Field Stone Baco Noir
The idea of Fieldstone Baco Noir was to make a wine that reflected the dirt directly. We had read an article Anne Zimmerman had written in San Francisco of a “Dirt Tasting” and simultaneously we had heard about this idea that Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon had attempted to dump crushed rock into his wine to give his wines more of a mineral driven finish.
The idea of the Dirt Tasting to Carlo was one of the coolest things he’d had ever heard of. They had a giant Riedel wine glass of dirt from a particular farm. Then they had vegetables to taste from that dirt. And they also had wines and the dirt those grapes were grown in. Was an idea! What a direct correlation between product and environment!!!
In the “tasting” they let you smell the dirt, then mixed it water, smelled it again, and then tasted it!!!
“I was stunned,” wrote Zimmerman. “I’ve had some miraculous food experiences, but nothing that illustrated so convincingly the connection between the health of the land and the food that I put in my mouth.”
Carlo let his passions and his inquisitiveness get the better of him. He tried it for the first time last year or so with the 2010 Baco Noir Old Vines. As he told Debbie Gioguindo, the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, “I sent my sons to ride around the farm and let them drive the farm truck. We got river stones from around the farm, scrubbed them with brand new scrub brushes and fresh water. We put those in the tank. Then I had some limbs from a local oak tree that had fallen years ago milled at a local wood mill, and then kiln dried. And we put some of that in. And we let it sit for four months and change.”
“The first time I tried it, in the first week, it tasted like mud with moss. It was awful. The second day it tasted worse! I thought to myself, I better not tell my wife I just ruined $7000 worth of wine! But four months later, and a lot of anxiety in between, it all worked out,” concluded Carlo.
The reviews were unanimous. It was a hit. The limited edition wine sold out in about eight weeks.
Concentrated black fruit flavors are pleasant but obscured by generous oak treatment and slightly confectionery flavors of cherry vanilla and mocha chocolate. Hints of tree bark and green, vinous flavors peep through cream and vanilla notes on the midpalate. 84 Points – Anna Lee Iijima, Wine Enthusiast.
I found aromas of earth, mint and black cherry filled the glass with light hints of minerality and oak. I would think that would come from the field stones and the tree. To bad he didn’t name the tree. (something like Fred). The palate was filled with plum, black fruit, mid palate of cherry vanilla with a black peppercorn on the finish. Kudos to Carlo, you didn’t ruin $7000 worth of wine. It’s quite tasty and I enjoyed it! – Debbie Gioquindo, The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess
“Dark fruit — black cherry and plum — with mustard seed, violets and curry spice. Soft and lush with forward fruit, low tannins and just enough acidity. Plum, juicy and fruity. Long finish with subtle vanilla character. – Lenn Thompson, New York Cork Report
Hudson-Chatham Winery 2011 Field Stone Baco Noir I had a long busy weekend in Washington DC, via Great Barrington MA, and on the way home, I had the good timing and great fortune to spend a whole day in Columbia County in New York’s Hudson Valley with Hudson-Chatham Winery operator Carlo DeVito. The last time I’d been in the area was in the late 1980s when the concept of wineries in the county was beyond comprehension. It’s a different world there now, and the DeVitos have led the charge into a tasty future. This wine has a very interesting nose that is an amalgam of inkwell, dried black raspberries, anise spiciness from the barrel and a little earthy bit of fresh dug celeriac. Dense, black fruit paints the tongue with a chewy layer conveying a gravity to the wine that has more pull than the 12% ABV on the label. Despite the flavor density the textural experience is very soft on the palate through the first three quarters of the run. Then the texture gets edgier towards the finish, mingling sour cherry skin, barrel toast and a barely green bitter note that might really excite those with a penchant for not-overripe Cabernet Franc. I opened and tasted this with some local hybrid grape winemaker pals. Our consensus that the wine had hints of both Puglia and the Loire, but certainly spoke of some place in a language with which we were not familiar, but would like to learn to speak. When I brought the bottle home for familial evaluation, I had to fight to save enough to write these notes. – Todd Trzaskos, New York Cork Report
To read about the dirt tasting go here: