The following post was taken from Upstate-Downtown by Christopher E. Matthews. Matthews has always been one of my favorite bloggers. He's objective, fair, and I like his sensibilities a lot! I find myelf reading him as much as possible. He was a judge at the recent HV Wine Competition 2013, and he blogged about his thoughts on the Hudson Valley wine scene. I've highlighted a couple of sentences within the text. THESE ARE MY HIGHLIGHTS,NOT THE AUTHOR'S. Although, they are the author's words and thoughts. A great piece, and I thoroughly suggest you read Upstate-Downtown, a fabulous blog written by two absolute pros in the food and journalism world. One of the better HV blogs! Thanks, Christopher!
- C. DeVito, Editor
at 2013 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition
September 13, 2013 by upstatedowntown
weekend I had the honor once again to be a judge at the Hudson Valley Wine and
Spirits Competition. The tasting started early on a gorgeous September morning
at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, where the golden sunshine outside was matched
by the copious gold medals awarded in the 2013 competition.
contest featured more wineries, more entries and, proportionally, much more
Gold and Double Gold winners than in recent years. In fact, over 35% of the
2013 medal winners were either Double Gold (15%, and certainly a record number)
or Gold (20.5%), compared with 19% in 2012 — a welcome sign that the quality of
wine-making in the Hudson Valley is on the rise.
also my own impression from the wines tasted in my panel, as well as from
fellow judges at this year’s competition. “I found that there were a lot of
wines I would like to take home with me,” said one of my panelists. High
praise, indeed! Apparently, local efforts via the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape
Association to raise the region’s wine quality, including rigorous peer review
of wines (aiming to identify faults) before they are released, are paying off.
And a better vintage in 2012 across New York State, compared with the 2011
“Irene” vintage, probably didn’t hurt either. (Many Hudson Valley wineries
source fruit from other New York regions; demand for local grapes exceeds
number of Gold (and Silver!) medals was a surprise, the winner of the Best
Overall Hudson Valley Wine (made with Hudson Valley fruit) was not: Millbrook
Vineyards & Winery, for its 2012 Tocai Friulano Proprietor’s Special
winning 2012 Tocai Friulano
the Hudson Valley’s flagship winery, Millbrook also won Winery of the Year for
the second year in a row. But this time, there was plenty of competition
nipping at its heels, in particular from Hudson-Chatham Winery, which won three
Double Gold’s (and nine medals in total), including its stellar 2010 Merlot
Reserve, the winner of Best in Show and Best in Category – Red Wine; and its
Bannerman’s Castle Amber Cream, which earned Best Dessert Wine.
at the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest
“America’s Oldest” Winery showed well overall, too, winning Best Sparkling for
its B-Sparkling (NV), and Best in Category – White Wine for its 2012 Riesling.
The runner-up to the Brotherhood Riesling (in a razor-thin vote) was Benmarl
Winery’s knockout 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling, a Double Gold winner from my panel
(made from Finger Lakes fruit), with pretty stone fruit on the nose and palate,
and great length.
the potential to do well in the Hudson Valley’s challenging (and chilly)
climate, so it’s heartening that the two top whites in the contest were
Riesling varietals, even if they weren’t produced with Hudson Valley fruit. And
more local plantings of Riesling will be coming on stream in the near future,
including from Millbrook.
Valley’s spirits sector is growing leaps and bounds, leveraging off the fine
local fruits and grains of the region, from farm to still. And Hudson Whiskey’s
Manhattan Rye, the only other Double Gold winner out of my panel, was the
overwhelming choice for Best Spirit — intense and complex, with notes of
vanilla, spice and dried fruit.
Whiskey's Manhattan Rye
local produce, the Hudson Valley has some excellent fruit wine producers, none
better than Baldwin Vineyards, which won Best Fruit Wine for its “Trilogy”,
made from 100% red raspberries.
A big thanks
to Debbie Gioquindo and her band of stalwart volunteers for organizing the
contest and tastings.