Saturday, February 28, 2015

American Wine Society of Northern New Jersey Hosts Hudson Valley Wine Country Tasting March 26, 2015!

There will be a special wine tasting hosted by the NJ Meadowlands chapter and will take place at the Award winning wine school MAKE WINE WITH US located at 21 Currie Ave. Wallington, NJ (less than 2 miles from Giants Stadium).
March 26th Thursday 7:00pm- 9:00pm Hudson Valley Wines 
The opportunity comes at the hands of Danny Klein, Regional Vice President, American Wine Society...thank you!

The Hudson Valley Legacy
Even closer than the Finger Lakes, the Hudson Valley has a long, rich winemaking tradition. It is the true birthplace of American wine, vinifying since 1677 and home to the oldest continually operating winery and Vineyard in America (Brotherhood Winery and Caywood Vineyards). More recently the region that led the way in craft distilling in New York state and the east coast.

Hudson Valley is host to more than 40 wineries, more than a dozen cideries, and almost as many distilleries making it one of the most diverse craft beverage regions in the country.

Come have some fun with all of your AWS friends and learn about what new varietals this extremely close and growing wine region has to offer. I’m sure you’ll want to make plans to visit the region once the snow melts this spring or summer!

The HVWC will sponsor the tasting, and will offer a host of highly acclaimed wines, ciders, and craft beverages.

Carlo DeVito: Writer, Publisher & Winemaker
Carlo is a lifelong publishing executive and the owner of the Award winning Hudson-Chatham Winery in Ghent, NY. He has written more than 15 books and publishes a highly-acclaimed wine blog. His books include biographies about Yogi Bera, Bill Parcells, Charles Dickens, as well as others on topics ranging from tropical fish, organized crime, Mark Twain and The Godfather.

Carlos newest book Mrs. Lee's Rose a Garden is due out this April. He has appeared on television and radio, and he has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor.

Special pricing: Members $10 Guests $20

Please RSVP quick because the tasting is open to only the first 50 people and will more than likely fill up fast. Do not miss out… you will taste the best Reserve Baco Noir in the United States. Accept our invitation by contacting Angel Martinez at

Fox Run Celebrates 25 Years! (NY)

