On my last visit to the Hudson River Valley, I thoroughly enjoyed hiking in the “Gunks.” As a reward for the hikes, I toured the Hudson River Wineries. Organized in both Ulster and Dutchess counties, the two wine trails are easy to navigate even for those engrossed by the natural beauty of the mountains, apple orchards, and small farms. Once you are on either trail, just follow the grape cluster signs on the side of the road.
My first stop was Clinton Vineyards (pictured above), where I did their simple tasting of 6 wines for $8. I started with a light Seyval Blanc, then onto Champagne and their heavier and sweeter wines. Clinton Vineyards is probably most noteworthy for its Cassis, which is an elegant black currant dessert wine. To be quite honest, I am not a fan of sweet wines. Instead of imbibing the Cassis, I would recommend using it for drizzling over desserts such as a shortcake or ice cream.
From Clinton, I drove to Millbrook Vineyards and Winery. Upon arriving, you drive up through the vineyard and arrive at a converted barn now wine cellar, tasting room, and winery. Called, “the Hudson Valley’s flagship winery,” by the New York Times, Millbrook certainly was a professional operation and very enjoyable. The tasting was led by one of Millbrook’s staff, mine happened to be completing her education at the Culinary Institute of America. She instructed our intimate group of 5-6 others through a list of 6 wines for $7.50 (includes glass). We began with a Tocai, a very crisp, tropical fruit white wine with origins from Italy (Yummy). Then we progressed to two chardonnays, which I did’t particularly care for as I am a member of the ABC club (Anything But Chardonnay). After the tasting, we were given a tour of the barrel room, bottling room, and the vineyard to view the plants and trellises (see below).
On day number two of my Hudson River Wine tasting, I headed to Ulster county very near the Mohonk and Minnewaska hiking areas. Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery, located in Gardiner, welcomes you with a winding road through the vineyard, which leads to the intimate tasting room. As there is only standing room at the bar, Whitecliff offers an outside deck to enjoy the panoramic view of the Shawangunks. A regular tasting of 6 wines and a complimentary glass runs $7 a person. I chose two whites, one of which is the most well known of Whitecliff called Amosting White. Quite coincidentally, this wine is named after a waterfall in Minnewaska State Park, where I hiked earlier in the trip. In typical Ms Traveling Pants style, for the rest of the tasting I leaned towards the reds, very much enjoying the Sky Island Red, which was a blend of Cabs, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
So I raise my glass to the Hudson River Valley’s wineries. A great way to “wine” a little and feel better (without the whining). Also, a special thank you to Level 9 Digital who assisted in creating and converting Ms Traveling Pants’ blog to its NEW LOOK! For more information about Level 9 Digital’s SEO services and web design, visit Level9Digital.
Keep you posted on my future Hudson River Valley adventures, trips to the Florida Keys, Las Vegas, and more.