One many of the dashing executives of the Man Men era from which he sprang, he modeled the 100-acre Clinton Vineyards in the tradition of European vineyard estates, and chose to specialize in growing a single grape, producing white and sparkling wines. The latter is made in the classic French méthode champenoise, learned by Feder at the famed House of Bollinger. The first release, the 1977 Seyval Blanc, garnered strong praise from The New York Times, resulting in an enthusiastic sell-out.
Ben Feder’s wife Phyllis joined him in 1988, bringing to the enterprise her creative input, honed with world-famous graphic designers Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast at Pushpin Studios. Today, Phyllis Feder continues to maintain her husband’s legacy.
I happened to see Phyllis the other day at the Hudson Berkshire Wine & Food Festival. And tasted her line. One of my favorites, which is so appropriate for the season is Duet. Duet offers a delicious melding of a traditional American favorite: strawberry rhubarb. Clinton uses locally-grown rhubarb and strawberries to make the wine. Floral, with a bouquet that reminds one of a fresh baked strawberry-rhubarb pie, with hints of lime and citrus. There is also a purposeful hint of sherry towards the end. Semi-sweet, but not cloying, the wine in impeccably balanced and nuanced. A wonderful wine.