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.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hudson Valley Wines Wow American Wine Society of Northern New Jersey!

There will be a special wine tasting hosted by the NJ Meadowlands chapter and will take place at the Award winning wine school MAKE WINE WITH US located at 21 Currie Ave. Wallington, NJ (less than 2 miles from Giants Stadium).
March 26th Thursday 7:00pm- 9:00pm Hudson Valley Wines 

The event was hosted at MAKE WINE WITH US near the Meadowlands in New Jersey. A great pace with state of the art facilities. I tasted some their wines. Great stuff! Had an absolute ball! If you want to make wine and live in New Jersey, this would be a great place.

Danny Klein was our host. He's the regional VP of the American Wine Society, and an all around great guy. I have met Danny at numerous events and we always seem to hit it off. He's an incredibly accomplished guy and very knowledgeable about wine.

The tasting was also sponsored by the Hudson Valley Wine Country!

Here's part of the crowd assembling. More came to join.

For the whites were started off with:
True Thirst Hard Apple Cider
Hudson-Chatham Seyal Blanc Block 1 2013
Tousey Chardonnay 2013
Whitecliff Chardonnay Reserve 2013

All these wines were very well received. The True Thirst was a nice shocker for the crowd. This cider, made at Brotherhood in Washingtonville, NY, is a dry cider and many in the crowd compared it favorably with sparkling wine. The Hudson-Chatham Seyval was a nice surprise, as many in the crowd were not familiar with the grape. The two chardonnays were a big hit, and contrasted nicely - the Tousey was fresh and bright and the Whitecliff was extremely elegant with slightly more oak.

Tousey Pinot Noir 2013
Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines 2013
Millbrook Cabernet Franc 2013
Whitecliff Estate Cabernet Franc 2013
Hudson-Chatham Empire 2012
Brookview Station Estate Frontenac

The crowd loved the red wines from the Hudson Valey! Tousey Pinot was a big favorite, and the Hudson-Chatham Baco was a real crowd pleaser. Both Cabernet Francs, from Millbrook and from Whitecliff, were both very, very impressive. The Hudson-Chatham Empire was another favorite, and the Frontenacwas the sleeper. Again, few had ever had it, but compared it to a blend of Syrah and Petite Verdot. It showed beautifully!

It was a very successful tasting, and many said they would be up in the spring and summer to sample more wines in the valley. A great time was had by all, and I could not have been more excited!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Albany Times-Union, Bill Dowd Like Hudson-Chatham Leon Millot Release

Times Union

‘Leon Millot’ spring release for Hudson-Chatham Winery
Albany Times-Union

GHENT — The Hudson-Chatham Winery plans to usher in spring by releasing a new wine from noon to 5 p.m. tasting room hours on Saturday.

The wine is a Leon Millot, made from the French-American hybrid grape of that name that produces a soft, full-bodied dry wine with notes of cranberry and pomegranate. Winery owner Carlo DeVito suggests pairing it “with earthy spring foods like lamb, ham, egg dishes, and pared-down pastas. And sitting in the sunshine.”

Leon Millot was created in 1911 in the Oberlin Institute in Colmar, Alsace, by the French viticulturist Eugène Kuhlmann by crossing the hybrid grape Millardet et Grasset 101-14 O.P. with Goldriesling. The variety was named after the winemaker and tree nursery owner Léon Millot. The blue-skinned grape, which has small berries and small clusters, ripens early and has high resistance against fungal diseases, making it suitable for cool-climate cultivation. Many winemakers also have found it a versatile grape that can be used to produce a bigger wine similar to a ripe Syrah, or a lighter wine more in the style of Pinot Noir.

In addition to featuring the new wine, the tasting room also will be featuring baguettes, whole wheat soda bread, bagels and other baked goods from the Bread & Honey Bakery of Albany. Hudson-Chatham Winery is located about midway between its two namesake towns at 1900 Route 66 in this Columbia County community.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Wine Enthusiast Highlights Four Hudson Valley Producers for Best Reds in New York State

The Hudson Valley scored again big time with the publishing of a list in Wine Enthusiast of the best red wines of New York state. Hudson Valley wineries were highlighted as well, including Cereghino-Smith, Hudson-Chatham Winery, Tousey Winery, and Whitecliff Vineyards! 
"Ranging from earth- and cherry-flavored Cabernet Franc to a variety of blends, New York's red wines run the gamut in flavor and quality offerings. Step out of your West Coast comfort zone and seek out these selections, a mere fraction of the offerings coming from this red-hot wine scene," wrote Anna Lee C. Iijima in her article 24 Red Wines From New York State in Wine Enthusaist. 

