New York Wine Trails

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's hard to believe that summer just officially started. It's been a wonderful few months of soaking up the warm weather (well, except for those rainy days when we were just literally getting soaked). It's so nice to know that there's more of it to come.

One of the loveliest ways of spending a summer day, I've found, is to get out of the city for some wine-tasting. Years ago, I didn't even know that there were vineyards to visit and good wine to be had in these parts. Since my friend Zoe introduced me to the wonders of New York State wine, we've had many lovely day trips seeking out sun-drenched spaces where we can sip while gazing out at lush East Coast vines.

The latest revelation: the Shawangunk Hudson Valley Wine Trail. In less than two hours, we went from Penn Station to a sunny patio overlooking lush vineyards and the majestic Whitecliff bluff. This was Whitecliff Vineyard, where the white wines are crisp and delicate. I don't normally like white wine because I'm not keen on acidic tastes but at Whitecliff Vineyard, I tasted quite a few to my liking and even took home the Mountain Laurel White, a lightly fruity vidal blanc. The young man who attended to us told us that the Bounty of the Hudson will take place here from July 27 to 28, bringing "Gunks" sips, artisanal bites and live music from the area to Whitecliff Vineyards' grounds for a lovely little fete. It sounds so tempting ... we just might make the trip back! 

Our next stop was at Brimstone Hill Vineyard, one of the older wineries in the Hudson at 29 years old. It was an extremely laid-back operation seemingly out of their home/office, but when I got a sip of their Cab Franc, I was impressed. As I handed over my card to pay for a bottle, I thought perhaps when you've got good wine, there's no need to try too hard. 

Our final stop for the day was at Robibero Family Vineyards. It's a relatively new winery, but their grounds are gorgeous and their Traminette luscious. After our tasting, we sat at a picnic table outside to snack on cheese and potato chip chocolate (no, that's not a typo and yes, it was fabulous).

I took home a bottle from each winery that we visited and I'm really happy I did. These Hudson Valley wineries are so small that most of the time, their wines are only available at their tasting rooms and through their websites, so it's quite special to have a bottle or two in my wine rack.

Our more regular haunt, as far as wine trails go, is the North Fork. Earlier in the season, we drove approximately two hours East to celebrate Zoe's birthday with some good old Long Island wine. We've been visiting North Fork wineries quite regularly and through the years have settled on some favorites. Duck Walk Vineyards is a mainstay on our list as I find myself always wanting a few of their dessert wines. I'm a fan of the unusual boysenberry port, which is lovely when poured over vanilla ice cream—one of my favorite hot weather treats! We also visited some new spots. Jason's Vineyard is recommended if you're winetasting with kiddies in tow, as they have some entertaining and highly vocal sheep on the property. It's fun to see them, no matter how old you are. The Winemakers Studio by the Anthony Nappa Wines was also a nice place to visit, as we got to try a number of private label wines from local winemakers that we might not necessarily have access to otherwise because they don't have their own tasting rooms.
Our stop at Mattebella Vineyards was quite enjoyable, too. They have a lovely patio overlooking the vineyard, and they serve you complimentary little bites of brownies and fig-heaped crostini to go with your tasting. Little snacks are always helpful when you've been swigging wine all day.

Of course, we always save our appetites for Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck. They have a great brunch menu with everything from burgers to lemon ricotta pancakes. Love Lane Market next door is so hip it puts Brooklyn to shame. Rotisserie Duck?? My local Peas n Pickles needs to up its game big time.
I expect that there'll be a few more visits to some vineyards before summer ends. Here's hoping your summer is just as sun- and wine-soaked! Cheers!

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  1. Wow this looks like a lot of fun! The puppy is adorable BTW. Now I think I will have a glass of wine =)

    1. Haha I feel you! I am having a glass of the Brimstone Cab Franc right now. Chin chin!

      PS: I forgot to mention, that is the Robibero puppy, and he is a cute and sassy one!

  2. Robibero Vineyards is one of my favorites! We've gone hiking and "rock-scrambling" at Mohonk Mountain the past couple of falls and we always stop at Robibero after. We just went to North Fork this past weekend as well, but I didn't care for the winery we tried. (It was a kayaking/wine-tasting Groupon deal so we didn't get to pick.) Next time I'll try one from your extensive list here, thanks!

    1. You're very welcome, Melinda! And I will make sure to try that hiking/winetasting combo afterwards. Sounds absolutely heavenly!

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