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 hudsonriverwine@yahoo.com

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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. https://carlodevito.wordpress.com/

Friday, February 27, 2015

Hudson Valley Distillers Spirits Grove Fine Shine Applejack

 
Recently, I attended, along with a lot of other people, a great event at Hudson Valley Distillers Cocktail Grove Cocktail Lounge, an after hours mixer for the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce!! Lots of people there. Most amazingly, there was also the unveiling of a new product -Hudson Valley Distillers Spirits Grove Fine Shine Applejack.
 
 
Tom and Chris met at Bloomsburg University more than 20 years ago, and we've been talking for years about what kind of business they should start when Tom retired from his job as a police officer. Tom retired in January 2014, so they decided to stop talking and make it happen.

Tom and both their wives Jennifer and Jennifer, are gluten intolerant so beer was out. A winery seemed too capital intensive and the vines take too long to grow, so that was out. Consumer interest in locally sourced spirits and recent favorable legislation for farm distilleries in NY made a distillery the best choice. They decided to start a farm distillery, source as many ingredients as possible from our farm, and create unique, high quality distilled spirits.

In August 2012 Chris took a job where he could work from home and moved Jennifer and the boys from VA to NY. Tom retired in January and the goal was be operational in March 2014.  Their m
ission is to produce a line of unique distilled spirits from Hudson Valley ingredients. So far they have made Applejack and Vodka made from Hudson Valley apples
 
Cocktail Grove Cocktail lounge at Hudson Valley Distillers
 
Behind the bar they had fabulous help...including Jennifer, Chris's wife (right)
 
But at this particular event, they unleashed their newest spirit....Hudson Valley Distillers Spirits Grove Fine Shine Applejack. Essentially it's their version of Moonshine.
 
According to Wikipedia, "
Moonshine, white lightning, mountain dew, hooch, and white whiskey are terms used to describe high-proof distilled spirits that are generally produced illicitly. Moonshine is typically made with corn mash as the main ingredient. The word "moonshine" is believed to derive from the term "moonrakers" used for early English smugglers and the clandestine (i.e., by the light of the moon) nature of the operations of illegal Appalachian distillers who produced and distributed whiskey. The distillation was done at night to avoid discovery.

Moonshine was especially important to the Appalachian area. This white whiskey most likely entered the Appalachian region in the late 1700s to early 1800s. Scots-Irish immigrants from the Ulster region of Northern Ireland brought their recipe for their uisce beatha, Gaelic for "water of life". The settlers made their whiskey without aging it, and this is the same recipe that became traditional in the Appalachian area.

Years after these initial settlers, moonshine served as a source of income for many Appalachian residents. In early 20th century Cocke County, Tennessee, farmers made moonshine from their own corn crop in order to transport more value in a smaller load. Moonshine allowed them to bring in additional income while at the same time cutting down on transportation costs. Moonshiners in Harlan County, Kentucky, like Maggie Bailey, made the whiskey to sell in order to provide for their families.

In modern usage, the term "moonshine" ordinarily implies that the liquor is produced illegally; however, the term has also been used on the labels of some legal products as a way of marketing them as providing a similar drinking experience as found with illegal liquor.
 
Kelley Slagle f Farm to Glass Tours and HV Distillers' Chris Moyers
 
Jen (tall blonde to left) is Tom's wife. Fab crowd!

Moonshine has been the fastest growing segment of the craft distilling craze. It's become insanely popular! Hudson Valley Distiller's version of moonshine was super, super smooth. Not a lot of burn going down, but just enough. Feint whiff of apple on the nose. Easy to drink, and super for cocktails!!

Drink up! And congrats to Chris and Tom, and Jen and Jennifer!

Whitecliff Vineyard's Michael Migliore Wins Grower Award at BevNY 2015!

 
So, for anyone not in the know, there must have been some quizzical looks at the BevNY dinner when a Hudson Valley guy won the Grower Award. After all, compared to some of the size of some of the vineyards in the Finger Lakes and Long Island, or even the Niagara Escarpment, since when does the Hudson Valley offer up any competition. But those few must have been in for a shock.

