Hudson-Chatham Winery, located in Ghent, and it was the first winery in the Colombia County. One of our TasteCamp visits was to his winery, where he served us lunch, sampled us through many of his wines, and ran a tasting of wines, ciders, and cassis from other local wineries and cideries
I've met Carlo before on other wine trips, and found him to be personable, jovial, self-deprecating, passionate about wine, and hard working. When you consider everything that he does, you might wonder when he finds time to sleep. For example, he has authored over 15 books, writes the blogs East Coast Wineries and Hudson River Valley Wineries, and operates Warren Street Books, And he still finds time to operate and promote his winery, a winery that has garnered attention from the national media.
The building where the Solera is stored lacks air conditioning or heat. He wants the weather to affect the wine, to let it do its worst. So far, that hasn't hurt the wine in the least. Carlo isn't seeking to emulate any specific style of Sherry, though he has previously bottled a Cream-Sherry style wine. His primary goal is consistency, to make a product that is essentially similar each year, though it might gain in complexity with time. Unfortunately, he didn't have any of his Cream Sherry available for me to taste. Carlo also wants to make Port-style wines, generally in a Tawny style. I got to taste a barrel sample and it showed promise. Carlo has very ambitious, long-term plans,
Carlo believes they are making some of the best red wines in New York, especially soft, approachable reds at very good value. Carlo also told me an interesting story which provided me a clear insight into his goals for his winery. He was once asked by someone, "What is it you are trying to do here?" As he is a a big sports fans, and has written much about sports, he replied, "This I the only way I know how to say this. If we were a sports team, my goal would be to make the playoffs every year and to win a championship or multiple championships. I'm not in it for any other reasons than that. I want us to be among the best of them every year." As I said, he is very ambitious.
The 2011 Empire Reserve is a unique blend of three grapes from 3 different regions of New York, including Hudson Valley Baco Noir, Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc and Long Island Merlot. It spends at least two years in oak. Smooth and easy drinking, it had a delicious and complex blend of red and black fruits, a spicy backbone and herbal notes. Good structure and acidity, it had a moderately long finish, and I'd enjoy a bottle with pork or beef. It's not a pure Hudson Valley wine, but was tasty and interesting anyways.
The 2013 Baco Noir Cascades Middle Hope is from 45 year old vines, and the wine was aged for about 9 months in French oak. It possessed pleasant cherry and raspberry flavors, with an underlying spice, especially on the finish. Easy drinking, with mild tannins. The 2013 Baco Noir Reserve, Casscles Vineyard possesses more intense fruit flavors, and more ripe plum and black cherry flavors, with spicy accents throughout the taste. It was smooth, with nice acidity and a lengthy finish. Very tasty. The 2013 Baco Noir Block 3 North Creek Vineyard has a similar flavor profile as the Reserve, except that the spice notes and tannins are stronger in this wine.
My favorite of the Baco Noies was the 2013 Baco Noir Old Vines, which is made from 60 year old vines. It was complex and intriguing, presenting a delicious melange of flavors, including ripe plum, blueberry, black cherry, vanilla and baking spices. It possessed a silky feel, was well balanced and had a lingering and pleasing finish. This elegant and alluring wine is something to slowly sip with friends, savoring its complexity and quality. I bought a few bottles of this wine, and highly recommend it.
Harvest Spirits. The basic Grappa was aromatic and pleasant, with cherry and red berry flavors. The Grappa Reserve, which sees some oak, was even better, with a smoother taste, and the red fruit flavors enhanced by spice notes. This would be a pleasant digestive after a nice dinner.