Alie Shaper asks and answers the question: What If?

2016-10-24-18-12-53 I first met Alie Shaper at a Women for Wine Sense event in February 2010. At the time, the President and Winemaker of Brooklyn Oenology, was four years into her Brooklyn-centric wine brand, which merges New York State agriculture with the vibrancy of New York City culture.

Now, as she celebrates Brooklyn Oenology’s tenth anniversary, she has ventured out with an additional range of wines: As If. The three wines that make up the new collection – a white, rosé and red – are respectively called Serendipity, Courage and Persistence and chart her foray into the wine industry. The Cornell alumna kicked off her career with an engineering degree and a military contract in San Jose, CA before returning to New York to start a life in wine.

This new wine line was conceived in 2014 when Alie received unexpected access to great grapes and saw the opportunity to tell her story – both past and present – through wine: from her serendipitous exposure to the world of wine; her courage to follow her passion; and the continued persistence to make her dreams come true.

Greeting me at the As If launch party, Alie explained that she wanted to, “Do something less about Brooklyn and more metaphysical,” this time around.

All the wines are labeled as New York State, likely for consistency, but the white and red are technically produced from Nork Fork of Long Island fruit and the grapes for the rosé were sourced from the Finger Lakes.

The As If Serendipity White 2014, New York State, (SRP $35.00) is a blend of 40% Chardonnay, 30% Viognier, 30% Sauvignon Blanc. It is fresh with melon, citrus fruit and apple notes, bright acidity and long length.

As Alie pours the As If Courage Rosé 2014, New York State, (SRP $28.00), she quips, “This is literally liquid courage.” The wine brings together 50% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Syrah and 10% Petit Verdot. It is a deep-colored, dry wine with watermelon, spice and a meatiness/heartiness that make it a good autumn rosé.

Finally, the As If Persistence Red 2014, New York State (SRP $40.00), with 60% Cabernet Franc, 25% Petit Verdot, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon was my favorite of the three, so I was not surprised when Alie revealed that the Cab Franc came from Macari, one of my favorite Franc producers. This stunning wine displayed complex aromas and flavors of toast, berries, and dried herbs, along with good acidity and long length.

The wines are available for purchase through Brooklyn Oenology.

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A Harvest Celebration: It’s Never Too Early

2015-11-26 11.50.46The third Thursday of November is Beaujolais Day – the day on which the new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau is released. Georges Duboeuf, the largest producer, generally hosts a festive affair heralding the wine’s arrival on America’s shores with a bang; from chefs on motorcycles to trapeze artists to graffiti artists. This year, there wasn’t even a whimper. Instead, I received only a single email from retailer, Sherry-Lehmann to mark the occasion. I thought perhaps I had fallen off that invite list, but, in speaking with a colleague, learned that there was no party this year.

While many decry the quality (or rather the lack thereof) of Beaujolais Nouveau, I have always enjoyed the quasi-holiday and, if not the wine itself (which, in fact, I generally do), then what it stood for: a celebration of the arrival and completion of yet another harvest. Another year of toil in the soil and effort in the winery.

We can easily see the bounty of the year’s harvest in the cornucopia of fruits and vegetables in the farmer’s market. But, unlike fresh grapes (and other produce), which provide immediate gratification from vine to vendor, wine takes time to make.

Wines like Beaujolais Nouveau are the exception, going from grape to glass in just a few weeks. It may not be complex and age-worthy, nor is it meant to, rather, it is fresh and fruity and a reminder of what is to come with more time and effort… other wines from this vintage. A time to celebrate the season and give thanks for what Mother Nature has once again provided.

Without the usual Beaujolais Day hoopla, something seemed missing. But, the arrival of Macari’s Early Wine 2015 gave me my much-needed fix. The grapes for this Chardonnay wine were harvested in early September, making their way to bottle by the end of October and released during the first week of November.

On the evening before Thanksgiving, I took a moment to open up this wine and pause and reflect on my deep gratitude in anticipation of the following day’s holiday. I also took time to reflect on what was in the glass – white floral and peach aromas; slightly off-dry palate with vibrant acidity; citrus, peach and floral flavors; and a long finish.

