto Aquidneck island. A former potato farm, the vineyard has grown considerably since its inception in 1977 and today boasts a massive gift shop, cafe and restaurant in addition to its wine-making facilities.
Rows and rows of grapevines, distinguished by varietal and color, create a dizzying perspective, while bundles of old vines propped all over adding a rustic touch.
Large blue vats of grapes ferment on the side of the building, and the slightly sour, slightly musky smell dances in the air. But while the winemaking process is fascinating, I have a more bacchanalian reason for trekking to Middletown: let’s drink us some vino!
The tasting room inside hums with activity. Decanters full of water (“for cleansing the palette,” I tell my friend sagely) sit alongside jars full of oyster-cracker-like bites, while sommeliers pour a dazzling array of wines for happy visitors.
My friend and I sidle up to the bar-like area and put our wine glasses down, a subtle demand for them to be filled. But we are informed that, first, we must pick five types of wine to sample. My list, after much indecision, included four whites and their Rhody Coyote cider (I’m a cider kind of gal).
After half-an-hour of sipping wine and jotting down semi-serious notes on the aroma, flavor and texture, I find myself happily traipsing through the vineyard attempting to find any straggling grapes that I can pluck and munch on (wine makes me devious — we don't recommend that you do this).
Anyways, enough about my wine-induced follies, here are five wines that are definitely worth trying:*
1. Great White: This wine is like nectar from the gods; it’s no wonder it’s one of their most popular. Smooth, clean and slightly thick, this blend of various grapes produces a wine that actually has the hints of melon and apricot promised. My notes on this one were interrupted by a large, hastily scribbled “YUM.”
2. Moscato: Ah, the poor Moscato, derided everywhere as the drink of, well, sad women post-breakup watching Netflix and eating ice cream. But for shame! Moscato can be refined, and why can’t we indulge every once in awhile? Newport Vineyard’s iteration is sweet, surprisingly light and has a floral aroma and tropical brightness that will make you think twice about ever deriding Moscato again.
3. Pinot Grigio: A little lighter, less sweet and zestier than the previous two, this lovely pinot made me rethink my dislike for pinot. Like, it was a miracle. Slightly herbaceous, crisp…my friend also couldn’t stop raving about it.
4. Rhody Coyote: Okay, so it’s not a wine, but it pours clear like a white and goes down just as smoothly. And if you really want a sense of how amazing this cider is, close your eyes and imagine the following: you’re a child stumbling through an apple orchard, the apples you just picked popping out of your basket like popcorn. As you attempt to pick them up, you accidentally step on a slightly overripe apple,releasing a saccharine sweet, almost floral perfume of appley-ness that you’ve never encountered before. Somewhat inexplicably, your mouth waters a little and you decide, hey, I’m going to eat an apple, right here, right now. You bite into one of your just picked apples, the fresh, tart, sweet, crisp and cool taste fills your mouth and the smell permeates your nostrils. A slight line of apple juice dribbles down your chin. The Rhody Coyote cider is like that experience was bottled up and poured in a glass, and it rocks.
5. GEWURZTRAMINER: Say it five times fast after imbibing four glasses of wine, and it sounds something like “Jee, wurst, tram, EIN, er!!” Good thing they just label it Gewurzt on the menu. It’s a lil spicy, a lil rosy, and a whole lotta good. Hiccup.
*keep in mind, these come from the ‘refined’ palette of a twenty-three-year old whose favorite wine is anything under $15. That said, these were some truly spectacular wines with reasonable price tags.