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

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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 has been a published executive for more than 20 years. He shepherded the wine book program of Wine Spectator as well as worked with Kevin Zraly, Oz Clarke, Matt Kramer, Tom Stevenson, Evan Dawson, Greg Moore, Howard Goldberg, and many other wine writers. He has also published Salvatore Calabrese, Jim Meehan, Clay Risen, and Paul Knorr. Mr. DeVito is the inventor of the mini-kit which has sold more than 100,000,000 copies world wide. He has also publisher such writers as Stephen Hawking, E. O Wilson, Philip Caputo, Gilbert King, James McPherson, John and Mary Gribbin, Thomas Hoving, David Margolick, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., John Edgar Wideman, Stanley Crouch, Dan Rather, Dee Brown, Susie Bright, and Eleanor Clift. He is also the owner of Hudson-Chatham Winery, co-founder of the Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail, and president of the Hudson Valley Wine Country.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Chatham Courier: Tousey, Hudson-Chatham Come Up Big in Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Wine Enthusiast in their October, November, and December issues reviewed a number of Hudson Valley wines. Tousey Winery, in Germantown, NY, and Hudson-Chatham Winery in Ghent, NY, both came up big. Here's the Chatham Courier's report on both wineries recent successes! Congrats to both!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Brunel & Rafael - A Great New Producer in the Hudson Valley

OK, so I went down to the Shawangunk wine trail and I found a brand new producer you really need to check out....Brunel & Rafael. This is a small production boutique winery. It's located not too far from Benmarl, Stoutridge, and other centrally located wineries in Marlboro. The winery's name is a combination of the grandfather Brunel and the grandson, Rafael. Kristop Brown is the winemaker/consultant.

It's set up in a house in a fairly residential area. But the inside is completely lovely! Beautiful antiques and butter yellow walls. Extremely handsome.

The first wines I tried was the Merlot Rose 2012. This is New York fruit and had a nose of strawberry and baguette. Lovely on the palate with light cherry and lime coming through. A fresh, zesty finish.

The Chardonnay 2012 is Hudson Rer Region fruit, which I was very excited to see. A lovely, elegant chardonnay. Bright crisp apple, hints of pear and melon with a lovely finish. Barrel fermented but not overly heavy, like you might expect. Nice nose. Pretty mouthfeel, but still fairly lean. Really lovely!

This Hudson Rver Region Pinot Noir 2012 instantly became one of my favorites! Beautiful bright and ripe cherries explode out of the glass and across the palate. This is a brilliant Pinot noir. Absolutely fabulous! This single wine is why you must come to taste this vineyard. Stellar!

A classic, lovely Cabernet Franc with dark cherries and No. 2 pencils. Good fruit gives was to a solid middle an a nice dry finish Complex. Balanced. Very nice.

For my money, the Chardonnay 2012 an the Pinot Noir 2012 were instantly join the ranks of some of the better wines in the Hudson Valley. This was amazing wine. Also, tasted but not pictured was their Gewurztraminer 2012. Hugely floral, like a bouquet of tropical fruit and flowers! Absolutely stunning. Another great reason to come down!

A lovely, classic Merlot. Lots of dark cherry, dark raspberry and vanilla. Very nice. Very respectable. A good, solid medium-bodied dry red table wine. By the numbers. Well done.