And, more importantly, I took time to notice what the wine reflected back: the remembrance of the freshness of summer as we head into winter; the long days of toil and effort in the vineyard; the gentle care taken by Kelly Urbanik in the winery; and the promise of what is to come from the other fruits of 2015’s labor.

Island Wines: Long Island Edition

2015-06-30 16.43.09There is something special about visiting an island. The discrete borders, the intimate setting and the separation from the mainland all conspire to conjure images of a serene paradise. It’s why “Island Getaway” makes a much better headline than “Landlocked Getwaway”!

This summer, I had the pleasure of visiting several different islands, either in body (Long Island) or in spirit (Sicilia and Santorini), open to their charms through the lovely wines that are produced on each.

Close to home (aka New York City), Long Island provides a welcome refuge for city dwellers, with its beaches, farms and vineyards. We returned to the region after a two-year, accidental hiatus, stopping at some of our favorites for a brief refresher and to stock up our cellar, which we were about to deplete as a consequence of hosting our Meet, Meat & Merlot dinner, featuring a selection of aged Long Island Merlots.

The four-course dinner, held at our apartment, was an excellent opportunity to see how Long Island Merlot can develop with time. All of the wines, from the youngest at 12 years old (2003) to the oldest at 23 (1992), proved the point in spades. Between the chaos of cooking an elaborate menu and hosting 11 guests, I admittedly did not take notes on the wines, but the menu and wine selection are listed below.

Tasting notes for the various wines we tasted during our two-day visit to both the North Fork and The Hamptons AVAs are also included below.

Meet, Meat & Merlot Dinner Menu & Wines
Amuse Bouche: Frico Cheese Crisps with Hungarian Paprika

Wild Caught Salmon Sliders with Sage on Crispy Potato “Buns”
Shinn Estate Vineyards Estate Merlot 2003, North Fork of Long Island, USA
Shinn Estate Vineyards Six Barrels Reserve Merlot 2002, North Fork of Long Island, USA

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Coq au Vin 8 Hands Farm Organic Chicken Breast with Cipollini Onions & Mushrooms Lenz Estate Selection Merlot 2001, North Fork of Long Island, USA
Lenz Estate Selection Merlot 2000, North Fork of Long Island, USA

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Beef Wellington Organic Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Duxelles and Foie Gras in Puff Pastry served with North Fork Squash and Sugar Snap Peas
Macari Vineyards, Bergen Road 1997, North Fork of Long Island, USA
Rivendell, Merlot 1990, North Fork of Long Island, USA
Rivendell, Merlot 1992, North Fork of Long Island, USA

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Dessert
Briermere Farms Raspberry & Peach Pie and
Briermere Farms Gooseberries and Wickham’s Farm Cherries

MACARI VINEYARDS
Macari Sauvignon Blanc 2014, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $23.00
This wine is fresh and bright, with crisp citrus, a hint of green apple and long length.

Macari Dos Aguas Blanc 2013, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $27.00
A blend of Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. The intense nose displays aromas of lush pear and tropical fruit, both of which persist on the palate.

Macari Sauvignon Blanc No. 1 2013, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $27.00 Macari has been actively experimenting with the use of concrete eggs and 60% of this wine was fermented in one. Compared to the regular Sauvignon Blanc, it was much rounder with lots of orange peel aromas and flavors.

Macari Cabernet Franc Lightforce 2013, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $N/A
This wine was also fermented and aged in a concrete vessel. It was fresher and lighter than regular Cabernet Franc, but still very Cab Franc in its characteristics, with beautiful earth and mushroom notes.

Macari Merlot Reserve 2010, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $36.00
From the near perfect 2010 vintage, this wine is absolutely gorgeous with rich notes of coffee and black cherry, culminating in long length.

2015-07-01 11.13.40LENZ ESTATE
Lenz Estate Blanc de Noir Rosé 2013, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $22.00
A light and pleasing rosé with fresh strawberry and slight herbal notes on the nose and palate.

Lenz Estate Old Vine Gewürztraminer 2010, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $30.00
More floral than spice, this dry Gewurztraminer is quite elegant with nice acidity.

Lenz Estate Malbec 2011, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $35.00
With intense and concentrated aromas of smoke, mulberry and blue fruit, this wine is more restrained on the palate, with elegant flavors of spice and blue fruit.

