A blog devoted to exploring wines made from unusual grape varieties and/or grown in unfamiliar regions all over the world. All wines are purchased by me from shops in the Boston metro area or directly from wineries that I have visited. If a reviewed bottle is a free sample, that fact is acknowledged prior to the bottle's review. I do not receive any compensation from any of the wineries, wine shops or companies that I mention on the blog.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Newport Vineyards - Landot Noir

Today's wine is another local specialty. Located just a few minutes from downtown Newport, RI, Newport Vineyards cranks out a wide variety of wines made both from classic, European varieties as well as some hybrid grapes. Landot Noir falls into the latter category. Also known as Landot 4511, the grape is named for Pierre Landot, a French grape breeder who was experimenting to try to find phylloxera resistant grape varieties. It's parent grapes are Landal Noir (Landot 244) and Villard Blanc (Seyve Villard 12.375). The grape has a genetic link to a whopping eight different Vitis species as a result of its extensive parenting tree. It is not widely grown, though it is well represented in the Northeastern United States. Newport has two different bottlings containing Landot Noir: the 100% Landot bottling and the Rochambeau which is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon (I'm unsure whether their Gemini bottling contains any Landot). Under consideration here is the pure Landot Noir bottling.

These wines may be available in some liquor stores or restaurant locations around the Newport area, but your best bet is probably going straight to the winery. I picked up my bottle of the 2009 Landot Noir at the winery for $25. Information on visiting the winery can be found here.

The color of this wine is very deep. It's nearly opaque with very intense saturation and turns dark garnet at the rim. The nose is all fruit: blueberry pie, blackberry jam, dark black cherries and black plums. It's a rich, heady mix of fruits with just a touch of chocolate to round them out. In the mouth, the wine has a medium body with nice acidity and almost no tannin. "Juicy" is the word that keeps popping up in my tasting note. There are flavors of tart red cherries, blueberry compote and fresh blackberries. Where the nose has a lot of cooked fruit flavors, the palate is mostly fresh fruit with some jammy elements there. The structure for this wine comes from the acid and it's fairly well balanced. Think of a very soft petite sirah or an Australian Shiraz and you'll be on the right track.

This wine is fine just on its own, but I tasted it with steak tips wrapped in bacon and it was excellent with that as well. Red wines in the Northeastern US can be really hit or miss, but this wine connects solidly. I like to see local wineries focusing more on varieties that are suited to the harsh New England climate rather than just growing Cabernet Sauvignon (I've yet to have a decent example and am beginning to think that all CS vines north of Virginia should be uprooted immediately) or Merlot (which can be successful with special care and a the right site) because they know that somebody will buy it. The price tag is the biggest sticking point with this wine but it's unique enough where I don't really mind paying the local premium for it. Newport's selection is pretty good all the way around and is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Their unoaked Chardonnay is very good, but likely won't be getting a review here. In an upcoming post, I will be reviewing their Blaufrankish alongside a Washington State version of that wine.

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