Italian Varietals in the Hudson Valley

Whenever I come across Italian varietals  in the United States, I am usually a bit skeptical as to  their quality. Often I am proved wrong. This happened recently when I tasted a Tocai Friulano from the Millbrook Winery in the Hudson Valley. The wine was a total surprise to me and was just exquisite. Apparently, the wine was the Gold Medal winner at the 4th Annual Hudson Valley Wine Competition.

The wine was lemon-yellow in color with stone fruit, grass and minerality coming through on the nose. It was long and persistent on the palate with flavors of pear and peach. The acidity and alcohol were extremely well balanced with a touch of sweetness on the finish. I thought the wine was truly lovely and gave it an 89 on my own point scale. I will definitely be interested in tasting the other wines from Millbrook, especially their Cabernet Franc. I wonder if they, like Friuli producers, will change the name of the wine from Tocai Friulano to Friulano.

For more information on the Hudson Valley, this is a useful website.


  1. I agree. I think I might ask them what, if anything, they intend to do about it. A Long Island producer also used to make Tocai Friulano. I wonder what he is up to. Any Tocai Friulano in Texas?

  2. Out here on Long Island, Channing Daughters Winery grows several Italian varieties (not varietals ;)) including Tocai, pinot grigio, and pinot bianco. They actually feel that Long Island’s maritime climate is closest to that of Friuli (rather than the usual Bordeaux comparisions).

    Of course, they also do some crazy things down there like growing Muscat Ottonel and Malvasia.

    Have you had any of their wines? The whites in particular stand out on Long Island. And their Tocai is much more typical to the variety than Millbrooks in my opinion.

  3. Thanks for pointing out something that might confuse others. Varietals in this case means wines made from a single grape variety such as Tocai Friulano.

    I know Channing Daughters quite well and really like their blaufrankisch. I wonder if they are going to stop using the name Tocai Friulano now. I don’t think either wine is close to the wines of Friuli though. The Millbrook wine is fruitier than a wine from Friuli and the Channing Daughter’s was as well in my opinion.

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