Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hudson Valley Wine Trail: Clinton Vineyards

On Sunday we scampered down the thruway from the Albany area to visit some wineries in the Hudson River Valley. After about a 70 minute ride we exited at Kingston and took the bridge to the east side of the river to head over to Red Hook. The first winery we tried to hit up (Alison Winery in Red Hook) was actually closed. Not sure if it was closed for the season or what. So we went downtown to find some lunch before heading further south.

We found a cheap/tasty lunch at Lucy's Tacos on Rte 199 (I dubbed them punk rock tacos) and headed back out to find our next target: The Clinton Vineyard which is situated off a charming tree-lined lane (The Hudson Valley in the springtime is indeed a scene of bucolic bliss).

Clinton Vineyard grows one grape: Seyval. They make a couple of wines ( a dry white, and a dessert) and a couple of sparkling méthode champenoise wines with their Seyval and claim to be the first vineyard to have planted the Seyval vine in the country. The remainder of their line up is strictly fruit wine. We made ourselves comfortable at the antique bar surrounded by a mixture of French art posters, various award medals, and autographed photos of the proprietor with Senator Hillary Clinton. We tasted the dry white, the sparkling Naturale (dry)'champagne', the Seyval dessert, a blackberry dessert wine, and finally their award-winning Cassis.

We couldn't resist walking away with a bottle of the Cassis which had complex black currant, blackberry, smoke, brandy, and vetiver on the nose, and a tart palate of mixed berry. We definitely have some delightful Kir Royales in our future. The tasting room and grounds are lovely and quaint. Though it's a bit off the beaten-path, I definitely recommend a visit if you enjoy Seyval or fruit wines.

Come back to read the next installment in our Hudson Valley Wine Adventure: Will Tasters A and B taste some Hudson Valley Table Wine?


Carol said...

I really enjoy Clinton's dessert wines, but feel they are a little pricey. They used to make an apple wine that was fun, but I don't think they've produced that in years. Glad you enjoyed my town! :-)

Taster B said...

Carol, Yes, your town is beautiful! :) I'm not a big fruit wine person but, I would agree on the pricing, especially when our locally produced fruit wine sells for about half the price. We were happy to pay a premium for the Cassis which was extra special.

Taster A said...

Fruit wines make good anytime wines, other than main course wines. If done properly, they can be interesting in their own right. But they are not Boudreaux blends and are not meant to be.

My father and I used to make fruit wines out of what ever was growing around the house, black berries, raspberry and apples were our most common. Clinton Vineyard’s cassis is out of this world. His blackberry wine caught the essence of what Dad and I used to do.

These wines are great palate trainers because I think they taste like the components in the wines we describe.