Whitecliff's Michael Miglore, of the Hudson Valley, received the Grower Award from the New York Wine & Grape Foundation last night, February 26, 2015 at the BevNY Conference! The ret of New York state finally figured out what many of us in the Hudson Valley already knew - Michael is a very, very serious player in grape growing in New York state.


He is president of the Hudson Valley Wine & Grape Grower's Organization. Whitecliff have their own 26 acres. And their 30+ years of planting and experimenting in that vineyard have shaped a winery with deep roots in the region’s traditions, and helped pave the way for others in growing hybrids and viniferas in the Hudson Valley. Just recently, Whitecliff bottle what will be the first Hudson River Region Cabernet Sauvignon!

 
But Michael is not just a Hudson Valley guy or just a Whitecliff Vineyard guy. He manages a lot of smaller vineyards up and don the valley. He is the valley's biggest grower, and he plans on expanding even after that. And he has his hand in vineyards in Long Island and around the state. Michael is a serious mover of grapes in New York state.

 
Whitecliff Vineyard has been acknowledged as “one of the Valley’s most ambitious wineries,” by Hudson Valley Magazine. 

 
According to Hudson Valley Wine magazine, "As winemaker and vineyard manager, Michael Migliore brings the rigorous approach of a chemist and engineer to Whitecliff. With a Masters in Chemistry from SUNY New Paltz, and many years as a process engineer in semiconductor manufacturing, Michael applied his background in science to teaching himself the chemistry and art of winemaking. He works closely with Cornell Cooperative Extension testing new grape varieties, and pushing the envelope on the quality of grape growing in the region. In that capacity he also serves as president of the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Growers Association."

But being the biggest grower is not the only thing makes Whitecliff Vineyard special in the Hudson Valley. Whitecliff brought home to the Hudson Valley a Best in Show with their Riesling from the 2010 San Francisco International Wine Competition. They bested 1,290 wines from 27 countries and 28 states, in a blind judging by 45 respected judges!

And their Whitecliff Vineyard 2012 Gamay Noir Hudson River Region was awarded 90 Points from Wine Enthusiast magazine.


Congrats to Michael, and to his fabulous wife, Yancey, who handles sales, marketing, and front of house! They are indeed a dynamic force! And shout out to Brad Martz and the winemaking team as well. Congrats! Well deserved!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Harvest Spirits Announces John Henry Single Malt Whiskey! Delicate! Complex! Damn! (NY)

 
Derek Grout and Peter Upstill (and their team) have done it! Harvest Spirits released their first Single Malt Whiskey from Harvest Spirits! Oh, boy!
 
OK, so my first question is, what is the history of Single Malt Whiskey? This is what Wikipedia says:
 
Distillation of whisky has been performed in Scotland and Ireland for centuries. The first written record of whisky comes from 1405 in Ireland, while the production of whisky from malted barley is first mentioned in Scotland in an entry on the 1494 Exchequer Rolls, which reads "Eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor, by order of the King, wherewith to make aqua vitae".

Single malt whisky is associated with the Scottish tradition, although there are also Irish and other single malts. Penderyn, the only whisky commercially produced in Wales, is also a single malt.
From the 15th century onwards, whisky was heavily taxed in Scotland, to the point that most of the spirit was produced illegally. However, in 1823, Parliamet passed an act making commercial distillation much more profitable, while imposing punishments on landowners when unlicensed distilleries were found on their properties. George Smith was the first person to take out a licence for a distillery under the new law, founding the Glenlivet Distillery in 1824.

In the 1830s, Aeneas Coffey refined a design originally created by Robert Stein for continuous stills which produced whisky much more efficiently than the traditional pot stills. Quickly, merchants began blending the malt whisky with the grain whisky distilled in the continuous stills, making the first blended Scotch whisky. The blended whisky proved quite successful, less expensive to produce than malt with more flavour and character than grain. The combination allowed the single malt producers to expand their operations as the blended whisky was more popular on the international market.

Single malt distilleries also exist in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Japan, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA and Wales.


 
And then, what is the definition of Single Malt? Again, Wikipedia:
 
Single malt whisky is a whisky made at one particular distillery from a mash that uses only malted grain, ordinarily barley.

