Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hudson Valley Table Wines!

When last we left the Hudson Valley Wine Trail adventure, we had just got done with a dessert wine tasting and were wondering where we would find some Hudson Valley table wine…

We found it, a little further east at Millbrook on Wing Road. The approach winds us through a small hill-planted vineyard to the winery at the top of the hill where we are met by greeters-a-plenty. It was pick up day for Club members who’d purchased Williams Selyem futures hence the abundant staff on hand. We had two friendly greetings outside, and were whisked inside to the Club counter to purchase our tour and tasting tickets.

Millbrook Vineyards is on the site of a former 130 acre dairy farm and the first vines were planted about 25 years ago. Currently, Millbrook has 30 acres planted to Chardonnay, Tocai Friulano, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc. The Millbrook wine family also owns Vista Verde Vineyards in California’s Central Coast (near Gilroy), Villa Pillo in Tuscany, and Williams Selyem in the Russian River Valley AVA.

We got to taste one of the Vista Verde offerings (a Chardonnay) which exhibited tropical fruit on the nose and chalk and mineral on the palate. I would have liked to taste some Villa Pillo wine but, we did get to sample their excellent olive oil. We also tasted a Pinot Noir which featured aromas and flavors of cherry, pomegranate, and raspberry with a hint of bell pepper; a Merlot with juniper berry on the nose along with other earthy aromas, iodine on the palate and a mint/leather finish (more of that bell pepper as well); and finally a Cab Franc with aromas of smoked meat, blackberry and currant that were also echoed on the palate along with allspice and leather, and some green flavors.

Overall, the wines we tasted from the Millbrook Vineyard were very lean and expressive of the terroir. The grapes are harvested at 22 brix resulting in slightly more acidic very dry wines with many vegetal notes. We tasted several wines from the 2006 vintage which could be a tad young yet and would probably benefit from time in the bottle but, if you are a fan of Loire Valley reds, I would definitely recommend seeking out Millbrook, especially if you are in the Northeast (Think Global. Eat Local). If you aren’t a fan of lean, green, short-season wines (no budbreak yet here), then Millbrook may not be for you.

It is at this point in our journey that we notice that we have spent half a day driving around and have only managed to hit two tasting rooms. Wouldn’t it be great if there was one tasting room where we could taste all of wines from this area? Somebody really ought to do that around here…


Carol said...

Although it has since closed, every summer, the North Salem Winery used to hold a festival and all the Hudson Valley wineries would go. It was great, and it was cheap. (I think like $5). There is a big festival in Rhinebeck every fall, but it's not the same. I agree with you though - a central tasting room would be a fantastic idea.