Cereghino Smith 2012 Eaten by Bears (New York), $19; 86 points. Luscious aromas of blackberry and blueberry pie filling are touched by hints of tar and crushed stone on this bold, ruddy blend of Syrah and Petit Verdot. Ripe black cherry and berry flavors are straightforward, but juicy and pleasurable. It finishes with a kiss of heat. —A.I.

Hudson-Chatham 2011 Empire Reserve Red (New York), $25; 85 points. Ruddy, primary red cherry and berry notes persist from nose to finish on this blend of Baco Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Ripe black-fruit flavors are fleshy and ripe on the palate, but demure in concentration and length. —A.I.

Whitecliff Vineyard 2012 Reserve Gamay Noir (Hudson River Region), $21; 90 points. Granite and red cherry notes are reminiscent of fine Beaujolais in this surprisingly tasty Hudson River Gamay. Cranberry and cherry flavors are tangy and revitalizing, nuanced by fresh herbs and leaves. It’s elegant and sprightly through a moderately long finish. —A.I.

Tousey 2012 Pinot Noir (Hudson River Region), $26; 88 points. Fleshy, ripe black cherry notes persist throughout this bold, robustly concentrated Pinot Noir. It’s unrestrained in it’s fruity, forward style, but touches of menthol and bright sour-cherry acidity lend balance. The finish is moderately long, with a touch of heat. —A.I.
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Friday, March 06, 2015

Tuthilltown Spirits - More Than A Distillery - An Experience

I've posted about a half dozen times about Tuthilltown distillery. I have long been a fan. But I was not able to get down there until last October. Unfortunately, it's taken me that long to do a piece on them. My apologies to Ralph Erenzo.

Ralph Erenzo was not the first to distill in New York state Nor was he the first to distill in the Hudson Valley. But he was the first to take it to a whole new level. Brandies and Eau de Vie's had been distilled in the valley for years. But Erenzo secured a distilling license and he blew the lid off the distilling industry by breaking one wall down after another. He distiller rye which hadn;t been done in New York state for who knows how many years. He distilled Bourbon. It was preposterous at the time he did it - who did he think he was kidding distilling bourbon outside of the sacred grounds of Kentucky and Tennessee? And he got so big, so fat, that UK whiskey giant Grants offered him a partnership deal that was too sweet to turn down! Today, no one talks about distilling in New York state without seeking his opinion or advice. Ralph is an impressive guy!

Before Prohibition more than 1,000 farm distillers produced alcohol from New York grains and fruits. In 2005 Tuthilltown Spirits brought the tradition of small batch spirits production back to the Hudson Valley.

For 220 years Tuthilltown Gristmill, a landmark which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, used waterpower to render local grains to flour. In 2001 Ralph Erenzo and Vicki Morgan acquired the riverfront property. In 2003, Ralph Erenzo and Brian Lee created Tuthilltown Spirits LLC. They converted one of the mill granaries to a micro-distillery. Two and a half years later, Tuthilltown Spirits produced their first batches of vodka from scraps they collected at a local apple slicing plant.

Today, Tuthilltown Spirits distills vodka from apples grown at orchards less than five miles away and the highly awarded Hudson Whiskey line, using grain harvested by farmers less than ten miles away.  The Visitor Center offers guests the opportunity to taste the collection of whiskeys, vodkas, gins, liqueurs, and other unique, handmade spirits.  Tours illustrate how Tuthilltown’s spirits are made by hand, one batch at a time.  Guests are encouraged to stay for the day and enjoy the family-friendly environment. The onsite restaurant, The Gristmill at Tuthilltown, serves homemade, American cuisine, featuring prime steaks, grass-fed beef, seafood and locally grown produce in the historic 1788 gristmill. Executive Chef Jared Krom’s menu is inspired by  modern American cooking, showcasing fresh, local artisan products and ingredients of the Hudson Valley.
Innovation at Tuthilltown is snowballing thanks to the input of over 50 hardworking and creative team members. New products, cocktails, dishes, and tour improvements are brought to fruition each week.   Tuthilltown Spirits is proud to have been the early bird in the post-prohibition New York distilling scene.  The team is now at the forefront of the craft distilling movement and is quickly building legacy of sustainable growth.

