There are currently 42 wineries in the Hudson Valley, many of whom have won international acclaim for producing top quality wines. New Yorkers are some of the biggest wine consumers in the country, but the general public is, interestingly enough, less than familiar with the wines produced in their very own state. Navigating the market of producers in the Hudson Valley takes a bit of research and a whole lot of tasting. Finding wines from this region on local restaurants’ wine lists and on the shelves of wine shops can also prove to be challenging; sommeliers and wine buyers are still conservative when it comes to featuring selections from New York. Consequently, the best way to explore is to visit the individual wineries and taste through their line of offerings. Below are some of the ‘stars’ worth checking out.
Benmarl Baco Noir 2009
Benmarl is the oldest vineyard in America and is located in Marlboro, NY. This is a hybrid variety that has gained almost cult status among its fans, and is one of the varieties that really seem to thrive in the Hudson Valley. Exhibiting flavors of sour cherry, plums, and currants, this is a medium bodied wine with relatively low tannins, a perfect complement to grilled chicken, pizza and hard cheeses. Aged in French oak for about 13 months. Retails at $27.
Whitecliff Cabernet Franc 2010
Estate bottled wine from family run winery located in Gardiner, NY. Heaps of red fruits, floral and earthy with hints of tobacco and white pepper; a lovely wine with bright acidity that would partner well with meaty fish such as swordfish and salmon, game or fowl. Retails at $21.
Millbrook Tocai Friulano 2010
One of the more well-known wineries in the region, located in the upscale town of Millbrook in Dutchess county. Fermented in stainless steel, this medium bodied wine shows bright citrus flavors with melon, pear and apple and crisp acidity. Pair with shellfish, cured meats, and spicy dishes. Retails at $17.
Clinton Vineyards Seyval Blanc 2010
A perfect cocktail wine, this has classic flavors of citrus, green apple and pear. Extremely food-friendly, but also great alone, this is a wonderful example of Seyval Blanc from the Hudson River region. Winery is located in Clinton Corners and specializes in white and sparkling wines. Retails price: $18.
Hudson-Chatham Winery Empire Reserve Red 2008
This is a blend of Hudson Valley Baco Noir, Cabernet Franc from the Finger Lakes and Merlot from Long Island. Medium bodied, aged in French and American oak as well as stainless steel, it has flavors of raspberries, tea leaves and vanilla with a supple finish. High in acid and low in tannins, it complements foods such as prosciutto and melon, feta and goat cheese, poultry dishes with lemon and capers. The winery is located between Hudson and Chatham. Retails at $22.
Oak Summit Pinot Noir 2010
Even locals have not heard of this very private vineyard located in Millbrook, producing only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The proprietors, John and Nancy Bruno produce an excellent Pinot Noir from estate grown fruit, bursting with flavors of red cherries, red currants and strawberries, finishing elegantly with touches of chocolate and smoke. The vineyard can be visited by appointment only. Retail price: $30.