So I was at the Taste of Upstate New York in Saratoga about six weeks ago, when I finally was able to taste and meet Oliva wines. They are members of the Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail. Because of work and my own responsibilities, I hadn't been able to get up there. But finally, here they were right in front of me. And of course, how ironic. I had met with Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas in Saratoga many years before, and now here, they've combined two my favorite things.
As their logo might indicate, Oliva Vineyards combines owners Debreen and Tony Oliva's passion for wine with their love of horse racing. Washington County’s most innovative winery is situated on a 150-acre thoroughbred horse farm, the only establishment in the area which combines these two pleasures.
The Oliva family also enjoys horse racing, especially at Saratoga Race Course. Truth be told, it was largely this passion that triggered the family’s move to Saratoga Springs, NY in 2006. Several fun trips in the summer – and a few fortunate trifectas – was all the push they needed.
In response to his lifelong passion for horse racing, Tony started his own racing and breeding stable in 2000. Oliva Stables, originally based in New Jersey, now calls Fort Edward, NY home. Tony’s horses, much like his wines, have also been in the winner’s circle. Oliva Stables has won races at Belmont, Aqueduct, Monmouth Park and Philadelphia Park along with generating countless moments of excitement for family and friends. In fact, the silhouette of the horse in the Oliva Vineyards logo is the silhouette of one of Tony’s favorite horses, Italydar, winning a race in 2004.
Oliva offers more than eight different wines in their very comfortable tasting room.. They are relatively new, but gathering a good reputation and a solid fan base in their home county.
There were two wines I really liked. The first was the Post Time Peach. This is a light, bright wine, with a huge peach nose and a lovely semi-sweet finish. For those who like Niagara-styled white wines, this is a wonderful summer wine, great for picnics, back porch sipping, and perfect for BBQs.
My favorite was easily Sparkling Hannah. This is a Catawba based sparkling wine. Bright pink, with a nice, steady stream of bubbles, this off-dry sparkler was a pleasant surprise. It had wonderful, bright fruit of front, a slight sweetness like a pink prosecco, and enough acidity to keep it honest. I bough a bottle of this to bring home and we had it Easter Sunday.
You know how a wine is good? It gets drunk quickly by the folks at the table. And Sparkling Hannah was the first one to go down...and easily I might add. A great celebration wine, Sparkling Hannah deserves to be in the winners circle!