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What are old vines? This is a good question. We thought we’d consult an expert, and found a piece by noted wine columnist Matt Kramer, who wrote “If it says, Old Vines, Will You Buy It?, “My own benchmark for the title is something close to the half-century mark. There’s no need to be overly precise or prescriptive about it. In the same way that I prefer bankers and doctors to have some gray in their hair, I like to see vines that have seen 40 or 50 vintages.”
Pretty sage advice. Pretty standard understanding of the term within the industry. Does it make a difference? We think so. Tasting 20 year old vines and 60 year old vines in our tasting room over the years, guests have certainly seen and tasted a difference.
This wine comes from vines that are more than 60 years old. The berries are dark and ripe. The wine is all handmade, and unfiltered and unfined. It’s aged in older French oak barrels. The major profile of this wine is its deep dark sour cherry flavor, with hints of plum and prune, and big whiffs of vanilla and fallen leaves. A medium palate wine, this is a soft approachable red that has become one of the signature wines of the Hudson-Chatham stable. The wine has been featured in such places as Snooth.com, Sommelier Journal, Wine Enthusiast, the New York Cork Report, Beverage Media, the Fussy Little Blog, the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, and many other places. Served in numerous restaurants from NYC to Albany. A classic red drawing quickly drawing an avid fan base.
Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines 2010 – Delightful rose and violet perfume mingles with ripe plums and cherries on this lavish Hudson Valley Baco Noir. On the palate, penetrating fruit is balanced with brisk acidity and a lean, elegant profile. Finishes with just a hint of green leaves. 86 Points — A.I., Wine Enthusiast
Hudson-Chatham 2009 Old Vines Masson Place Vineyard Pulteney Farm Baco Noir (Hudson River Region) – Unfiltered and unfined, this wine made from 60-year-old Baco Noir feels significantly fuller in body than the alcohol content belies. Ripe and concentrated on the palate with hints of garrigue and Graham cracker crumbs, it finishes with a whisper of green on a softly bitter finish. 85 Points — A.I., Wine Enthusiast
Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines 2010 – Lightly scented with notes of black plum, grape and wood spice topped with a touch of muskiness and a touch of dried cilantro. Bright on entry, this is medium bodied with a nice base of supple tannins. The fruit is fairly intense, picking up the black plum notes from the nose, yet a touch simple. More wild plum notes on the palate are joined by well-measured oak and blackberry notes that lead to the light, fresh black-fruited finish. Very well done in a style that gently recalls Northern European red wines. Very gluggable. 85pts – Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com
Whenever I open a dark red wine and smell aromas of tobacco, leather and some damp soil, I know I am in for a treat. That is what I got. Seconds on the sniffing brought out some black cherry and plums and hints of cranberry and vanilla. Very pleasant taste of dark berries, black plum, some tobacco or herbal and a bit of pepper. A nice finish, not overly long, was dry with blackberry, cranberry and a touch of pepper with some hints of chocolate. The Hudson-Chatham Old Vines Baco Noir 2009($28) is one of the best New York red wines I have tasted in a long time. – Joe Suzadail , Why Wine blog
I was pleased to discover that Hudson Chatham has an old vine reserve baco that reminded me of a fine Piedmontese red like dolcetto d’Alba or possibly barbera. On this brief visit I realized that baco noir has real potential for top quality in the Hudson Valley, and that local wineries are realizing that potential. The Hudson Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines 2010 had an impressively dark violet color, an autumnal nose of dried cherries/plums and a bit of smoke, and smooth dark fruits on the palate with lively acid and spice in the finish. – Richard Leahy, Richard Leahy’s Wine Report
Hudson-Chatham 2009 Baco Noir Old Vines. Also available for $19 in the tasting room, 150 cases were produced. The Baco Noir Old Vine comes from 60 year old vines from the Masson Place Vineyard. Layers of dark fruit and spice on the nose. Flavors of black cherry, raspberry and a touch of earth. A food-friendly wine that drank well over several days. – Bryan Kirby, The Other 46
2009 Baco Noir Old Vines Mason Place Vineyards Pultney Farms at the ever-wonderful Partition Street Wine Shop in Saugerties the night of the Zombie Crawl, for $20, and was (highly) positively overwhelmed. Though on initial opening I got a big fat whiff of the French oak, that quickly wafted away; soon I was getting some cherry coming off the nose, the acidity of a cool climate grape mixed in with earth and spices. It opened up remarkably well to exhibit not just the forward fruit and the mid-palate body, but the kind of well-rounded finish one would expect of a true noble vinifera wine. – Tony Fletcher, iJammin!
2011 Hudson-Chatham Old Vines Baco Noir – Masson Place Vineyard – Pulteney Farm – This wine has received quite a bit of acclaim, including from one source that I’m admittedly biased toward as a contributor – the New York Cork Report. The grapes are from vines that are over 60 years old. The wine is handmade and aged in French oak. It is unfined and unfiltered. This baco noir had a “typical baco” nose, as described by Jim Baker of Chateau Niagara in Newfane, New York. I then pushed Jim to describe that further and use few words. He narrowed it down to a very precise and accurate description – red currants. Jim was spot on! The nose had a hefty dose of juicy, ripe red fruit, especially red currant. The wine had great structure and an oak backbone. It was well balanced and offered ample acidity that would lend it incredibly well to food pairing, especially with things like roasted or grilled pork and lamb. This was much better than the poorly-made versions I had before. I was converted – baco noir can made good wine. – Michael Chelus, The Nittnay Epicure
Hudson-Chatham’s Old Vine Baco 2009. This wine was much more fruit forward than the Reserve, much heavier and bolder. The grapes for this wine come from the Finger Lakes. Two Baco’s, same grape, different growing regions in New York. It’s very interesting how different the wine can be based on where the grapes are grown. When you get down to it, they can be different within the same vineyard… The grapes used in the Old Vine Baco come from The Masson Place Farm. It is a huge property, and it is really an amalgamation of smaller farms. Pultney Vineyard is the spot where their block of Old Vine Baco is grown. The vines are gnarly, twisted, and look like old witches hands. But, they produce big, luscious bunches of dark, ripe grapes. They let the grapes hang as late as possible. – Debbie Gioquindo, The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess
[W]e found this example at the New York stand at the London international Wine Fair we had a good taste and found it more than ‘interesting’ in the ironic sense. The first impression is definitely of a hybrid but on the length the effect is pleasing. Perhaps with the old vines comes improved methods of vinifying this variety? … worth the taste and perhaps good with Indian food. – Robert Slotover, Slotovino