Single malts are typically associated with single malt Scotch, though they are also produced in various other countries. Under Scotch Whisky Regulations, a "Single Malt Scotch Whisky" must be made exclusively from malted barley (although the addition of E150A caramel colouring is allowed), must be distilled using pot stills at a single distillery, and must be aged for at least three years in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres (150 imperial gallons; 180 US gallons).

While the Scotch model is usually copied internationally, these constraints may not apply to whisky marketed as single malt that is produced elsewhere. For example, there is no definition of the term single with relation to whisky in the law of the United States, and some American whiskey advertised as single malt whisky is produced from malted rye rather than malted barley.

 
OK, now let's talk about Harvest Spirits' John Henry Single Malt Whiskey. It's made using a beer made by Adirondack brewing, which is made from 75% New York smoky 2-row malted barley. It's double distilled. Then aged for two years. Approximately one month in new barrels, and then the rest in older applejack and bourbon barrels, or what they refer to as re-fill barrels.
 
Now, before I go into my review, I want to state out right that I am a bourbon guy. Generally I am not a huge fan of single malt. But I do like some.
 
That said, I like this whiskey for everything it is not. If you are looking for a big, smoky, mossy, peat monster, you will absolutely be disappointed. If you are looking for a big, bitter, biting, hot going down your throat single malt, then this is not for you.
 
On the other hand, of your looking for a light, lovely, floral nose with Sourdough bread, caramel apple, and lots of spiced fruit, then this is your whiskey. It's a lovely, elegant, complex spirit, with layers of delicate flavors and no sense of grain alcohol or anything like that.
 
If I've heard anything about brown spirits coming out of the Hudson Valley and the rest of the north east, its that they are not allowed to age long enough in the cask to acquire the complexity to compete with other spirits from Tennessee or Kentucky. I think the point with John Henry is two fold: 1. This is, in Derek Grout's wheel house, a more delicate and complex whiskey, instead of the caveman-ish club some would prefer. 2. Derek and Pete's palates across the board have always been to the more refined, elegant, delicate side, and this take on scotch whiskey is more than admirable. It's down right lovely!! Strike that! It's damned good!


Good things come in small packages. John Henry Single Malt Whiskey is now available in 750ml, 350ml and 50 ml bottles. Stop by the tasting room ASAP and get your hands on Batch#1. 
 
 
And tell the rest of the guys Hi! for me!

Yard Owl Craft Brewery Moves! Yard Owl Fire Pit Golden Ale is Fantastic!

 
So, the BIG NEWS is that Yard Owl Brewing is moving!
 
In a statement that came out on Facebook, they stated:
"Big news from Yard Owl!! As of this afternoon we have a new home! We are moving out of our 400 sq. ft. brew space, to this Brewery-to-be in lovely Gardiner, N.Y. We will have enough room to host a tasting room, beer garden & some local lite bites. The space is big and empty so we need a little help from our beer community. Look out for our Kickstarter campaign starting St. Patricks Day!"
 
 
 
If you remember, Kristop Brown and James Walsh met by chance. In the year of 1997 James needed a ride to Mardi Gras and Kristop had a car. Since that crazy trip to New Orleans they have been inseparable friends. James and Kristop both have strong backgrounds in creating tasty beverages. James’ experience comes from being co-owner of the Mudd Puddle Cafe and coffee roasters in New Paltz that he established with his wife Michelle 13 years ago. Kristop has been spending his time establishing himself as an award winning wine maker in the Hudson Valley.

The two friends began their journey of beer brewing by experimenting with recipes in the kitchen. With five kids running around, they took turns raising the heat on the mash or pitching yeast to a fermenter.  After they artfully shaped these recipes, they decided it was time to take their learning to the next level by attending professional brewing courses at the esteemed UC Davis Brewing School. Armed with their new found knowledge, they opened up the small brewery and have been enjoying the success of the fruits of their labor.
 
 
Was just about to post this review when their big news was announced. I bought this bottle of Yard Owl Golden Ale a while ago. Had it with a Ploughman's Lunch of New York aged dark sharp cheddar, pickles, and Triscuit crackers and some great French mustard brought back from Paris by some friends of ours.

