Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hudson Valley Best Of: Congrats to Kristop Brown, Clinton and Baldwin Vineyards, and Local Distillers!

Congrats to Kristop Brown, Clinton and Baldwin Vineyards, Orange County distillery, Black Dirt Distillery(Warwick Valley Winery), Hudson Valley Distillers and Tuthilltown Distillers.

Monday, November 16, 2015

WINES OF VERMONT by Todd Trzaskos is Fantatsic!

Vermont wine has arrived. end of story. The avalanche began with Deirdre Heekin and la Garagista and Chris Granstom and Lincoln Peak, along with such wineries as Shelburne Vineyard, Eden Ice Ciders, and Boyden Valley Winery, as well as popular favorites such as Flag Hill, Snow Farm and Putney Mountain have all made Vermont wine, not just respectable, but down right collectible. 

The flap copy says it all: "Vermont's extreme climate may not seem ideal for wine production, but industry pioneers are proving otherwise. For nearly half a century, local winemakers developed distinctive fermentation techniques and adopted select crops to withstand icy winters. In 1970, Frank Jedlicka used traditional recipes to make wine with apples, maple and honey. North River and Grand View followed with other orchard and berry fruits. Harrison Lebowitz planted French hybrid grapes on a Lake Champlain island in the 1990s, and soon Vermont hosted some of America's first true cold-climate vineyards. Fresh tastes and resurrected flavors now symbolize the Green Mountain States ripening wine industry."
Today la garagista is almost a Unicorn wine (borrowing a phrase from my friend Lenn Thompson), hunted by wine writers throughout the country. And for those who think that Virginia and New York have cornered the east coast market, listen up: Chris Granstrom's Lincoln Peak Marquette is among the best red wines made on the east coast!
For anyone looking for a California-style red made on the east coast, look no further than Lincoln Peak Marquette. If you want a big, California Syrah, you don't need to burn all that fossil fuel to bring it east. You need to get your ass up to Vermont and drink a deep, Syrah-styled wine at 14.5% alcohol that has fruit and acidity and complexity and balance. A fantastic bottle of wine no matter where you think it's from.
photo courtesy New York Cork Report
The book is written by Todd Trzaskos. Todd Trzaskos is a member of the Vermont Grape and Wine Council, Adirondack Coast Wine Association and Champlain Valley International Wine Trail Advisory Board. He runs and produces content at and covers winemaking in the North Country as a contributing editor for the
Todd is a friend of mine, and a stellar wine grower and maker in his own rite. This book is an exceptional step forward for the Vermont wine industry and proof of what is going on in the North country.
Along with Deirdre Heekin's An Unlikely Vineyard, there is ample evidence of wonderful winemaking going on up there in the Green Mountains!
Filled with history, fun facts, great stories, and exceptional understanding of the process and the industry, this is a must have book!!! And a fantastic addition to the burgeoning canon of east coast wine books. The Vermont industry are lucky to count such eloquent cheerleaders Heekin and Trzaskos amongst them!
Review of An Unlikely Vineyard

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Palaia Celebrates Major Rebranding

Last night, Palaia Vineyards unveiled the complete package to their customers - and complete and total logo and label rebrand. Jan and husband Joe have made Palaia Vineyards into a dynamic hot spot, fun for wine lovers during the day, and  a music hot spot at night. Last night was the final culmination of months and months of work, as Palaia celebrated the rebranding of its website, it's logo, and the complete line of wines.

Jan and Joe have long been a staple of the Hudson Valley wine scene.

I like the redesign. It's simple, clever, and really fits with the aesthetic brought about by Jan and Joe.  They love live music, and have combined their passions - wine and music  - into a lifestyle. The branding reflects this. It's fun, bright, and makes their logo easy to identify them and their product. It's a very fun, vibrant, and colorful redesign. Very slick!
Jan was quick to give credit for the overall design concept and rebranding to Colleen Mairead Hughes, former head of marketing at Brotherhood, who was instrumental and helping shape the new branding. Wrote Jan on her Facebook page, "Fantastic...Easy to work with and worth every penny. Wonderful job Colleen...." (photo courtesy of Jan's FB page).

There were three wines I really liked. Pearl Power (n homage, one must assume to Janis Joplin) is an off dry white that was aromatic and fun. Nice bright acidity with only a touch of sugar. An easy drinking light white. Loved it!

Zappa Franc was my favorite. Jan and Joe have always had a way with Cab Franc, and this one was no different. A combination of older and newer wines (two vintages) made for a medium bodied cherry bomb with lots of layers. Soft, chewy, vibrant with fruit. A lovely, lovely wine.

Not much for semi-sweet wines, I always try to keep an opened min. I wasn't dis appointed here. The Moon Blossom was bright, sweet, but had a tangy acidity that kept the wine immensely honest. East to drink A real sipper. Great for turkey day and hams for those who cook those during the holiday season. Lovely.

As I said, Palaia Vineyards is a fantastic place. A fun stop on the wine trail for their wine, They are also a get nightlife destination after the sun goes down. They have the main tasting room, they have the sound stage which is called the Sweet Clover Room and another event space called the Treehouse. All three rooms were packed to the gills last night. And the larking lot was a forest of cars! Free tastings, free food, and three live bands made the day a huge draw, and a major success!

I wish more wineries on the east coast would take a look at the way Palaia rebranded (even if the look isn't your thing, still, they way they went about it). It was very smart and will absolutely help recast them for the next generation! The logo is easily identifiable, and is reinforced on every bottle.

Craig Thomas, operations manager, the everything man, at Palaia Vineyards. If there's an event, at the winery or at a festival, you will see Craig. He is as ubiquitous as their logo. A super nice guy who gets things done!

Great night celebrating a great job! Congrats to Jan, Joe, Craig, and Colleen and everyone at Palaia Vineyards.