December 21, 2005

2003 Sakonnet Fume Vidal Reserve Southeastern New England

A friend gifted me this white wine from Rhode Island, made from the vidal blanc grape. I have to say, I’m woefully inexperienced with hybrids and other non-vinifera grapes and wines. Of course, that’s probably because what experience I have has left me largely unimpressed.

I had heard of Sakonnet Vineyards but never tried any of their wines. They apparently have a good reputation and, judging by this bottling, it’s well founded.

The “Fume” in Fume Vidal refers to oak aging, which this wine shows in its smoky, toasty oak aroma that reminded me at first of chardonnay, bad chardonnay. But with time the oakiness seemed balanced by a mix of fresh aromas that reminded me of pinot gris, riesling, and muscat. There were aromas of flowers and honey, with some earthy petrol notes and nice purity.

The flavors were also oaky at first, but with time there was a nice honeyed taste and a touch of white grapiness that I’m guessing is classic for the variety. The wine was lightly sweet but lively with good acidity, holding up well over two nights.

Overall, I’m impressed. This was an interesting, elegant wine and makes me want to seek out more vidal. Given its honeyed character, I’d love to taste late harvest wines from this variety. It’s definitely something to check out further.

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