|Ready for this week's harvest at the Hudson-Chatham Winery.|
Carlo DeVito and his crew at the Columbia County operation make a very nice baco noir, perhaps the best in the Hudson Valley. While it is not among the most popular of wines, Baco Noir has a certain uniqueness about it that should please the more adventuresome wine drinkers, particularly those looking for a less perfumy alternative to Pinot Noir.
The grape is a hybrid red wine grape: a cross of of Vitis vinifera var -- the common grape vine, the French wine grape Folle blanche, and an unknown variety of Vitis riparia (commonly known as River Bank Grape or Frost Grape), a native American climber.
Baco Noir’s origins can be traced to 1894 when French grape breeder François Baco was experimenting with crosses to make disease-resistant vines that retained their French character. It has a growth preference for cooler climates, thus its slowly growing popularity in Upstate New York. It's a dark-fruit flavored wine -- think plums, blackberries and blueberries -- with a nice acidity.
Hudson-Chatham Winery will be the site of a Saturday, October 18, event titled "Baco-nalia!" that is planned as an annual Baco Noir celebration. On that date, all five of the winery's Baco Noirs will be available for the first time. They are: Baco Noir Casscles Vineyard Reseve, its classic; Baco Noir Old Vines, from 60-year-old vines; Field Stone Baco Noir, aged with stone from the facility's own fields and local oak, and two new wines -– Baco Noir Block 3 North Creek Vineyard, an estate wine, and Baco Noir Middlehope from a small 35-year-old vineyard recently revived in Middle Hope, NY, by Steve Casscles and Hudson-Chatham Winery.
There will be a 1 p.m. vertical tasting of older vintages of all the Baco Noirs, then a Baco Noir wine dinner with all five wines. Advance reservations are necessary for both, and can be made online or by phone.
Hudson-Chatham Winery is located at 1900 Route 66 in Ghent, about midway between its two namesake towns. Phone: 392-9463.