Thursday, August 28, 2014

#WineStudi​o Session XVI – Liquid Voices of Hudson Valley

#WineStudi​o Session XVI – Liquid Voices of Hudson Valley

August's #WineStudio featured an area I wasn't that familiar with, new York's Hudson Valley. I've been tasting the Finger Lakes region wines for a few years, so I thought I knew what to expect: good to great whites, decent to good reds. I was happy to be mistaken.

What I now know about the Hudson Valley:
  • Melting glaciers carved a deep trench, creating the valley and depositing shale, slate, schist, and limestone, perfect for growing grapes to create beautiful wines.
  • The winegrowers struggle with the weather (brutal heat and humidity in summer, freezing temps in winter), disease (black rot, powdery mildew), and competition ( agricultural uses and housing). They've overcome these problems by identifying appropriate vitis vinfera varietals along with hybrids to vinify food-friendly wines showcasing high acidity and relatively low alcohol.
Tasting Notes:

Whitecliff Vineyard (@WhitecliffVino on Twitter) - Owners and founders, Michael Migliore and Yancey Stanforth-Migliore, purchased an empty field thirty years ago and built the winery from the ground up! Establishing the vineyard has been an ongoing process since 1979. It involves years of trial and error to determine which varieties will produce good yields and quality wine, while withstanding the cold winters. The rigorous approach of science and engineering, along with a generous helping of pigheaded determination, has provided the knowledge and the strong base necessary to create a successful vineyard and winery.
White Rose 2013: Estate grown 75% Traminette-25% Gewürztraminer; fermented in stainless steel; faint lemon yellow in color; muskmelon, floral, and citrus aromas; honey, stone fruit, spice, and melon flavors into a citrusy finish; nice balance with plenty of acidity; surprisingly round mouthfeel; 12% ABV; synthetic cork closure; 7000 cases produced; SRP $18.
Brotherhood Winery (@BrotherhoodWine on Twitter): In 1810, a French Huguenot emigre named Jean Jaques purchased land in New York’s bucolic Hudson Valley and began planting grapes. By 1837, Mr. Jaques needed more land, so he purchased a plot in the quiet village of Washingtonville, NY, and planted another vineyard. By 1839, his first underground cellars were dug and Mr. Jaques fermented his first wine vintage. Those cellars, the oldest and largest in America, are still in use today at Brotherhood Winery.
“B” Sparkling Chardonnay NV: charmat method production; light golden straw color, visible small bubbles; green apple, citrus, and subtle yeast aromas; lemon, subtle yeast and melon flavors; low-key effervescence; bright acidity; ABV 12%; cork and wire closure; 1250 cases produced; SRP $11.99.
Millbrook Vineyards and Winery (@MillbrookWinery on Twitter): Millbrook is considered one of the top wineries across the Hudson River Valley and the entire state of New York. Millbrook's wine is cultivated on thirty of the vineyards' 130 acres. Current varietals include Chardonnay (13 acres) Pinot Noir (5 acres), Cabernet Franc (7 acres), Tocai Friulano (5 acres) and Riesling (5 acres). Our winemaker, John Graziano, has been crafting these high quality wines for Millbrook since 1984. He has been the only winemaker at Millbrook since its establishment. Currently, John is producing approximately 10,000 – 14,000 cases of wine annually from our own fruit, as well as fruit from across New York and our California vineyards.
Proprietor's Special Reserve Tocai Friulano 2013: No malolactic fermentation, no oak; clear and bright light yellow in color; grapefruit, starfruit, lime and white floral aromas; tropical fruit, Meyer lemon, melon, and subtle petrol flavors; very smooth mouthfeel with a great thread of acid ending in a pleasingly tart finish; on the sweeter side but nicely balanced overall; 13% ABV; 1060 cases produced; cork closure; SRP $20. Stood up nicely to a cheese and deli meat sandwich on seeded sour bread.

Proprietor's Special Reserve Cabernet Franc 2012: 95% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot estate grapes; 100% malolactic fermentation; aged in barrel 14 months; deep garnet color with light ruby edges; red currant and dusty red berry aromas; stewed prunes, earth, smoke, dark cherry, and white pepper flavors into a tart red berry finish; smooth mouthfeel, decent acidity and some tannins rounding out a wine that opens up the longer it sits; 13% ABV; 336 cases produced; cork closure; SRP $30.
If you haven't experienced Hudson Valley wines, now is the time to start searching them out. Even better, go visit - the area looks amazing and, due partly to its proximity to the Big Apple, it has an established infrastructure catering to travelers of all ilks.

About #WineStudio and True Wine Culture: The True Wine Culture message is wine education, so that we may gain a better understanding of our world through wine and our part in that world – we’re continually searching and pioneering an American cultural perspective. #WineStudio prepares us to engage our brain and palate through this interactive online wine community. Thanks to Protocol Wine Studio for leading these monthly educational experiences!

Wines provided for tasting purposes -all opinions are my own.

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