As popularity continues to climb in the Finger Lakes wine region, one company has been paving the way for others for the past quarter century. In 2015, Fox Run Vineyards will be celebrating their 25th anniversary with a variety of events throughout the year.
Vines were first planted on the property in 1984. The Civil War-era dairy barn was converted into a tasting room and winemaking facility in 1989. The tasting room opened to the public in 1990. When Scott Osborn first purchased the property with his original partner, Andy Hale, there were only 14 wineries on Seneca Lake and a total of 36 in the Finger Lakes.
“Fox Run Vineyards is a dream come true. The international recognition we have received thus far is a testament to the hard work our staff puts in daily. From welcoming every visitor through our doors, the expansion into new markets, to making extraordinary award-winning wines that a customer buys and shares with their friends,” says Scott Osborn. “We will celebrate the past 25 years and build for the next generation to continue the legacy of Fox Run Vineyards."
One has to hand it to Scott Osborn. He took a small little winery and built it into a regional powerhouse with terrific distribution. And he has done it while making quality wins. He has been one of the people at the forefront of the quality wine movement in the Finger Lakes and New York wine. I have tremendous respect for Scott Osborn, and there is no question why he is among the first to be polled when any important question arises in New York state wine.
Scott has also ha a secret weapon in winemaker Peter Bell. He is the winemaker other winemaker go to for advice, suggestions, etc. There is a whole generation of young Finger Lakes winemakers who are absolute fans, and whom he has either advised or groomed. h, and by the way, he's mad some terrific, award winning and highly-rated wines along the way. 
Several major events in the Fox Run calendar this year include
The Food & Wine Experience returns in 2015 beginning in June. Guests enjoy an educational and culinary showcase offering a personal experience starting with a walking tour followed by a light lunch served in our historic barrel room. A selection of local cheeses, charcuterie, greens and fresh baked bread accompanies a flight of six wines. The cost is $40 per person and includes a keepsake glass. Reservations are required and can be made by visiting the website,
The Burning of The Canes is a new event which will take place on Saturday, March 14th from 12-4 pm. Each winter after harvest, grape vines are pruned to ensure a good crop of grapes the following season. From the old tradition in winemaking regions of France, the Burning of the Canes will celebrate the previous year's work and prepare for the upcoming season by hosting an outdoor feast and burning the cuttings (canes). The day will include food and wine, bonfires and live music. More information is available on the website.
The 23rd Annual Glorious Garlic Festival will be held on August 1-2, 2015. Feast on food flavored with fresh garlic, enjoy festival vendors including regional garlic farmers, pick up a tip from local Finger Lakes chefs’ garlic cooking demonstrations. Soak up some sunshine and enjoy the views of Seneca Lake while listening to great musical entertainment and sipping on Fox Run wine. Free admission and parking. The weekend starts off on July 30th with the Thursday night Garlic Festival concert featuring The Town Pants.
Returning this year only is the Glorious Garlic Dinner to be held on Saturday night. A gorgeous view of Seneca Lake will accompany a 5-course dinner filled with the best selections of Finger Lakes sourced ingredients infused with garlic and paired with Fox Run wines. This tented event will be held at the top of the vineyards, offering a sunset view and moon lit lake accompanied by music.
I've included a small smattering of he articles I've written about Fox Run wines over the last years.
Again, congrats to Scott, Peter, and the whole crew at Fox Run Vineyards! And of course, we wish them another 25 years and beyond! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Haight-Brown Vineyard Railway White (NV) (CT)

I have been drinking wines from Haight-Brown since I first discovered them back in the late 1980s or early 1990s. More than two decades ago, Sherman Haight Jr. planted Chardonnay and Riesling on the slopes of the Litchfield Hills, near the historic town of Litchfield. In 1978, the State Legislature passed a Farm Winery Act and Haight Vineyard became Connecticut’s first established winery.The Haight-Brown Vineyard and Winery is situated on ten pastoral acres, and is a classic New England farm winery.
Today, the tradition at Haight continues under new ownership. Courtney Brown & Amy Senew purchased Haight Vineyard from its founder, Sherman Haight Jr, in March, 2007. They intend to maintain the family run winery appeal while at the same providing some much needed love and care to the vineyards and winery.
The other night I was going through my wine cellar, re-arranging bottles, and I came across this wine. I had forgotten I had it. At my age I forget more of the wines in my cellar than remember them. I paired it with a roasted chicken, with creamed spinach and garlic bread.
It was the perfect compliment.
Railway White, a proprietary blend, from what I could discern, is a blend of whites, dominated by Seyval Blanc, blended with other grapes. My guess might be un-oaked Chardonnay or even a touch of Riesling? Or maybe it's Vignoles? or Vidal Blanc? Anyway... This stainless steel white wine had an overwhelming nose of green apple and tropical fruits. Very nice minerality. And very nice acidity, which gave the over wine real integrity. A beautiful dry table white. Not too much pucker at the end, but just enough to let you know it was there. And the fruit lasted a nice, long time. A lovely, lovely, well balanced, well crafted wine.
Congrats to the winemaking staff at Haight-Brown!

Hudson Valley Winegrower Michael Migliore Wins Grower Award from NYWGF 2015!! (NY)

So, for anyone not in the know, there must have been some quizzical looks at the BevNY dinner when a Hudson Valley guy won the Grower Award. After all, compared to some of the size of some of the vineyards in the Finger Lakes and Long Island, or even the Niagara Escarpment, since when does the Hudson Valley offer up any competition. But those few must have been in for a shock.

Whitecliff's Michael Miglore, of the Hudson Valley, received the Grower Award from the New York Wine & Grape Foundation last night, February 26, 2015 at the BevNY Conference! The ret of New York state finally figured out what many of us in the Hudson Valley already knew - Michael is a very, very serious player in grape growing in New York state.

He is president of the Hudson Valley Wine & Grape Grower's Organization. Whitecliff have their own 26 acres. And their 30+ years of planting and experimenting in that vineyard have shaped a winery with deep roots in the region’s traditions, and helped pave the way for others in growing hybrids and viniferas in the Hudson Valley. Just recently, Whitecliff bottle what will be the first Hudson River Region Cabernet Sauvignon!

But Michael is not just a Hudson Valley guy or just a Whitecliff Vineyard guy. He manages a lot of smaller vineyards up and don the valley. He is the valley's biggest grower, and he plans on expanding even after that. And he has his hand in vineyards in Long Island and around the state. Michael is a serious mover of grapes in New York state.

Whitecliff Vineyard has been acknowledged as “one of the Valley’s most ambitious wineries,” by Hudson Valley Magazine. 

According to Hudson Valley Wine magazine, "As winemaker and vineyard manager, Michael Migliore brings the rigorous approach of a chemist and engineer to Whitecliff. With a Masters in Chemistry from SUNY New Paltz, and many years as a process engineer in semiconductor manufacturing, Michael applied his background in science to teaching himself the chemistry and art of winemaking. He works closely with Cornell Cooperative Extension testing new grape varieties, and pushing the envelope on the quality of grape growing in the region. In that capacity he also serves as president of the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Growers Association."

But being the biggest grower is not the only thing makes Whitecliff Vineyard special in the Hudson Valley. Whitecliff brought home to the Hudson Valley a Best in Show with their Riesling from the 2010 San Francisco International Wine Competition. They bested 1,290 wines from 27 countries and 28 states, in a blind judging by 45 respected judges!

And their Whitecliff Vineyard 2012 Gamay Noir Hudson River Region was awarded 90 Points from Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Congrats to Michael, and to his fabulous wife, Yancey, who handles sales, marketing, and front of house! They are indeed a dynamic force! And to Brad Martz and the winemaking team. Congrats! Well deserved!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Santa Barbara Wine Country (Part 1/6) - Santa Barbara (CA)

Recently, some friends of mine, who know I am a fan of cool climate California wines, especially Santa Barbara and Temecula, emailed me asking for my recommendations. I was happy to point them in the right direction, or so I thought. I have traveled to Santa Barbara wine country several times. I absolutely love it. But I realized after talking with my friends, that I had not posted my reviews on this blog - I had posted them to a then much smaller group of folks on Facebook. Ooops.
Now, before you say, 'Hey, wait a minute, Santa Barbara is not on the east coast...."  Hell, call this a travel piece then. I remember the first time I went, I left the frozen Hudson River behind me, and took a flight to Santa Barbara to attend the Edible magazines conference.
Anyway, apologies to the folks in Santa Barbara for the tardy review. I hope this makes up for that. And to the folks who are interested in going, YOU MUST GO!
The song says "I left my heart in San Francisco," but I cannot lie, while it is probably my favorite west coast town, I absolutely adore Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara County Wine Country.
So, this is the first part of a six part series on my multiple trips to the Santa Barbara wine region!
First, if you're in LA, screw going to Venice Beach, and say goodbye to Hollywood. Take a two hour's drive up the gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway and then up into the mountains. It's breathtaking and suddenly it's like you are in another world. From downtown Santa Barbara it's only an hour! And there's a few urban wineries and tasting bars in downtown Santa Barbara as well.
Variety. Firstly, I like the cool climate thing. I am an east coaster and have been selling, pushing, promoting cool climate wines for the better part of almost two decades. The Santa Barbara region is the kind of place I like. It's not too crowded, the wineries aren't one on top of the other, and I love the driving!! This isn't a drink fest. It's a vacation of the highest rank!
The first thing you need to know about Santa Barbara County Wine Country is that it's HUGE!
According to Wikipedia: The first wine grapes in Santa Barbara County were planted by the missionaries associated with Mission Santa Barbara late in the 18th century. Since commercial viticulture rebounded in the 1960s, Santa Barbara County has become a prominent viticultural region. The 2004 Alexander Payne film, Sideways, set in the Santa Maria Valley, brought additional attention to the county as a wine region, especially for its Pinot noir wines.

The region, also noted for its Chardonnay wines, is gaining a reputation for Rhone varietals including Syrah and Viognier. Santa Barbara wine grapes now command among the highest prices anywhere in the state. The Southern part of the trail grows mostly Rhone style wines due to the warmer climate. In the North, the Burgundy-styled wine dominate due to the cooler maritime weather, meaning lots of great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Many of the areas planted with wine grapes are mixed in with the rolling hills, ancient oak trees, oil fields, cattle ranches, and natural areas in the central part of the county. The county now claims more than 115 wineries and 21,000 acres (85 km2) of vine, with the vast majority of the vineyards in the county's Central Coast American Viticultural Areas: Santa Maria Valley AVA, Santa Ynez Valley AVA, Sta. Rita Hills AVA, and Happy Canyon AVA each with its own distinct terroir. The county continues to split into AVAs, with Los Olivos AVA and Ballard Canyon AVA currently going through necessary procedures to become their own official AVAs.
If you are a first timer, like I did when I went there, you want to stop at all the places you can from the movie. Knock yourself out. It's a lot of fun. I did them as they were on my way. You'll miss a lot of great places in between. But you do what you have to do!
Click on the Image to Link to the Official Wine Country Website
Make sure to visit the Santa Barbara Wine Country website. They list the key events of the year, list all the wineries, and have tons of great information on how to plan your trip!

OK, you cannot go to Santa Barbara without hearing the name Fess Parker. Fess Elisha Parker, Jr. (August 16, 1924 – March 18, 2010) was an American film and television actor best known for his portrayals of Davy Crockett in the Walt Disney 1955–1956 TV mini-series and as Daniel Boone in a television series from 1964 to 1970. In Santa Barbara he turned that fame into a reputation as a winemaker and resort/spa owner-operator.

When I grew up, I remember watching the re-runs. I am not as old as some people think. But I remember when I was  little, I had the coonskin cap. And you can still buy one from the winery.

Despite the obvious associations from his television career, Parker turned out to be a serious and  excellent winemaker. I remember coveting back the  1990s the early years when you could only buy the wines off lists. I collected the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays greedily.
The Fess Parker Family Winery and Vineyards is in Los Olivos, California. The winery is owned and operated by Parker's family, and has produced several different types of award-winning wines. Parker's son, Eli, is President and Director of Winemaking & Vineyard Operations while daughter, Ashley, is Vice President of Marketing & Sales.
The Parker operation includes over 1,500 acres (610 ha) of vineyards, and a large, roomy tasting room and visitor center. In a reminiscence of his acting days, Parkers' wine labels have a logo of a golden coonskin cap.
One of my absolute favorites was the Fess Parker Rodney's Vineyard Viognier. Light, aromatic, with lovely acidity and great balance. Fantastic! The 2012 vintage has received rave reviews! 
"More serious, as well as with additional typicity, the 2012 Viognier Rodney's Vineyard is a gorgeous blend of 100% Viognier that was fermented and aged all in barrel. Classic in style, with apricot, ripe peach and tangerine-styled aromas and flavors, it flows onto the palate with plenty of richness and depth, yet without seeming heavy or cumbersome. It's another outstanding white from Blair and will drink well for 1-2 years."  ~ Wine Advocate
It also got 91 Points from Wine Enthusiast magazine!!
My next favorite in the tasting was the Fess Parker Ashley's Vineyard Chardonnay. I loved the 2009 vintage. Absolutely astounding. Gorgeous fruit, yet light and delicately balanced. Amazing. I love almost anything from the Ashley's Vineyard. Just sayin'!
The 2013Fess Parker Ashley's Vineyard 2013 has received rave reviews.
Bright yellow-gold. Ripe citrus fruits and melon on the perfumed nose. Fleshy and smooth in texture but lively as well, offering energetic orange, pear and honeydew flavors accented by hints of ginger and mace. Packs a punch but remains bright and lithe, with no excess fat. Finishes with very good focus and spicy persistence, the melon note repeating."  ~ Antonio Galloni's Vinous

Fess Parker's Pinot Noir is what I first fell in love with when I learned of the winery. And it's still what keeps me coming back. I am a red wine drinker. And their Pinot Noirs are beautiful!
Fess Parker Ashley's Vineyard Pinot Noir is always among my favorites. I've tasted maybe four or five vintages. I have never been disappointed. The 2012 vintage got a great review from Wine Enthusiast, This age-worthy wine smells like the shady side of a mountain, with black olive notes and roasted fennel alongside cedar-spiced strawberries and brambly berries. Both firm tannins and pungent acidity fuel the palate, with cherry, raspberry and slightly bitter espresso."
The Fess Parker Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir has always been very good too! The 2011 got 89 Points from Wine Advocate! And this lovely review from Wine Enthusiast: "There’s a wild array of aromas to this appellation blend, including wild mint and huckleberries. It’s bright red fruit at first sip, then the wine downshifts into cloves, wet asphalt and anise. A direct but clean and very appealing selection, ready for enjoyment now."  
They remain a favorite.

Seemingly a stone's throw from Fess Parker is Koehler Winery. This was instantly one of my new favorites. I LOVED the intimate tasting room. And I loved the help which were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. Ad I loved their wines.

Koehler Winery sits on a beautiful 100 acre estate, surrounded by rolling hills. The estate’s was once owned by a very successful television producers who produced such shows as The Love Boat, Dynasty and Wonder Woman. By the time the property was acquired by the Koehler family in 1997, the estate had gained a very impressive reputation in the Santa Ynez Valley.The current plantings are about sixty-seven acres.
My camera died at one point, so I've borrowed a photo of the inside of the tasting room rom someone else. It's relaxed and bright and lovely.

My favorite without question was the Koehler Les 3 Cepages 2008. Les Trois Cépages, is a non-traditional blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvédre, three Southern Rhone grapes. This big fruit-forward wine was aged in French Oak barrels for 18 months. 2008 was big fruit up front, nice oak, good tannins, nice structure. Ripe and dark cherry. Dark raspberry. Layers of flavors. Cranberries. Vanilla. Mocha. Spice. Black and white pepper. Loved it!
Koehler Grenache was my next favorite. I am partial to the grape. The nose is a bouquet of rose and violets. Extraordinary! And the flavor is all stewed-strawberries, cherries, black pepper and smoke. Lovely!
2010 Syrah Reserve
The Koehler Syrah Reserve 2009 was also fabulous. Of course, I am a sucker for Syrah. I love the Rhone. This Syrah is blended from two different clones grown on the estate. Boysenberry and cassis accompany the big plum flavor, with cocoa, spice, and a nice dose of black pepper. Another great wine!
See the Firestone Sisters website who I borrowed the photo from.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

McGregor Black Russian Red 2010 Mysterious and Sexy Good! (NY)

So a little while back, I went crazy and opened up a bottle of Black Russian Red. When I say I went crazy, I count it among some of my better bottles in my cellar. It's one of the most unique wines in North America, and it's a fun wine to pour for guests and talk about. And that's exactly what I did. We had pot roast. Not exactly sexy. It's not rack of lamb or crown roast or anything like that. But it was a very good pot roast. And I was eager to show something funky from my cellar. There is something mysterious about it. They are such unknown grapes, from Russia?!! How do you make a wine so famous from grapes no one's ever heard of? But yet, it's sexy good!

There's no question this is an exciting wine. Here's what Roederer Award-winning wine writer Evan Dawson said about it back in 2011 for the New York Cork Report:

The wine that is quite possibly the single most interesting wine in the Finger Lakes is turning 20, sort of, in 2011, and the McGregor family is throwing a party. (This is a family that really knows how to throw a bash.) Details on the event to follow, but first, let's lift the veil on a little history.
The McGregor Black Russian Red is, technically, older than 20 years. Bob McGregor spent the 1980s searching for the right blends and combination to unlock the potential in these unusual grapes — Saperavi and Sereksiya Charni. Today, you can still find an occasional bottle of 1991 Black Russian hanging around. It was the first recognized vintage of this blend, and if you're fortunate enough to find one, don't be surprised if it's still pretty darn good.

It's a story of innovation and determination, led by Bob McGregor and carried on by his son, John, and family. It is not a stretch to say that Bob was a trailblazer, because McGregor was one of the first to recognize what some Finger Lakes winemakers are only now recognizing: In an unpredictable cool climate region, sometimes you have to open your mind to find what truly works. 

Bob McGregor had struggled with Bordeaux varieties. His early pinots made him happy, and earned the praise of a few writers, but Bob wanted that big, robust red to round out his portfolio. That was the goal. Cabernet was dying on the vine, literally, in the 1970s and 1980s. Bob McGregor's background pushed him to search for something different.

So what are Saperavi and Sereksiya?

Saperavi literarily mean in Georgian, "paint, dye" which is said to come from its intensive dark-red color. Saperavi red wine has been produced since 1886. Saperavi grapes produce substantial deep red wines that are suitable for extended aging (perhaps up to fifty years). Saperavi is a hardy variety, known for its ability to handle extremely cold weather; and is popular for growing in high altitude and inland regions. Saperavi wines have won numerous international wine competitions.

"The less common Sereksiya Charni (sereksiya chernaya) of Moldovan and Romanian origin, is grown throughout the Caucasus and Balkans. It makes for red wines typified by deep color, high acidity and a prominent fruity element," wrote Arthur Z. Przebinda for Palate Press.

McGregor Black Russian Red 2010 (376 cases produced) is a unique blend of 100% estate grown Saperavi & Sereksiya Charni grapes. The wine, released last May, is a dark red hinting at purple. A big nose of dark, dark cherry, plum, and a big punch in the nose of blackberry hit you. There's also hints of smokiness, earthiness, vanilla and mocha. All three come across on the palate. It's a big fruit bomb for the first second or so. Then the tannins an the complexity take over. This is a very subtle wine, with lots of gorgeous overtones. Well balanced and delicious. Impressive! Especially since it's made from grapes I have never in my life heard of!!!

Anna Lee Iijima

But why trust me. Maybe you'd prefer Anna Lee Iijma of Wine Enthusiast who gave this wine 87 Points in May of 2014! Anna wrote, "Whiffs of ripe black cherries, vanilla and spice, along with delicate hints of soil and barnyard, mark this unusual blend of Saperavi and Sereksiya grapes. Tart black-fruit flavors accented with swathes of fresh herbs are a bit lean on the palate, but the acidity is gentle. It’s dry and easy drinking in style with smooth, gentle tannins."

Count me as yet another admirer to get in line.

Congrats to winemaker John McGregor!

Evan Dawson's piece on NYCR:

Anna Lee Iijima

Palate Press

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Harvest Spirits John Henry Single Malt Whiskey (NY)

Derek Grout and Peter Upstill (and their team) have done it! Harvest Spirits released their first Single Malt Whiskey from Harvest Spirits! Oh, boy!
OK, so my first question is, what is the history of Single Malt Whiskey? This is what Wikipedia says:
Distillation of whisky has been performed in Scotland and Ireland for centuries. The first written record of whisky comes from 1405 in Ireland, while the production of whisky from malted barley is first mentioned in Scotland in an entry on the 1494 Exchequer Rolls, which reads "Eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor, by order of the King, wherewith to make aqua vitae".

Single malt whisky is associated with the Scottish tradition, although there are also Irish and other single malts. Penderyn, the only whisky commercially produced in Wales, is also a single malt.
From the 15th century onwards, whisky was heavily taxed in Scotland, to the point that most of the spirit was produced illegally. However, in 1823, Parliamet passed an act making commercial distillation much more profitable, while imposing punishments on landowners when unlicensed distilleries were found on their properties. George Smith was the first person to take out a licence for a distillery under the new law, founding the Glenlivet Distillery in 1824.

In the 1830s, Aeneas Coffey refined a design originally created by Robert Stein for continuous stills which produced whisky much more efficiently than the traditional pot stills. Quickly, merchants began blending the malt whisky with the grain whisky distilled in the continuous stills, making the first blended Scotch whisky. The blended whisky proved quite successful, less expensive to produce than malt with more flavour and character than grain. The combination allowed the single malt producers to expand their operations as the blended whisky was more popular on the international market.

Single malt distilleries also exist in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Japan, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA and Wales.

And then, what is the definition of Single Malt? Again, Wikipedia:
Single malt whisky is a whisky made at one particular distillery from a mash that uses only malted grain, ordinarily barley.

Single malts are typically associated with single malt Scotch, though they are also produced in various other countries. Under Scotch Whisky Regulations, a "Single Malt Scotch Whisky" must be made exclusively from malted barley (although the addition of E150A caramel colouring is allowed), must be distilled using pot stills at a single distillery, and must be aged for at least three years in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres (150 imperial gallons; 180 US gallons).

While the Scotch model is usually copied internationally, these constraints may not apply to whisky marketed as single malt that is produced elsewhere. For example, there is no definition of the term single with relation to whisky in the law of the United States, and some American whiskey advertised as single malt whisky is produced from malted rye rather than malted barley.

OK, now let's talk about Harvest Spirits' John Henry Single Malt Whiskey. It's made using a beer made by Adirondack brewing, which is made from 75% New York smoky 2-row malted barley. It's double distilled. Then aged for two years. Approximately one month in new barrels, and then the rest in older applejack and bourbon barrels, or what they refer to as re-fill barrels.
Now, before I go into my review, I want to state out right that I am a bourbon guy. Generally I am not a huge fan of single malt. But I do like some.
That said, I like this whiskey for everything it is not. If you are looking for a big, smoky, mossy, peat monster, you will absolutely be disappointed. If you are looking for a big, bitter, biting, hot going down your throat single malt, then this is not for you.
On the other hand, of your looking for a light, lovely, floral nose with Sourdough bread, caramel apple, and lots of spiced fruit, then this is your whiskey. It's a lovely, elegant, complex spirit, with layers of delicate flavors and no sense of grain alcohol or anything like that.
If I've heard anything about brown spirits coming out of the Hudson Valley and the rest of the north east, its that they are not allowed to age long enough in the cask to acquire the complexity to compete with other spirits from Tennessee or Kentucky. I think the point with John Henry is two fold: 1. This is, in Derek Grout's wheel house, a more delicate and complex whiskey, instead of the caveman-ish club some would prefer. 2. Derek and Pete's palates across the board have always been to the more refined, elegant, delicate side, and this take on scotch whiskey is more than admirable. It's down right lovely!! Strike that! It's damned good!

Good things come in small packages. John Henry Single Malt Whiskey is now available in 750ml, 350ml and 50 ml bottles. Stop by the tasting room ASAP and get your hands on Batch#1. 
And tell the rest of the guys Hi! for me!