Regardless of where I travel, I try to visit little-known vineyards and obscure distilleries in hopes of discovering something remarkable. Here are the places in the Hudson Valley that I most enjoyed.
East of the Hudson, Millbrook reminded me of the smaller California operations that I like to visit, with unrushed tasting and personable staff willing to answer questions. Topping my list were the Hunt Country Red blend, a heady mix of Cabernet Franc and Merlot with a dash of Pinot Noir; the 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay, with crisp citrus and apple, plus a slight whiff of tropical fruit; and the 2013 Dry Riesling Proprietor’s Special Reserve, with hints of honey and orange.
26 Wing Road, Millbrook. Tel. (845) 677-8383.
North of Hudson, also on the east bank of the river, this distillery is an offshoot of Golden Harvest Farms, a well-known apple orchard. A member of the third generation, Derek Grout has taken the business in another direction. His primary product is Core Vodka, made solely from apples, but there is also Black Raspberry Core Vodka and the terrific Cornelius Applejack, made from twice-distilled hard cider and aged in barrels.
Tours and tastings Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. 3074 U.S. Route 9, Valatie. Tel. (518) 253-5917.
On the west bank of the river, I visited Tuthilltown Spirits, which
I knew of from a gift of its Hudson Single Malt. The tasting room is pleasant, and across the road, Tuthill House at the Mill serves homemade American cuisine. In addition to the single malt, the complex and smooth Four Grain Bourbon is worth a try.
14 Grist Mill Lane, Gardiner. Tel. (845) 255-1527.
I had been most interested to visit this winery for the more than 20 grape varieties it uses. My top choices: the Awosting White, a seductive blend of Seyval Blanc and Vignoles with notes of pear and apple; and the distinguished Riesling, which has won awards at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition.
331 Mckinstry Road, Gardiner. Tel. (845) 255-4613.