The Half-Past duo packed up the car with water bottles, a TJ Maxx wine bag, some Dunk’s coffee, and a GPS then headed south for a 2 hour cruise to MA vineyard, Westport River.
We happened upon the enticing wines from this vineyard long ago at Wine Riot and finally made the trip to visit. We are so happy to announce that the trip was worth it!
Arriving at Westport, we were greeted by spiraling fields of grass and grapevines (way to go, Mass grapes!) and a quaint yet gorgeous rustic farm. We strolled the area for a bit, enjoying the striking view from picnic tables and a dry tasting bar laid out for the winery’s special events.
During our tasting we worked with the lovely, hilarious and passionate Yvonne, who made our trip absolutely perfect and worth the drive! Yvonne – who hails from a culinary background – is an expert at food/wine pairings and comes up with brilliant cocktail inventions while having fun behind the tasting bar!
Thankfully, we have these recipes just for you! But first, let’s talk wine. After all, what fun are the wine cocktails if we don’t talk about their delicious, stand-alone components first?
Massachusetts-grown wines (all from Mass – BIG DEAL ALERT)
Westport’s wine list is set – you can’t pick and choose to build your tasting. It’s a $10 flat fee, and you get to try 6 of their wines. Well, we got a little spoiled – so we have plenty of wines to talk to you about!
Westport Brut “RJR” Cuvee – Smells and tastes of light honey and apple with plum and brioche flavors. Used only Champagne grapes and made with painstaking traditional champagne style. The bubbles were tiny and delicate, offering a light fizz on the tongue.
2015 Cinco Caes – Named ‘five dogs’ and donning an adorable canine label, this wine tells the story of the five dogs who once lived on the vineyard. Bursting with juicy and sweet flavors, this white wine coats your whole mouth with the tastes of pears, melon, and oranges. One of the grapes in this blend is the Rkatsiteli, which is grown on the property but imported from soviet Georgia. They are 1 out of 6 vineyards in US to grow it.
2014 Semi-Sweet Riesling – With a deep yellow hue, this Riesling is unlike most you’ll find on the Northeast. The flavors develop on your palate, offering sweet grapefruit flesh without the bitter, light acidity, and hints of passion-fruit. One of our faves for its unique flavors and bold taste for the Riesling grape.
Grace Pinot Noir – This port-style pinot has strong amber and dark honey flavors, along with hints of dates and figs. It is very sweet and definitely a slow-sipper: great for port lovers, and stole our hearts when Yvonne prepared us a cocktail called The Westporter (recipe below)
Pinot Meunier – This bottle came as a big surprise for us. We spotted it on the way in and, thankfully, had the opportunity to try it. Typically used as a blending Champagne grape, it’s rare to find this varietal bottled alone. It was a true pleasure to taste this grape in all of its independent glory, light on the palate but with plenty of flavor and attitude. Reader, we bought it!
Cocktails to die for – and so easy to make!
Splashtail is a cocktail that mixes their famous Brut or their Farmer’s Fizz white with any of their home-grown vermouth – most popularly, the sweet vermouth. The cocktail is the best of both worlds: the light fizz of the bubbly with the thick sweetness of the vermouth. We loved it so much, we bought both the Farmer’s Fizz and a bottle of Sweet Vermouth. We cannot wait to replicate the splashtail on our upcoming trip to the White Mountains!
Westporter = Grace Pinot Noir (port style wine) and their classic Brut RJR Cuvee bubbles. Yvonne said they also add a drop of bitters and orange rind normally for guests.
Okay, but what is Vermouth? Is it wine?
We asked the same thing. Thankfully, Yvonne was more than ready to clue us in! Vermouth is like a wine tea, with a wine base and added “grape spirits” with an herb/spice bag used during fermentation. However, even though it tastes and acts like a liqueur, it’s still technically a wine – and will spoil like one once it is oxidized. So make sure that once you open it, you’re ready to use it.
We had the opportunity to try three of Westport’s vermouth bottles. Most notably, the dry and sweet vermouth. The dry vermouth had the flavor of green tea, like an herbal or grass liquor without the harsh aftertaste. On the other hand, the sweet vermouth burst with flavors of fresh berry and a hint of herb, yet had a bitter aftertaste. We snagged a bottle of the sweet vermouth after falling in love with the splashtail!
At the end of the day…
We wish we lived closer to Westport! If you are nearby or have a chance to drop in, we highly recommend it. Not only are their grapes Massachusetts-grown, but they’re amazing. We hope we have a chance to visit again soon!