Saturday, October 25, 2014
New Winery in the Hudson Valley - Clermont Vineyards!!! (NY)
At the corner of Route 6 and 9G in Germantown, in Columbia County, there is a NEW winery! Clermont Vineyards opened its doors yesterday to the public for the first time. While the winery may be new to the scene, the owner is not! Tony Trigo has long been a fixture on the Hudson Valley wine scene, attending grape growing seminars, wine trade shows, wine festivals, Hudson Valley winemaker tasting tables, and winemaking classes. He is well known and loved for his sarcastic sense of humor.
So, Clermont Vineyards is no quickie start-up. Tony has one of the larger single vineyard blocks in Columbia County, and his project has been underway for at least five or six years, maybe more. Tony, a former engineer with the Port Authority, took two old giant barns, and turned one into a winery and the other into a modern home. He gutted both buildings, and the infrastructure is state of the art.
The tasting room building itself is stunning, with a 50 foot vaulted ceiling, and a breathtaking view over looking their huge vineyard. It's all brand spanking new. And stunning.
So I went yesterday, and did a little tasting. And the wines were as nice as the building. And they are all estate!
The Seyval Blanc was a classic dry white stainless steel wine. A nice citrus ending, with a lovely pop of lemon!
Next was the stainless steel Cabernet Franc, which was a big, jammy, lush wine, with a big dollop of dark raspberry.
The true surprise of the visit was the oaked Cabernet Franc, which had all the fruit of the previous wine, but it was clear that the aging in oak had added a complexity that was eye popping. This is a fabulous reserve-styled Cabernet Franc, with dark cherry-raspberry, wonderful complexity, and great balance! A lovely surprise!!
Tony is of Portuguese background. And the dessert wine he makes is modeled off the wine named Jeropiga. Jeropiga is a kind of port. Late harvest grapes are pressed. Then grape spirits or brandy are added to the resulting juice to reach a desired alcoholic level of 18%. Next, the mixture is left to settle for two to four weeks, and then racked. So it is a kind of port if you will. Some winemakers in the old country use white grapes, others red. It's sweet and layered.
Tony's Jeropiga is made with late harvest Vidal Blanc (this year's vintage are still in the vines). It has overtones of port and sherry. And it begs for roasted chestnuts, which are the traditional accompaniment for this wine in Portugal! Definitely a Thanksgiving and holiday wine.