Yard Owl Fire Pit Golden Ale is an American Pale Ale if you're looking for a definition. But Yard Owl is always hard to define. Their beers are very unique.

Pour: Hazy golden colored ale. Nice carbonation. Not overly so, but solid.

Head: An off-white foamy head, that was about two fingers from a heavy pour. I like it that way. The head lingers nicely, leaving a nice lacing that doesn't stick to the sides of the glass for too long, but over all very, very pretty.

Nose: Beautiful floral nose, with orange zest, roasty malt, peach and apricot, chamomile, clove spice, citrus all coming through.

Palate: This is a big, zesty pale ale. Nice roasty, maltiness comes through first, almost like a Scotch Ale, but then the flavors kick in. Stone fruits like peach, apricot, and apple definitely come through. Nice amount of bitternes, so that the beer is well balanced. Great flavor afterwards. Very savory. Easy to drink.

Loved it!!!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

American Wine Society Scranton Loves Hudson Valley Wine Country


The Scranton, Pennsylvania chapter of the American Wine Society, recently invited Hudson Valley Wine Country to come down and make a presentation of it's wines to their board and members. A tasting of ten wines from six producers was a big success.
 
 
 
 
According to their website, the American Wine Society was organized in 1967 as a non-profit, educational, consumer-oriented organization for those interested in learning more about all aspects of wine. On October 7, 1967, around 200 grape growers, home winemakers, and wine lovers gathered at Dr. Konstantin Frank’s vineyard on Keuka Lake near Hammondsport, NY for the AWS’ initial meeting.  In December of the same year, the thirteen charter members, led by Founder Dr. Konstantin Frank, met to determine the organization structure of AWS and elect officers.  Now in its 48th year, the American Wine Society is the largest consumer based wine education organization in North America.  Membership is open to anyone interested in wine and over 21 years of age.
 
In the early days, AWS members were located primarily in the eastern part of the country.  As the society grew , they established chapters throughout the eastern U.S., then into the south and Midwest, and finally into western states.  Today, the American Wine Society has over 5,000 members in 45 states and 120 chapters across the U.S. The emphasis of AWS also evolved through the years as they reached more and more wine lovers.  Most early members were winemakers and they continue to value this key segment of the society.  Even today, 30% of AWS members are amateur winemakers - a fact they are very proud of.  The society was focused primarily on American wines in the early years, but great wine can be made anywhere and today, AWS members want to learn about wines from all corners of the globe.

It was an historic night, as the chapter saw outgoing president George "The Zin Master" Prehatin hand over the reigns to incoming president Rich Berezinsky. There was much good cheer in the room. And Prehatin was toasted with Hudson Valley sparkling apple cider from Orchard Hill.
 
The Scranton AWS is among the most active on the east coast, and the group that showed up for the HVWC tasting was somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 60 avid wine fans.
 
 
 
Scranton is the sixth-largest city in the State of Pennsylvania behind Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie and Reading, according to Wikipedia. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County in the state's northeastern region and is also the central point for the federal court of the area. With a population of 76,089, it is the largest city in the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area, with a greater population of about 570,000, also known as the Wyoming Valley.

Scranton is the geographic and cultural center of the Lackawanna River valley, and the largest of the former anthracite coal mining communities in a contiguous quilt-work that also includes Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, and Carbondale. Scranton was incorporated as a borough on February 14, 1856, and as a city on April 23, 1866. Scranton became known as "the Electric City" when electric lights were introduced at Dickson Locomotive Works in 1880. Six years later, the nation's first successful, continuously operating electrified streetcars began operating in the city.


David Falchek organized the tasting. David writes a weekly wine column for several newspapers in Pennsylvania, including the Scranton Times-Tribune. Like many wine drinkers who grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, David started out drinking Boone's Farms in abandoned coal breakers and sneaking sips of Riuniti at family picnics. He lived in the Finger Lakes wine region in the 1990s, discovered fine wine, and began regular coverage of the wine industry.

