Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hudson Valley Wine History - The Red Varietals

Benmarl Winery, Baco Noir

Now we are going to look at some of the red varietals that are grown in the Hudson Valley. I am going to concentrate on the French - American hybrids but will also touch on some hybrids recently released. So no talk of Cabernet Franc or Merlot today.

Baco Noir  - This species of grapes has early bud break. The fruit is usually high in acid and produces wine that is deeply pigmented, but low in tannin.  At times it tends to have a smoky taste towards the finish.  Wine made from Baco can age quite a bit.  Three years ago I had the opportunity to taste a 1996 Baco grown in the Hudson Valley and it was very good. If you like the wine you are tasting made from Baco Noir grapes, purchase one for today and cellar another bottle for a later date.

Chambourcin - This varietal is a late ripening grape. It is winter hardy and can withstand cold temperatures, but not for a long time. Chambourcin produces a soft dark red wine with a peppery flavor, and not to heavy.

DeChaunac - This is an early ripening grape that is fruity.  It has good disease resistance to powdery and downy mildew which is common in the Hudson Valley.  It is a deeply colored red wine with light to medium body.  You will find characteristics flavors of leather, cinnamon and chocolate. You will also find elements in the wine such as red cherries, prunes and blackberries.  It might also have a musty, mushroom like flavor hiding in the background. Wine produced from this grape is best to drink within 3 to 6 years.

Frontenac - This is a fairly new varietal that was released from the University of Minnesota in 1996.  It is cold hardy and once again resistant to downy mildew and Botrytis bunch rot.  At harvest you will see high sugar and acidity levels.  The wine produced from this varietal will have a deep garnet color with cherry aroma and you will find flavors of blackberry, black currant and plum.

Marechal Foch (Foch) - Named after Marshal Ferdinand Foch who served as Allied Supreme Commander of the British, French and American armies in France during WWI.  This grape has Gamay origins and is an early ripening black grape that produces a fruity light red wine.

Noiret -  Wine produced with this grape is a deep rich almost purple color with notes of raspberry, blackberry some mint and green and black pepper.  Watch out, this wine will give you purple teeth.
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