|For months I have been trying to visit Greenvale Vineyards - a small, new vineyard located along the water in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. When Saturday dawned with bright sun and spare hours, we promptly hopped in the car and headed down to visit.|
The lovely drive through country roads, with leafy green vines tumbling over stone walls, reminded me of why I love New England so much. We soon found Greenvale tucked in amongst rambling flowers and farmland.
|A quiet, woodsy driveway, complete with tractor crossing, led us down to the tent they had pitched across from their Chardonnay vineyards. We waved and pulled up alongside the tent. Maggie greeted us, and another car pulled up behind us. We waited for these four visitors before beginning our tour.|
Greenvale's land has been in the family for six generations, since 1859. The horse barn, located beside the vineyards, will shortly be converted into a tasting room and office area. The foundation of the cow barn next to the tent will then become the winery. Currently, wines are fermented and aged down the road at Newport Vineyards.
The family began selling grapes in 1982, and in 1993 decided to create their own wines. They grow Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Cayuga, and have begun Cabernet Franc as well. We walked up through the vineyards, admiring both the fully grown Chardonnay vines as well as some more freshly planted vines, which will not bear fruit for a few years.
Chardonnay Vines in the Summer Sun
Greenvale takes a great deal of care with their grapes. They prune in the winter, then thin the vines out a bit in May. In late June they again thin the vines, and in August they even trim the foliage to let the most light in at the grapes. By September and October, the grapes are finally ready for picking and processing.
We found our way back to the tasting tent, where Maggie and her husband, the winemaker, poured out the wines onto an elegant lace-tableclothed table. We sipped our wines in the gorgeous summer breeze, chatting about each one.
First came their 1996 Chardonnay. We were told that 1996 wasn't an ideal growing season in Portsmouth, but the Chardonnay had a nice Chablis feel to it - minerally, light, with a green apple taste to it. It was a pale yellow color.
The 1996 Chardonnay Select was made with their oldest vines, planted in 1983. This was also pale yellow, but had been aged in newer oak. It was fruitier than the standard 1996, with a crisp, grapefruit flavor.
Next, the 1997 Chardonnay. Apparently 1997 was an excellent year for grapes here, and the wine showed it. Showing a pale yellow color, it was oakier and smoother than the 96s. It also had the grapefruit flavor, with a slight bit of a yeasty flavor, and was fresh tasting.
The 1997 Vidal Blanc was fruity, with a peach and nectarine flavor to it. There was also a hint of banana to this wine.
Last, the 1997 Skipping Stone White is their most popular wine. This is 90% Cayuga and 10% Vidal, made in a riesling style. It tasted of fruits - apricot, cherry, and green apple. It was semi-sweet and quite tasty.
They also have a Cabernet Franc from 1997, but that won't be released until around the holidays.
Refreshed with wine, we wandered up through the vineyards, taking pictures of the gorgeous view out over the water. You can Look through the Photo Album to see the various other pictures taken during this walk. We bought four bottles for our upcoming labrusca wine tasting (involving typical east coast US grapes), and headed out on our way. If you're down in the Rhode Island area, definitely make this one of your stops!
Visited on 06/28/99
All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.