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Baco Noir (pronounced BA-koh NWAHR; Baco noir is also called Baco 1) is a hybrid red wine grape variety produced from a cross of Vitis vinifera var. (Folle Blanche, a French wine grape) and an unknown variety of Vitis riparia (an indigenous North American grape species). Baco Noir was first created by French wine hybridizer Maurice Baco (hence the name of the grape).
Baco Noir was originally bred to replace Pinot Noir during the phylloxera epidemic during the 1800s. It produces a medium body, deeply tinted, acidic red wine which is fruit forward and often carries aromas of black fruits and caramel.
Baco Noir Reserve from Casscles Vineyards. The story of this wine starts at the home of our winemaker Stephen Casscles at Casscles Vineyards Athens at their farm Cedar Cliff. The grapes are grown on the Casscles family property, in small, well-tended vineyard blocks. The vineyard is not far from the Hudson River on the west bank, which gets the benefits of slightly warmer weather afforded it by the Hudson River. This farm was a recreational farm that was probably first planted in pear and cherry trees and some grapes around 1870s and was originally part of the much larger Thorpe Farm. The Casscles started planting grapes in 1990 or 1991. It is an experimental vineyard that grows primarily French-American hybrid grapes. The vines used to make our Baco Noir are more than 20 years old.
The grapes are hand-picked every October off of winding rows, and even a few craggy spots. The grapes are brought to Hudson-Chatham Winery where they were de-stemmed. At least one quarter to two-thirds of the fermentation is done with whole clusters. Steve believes in carbonic maceration, which gives a very pretty sense of fruit to the final finished wine. The must is then pressed by hand, the old fashioned way, in a 100-year old wood basket screw press. The juice is fermented in stainless-steel, and then transferred to neutral French oak barrels. All done by hand.
Then the wine sits for about 6 months in these casks, with a few carboys of wine that was also aged separately, with no oak. This was all according to plan. After six months, we take the best two of the three barrels we made, and blend them with the 10 or so unoaked gallons of wine.
Steve had been making the wine for years from his vineyard, and won numerous gold medals for it through the years. People in the town of Catskill and Athens were well in the-know about Steve’s wine for years, and his annual release to friends and family was much anticipated and talked about. The wine, when introduced at Hudson-Chatham was an instant success and sold out immediately. It has become something of a cult wine at Hudson-Chatham since it was first introduced in 2008.
This is a handmade wine. No fining. No filtering. Hints of vanilla and cherry are on the nose. The cherry comes through, as does a touch of vanilla in this wonderful, medium bodied red wine of great complexity. It finishes with some spice, dry and smooth. This delightful red has a bright sour cherry profile with big whiffs of plum and vanilla. An incredible soft, medium-bodied wine that will age well for years. This wine is excellent with cheese, pork, chicken, pasta, and other gourmet meals.
Baco Noir Reserve, Casscels Vineyard is a small production, fine wine that has received praise from Snooth.com, Sommelier Journal, Wine Enthusiast, Edible Manhattan, Rural Intelligence, New York Cork Report, All Over Albany, The Fussy Little Blog, and numerous other publications.
It really reminds me of a Barbera…With its zippy acidity, and medium light body…[the] 2007 baco noir carried aromas of blackberry and black cherry, and has a wild, brambly quality that added a rustic edge, making me hanker for a long-simmered , tomato-y veal stew. – Amy Zavatto, Edible Manhattan
Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Reserve Casscles Vineyard 2010 Recommended: A fruity nose with notes if sour cherry and spice leads to a complex palate of red currant and berries, set off by tart acidity. Unfiltered, unfined, and age about 10 months in French oak, producing hints of vanilla. – Patricia Savoie, Sommelier Journal
The 2008 Baco Noir Reserve earned its accolades honestly. A deep-purple ruby it features complex aromas of briar fruit, menthol, and eucalyptus. On the palate, its medium bodied with vibrant dark berry fruit on a long, earthy finish. A complete wine, it checks in at a refreshingly low 11.5% alcohol. – Christopher Matthews, Rural Intelligence
The 2009 Baco Noir Reserve is a pleasant surprise. While definitely lighter in color and body than the 2008, reflecting the different vintage, it has pretty, floral and plummy aromas reminiscent of Pinot Noir, and bright red fruit with a dash of pepper on the palate. The 2009’s lovely fruit and zesty acidity will make it versatile- and delightful…. – Christopher Matthews, Rural Intelligence
The Hudson-Chatham Winery’s Baco Noir Reserve is a clear and bright garnet. To me it smells of tart red fruit, and offers the impression of strawberries and tart cherries. I also get a little bit of sweet barnyard hay. On the tongue it is less fruity, but it’s filled with bright acidity and enough tannin to give it some structure. The finish leaves me with a lingering notion of cranberries. This wine would go well with something that was rich and did not have a lot of competing flavors, like a simple roast chicken, or bacon wrapped pork loin. – Daniel B. Fussylittleblog
Hudson-Chatham’s version is a silk glove with Burgundian sensibilities—like the hybrid it’s made from it blends the verve and bounce of America with the elegance and nuance of Europe. A style rich with raspberries, sour cherry, lavender and earth—and some cassis lingering on the edges, just a stunning wine. – Katie Kelly Bell, Forbes.com
We tasted mostly reds, all reds and I have to say they were nice. I was very surprised at how nice the 2011 Baco’s were. 2011 was a tough year with the hurricane at harvest…I really liked the 2011 Baco Noir Reserve from Casscles Vineyard in Athens, NY. It was had a very raspberry, fruity nose and was a tad smokey with a little hint of spice. This will be great if aged a few years. – Debbie Gioquindo, The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess
The tasting kicked off with the Hudson-Chatham 2009 Baco Noir Reserve. The fruit comes from Casscles Vineyard in Athens, NY and retails for a reasonable $19. Ruby color in glass, an initial nose of red plum, cherry and cranberry with a hint of spice at the end. Plummy, jammy finish. Great acidity with just enough tannin for balance. Overall, an approachable, fruity wine that surprises. 70 cases produced. – Brian Kirby, The Other 46
Baco Noir Reserve 2007 Nose offers red cherry, raspberry and caramel-vanilla aromas. Medium bodied and a bit rustic, this small production Baco (85 cases) is youthful and a bit tight. Cherry and blackberry flavors are there, but not expansive. There’s also some vanilla and oak, which are a bit front-and-center at this point. – Lenn Thompson, New York Cork Report