Hudson River Valley Wineries
This blog is dedicated to news, events, profiles and reviews of fine food and wine in the Hudson River Valley. We especially feature and spotlight the burgeoning wineries of the Hudson River Region. We accept and will relay information about releases, events, festivals and any toher happening related to food and wine in the Hudson River Valley. Send pertitnent information to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Name: Carlo De Vito
Carlo DeVito is a long time wine lover, and author of books and magazine articles. He is the author of Wineries of the East Coast. He has traveled to wine regions in California, Canada, up and down the east coast, France, Spain and Chile. He was also a publisher at Running Press Book Publishers, where he published books from Wine Spectator, as well as books with Greg Moore (of Moore Bros.), Matt Kramer, Howard Goldberg, and many other wine writers. Mr. DeVito has also been the editor of many successful traditional trade books, including Strange Fruit by David Margolick, On the Shoulders of Giants by Stephen Hawking, and three titles by Malachy McCourt. Other authors include John and Mary Gribbin, Thomas Hoving, Philip Caputo, E. O. Wilson, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., John Edgar Wideman, Stanley Crouch, Dan Rather, Dee Brown, Susie Bright, and Eleanor Clift. He lives with his wife, pet publisher Dominique DeVito, their two sons, their two dogs, and their numerous goldfish.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
NEW YORK CORK REPORT NAMES HUDSON VALLEY FINALISTS
Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery 2008 Awosting White A blend of the region's signature white variety, seyval blanc, and one of my favorite hybrids, vignoles. It won gold at the Hudson Valley Wine Competition and when I tasted it again at Uncork New York in December, I thought it showed nice balance and fresh peach flavors with a little residual sweetness.
Millbrook Vineyards 2008 Tocai Friulano One of only a handful of Friulanos grown and made in New York, this wine is melony and grapefruity with nice balance and a longer-than-expected finish. This is a perennial favorite from the region and a wine that several readers have pointed out to me as a great wine from the Hudson Valley.
Hudson-Chatham Winery 2007 Empire Made with grapes from three vineyards in New York's three biggest wine regions blended in equal proportions — Long Island merlot, Finger Lakes cabernet franc and Hudson Valley Baco Noir. A great concept for a wine and each component contributes to the wines character.
Hudson-Chatham Winery 2008 Baco Noir Black and sour cherry lead the way with hints of vanilla, cranberry and spice beneath. It's fruity, like you'd expect, but there is a depth and a richness here that made it stand out. The finish is longer than with many bacos as well.
Clinton Vineyards NV Jubilee The last of four traditionally made sparkling wines (all based on seyval blanc) we tasted on Saturday, it left quite an impression. Made without dosage, it's bright, crisp and finishes dry. Really classy and elegant. And I'm no fan of seyval.
Brotherhood Winery NV Blanc de Blancs Made with 100% Hudson Valley-grown chardonnay, it's a little less dry (1% RS) but for $11, I don't think you can find a better BdB in New York.
A GREAT DAY WITH THE GUYS FROM BENMARL
So David Jackson and Lenn Thompson (from the NY Cork Report), Dan Rowland (Clinton Vineyards), and I went to Benmarl to visit Matt Specarelli and Kristop Brown. Matt met us in the courtyard. From there, Kristop took us on a tour of the winery. First, we went down to the old cellar of Benmarl. We walked past a Christmas tree made of wine bottles, which was placed near an old print of Mark Miller, Benmarl's founder.
In the old cellar, they keep the old bottles of wine, since Benmarl dates back to the 1950s. A large iron-bar jail-cell type door. That let you into the inner sanctum.
Kristop walked us around the winery. We saw dozens of barrels of wine maturing in the wine cellars. Then he took us to the wine making area, where in two rooms, they had a blend of old tanks and new tanks. And lots of history. Kristop was entertaining, and passionate. Maybe that's why I like Kristop so much - he's so passionate.
For the afternoon, Matt then made lunch for us. We enjoyed roasted duck, and sweet potato hash browns, as well as a plate of Hudson Valley cheeses and artisanal breads.
So, here we were, enjoying our lunch. Victor Specarelli was a ubiquitous presence around the winery. He was giving folks tours, planning weddings, and working the winery.
Dechaunac is a tricky grape. It is planted throughout the Hudson Valley. The Benmarl version is one of the subtlest I have ever had. It had the classic DeChaunac nose, but without the classic sharp cinnamon nose that comes form incorrectly made DeChaunac. It's smooth and drinkable. Approachable. Very nice. A great table wine. Fruity. Dry. Very wonderful drinking wine.
Benmarl is a old winery, that the Specarelli family is reviving. And they are doing a great job. Maybe you won't get the treatment we did. But you can taste and buy some of the same wine we did. And more. Got to Benmarl and meet Matt and Kristop. You'll be thrilled.
AN AFTERNOON WITH PHYLLIS FEDER AT CLINTON VINEYARDS
The winery has a classic tank room, that just as might be anywhere else. Save the little touches. A Princeton University banner hung on the walls. An American flag hung proudly - one with only 24 stars. These are personal touches. Who ever decorates a tank room? But it's fabulous. Your eye constantly dances around.
The room is warm and friendly on a cold January day. The wines are beautifully displayed, and the bar is very handsome and functional. And the tasting in particular is fun. And Phyllis is chatty and funny. It is a good day.
Victory White is this year's bottling of Clinton's famous Seyval Blanc. Seyval Blanc is all they grow at Clinton. They make four different kinds of sparkling wine with it, and a classic dry white table wine. In this respect, Clinton is an old fashioned winery. They make wine with one kind of grape, and they do it very well. I think their Seyval Blanc is one of the best in the Valley.
Clinton offers four sparkling wines. These are three. The Seyval Naturel is classic Seyval, as a sparkling wine. With just a hint of sugar, it's a crisp, refreshing sparkling wine, with a touch of sour green apple, almost Riesling-like. Wonderful!
Peach Gala is a Seyval based white sparkler, with a touch of peach juice to it. It's got a nose that's incredible. It smells like here are fresh peaches soaking in your glass of sparkling wine. Not incredible sweet, it does have the slightest touch of sugar. Fabulous for brunch or dessert.
Clinton also makes some wonderful fruit dessert wines. Their Cassis, as was described in one of my previous posts (see East Coast Wineries Cassis Throwdown), is exceptional, and has set the standard in the Valley for some time. They also make an excellent Raspberry and Blackberry dessert wine. They sell all three in a boxed set. A great gift package.
Ben's presence can still be felt.
We had a great afternoon with Phyllis. A wonderful time. A great experience.