In addition to writing for Appellation America, David contributes regularly to trade publications such as Vineyard & Winery Management and Beverage Media and irregularly to several others. David has judged regional, national, and international wine competitions where he likes to think he lauds outstanding Seyval or Foch just as readily as Cabernet or Riesling. David is an active member of the American Wine Society. Often asked his favorite wine, his reply is the same: "The one in my glass."

 
The tasting was held at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple. The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple (formerly the Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral) is a theatre and cultural center in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Cultural Center's mission statement is "to rejuvenate a national architectural structure as a regional center for arts, education and community activities appealing to all ages." The Cultural Center hosts national Broadway tours; professional and local musical and dramatic theatre offerings; local, regional and national orchestral and popular music, dance and opera; comedians, lecturers, art exhibits, a children's and performing arts academy and various classes as well as fundraiser galas and special events including proms, luncheons, private parties and is a popular wedding ceremony and reception venue. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
 
The HVWC could not have been more proud and pleased to have such a lavish stage for its wines to be featured on.
 
 
 
The famous architect Raymond Hood designed the Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral, which houses the Scranton Cultural Center, the current operating organization for the building. The Masonic Temple is designed in a combination of Gothic Revival architecture and Romanesque Revival—Richardsonian Romanesque with contemporary Art Deco influences. The building was completed in 1930. The temple was designed with a dual nature; it was built to house the Scottish Rite Cathedral and a Masonic lodge while housing spaces (primarily the theater and ballroom) that were intended for public use.
 
 
 
The Hudson Valley Wine Country organized the tasting on behalf of the valley. The Hudson Valley is the oldest winemaking region in the country. It boasts Brotherhood Winery, America's oldest continually operating winery, and Benmarl Winery, which is home of the Caywood Vineyard, the oldest continually operating vineyard in America. The Hudson Valley spawned the first farm wineries in the state of New York, with Benmarl holding license No. 1. It is the region that boasts the most cideries and distilleries, and is the number one producer of artisanal cassis in North America.  
 

 
The wines in order of tasting were:
Orchard Hill Hard Cider
Millbrook Vineyards Tocai 2013
Hudson-Chatham Block 1 Estate Seyval Blanc 2013
Tousey Winery Estate Rebellion Rose 2013
 Tousey Estate Pinot Noir 2013
Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Reserve 2013
Hudson-Chatham Block 3 Estate Baco Noir 2013
Whitecliff Vineyards Estate Cabernet Franc 2013
Hudson-Chatham Empire 2012
Brookview Station Estate Frontenac 2013
 
 
All wines tasted were Hudson River Region wines, and were estate fruit. The Orchard Hill cider was a lovely surprise with a dry sparkling apple cider with the yeast still in the bottle. It showed spectacularly. One of the biggest hits of the night was the Millbrook Tocai Fruliano 2103. Bright, acidic, but with a nice round mouthfeel, and nice dry finish, the Tocai was an immediate favorite, and the talk of the tasting. The Hudson-Chatham Seyval Blanc 2013 was also a nice surprise. Aged in French and American oak, this dry, Burgundy-styled, fume-styled dry white was a very pleasant surprise, especially for those who thought they already knew the grape. The Touset Rebellion rose 2013 was a lovely, bright cherry bomb of wine, made from Blaufrankish. A wonderful wine and a crowd pleaser. The Tousey Pinot Nioir 2103 was another winner, with big, bright, ripe cherry, and soft tannins. A lovely example of the fruit - it exemplifies what Pinot can achieve in the Hudson Valley. The two Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir 2013's were a big hit as well. Few people in the room had experienced Baco Noir made as a fine wine. Shock and surprise were the themes, and all of it effusive in the positive. Both were lauded equally well. Whitecliff Cabernet Franc 2013 was another great eample of how red vinifera can be made in the Husdon Valley. The generally consensus was applause for this estate Cab Franc, which was much more mature, complex and sophisticated than the tasters were prepared for. The Hudson-Chatham Empire was another impressive strike for the valley. A classic, Bordeaux-styled, Meritage-styled wine, wowed those in attendance. And the Brookview Estate Frontenac 2013 was an absolute shock to the sstem. No one in the room could remember having such a well made, dark, dry red Minnesota variety red. A great way to end the tasting with this huge red wine from the north country. 

