Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery2001 Brut Cuvée RJR
(Southeastern New England)
Westport Rivers was founded in 1982 by Bob and Carol Russell, who bought an old dairy farm in Westport. Their oldest son, Rob, planted their first vines in 1986 – 40 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. In the late 1990s the vineyard was expanded, now comprised of 80 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Meunier, Rkatsitelli, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.
This 80-acre vineyard is now the largest in all of New England. The Russells' second son, Bill, joined the team in 1989 as winemaker.
The Russell family's vineyard falls within the Southeastern New England AVA, which stretches from Hyannis, Massachusetts through Rhode Island, to New London, Connecticut, and reaches only 15 miles inland and includes Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
Of their deliciously crisp sparkling wine offerings, Westport Rivers 2001 Brut Cuvee RJR ($20) was my favorite – truly a delicious value in traditionally made sparkling wine.
Medium-light straw yellow with a persistent mousse and fine bead, the nose offers apple and pear fruit layered with the nice yeasty character one finds in quality Champagne and subtle mineral notes. Mouth-filling flavors of apple and fresh-baked biscuits greet the palate with a slightly creamy texture, delightful acidity and fresh citrus on the finish. Made from 63% Pinot Noir and 27% Chardonnay.
Reviewed July 1, 2006 by Lenn Thompson.
Lenn Thompson writes about New York wines for Dan's Papers,