On the whole, the tasting was a great success. Great early stuff from a new, quality focused producer. Very exciting. Get on down there!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Hudson-Chatham Winery announced this weekend the introduction of two new collaboration beers that included several area businesses.  The Vassar Cup award-winning Chatham Brewing, the Beer Diviner of Stephentown, NY, and Vasilow’s Confectionery in Hudson, NY.
With the introduction of numerous new laws enacted by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Liquor Authority, wineries are now allowed to sell locally brewed beers. Hudson-Chatham Winery was not only interested in selling new beers, but in taking it a step further.
Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines was recently named among the best wines for the Holidays in the December 2014 issue of Wine Enthusiast
Carlo DeVito explained, “Collaboration beers are very hot in the brewing industry, and numbers of small craft businesses are pooling their efforts to make really cool special, exclusive, small production products. We wanted to sell beer, but we didn’t want to start carrying a lot of other people’s products. We wanted to do something unique, something special to the winery. I am a beer editor and enthusiast, and we at the winery decided to consult with some of our local brewing brethren. We’d already done a very successful Grappa with Harvest Spirits, so another collaboration project was a worthwhile endeavor.”
According to Imbibe magazine, “the past decade or so has seen a variety of brands partnering up. Many are small-batch productions, only available at the brewery or in its immediate area, but some have brought together bigger breweries with wider distribution.”
Jake Cunningham, Tom Crowell, and Matt Perry
“I first approached owners Jake Cunningham and Tom Crowell, and Master Brewer Matt Perry at Chatham Brewing about doing it. And they were instantly excited. We were thrilled. Chatham-Brewing is an award-wining brewery with a lot of awards behind them, and they are literally brewed on Main Street, in Chatham, NY. They have been a partner with us for years. We were thrilled. Matt was the man in charge of the project. He was really into it. I have a lot of respect for Matt as a Brew Master. And it’s very exciting watching him as Chatham Brewing continues to grow.”
Jonathan Post and the staff at Beer Diviner
“I also approached Dr. Jonathan Post at the Beer Diviner in Stephentown, NY, and mentioned to him what we were doing with Chatham Brewing. Jonatahan and I have many shared interest. He’s an Eglish professor and has spent extensive time in Africa, where he was named the Beer Diviner in a local ritual in Dagara, in Africa. He too was interested. We kicked around a couple of ideas.  And he went to work.”

The two resulting beers?
CHATHAM BREWING 8 BARREL RESERVE - Vassar Cup winning Chatham Brewing’s famous 8 Barrel Reserve is a big, strong brown ale, but this special batch was aged in Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir barrels for six months. The dark sour cherry, French Oak, and spice show beautifully. A collaboration product which shows real local terroir. It is only available at Hudson-Chatham Winery and Chatham-Brewing’s tasting room on Main Street.
BEER DIVINER HUDSON-CHATHAM STAGECOACH PORTER - The Beer Diviner of Stephentown, NY custom created a special blend with Hudson-Chatham in mind. This is a big caramel porter made using caramel from Vasilow’s Confectionery in Hudson, NY and aged in a Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir barrel. Big, dark, and filled with toffee and other spices. Almost a hint of dark cream sherry.
“Collaboration is fun, but intoxicating. I was constantly asking poor Matt if it was ready yet. I felt like Mars Blackmon, “Is it brewed yet, money? Is it brewed?” He was incredibly patient. I was like a little kid. Even when I was ready, he was like, wait, wait, it’s getting better flavor,” said DeVito.
Jim Vasilow and wife, Kate, of Vasilow's Confectionery
“And we came up with the idea of a caramel porter type beer with Jonathan, we had to buy caramel. We decided to use real caramel as a sugar which we sourced from Vasilow’s Confectionery, in Hudson, NY. It came in giant, fragrant blocks. They were like humongous Sugar Daddys. I just wanted to bite right into them.  It’s very exciting to see these beers finally hit the market. We started the 8 Barrel as long ago as May of 2014. So it has taken a while. But the results are very much worth having waited.”
Hudson-Chatham Winery was the first winery and local craft beverage producer in Columbia County. Chatham Brewing was the first brewer in Columbia county, and celebrated their eighth year in business in November 2014. The Beer Diviner has been a staple of the local beer industry for several years and is in the process of expansion.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hudson-Chatham, Whitecliff, and Millbrook Make Top Wines of 2014 from Passionate Foodie

Richard Auffrey is a Boston based food, wine, and spirits writer. His Passionate Foodie column is a popular blog. He also writes for other publications. Congrats to Hudson-Chatham Winery, Whitecliff Vineyards, and Millbrook Vineyards.

2014: Top Ten Wines Over $15
What were some of my favorite wines of the past year?

Welcome to my second Top Ten Wine List. Yesterday, I posted my Top Ten Wines Under $15, which I hope you enjoyed and found useful. Now it is time for my Top Ten Wines Over $15, though these wines also cost less than $50. In actuality, I have listed twelve wines, pairing three similar ones together from the same importer.

Like the prior list, this list includes wines that not only did I enjoy, but which I also found to be particularly compelling for various reasons. They might be especially delicious, something more unique or just excellent values for the price. They all stand out, for some particular reason, above the other wines at this price point that I have tasted this past year.

This is a purely subjective list, based on my own preferences, and makes no claims about being the "best" wines out there. It is primarily the wines which spoke to me the loudest, even when they were subtle wines. These are all wines that I highly recommend and which I believe many other wine lovers will also enjoy.

The wines are not listed in any particular order and each choice is linked to my more detailed prior review. All of these wines are worth your consideration but please also note that the prices are approximations and the actual price may vary in your area. In addition, some of the wines might not be available in your local area, though you might be able to order them from the winery or an online store, dependent on your state's shipping laws.

1)  NV Vermut LaCuesta ($20)
At the Mohegan Sun WineFest, one of my favorite wines of the entire event was this impressive Spanish Vermouth. Tempranillo is the base of this fortified wine, and it presented with an intriguing herbal taste with only mild bitter elements and hints of sweetness. I tasted some of it on its own, as well as in a glass with ice, and in both instances, it was impressive. It is well balanced, and would be delicious on its own or in a cocktail. Highly recommended.

2) 2010 Inspiracion Valdemar Tempranillo Blanco ($30)
Made from 100% Tempranillo Blanco, a mutation of Tempranillo and only discovered relatively recently, this Spanish wine was aged on the lees in first year French oak. With a dark gold color, this wine had aromas and flavors of tropical fruits, accompanied by hints of honey, herbs and a touch of citrus. It possessed a very intriguing taste, good acidity and a long,pleasing finish. It is a wine to slowly sip and savor, though it pairs well with food too. A stunner of a wine.

3) Alexander Jules Sherries ($45)
Alexander Jules, kind of a negociant company, seeks out special Spanish sherry barrels, creating fascinating blends. I tasted their first three sherries, the Fino 22/85, Manzanilla 17/71, and Amontillado 6/26. All three were stunning examples, presenting plenty of complex and delicious flavors. These are Sherries to slowly enjoy each delectable taste, relishing the wonders found within each glass. I placed these three together because they are all special, share similar characteristics, and showcase the palate of the company's owner, Alexander Russan. These are the best sherries I have tasted all year.

4) Quinta de Santa Eufemia 10 Year Old White Port ($30)
A blend of Malvasia Fina, Gouveio, Moscatel Galego, and Rabigato, this aged White Port, a rare category, has a beautiful amber color. It possesses an alluring nose of floral and herbal notes, and on the palate the taste is complex and intriguing, a bit of an oxidative style. It has a tough of honeyed sweetness though it finishes dry, and the finish lingers long in your mouth. It is surely a Port to slowly savor, enjoying the multitude of flavors that pass over your palate.

5) 2008 José Maria da Fonseca Domini Plus ($40)
A blend of 65% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz, & 15% Touriga Nacional, this Portuguese red wine spends about 12 months in new French oak. It possesses plenty of complexity and flavor, creating an elegant and enticing wine, that is still powerful yet restrained. This is a perfectly balanced wine, one to slowly sip and savor, thinking on everything to be found within your glass. It is an amazing wine, well worth the price, and which might cost twice as much in any other wine region.

6) 2011 Moric Blaufränkisch Reserve ($45)
This is am Austrian wine which stunned me with its complex pleasures. Each sip seemed to bring out different elements, from its blend of red and black fruits, to its strong minerality. There are intriguing notes of spice, herbs and even chocolate. The tannins are moderate but not overwhelming, and the wine lingers for quite a long time on your palate. One glass won't be enough for you, and this is a wine to impress your friends. Highly recommended.

7) Dopff et Irion NV Crémant D'Alsace Brut Rosé ($17)
This Alsatian Brut Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir and I likened it to a dish of strawberries and cream. Though dry and crisp, there was a rich creaminess to the wine, with plenty of delicious red fruit flavors, including plenty of strawberry. Complex and with a lingering finish, I found this to be a compelling wine, as well as an excellent value for the price.

8) 2012 Vina Koyle Gran Reserva Carmenere ($16.99)
This Chilean wine is a blend of 86.5% Carmenere, 8% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2.5% Petite Verdot. With a nose of black fruit and spice, I found this to be an elegant wine, with a delicious melange of black fruit, spice, minerality and hints of tobacco. It was silky smooth, with a long, satisfying finish. At this price, it is a good value for its complexity and quality.

9) 2013 Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines ($18.95)
Made from 60 year old vines, this wine is made in Hudson Valley, New York, and was complex and intriguing, presenting a delicious melange of flavors, including ripe plum, blueberry, black cherry, vanilla and baking spices. It possessed a silky feel, was well balanced and had a lingering and pleasing finish. It may be a hybrid grape, but that shouldn't deter you from enjoying the high quality of this compelling wine.

10) 2012 Fausse Piste "Garde Manger" Syrah ($25)
A blend of Syrah from five vineyards in the Columbia Valley, there might be a tiny percentage of Viognier too. From your first sniff of the aromas of this wine, you'll probably be hooked. It possesses an alluring nose, a complex blend of appealing aromas, including lush fruit and a prominent earthiness. It brought to my mind wines from the Rhône. The taste of this wine lived up to the promise of its nose, and initially you'll be impressed by the depth of flavor within this wine, the complex melange of flavors that will flood your mouth, seducing your palate. Black fruit, spice, earthiness, minerality, and even more can be found within each sip. Silky tannins lead to a lengthy and satisfying finish. Everything is in balance in this wine, and it is absolutely compelling.

This is always my toughest list to compile because there are numerous other excellent wines which I could have added. I had to ponder long over which wines to actually select for the main list, meaning that I had to eliminate other worthy wines. To give some credit to those other worthy wines, for the second year in a row, I am adding an Honorable Mention list, to reference those other wines which nearly made my Top Ten list.

Honorable Mention
2011 Planeta Cerasuolo Di Vittoria Dorilli DOCG ($32.99)
2009 Cedro Do Noval ($22)
2013 Prieuré de Montézargues Tavel Rosé ($20)
NV Willm Cremant d'Alsace Blanc de Noirs Brut ($16)
Spain occupies the most spots on my Top Ten list, with three spots and five wines. Potugal, with two spots, is the only other region which occupied multiple spots. The other regions represented include Austria, Alsace, Chile, California and New York. The list is also broken down into 1 Sparkling Wine, 1 White, 5 Reds and 5 Fortified Wines. If you look at the Honorable Mentions, you'll find wines from Italy, Portugal, France, Alsace, New York, Uruguay, and Spain.

I have plenty of other recommendations for wines at this price point on my blog. There are top notch wines from countries all over the world, made from an incredibly diverse selection of grapes and you can still find plenty of values too. My advice is that you seek out wines outside of your comfort zone. Explore the multitude of diversity in the wonderful world of wine. Taste and try anything new, unique or potentially interesting.  I am sure your search will lead to new favorites.

If you have some of your own recommendations for wines that are over $15 but under $50, please add them to the comments.

Edible Hudson Valley Profiles Coppersea Distilling

Great article about Coppersea Distilling in the Winter 2014-2015 issue by Peter Barrett. The distilling industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Very impressive. And it's nice to see it being recognized in the media. the Hudson Valley is a hotbed of distilling.

Saturday, December 06, 2014


The newest issue of Edible Hudson Valley contains a feature of Hudson Valley Winemaker Kristop Brown, who makes wine or consults for four different wineries in the valley as well as being the master brewer at Yard Owl Brewery. Kristop has a gift. He knows how to handle himself whether it's near a boiling kettle of wort or a barrel of wine. Great things just keep on coming from this incredibly talented winemaker.