Monday, June 3, 2013

Marvelous Millbrook

A relaxing day at a winery. As it turns out this is not just an activity for those lucky enough to tour the reputed valleys of California or the infamous vineyards of France, Italy, and Spain.  Oh no, happily enough, one can have their own marvelous winery experience right here in upstate New York.

To my utmost pleasure and delight I found myself at Millbrook Vineyards and Winery in Millbrook, NY this past weekend.  My friends and I decided to take a little journey into the beauty of upstate NY and tour one of the most reputable vineyards in the region.  We started our trip with a little tour of our destination.  Our tour started outside in the fields where we learned a little about how the grapes were grown, when they were harvested, and what types of grapes were local to the region.  Here, our guide imparted little notes of wisdom such as the fact that you have to trim back vines frequently to harvest plump, healthy grapes.  According to our guide, if the vines are never trimmed, all the energy of the plant goes into the leaves and roots and none into the fruit, leaving the plant barren.

From here, we journeyed into the wine cellars and were taught about everything from barrel making to battonage (the stirring of the "lees" or yeast cells in the wine).  We learned the difference between American and French oak barrels and we also learned how wine is harvested on a larger scale.  Our tour guide, who seemed altogether in his own fantasy land was prone to making jokes like "What does a Culinary student or English major learn at school?" The answer, he delivered with hysterics, was "Do you want fries with that?"  Seeing as one of my friends is an English major and I am a culinary student we both took this to be amusing and insulting simultaneously.  Later when I saw the tour guide sipping a glass of wine while pouring our tasting I somehow wasn't surprised.  He seemed happy in his own little world of wine and laughter.  I couldn't help but smile watching someone who clearly enjoyed every day at their job.

During the tasting we tried two particularly good wines.  One was the 2012 Tocai Frulano Proprietor's Special Reserve.  At $20 a bottle, this wine has aromas of grapefruit and tropical fruits and is pleasingly acidic.  The wine is definitely a palate cleanser but is crisp and inviting and definitely meant to be served with food.  The other wine was the Hunt Country white.  This blended wine smelled of honeysuckle, apricot and peach and had a fruit forward flavor with a long finish.  The tasting was accompanied by local hard crackers and some of the best olive oil I have ever tried.  The olive oil was called Villa Pillo and was an extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany, Italy.

We rounded out the day by walking sedately around the grounds, viewing some artwork in the upstairs room of the tasting center (which just happened to also be a converted barn), and watching a brilliant thunderstorm roll in.  All in all- a brilliant afternoon at a local spot.  This leads me to believe that there is one question that every resident of New York should learn to ask.  "Do you want a Millbrook wine with that?"

Villa Pillo Olive Oil and Rustic Crackers
A thunderstorm rolls in at Millbrook

The vineyard

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