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Local Wines – Sweet Baby Vineyard’s Kensington White

September 4, 2010

I’m amazed that there are small vineyards and wineries sprouting up all round me, along the coast of New Hampshire and down east into coastal Maine. Some are beginning to make names for themselves regionally (Flagg Hill in Lee and Jewell Town in South Hampton, for example) while others are hidden gems that few are yet aware of (Brian and Allie Smith at Oyster River Winegrowers in Warren Me, my favorite winemakers in New England, fall into this category) outside of their local market. Sweet Baby Vineyard is more representative of the latter.

I first discovered their wines at the weekly Saturday morning farmer’s market in Portsmouth this summer. Lewis Eaton, the winemaker, was attending his small inauspicious booth, displaying several of his fruit based wines (strawberry, peach, etc.) and I stopped by to say hi. I asked him about his wines and gave him an opportunity to pitch me. I’m not really a fan of fruit wines – I find them generally one dimensional and lacking balance – but he had some nice things to say about his Kensington White so I purchased a bottle for $10.00 and took it home for dinner that evening.

We ate outside on our screened porch overlooking our gardens and meadows on an evening at the height of the summer. Pam made a lovely salad for dinner, most of it from our garden or from the day’s purchases at the farmer’s market. The wine needed to be chilled and, just in case I stuck a bottle of NZ sauvignon blank in fridge.

We opened the bottle, poured out a little and took a whiff. Amazing…….. All I could smell was a floral bouquet. So into the mouth and an explosion of fruit. Although slightly sweet for my palate, and certainly lacking the acidity and complexity of that NZ sauvignon blanc, it was wonderful. I can’t tell you what grapes are in it; if I had to guess it’s a meritage of chardonney, and seyval blank but I’m going to ask Lewis and I’ll update this once I know.

We enjoyed the whole bottle that evening and ended up staying outside till the sun went away around 8:30, watching the birds in the meadow and the bees on the menarda next to the porch.

The next time I saw Lewis at the farmer’s market, I bought a case.

Check out Sweet Baby Vinyard when you have a chance and are in seacoast NH.

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