By Chris Rowley
As the season turns, harvest time comes to our area's wineries. This year will be, at best, a difficult one, because of the rain and cool temperatures this summer. Still, while this year's crops of grapes are being brought in, the wineries will be releasing their 2008s.
At Brimstone Hill Winery, just up New Prospect Road (Route 7) from Route 52, the 2008 Cayuga and Chardonnay have been bottled. The 2008 Riesling and Noiret will be next and, by the end of August, the Cabernet Franc will follow. It's always a great time in the tasting rooms when the new wines are in and wine lovers have the chance to try them and contrast them with previous years' vintages that they may have enjoyed.
Talking of this year's problems, Richard Eldredge, proprietor of Brimstone Hill, said. "There was a small set of fruit, and since then we've had worse than usual fungi problems. The fungal diseases like it when it's wet and warm."
Despite the weather, Eldredge has planted more Cabernet Franc and Noiret this year, the two red varietals that he feels do best on his site.
"We're all at the Farmers' Market in Pine Bush, and that's been going very well."
The Pine Bush Farmers' Market is on Saturdays, in the parking lot behind the Cultural Center on Main Street.
Over at Baldwin Vineyards on Hardenburgh Road, they will be sponsoring a multi-weekend festival to match up their award winning Strawberry Wine and chocolate. On Labor Day weekend, from 12 noon to 5 p.m., Saturday through Monday and on Columbus Day weekend (Saturday through Sunday), they'll be pouring that strawberry wine.
Baldwin Strawberry Wine has won many awards and has been called "One of the best 100 wines of the New World." Paired with chocolate, that sounds just about perfect.
Heading further north, past Dwaarkill to McKinstry Road and Whitecliff Vineyards, it's time to check out the 2008 Gamay Noir. "Last year's Gamay Noir got us plenty of good press," says Yancey Migliore. "It made the wine list at NYC's Gramercy Tavern. The 2008 release has already gone onto the wine list at the Culinary Institute of America's American Bounty Restaurant."
With only 200 cases made, though, this wine is likely to sell out pretty quickly.
There will be several events coming up at Whitecliff. On August 22 and 23, the vineyard will host its annual Red Wine and Grass Fed Beef event. The feast will feature six red wines and beef tapas from two local producers, Brykill Farm and Kiernan Farm. The event runs from 12 noon to 5 p.m., $17.50 at the door and $16 in advance.
On Saturday, September 26, there will be Veggies and Vino, pairing vegetarian food and wine and featuring two sets from the Bernstein Bard Jazz Trio. The food will be comprised of local Hudson Valley produce, featuring recipes from local author Nava Atlas, who will also speak briefly. There will also be two jazz sets starting at 3:30 and 5:30. This event will be in a tent, so come rain or shine. Tickets are $19 in advance, $21 at the door.
And, on Saturday, November 21, Whitecliff will host a Red Wine and Chocolate event from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. "Our annual exploration of everyone's two favorite food groups! Lots of fun!" says Migliore. Paired tastings will be available all day, with prices ranging from $8 to $12.
Call Whitecliff at 845-255-4613 for more information about any of these events.
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