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There are key words that highlight our philosophies. History. Terroir. Dirt. Rocks. Fruit. Wine.
History is very important to us. History of the region and the land, from the history of the valley to the history of our farmstead, to the history of the individual vines we grow. The Hudson Valley for many hundreds of years was considered to be the cornucopia of the nation, supplying immense quantities of farm fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and dairy products which were transported for many years in the famous Hudson Sloops and later the romantic Hudson liners of the day. The real hallmarks of our love of history are restoration and conservation. Returning the land to being useful, reviving traditions, and heirloom fruit and vegetable varieties. Leaving the land in better stead than what we found it. One does not own a house or a farm. One is merely a tenant or a caretaker. Our job as a caretaker is not just to leave it behind, but to leave it better than what we found it.
We believe in what Matt Kramer once called “somewhereness.” Terroir (French pronunciation: /tear-wah/ – from terre, meaning “land”) is the set of characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with plant genetics, creates a product unique to that spot. Terroir can be very loosely translated as “a sense of place,” which is embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has on the final product – our wine.
Dirt is important to us. It helps define what we are. Soil has been called the “skin of the earth”. Soil is the mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids and a myriad of micro- and macro- organisms that can support plant life. It is a medium for plant growth; it is a means of water storage, supply and purification; it is a modifier of the atmosphere; and it is a habitat for organisms that take part in decomposition and creation of a habitat for other organisms. Our dirt is special. Our dirt is Macomber-Taconic is a moderately deep, very well drained, moderately textured soil that was formed by the glacier.
Rocks are everywhere. They are the one thing we seem to grow better than anything else. Our home vineyard is filled with river stones left by the Wisconsin ice sheet that formed the valley 10,000 years ago and mall shelves of shale.
Fruit is as important as the soil. We have worked for a long time to fine the right vines best suited for our soil, climate, and setting. We have chosen a combination of heirloom varieties and French-American hybrids to make superior wines. Hudson-Chatham’s wines are hand pressed in old fashioned hand turned basket presses, one being more than 100 years old. We use old methods like ripasso and whole cluster fermentation. These old techniques still work, and help preserve the flavors of the fruit and the taste of the earth from which it comes.
In the end, all these things can be found in our philosophy and our wine. Our wine represents a place – both physically and philosophically. We make wines as naturally as possible. Our whites are crisp, minerally, and refreshing. All our reds are unfined, uniltered, handmade wines that show a freshness of fruit, and a distinctive nose that derives its origin from our dirt and our rocks. In the best Burgundian-styled tradition, they are soft and approachable. They are food wines meant to accompany meals where friends, family and lovers come together to share a common bond.