Lenz Estate Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $NA
This wine was showing some development with complex aromas and aromas of red fruit, black fruit and some meatiness. On the dry palate, it displayed ripe and concentrated flavors of blackberry, coffee and slight cedar; lovely.

McCALL WINES
McCall Pinot Noir 2012, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $28.00
This wine offers fresh, bright fruit with notes of cherries, herbs and earth.

McCall Pinot Noir Hillside 2013, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $39.00
This Pinot Noir is more complex and intense than the entry-level wine, with more meaty and spice notes.

McCall Merlot Reserve 2010, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $30.00
This pretty and elegant wine displays rich black cherry aromas that pervade the palate as well.

McCall Ben’s Blend 2010, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, $54.00
Bringing together, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, this Bordeaux-style blend provides velvety tannins and nice complexity with gorgeous black fruit aromas and flavors.
CHANNING DAUGHTERS
Channing Daughters Tocai Mudd Vineyard 2012 North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA, 24.00
A combination of minerality and salinity greet the nose, while the palate is rewarded with apple and mineral notes and long length.

Channing Daughters Rosato di Refosco 2014, The Hamptons (NY), USA, $20.00 This rosé is distinctly herbal with sour cherry and a hint of salinity that lingers throughout the finish.

Channing Daughters Envelope 2011, The Hamptons (NY), USA, $42.00
Produced from 62% Chardonnay, 28% Gewurztraminer and 10% Malvasia Bianca, which were co-fermented with ambient yeast on the skins, this wine offers up pronounced aromas of floral and spice. This wine is rich, with concentrated fruit flavors of floral and pear on the palate.

Channing Daughters Ribolla Gialla 2013, The Hamptons (NY), USA, $35.00
This wine displays rich aromas of honey and marzipan. Its palate is dry with flavors of honey and white flowers.

Channing Daughters Sculpture Garden 2011, The Hamptons (NY), USA, $30.00
A blend of Merlot, Teroldego and Blaufrankisch, this wine spent 22 months in oak and 18 months in bottle before release. It has soft tannins, with notes of cherries, cocoa, and spice, which persist through the long finish.

NB: While I don’t have precise tasting notes, we absolutely adored Channing’s range of VerVino Vermouths.

WÖLFFER ESTATE
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ölffer Estate Noblesse Oblige Extra Brut Sparkling Rosé 2011, The Hamptons (NY), USA, $54.00
This elegant sparkling wine was very yeasty on the nose, with flavors of berries and cream on the palate.

Wölffer Estate Rosé 2014, Long Island (NY), USA, $18.00
Considered among the official rosés of the Hamptons, this fresh, Provencal-style rose is the perfect wine for summer with its purity of melon and berry fruit and refreshing acidity.

Wölffer Estate Summer in a Bottle 2014, Long Island (NY), USA, $24.00
This white blend offered up ripe, lush fruit with flavors of floral, peach and pear.

Grapes of Roth Dry Riesling 2014, Long Island (NY), USA, $26.00
Produced by Wölffer’s winemaker and partner Roman Roth, this is classic Riesling with citrus, slight pith, mineral, just a hint of off-dry sweetness on the attack.

Wölffer Estate Descencia Botrytis Chardonnay 2012, Long Island (NY), USA, $40.00
A late-harvest Chardonnay dessert wine with medium-sweetness, this wine is beautifully balanced by its bright acidity along with notes of honey, spice and Asian pear, culminating in long length.

A Tale of Two Vintages

SAUV_BLANC_2012_web_1024x1024New York wine producer, Macari Vineyards, recently released the newest vintage of its Katherine’s Field Sauvignon Blanc – 2012. Produced from 100% Sauvignon Blanc fruit sourced from the winery’s estate in Mattituck on the North Fork of Long Island, the wine is made entirely in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fresh fruit character of this grape.

Since I had a bottle of the 2011 remaining in our cellar, I decided to taste the two wines (2012 and 2011) side by side to see how vintage variation and extra aging (for the older wine) might impact what I tasted in the glass.

Not surprisingly, the 2012 had a more pronounced nose given its (relative) youth, but the 2011 was still quite fresh despite its additional year in bottle. Instead, I attributed most of the difference between the two wines to their respective vintage conditions.

The 2011 growing year was among the wettest and rainiest in Long Island’s history, making it challenging to combat mold and mildew in the vineyard as well as to coax the grapes to full ripeness. Likely given these conditions, the citrus and herbaceous aromas, which are typically inherent in cool climate Sauvignon Blanc, were more prevalent in the 2011 vintage wine. With its slight age, the acidity in this wine seemed to have rounded out and a hint of earthiness was evident on the palate.

Conversely, during the 2012 season, Long Island was blessed with warm, dry days, which meant that grape maturity was achieved more easily. Thus, while the 2012 wine displayed notes of white grapefruit, it also offered some floral aromas and tropical fruit on the nose and palate. In spite of the warmer weather, this wine appeared to be more tart, likely due to its more recent bottling, and also offered some minerality.

I enjoyed the opportunity to evaluate these two wines together, closely comparing and contrasting their individual characteristics. And, although I slightly preferred the 2012 to the 2011, I certainly did not feel that the 2011 was over the hill, and, in fact, might have preferred the 2011 instead, if I had tasted the wines with food.

While it is more difficult to find previous vintages in the market, Union Square Wines & Spirits does appear to have the 2011 in stock. The newest release should be more readily available at retail (SRP $23.00) and is also available for purchase at the winery.

Grand Cru Classes Invites a Wild Child to Dinner

As former members of Channing Daughters’ wine club, we annually received a bottle of the winery’s L’Enfant Sauvage Chardonnay. We have been fans of this wild ferment wine since our very first visit to the winery way back when and so were always reluctant to open the wine since we wanted to save it. Well, if you do that long enough, you end up with a mini-vertical. Once we realized what we had amassed, we decided to taste the wines together to more easily compare and contrast them, but determined that drinking five bottles on our own was a bit much. Hence, we decided to host a dinner party featuring these wines.

Communication with Channing Daughters’ winemaker, Christopher Tracy, revealed that the wines were still showing quite well and that, yes, he would be interested in joining us for the dinner if he were available.

Planning ahead, we selected a date in early December – sufficiently past harvest, but before the holidays – and were able to host local winemakers and other members of the wine industry. Christopher graciously offered to bring the two vintages we were missing – the 2001 and the 2008, permitting us to complete the L’Enfant Sauvage set.

Attendees:
Hosts: Tracy Ellen Kamens and Jared M. Skolnick, Grand Cru Classes
Christopher Tracy, Channing Daughters
Juan Micelli-Martinez, Martha Clara Vineyards
Bridget Quinn Micelli-Martinez, Palmer Vineyards
Kareem Massoud, Paumanok Vineyards
Karen Kankel, Paumanok Vineyards
Kelly Urbanik, Macari Vineyards
Rob Koch, All-around nice guy
Kristina Szama, Michael Skurnick
Lenn Thompson, New York Cork Report
Remy Charest, Palate Press

We kept the wines top of mind when designing the menu:
Gougères – to accompany the sparkling wines poured upon arrival
Tuscan white bean soup and black bean soup garnish (see above image)
Deconstructed BLT – Smoked pork belly, wilted spinach and oven-dried tomatoes on a bed of polenta
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Swordfish with Butternut Squash Purée and Roasted Cauliflower
Flourless chocolate cake for dessert

My tasting notes are a bit abbreviated as I was focused on being a good host and getting each course on the table.
2001 – deep gold, oxidized note, bruised apple; bruised fruit, butter and nuts
2002 – medium+ gold, lightly oxidized character, citrus, apple, nuts
2003 – deep gold, oxidized character, slight sweet aroma, bruised red apple
2004 – deep gold, cleaner nose, spice, oak and apple
2005 – medium gold, perfume, oxidation, spice
2006 – medium+ acidity, citrus and green apple
2007 – medium gold, citrus and apple
2008 – medium gold, spice, citrus, medium+ acidity

 

HARVEST East End Wine Salon – Mad about Merlot

The second annual HARVEST East End – wine auction and celebration of Long Island’s wines – took place this month (September 2011). Kicking off on September 3, wine salons were held at various wineries and other locations for three Saturdays, culminating in the Festival Tasting on the evening of September 17, immediately followed by the Havest Moon Gala at The Ludlow Farm.

As we neared our destination, signage directed us not only to Ludlow Farm, but also to the corn maze. We thought that was an interesting idea, but, in fact, the festival walk-around tasting took place under several tents, away from husks of corn. While the wineries were not hidden among the maize, we did manage to miss a few.

Prior to the main festivities, Grand Cru Classes was pleased to sponsor this year’s event once again by hosting one of the wine salons. Accordingly, on September 10, I presented my Mad about Merlot class, with a twist. The class is usually comprised of 5 or 6 Merlots from around the world, permitting attendees to compare and contrast the aromas, flavors and structure of Merlot wines from a wide range of terroirs. However, given that the salon was part of a celebration of Long Island, the wine selection was restricted to Merlots from the East End. Of course, the term “restricted” is quite a misnomer as the line-up proved to be even more diverse than usual.

Starting with Pugliese’s deep red-hued sparkling wine, the session presented participants with an overview of this much-maligned grape, while lauding its virtues both on Long Island and elsewhere. Next, attention shifted to a blanc de noirs — a white wine crafted from a red grape — with Lieb’s Merlot Blanc. If tasted under different circumstances (i.e. you didn’t know you were only drinking Merlots), it would be easy to mistake it for a Sauvignon Blanc. Adding back some color, attendees then tasted Croteaux’s rosé produced from Merlot clone #314 from St. Emilion. The rosé was followed by a wine created by members of the L.I. Merlot Alliance, all of whom provide a barrel of their Merlot for the annual project. While the Merliance wine was from a recent vintage (2008), the other straight Merlot (from Lenz Winery) hailed from the 2001 vintage, showed some beautiful development and inspired a McCall beef dinner later that night. Finally, guests were treated to Channing Daughters’ Madeira-style Merlot called Pazzo (which translates as mad or crazy in Italian).

Who knew Merlot, and Long Island Merlot at that, could be so varied? If anyone says they don’t like Merlot, they have to be kidding. With five completely different styles of wine, one would be hard pressed not to find at least one to their liking.

  • Pugliese Vineyards, Sparkling Merlot 2003, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA
  • Lieb Family Cellars, Merlot Blanc 2010, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA*
  • Croteaux, Merlot 314 Rosé 2010, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA
  • Long Island Merlot Alliance, Merliance 2008, Long Island (NY), USA*
  • Lenz Winery, Estate Merlot 2001, North Fork of Long Island (NY), USA
  • Channing Daughters, Pazzo 2004, The Hamptons (NY), USA *

*With gratitude to the producers for their gracious generosity.

In A New York State of Mind Revisited: The Hudson Valley

Phyllis Feder of Clinton Vineyards

A relative hop, skip and a jump from New York City, the Hudson Valley wine region is much closer to Manhattan, but much less well known than its northerly neighbor, the Finger Lakes. Yet, this region actually boasts a longer history, with America’s oldest winery—Brotherhood Winery, which was established in 1839—located within its borders. Corresponding with the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area map, this large region can be divided into three areas – Lower Hudson Valley, Mid-Hudson Valley and Upper Hudson Valley. Possessing neither the lake influence of the Finger Lakes, nor the maritime climate of Long Island, the Hudson Valley is cooler and thus, more conducive to cold-hardy European varieties and French-American hybrids, both of which are planted there. Despite its age, the Hudson River Region AVA has seen much of its growth in the past decade, with many of its wineries only a few years old. Accordingly, the region has a few well established wineries, but most are still getting their bearings.

A Modern-Day Veuve
The widowed, Mrs. Cliquot (aka Veuve Cliquot) took over the family Champagne house upon the death of her husband. Similarly, in 2009, Phyllis Rich Feder said goodbye to her husband, Ben, but not to the winery he had spent his life building. Today, she diligently keeps his vision alive, continuing to craft high quality, Traditional Method sparkling wines, along with several dessert wines, including an award-winning cassis. The Bronx-born Ben bought the property in 1969, but didn’t plant grapes until 1974, a decision further reinforced by New York’s Farm Winery Act in 1976. After studying in France at Bollinger in 1980, Ben learned to produce wines using the same techniques as those used in Champagne, but chose to focus on French hybrid, Seyval Blanc rather than the usual suspects (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier). Phyllis remains dedicated not only to Clinton Vineyards, but also to the New York State wine industry, serving on board of the New York Grape and Wine Foundation.

Driven to Succeed
As an undergraduate at Fordham University, Matthew Spaccarelli used to shuttle students between the Manhattan and Bronx campuses, but an early September day found him driving a group of journalists to the Hudson Valley. While you might think that he is a professional cabbie, Matthew is actually the winemaker and general manager for Benmarl Winery. Having purchased Benmarl in 2006, the Spaccarelli family is new to the world of wine, but is no stranger to the region. When Matthew was a child, his family lived locally on an acre and a half of land that abutted a state park. He and his brother would depart early in the day with a sleeve of chocolate chip cookies, not to return again until dinner. These childhood treks instilled a love of the land in Matthew, which is evident as he talks about the new vineyards that are planned. Although he studied Political Science, he has spent several harvests in Mendoza, Argentina as a cellar rat, relegated to managing pump-overs as much due to his inexperience as due to his broken Spanish. However, his limited knowledge is clearly not an obstacle as a barrel tasting of wines from the 2010 vintage shows.

Defying Gravity
Steve Osborn prides himself on his winery’s sustainable practices. Active with Cornell’s sustainability study, the winery seeks to minimize its environmental impact and, to that end, Scott has installed a solar photovoltaic array on the winery’s roof. In addition, the winery was designed to take advantage of natural cooling, having been constructed in a hillside. Utilizing gravity flow production, Stoutridge’s winemaking practices are non-interventionist with none of the wines ever filtered or fined. Accordingly, all wines are only available at the winery due to this lack of processing and more fragile state of the wines. In 2009, Stoutridge added a distillery, thereby expanding its range of products.

Bee Mine
Beekeeper Ray Tousey fell in love with Clinton Vineyard’s Cassis and went about creating his own version with the addition of honey to balance out the tartness of the black currants. After branching out into other wines, he realized that he didn’t enjoy winemaking nearly as much as beekeeping. So, a quick call to his daughter and son-in-law, Kimberly and Ben Peacock, brought the pair home from England and to the helm of the family operation. Today, Ray and his partners can turn their attention to bees and other projects as Ben serves as manager of the winery.

Beyond wine, the area is also home to farmstead cheese producers and several distilleries including Harvest Spirits, producer of CORE Vodka and other apple-based spirits, and bourbon-producer, Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery.

 

TASTING NOTES

Benmarl Winery, Slate Hill White NV, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $18.00
The Slate Hill (a translation of Benmarl) White is a blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Traminette. With high acidty, this dry wine has floral, citrus and bitter almond notes.

Clinton Vineyards, Jubliee NV, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $30.00
Produced entirely from Seyval Blanc, this fully sparkling wine is made using the Traditional Method and is topped off with minimal dosage, resulting in a relatively dry wine. The nose is a mix of yeast and brioche, while the palate also includes apple peel and citrus.

Hudson-Chatham Winery, Chelois 2008, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $22.00
Chelois is a French hybrid developed during the phylloxera epidemic as a replacement for Pinot Noir. Fortunately, Pinot Noir didn’t disappear, but equally fortunate is the development of this grape variety. Earthy and leafy with red fruit, this wine is vaguely reminiscent of Pinot Noir, but with a slightly foxy note.

Stoutridge, Gravitas 2008, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $24.00
This wine is a blend of locally-grown, red grapes—Frontenc, de Chaunac and Cabernet Franc—which come together to create a dry wine with aromas and flavors of wet leaves, herbal characteristics and red berries.

Tousey Winery, Cabernet Franc 2010, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $22.00
The grapes for this wine are purchased from Oak Summit Vineyards, which limits its own wine production to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The wine showed spice and plum aromas, which were joined by wet earth and mushroom on the palate.

Whitecliff Vineyard, Awosting White NV, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $13.00
Among the more veteran members of the region, husband and wife team, Michael Migliore and Yancey Stanforth-Migliore, founded Whitecliff Vineyards twelve years ago. Referred to as a Hudson Heritage White, their Awosting White is a blend of Seyval Blanc and Vignoles and will be the first hybrid wine served at The Gramercy Tavern. Aromas of floral and grapefruit greet the nose, while the palate is slightly off-dry, but with vibrant acidity and beautiful balance.