"The 2007 Farm Distillery Act let farms become full-on distilleries with doors flung open to tourist-friendly tasting rooms. When Ralph Erenzo founded Tuthilltown Spirits in 2003, he was the only farm-based distiller in the state. Thanks to this legislation, just a few years later New York boasts over 40, with many more fermenting,"wrote Gabrielle Langholtz in Edible Manhattan.

"[In] entrepreneurial man named Ralph Erenzo, who had moved from Manhattan to the Hudson Valley, was researching the possibility of booze-making and discovered a little-known 2000 law on the books that allowed locavore micro-distilling at a greatly reduced licensing rate. The state had slashed the $65,000 distilling permit to just $1,500 — so long as the producer was a little guy, making less than 35,000 gallons a year," wrote Amy E. Zavatto in Edible Manhattan. "This became the precursor for Erenzo’s grand opus: helping to create a new law that would become the 2007 Farm Distillery Act, which would let farms become full-on distilleries with doors flung open to tourist-friendly tasting rooms. When Erenzo founded Tuthilltown Spirits in 2003, he was the only farm-based distiller in the state. Thanks to the changes in those laws and a new attitude in Albany, just a few years later New York boasts over 40, with many more fermenting."

OK, enough. To my tasting! The funny thing was, I felt like going to Ralph's place was a must, but a little redundant. I'd pretty much already had a lot of his stuff. They called the tasting room the visitor's center, which I found odd at the beginning, but by the end, I was hooked. To call it a tasting room is mundane. To undergo the Tuthilltown experience was another thing. The first thing I tried was the Noble Handcrafted Tonic 1 Barrel Aged Maple Syrup Absolutely fantastic! Rich, multi-layer, and absolutely fantastic! Brought home a bottle of this asap!

The tasting room is spacious, but never  isolating, as sometimes large ones can be. Instead it is very well merchandised and full of very fun bric-a-brac. Many fun souvenirs to take home! And plenty of nooks and crannies that one never feels like they are in a giant, cavern like room. And the service at the bar was excellent!

Tuthilltown sends used Hudson Whiskey barrels to Woods Syrup, a Vermont maple producer that ages syrup in those same barrels, decants them, then sends them back to Tuthilltown. At that point Tuthilltown finishes off a small selection of rye in the used casks. For those who like their rye unadulterated, I say, bugger off. I loved this one. If you're a bourbon person, you'll love this rye. It's got a hint of caramel and maple and just a slight, slight hint of sweetness that takes the edge off what is regular rye. LOVED this!

I am a bourbon guy, so I am a sucker and geek for this one. Tuthilltown's Four Grain Bourbon Whiskey is a blend of corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley melded into a micro-batch artisanal bourbon whiskey. They use whole grain fermentation hoping to ensure a more rounded mouthfeel. The tasting notes cite praline and vanilla - and they absolutely come through. They fell this is an “easy sipping” whiskey, and I quite agree. Lovely!

This is Tuthilltown's historic Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey. This is a brown, spicy elixir, rich and warm. Hints of cereal, toast, and butter, but with abounding aromas of honey, pepper, and cinnamon, as well as a touch of old apple. My go to rye for a Manhattan! A fabulous spirit!

The Hudson Valley produces more artisanal cassis than anywhere else in North America. Tuthilltown makes an incredible cassis! Unlike some of the winemakers, this cassis is a distilled product! The black currants are organically grown, hand-harvested local fruit. The fruit macerates with raw cane sugar in a neutral spirit for 4 months in Tuthilltown Whiskey-cured barrels. Big, big dark currant flavors with wonderful acidity. A lip-smacking treat!

I love Half Moon Orchard Gin made from fresh New York state apples and New York state wheat. Fresh, bright, zesty, with a hint of apples and juniper. Fantastic. Makes for an awesome G&T!

Indigenous is a new line of vodkas made from locally grown produce. Indigenous Empire State Wheat Vodka is distilled from 100% NY State wheat. A lovely, fresh vodka that's almost creamy. A fabulous mixer!  Indigenous Fresh Pressed Apple Vodka is made from 100% Hudson Valley apples grown at Tantillo’s Farm and other local orchards, just miles from the distillery. After the apples are pressed and the cider is fermented, each batch is distilled twice. Hints of apple absolutely come through, but not heavy. This is a great martini gin!

The visitor center has a large deck outside. It was a crappy day when I was there, I didn't much feel like hanging out there, but in the summer and fall it must be absolutely gorgeous!

