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A Riesling from the South Coast of Mass.


It hasn't been out on the shelves for a while, so when I recently spotted a Westport Rivers bottle I grabbed it so I could tell you about it.

Bob and Carol Russell are the owners of this Massachusetts winery and vineyard. They are descendants of German winemakers who came first to upstate New York. In 1982, after careful searching, Bob and Carol bought a property in Westport, near the ocean on the Bay State's South Coast. It wasn't just a whim, or a spot they happened to like. It was based on a painstaking study of soil and the wider influence of climate.

The vineyard was built from a 140-acre farm called "Long Acre." The family approached the vineyard with a sense of stewardship. In fact, they have a "Stewardship Statement" in which they express their belief that land is "not truly owned but rather temporarily gifted and to be used in a fashion honoring those who came before and those who follow afterward."

Now, when I encountered Westport Rivers the other day, the Riesling was the only one on the shelf, but it is certainly not the only one they make. Their line includes Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, Rkatsitelli, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir Rosť and Pinot Noir. They are also champagne makers of distinction.

This is a far more extensive list than the last time I had checked in with them a few years ago, and I think the next time I am in the New Bedford/Fall River area I am definitely going to pay them a visit.

And speaking of that area, it's part of the Southeastern New England American Viticultural Area, which was founded in 1984 and runs from Cape Cod down through the Connecticut coast.Westport Rivers 2012 Riesling, Westport, Mass. $21.89. I'm searching, but I don't see alcohol by volume listed anywhere on the label. Good Rieslings are usually not overbearing in their alcohol and this one certainly isn't. I would guess it's around 9 to 10 percent. The wine is a bright, clear, medium-intensity gold with some lemon hints in the glass. The condition of the nose is clean and of medium intensity with a rich aroma including pear, green apple, hints of tropical fruit and citrus. It's dry, with medium acidity, low tannin and just a little bit of spritz that gives it some zest. It is medium-plus in body with medium-plus flavor intensity that reflects the nose, with the tropical fruit coming through a bit more, hints of melon, along with the green apple and pear, as well as citrus. The finish is medium to long and it holds the flavor profile right to the end. Good quality, and ready to drink now. 86 points.

Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh@aol.com.

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