 



Carlo DeVito, owner of Hudson-Chatham Winery, founder of the Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail, and president of the Hudson Valley Wine Country made the presentation. The wines were incredibly well received. Many in the room had tasted Hudson Valley wines before, but had not tasted the level in quality Hudson River Region fruit in such a fashion in the wines presented.
 
This tasting was a very important one. Why? Because in it, the Hudson Valley was able to show knowledgeable wine consumers, writers, and producers the kind of fine wines that the Hudson Valley can produce outside the state. And we were able to not only let them taste the wines, but to also share information about our four trails and our major events in the region. The participants were not only impressed, but couldn't wait to make the hour-and-fifteen minutes drive to the lower part of the Hudson Valley and begin their next wine adventure. And invaluable learning experience for both sides!

 
The talk among the guests was effusive. A great ground swell for the wonderful quality wines being made in the Hudson Valley.


These two gentleman aren't just AWS members, they are both vineyard owners in Pennsylvania and are both involved in the quality wine industry!The tall gent with the glasses, is Paul Milnes. The gentleman standing to his right is Stan Sowinki. Both supply several area commercial wineries.     



The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, built as the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Station, is a neo-classical building in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It was built as a train station and office building in 1908; closed in 1970; listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 1977; and renovated and reopened as a hotel in 1983. Through it all, the building retains its original clocks, doors, fountains, stairs, ceilings, walls, and overall appearance. It is absolutely spectacular and should not be missed if you are going to Scranton!





 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

WINES OF THE HUDSON VALLEY - A PRIMER


I've taken the liberty to put together three blog posts in one post for easy accessibility. Three are three components. One is a Hudson Valley reader with history and profiles of the many winemakers and owners of the region. The second is a video blog with three or four videos from Taste Camp 2014, that introduce you to the region and the players. The last is a round of the recent reviews of the wines and wineries of the Hudson alley

Enjoy!

http://hudsonriverwine.blogspot.com/2014/09/hudson-valley-birthplace-of-american.html



http://hudsonriverwine.blogspot.com/2014/11/hudson-valley-wineries-video.html


http://eastcoastwineries.blogspot.com/2014/11/hudson-valley-wineries-reader-taste.html

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Whitecliff Vineyards to Release First Hudson River Region Cabernet Sauvignon

 
Yesterday, while running an errand outside of New Paltz, I stopped in at Whitecliff Vineyards in Gardiner, NY. Whitecliff has been making quality wines for sometime now. They've been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Wine Enthusiast, Snooth, and Sommelier Journal to name a few!
 

As I drove in on a winter's day, I passed owner Michael Migliore, who was walking his dog, and outside on the frozen tundra.

Inside I found winemaker Brad Martz and crew working away on racking wines. They were preparing some of their wines for bottling. While I was there I got a barrel sample of two new great wines about to be put out by Whitecliff!

The first wine I tasted was their Whitecliff Estate Cabernet Franc 2014. This won't be out for a while, but I was allowed a first taste. A big cherry fruit bomb! Bright and dark cherry come through loud and clear. Darker color than usual, but still a great beautiful acidity that carries the fruit forward for a good, long time. And nice tannins on the back end that keep this wine honest and powerful. A minerality also comes through. A gorgeous expression of Hudson Valley terroir!

The riddling rack in the winery isn't for show. These babies can pop at any time. So much fun though! Look for their sparkling!

 
Then Brad pulled a sample from a tank for me. This is the Two Cabs 2013. This is a new wine from Whitecliff. This wine is the first Hudson Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon blended with some estate Cab Franc. This was a beautiful wine! Big cherry and red cassis and cranberry. Hints of vanilla and tabacco! A very serious red wine, with lots of aging potential. Had the gorgeous color, a dark garnet color, with big acidity and big tannins to match. This is something you can drink now, but easily lay don for some time.


This is a big step for the Hudson Valley! Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the region! And it couldn't have been in better hands than with Michael and Brad! A congrats to both men and to the team at Whitecliff Vineyards, who continue to be a leader in the Hudson Valley, and a classy quality producer in New York state!