HOWEVER...I was drawn to their on-site restaurant! I walked into a lovely greeting room, and was told I could have a table or sit at the br. I absolutely chose the bar.

I sat at the well stocked bat an had a Manhattan made with Tuthilltown rye! Absolutely superb. And I had it with a side order of fries and a dipping sauce! Very nice!

Going to Tuthilltown isn't just going to another tasting room. I understand why they call it a visitor center! It's fun, exciting, and it's an's not just a tasting bar! And I really appreciated that! And you will to! It's a must go!

Read Amy Zavatto's piece in Edible Manhattan:

James Rodewald, author of American Spirit, to Lead Dinner at Tuthilltown March 11, 2015


Session 4: James Rodewald, author of American Spirit: An Exploration of the Craft Distilling Revolution.
Tuthill House at the Mill
20 Grist Mill Lane, Gardiner, NY 12525
When: Wednesday, March 11, 2015 from 7pm-9pm
Entry: $50 per person (includes tax and gratuity)

Detail: Explore 5 craft spirits produced by Tuthilltown and other leaders in the Craft Distilling Revolution, as featured in James’ book. Each spirit will be served neat or in a cocktail and paired with delicious bites created by Executive Chef, Jared Krom.

James Rodewald, veteran journalist and former Drinks Editor at Gourmet Magazine, traveled the country talking to the men and women at the heart of this remarkable industry about the challenges they face, the rewards of their hard work, and the delicious spirits they make.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED.  Please call 845-255-1527 and press 2 for the restaurant or make reservations online at

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Hudson Valley Wineries Come Up Big in March 2015 Wine Enthusiast!

In the latest issue of Wine enthusiast (March 2015) Hudson Valley red wines come up BIG once again!! Millbrook lead he way with a score of 89 Points for their Cabernet Franc 2012 Proprietor's Reserve, followed by Glorie Farm Winery with an 87 for their estate Cab Franc, and then followed by an 87 for Millbrook's New York Cabernet Franc. Hudson-Chatham also received an 87 for their Merlot 2011.
Great job!


Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Nittany Epicurean - Well Made Baco Does Exist - Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines 2011

Well-Made Baco Noir Does Exist
Nittany Epicurean
Michael Chelus
I'm a wine lover. That's no surprise to any of you. I have my favorites, but I'm always open to new varietals and blends. Some are favorites that I go to time and time again. Others rubbed me the wrong way one or more times and I tend not to return, for better or for worse. 

One such varietal of the latter category is baco noir - a French-American hybrid varietal commonly seen in the Northeast United States (especially in New York) and Canada. It's usually light to medium-bodied, offers good acidity and has lots of ripe red fruit notes. Unfortunately, I've never had a baco noir that I really liked. I've had several from New York and more from Ontario over the years and I've never been fond of them. The color was frequently dull in the ones I've had over the years. The wine often contained excessive acidity and lacked any balance. Most of the baco noir I've had in the past ended up being lackluster and very thin. While it wasn't awful, I was not convinced that the grape could make a good wine.

For some time, I've had an ongoing discussion about whether baco noir can, indeed, make a good wine with Duncan Ross, president and co-owner of Arrowhead Spring Vineyards in Lockport, New York. Duncan has told me time and time again that when grown properly and made with a deft touch, baco noir can turn into well-made, complex, interesting wine. No one said it's going to compete with world class pinot noir, but it can be a high quality wine that shows off what a cool climate has to offer.

Last weekend, Duncan poured several examples of baco noir to prove his point. This one particularly supported his point:

2011 Hudson-Chatham Old Vines Baco Noir - Masson Place Vineyard - Pulteney Farm (Ghent, New York).

This wine has received quite a bit of acclaim, including from one source that I'm admittedly biased toward as a contributor - the New York Cork Report. The grapes are from vines that are over 60 years old. The wine is handmade and aged in French oak. It is unfined and unfiltered.

This baco noir had a "typical baco" nose, as described by Jim Baker of Chateau Niagara in Newfane, New York. I then pushed Jim to describe that further and use few words. He narrowed it down to a very precise and accurate description - red currants. Jim was spot on! The nose had a hefty dose of juicy, ripe red fruit, especially red currant. The wine had great structure and an oak backbone. It was well balanced and offered ample acidity that would lend it incredibly well to food pairing, especially with things like roasted or grilled pork and lamb. This was much better than the poorly-made versions I had before. I was converted - baco noir can made good wine.
Read more from Nittany Epicurean: