New York State Red Wines

5 delicious selections from the Hudson Valley


The Hudson Valley was once the land of strange hybrid wines that were sweet, foxy and just outright weird!

Today, most of the reds are produced with more familiar European varieties like Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. The style of the wines tend to be lighter bodied, relatively accessible on release and quite fresh, which seems like a breath of fresh air in a world of self important wines. Even the hybrids, at least what’s left of them, are better than ever, with winemakers benefiting from old vines and the inevitable discovery of terroirs that are and are not suitable for specific grapes.

While this group of wines once tended to be an uneven bunch, the best wines bode well for the region and consumers, as the range of wines they get to choose from continues to expand.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Davide Restivo

2010 Tousey Pinot Noir 12.5%

A lovely, pale wine. This smells wonderful. A bit stemmy with a slight pine needle cast to the bright, red-fruited nose that is complex and delicate at the same time. On entry this has a fine leading edge of sweet red fruit, wild strawberry tone and more stemmy accents and a darker base. The texture is quite elegant and bright with the tannins firm yet layered under the ripe fruit. The long finish continues the theme of strawberry, herb and some cherry with maybe a bit of creamy oak rounding things out. Tense and a bit severe even, this is just lovely Pinot and it makes a statement. 90pts

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2010 Tousey Cabernet Franc Oak Summit Vineyard Hudson River 13%

A touch sweet from wood, this shows a brightness and freshness to the slightly peppery cinnamon-scented, sagey red currant and raspberry fruit on the nose. Very well balanced in the mouth, this shows lovely balance in a light style. The fruit is fresh and full of raspberry and red plum notes with a real clarity to the flavors. The finish is slightly austere but refreshing with some citrus notes and a hint of melon rind astringency. Super wine. 89pts

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2010 Millbrook Pinot Noir 13%

This smells a bit savage with a musky edge to the rather deep raspberry, cherry and smoldering stem core of fruit. Nicely balanced, this blends soft tannins with bright acid and swaddles it all in rather attractive wild cherry, mineral and woodsy spice tones. Very attractive in a fruity yet not fruit-driven way with a fine, tense finish that shows a bit more astringency to the tannins yet ends on a nice sour cherry note. Really very nicely done. 88pts

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2010 Benmarl Cabernet Franc Ridge Rd Estate HRR 13%

A bit spicy on the nose with nice notes of rose stems, pink peppercorn, mineral red fruit and a touch of salt with hints of melon rind. On the palate this shows a fine mineral edge, it’s small scaled but very well balanced and transparent with lovely ripe raspberry fruit. The tannins are quite ripe and the acid fully integrated. On the back end this shows a lean nature, slightly austere though very fresh with cranberry and cherry pit fruit that carries through on the modest finish. 86pts

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2008 Hudson-Chatham Empire Reserve 12%

Astringent and wiry on the nose though notes of tobacco, wood smoke, cocoa, a touch of game and some floral aromas emerge with air, lending this a distinctly Syrah-like profile. A touch soft in the mouth, this medium-bodied wine shows a nice, polished style with flavors of Italian plums, iron, woodsy spice and cranberries on the mid-plate yielding to a bit of an earthier palette on the back end. The finish is fairly long and shows nice plummy fruit with an earthy, almost tobacco scented tannic profile. Nicely styled. 86pts

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Want to Learn More?

Check out what the Hudson Valley whites are like with New York State White Wine Reviews!

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  • You should try the excellentPinot Noir from Heart and Hands Wine Co, in the Finger Lakes with which I have no affiliation. However, as a wine columnist, they sent me a media sample and I was blown away.

    Mar 21, 2012 at 2:46 PM

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