Monday, April 05, 2010


Ray Tousey and his antique truck have been a fixture in Columbia County for years. He is a well established bee keeper and farmer. He can be found at Dutchess County Farmers Market, as well as Empire Plaza Farmers Market. But now, with establishing a new winery, there's a whole new Tousey emerging - Tousey Winery.

The three main members are Ray Tousey, owner, farmer, beekeeper, and Ben Peacock, general manager, and Bruce Tripp, winemaker.

You may or may not remember my notes from the East Coast Wineries smackdown, but the Tousey Creme de Cassis was an instant winner. And the neat trick of that delicious wine was that instead of making it with sugar, they made it with honey! Fabulous.

Now Tousey Winery is opening a tasting room on Route 9 in Clermont, and they will be offering more than the Cassis and Vidal Blanc that they've been selling at the farmers markets for the last year or so. They'll be debuting their tastingroom next weekend for the coming Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail. Ray and Ben had invited me down to the winery as they are putting the finishing touches on the tastingroom and bottling like crazy.

The whole family was there, including Ben's lovely wife and their two very young kids. It had quite the family flavor. It was a beautiful day. Everyone was giddy and happy. The mood was infectious.

They ere bottling their plum dessert wine when I walked in. Bruce was at the table using a small vacuum pump bottling machine, while Ben was washing bottles and putting them into the bottling line. Ben's dad Dave was corking.
They all entreated me to try the wine. They didn't need to press very hard. The wine was a delicious tart sweet wine with enough acidity to balance out the sweetness. You could taste the flesh of the fruit as well as the tartness of the skin of the plum. Light and delicious! A wonderful dessert wine! This will be a crowd pleaser.

This is a small, boutique winery at the moment. Bruce Tripp is a clever winemaker, with very cool ideas. It will be fun to watch as this winery develops. Bruce is busy experimenting with all kinds of grapes, and talking to growers up and down the valley.

The other wine I finally tried was the Tousey Winery Chambourcin 2008. Bruce told me to decant the bottle when I went home to drink it. I couldn't wait. I tried a small sample straight from the bottle, and then decanted the rest of the bottle for a half hour. It made all the difference. Coming out of the bottle, it was tight, with all fruit and acid. But a half-an-hour's time in the decanter, and the wine had softened. It had been flavors up front, much like a Cabernet Sauvignon, with deep dark cherry, black berry, and dark raspberry. And a touch of vanilla. It was lovely. I could see drinking it now, or laying it down for a year or two. A very nice first big, deep, dry red.
As I said, it will be fun, following this one.