Today’s Wine of the Week is Sweet Sarah from Benmarl, a blend of 75% Vidal Blanc and 25% Traminette. I was introduced to this wine this past weekend at the 2018 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition where I was part of a panel of judges. The wine won the category for Best Sweet Wine as well as the Best Overall Hudson Valley Wine made with locally grown fruit. It was beautiful and luxurious with the right amount of sugar and acidity and gorgeous apricot, honey and baked apple flavors. I loved it and was pleased it turned out to be the winner.
I had heard of Benmarl, a winery in the Ulster County but have not yet visited. They have 37 acres and claim to be the oldest vineyard in America. They have the very first farm winery license in New York, no. 1. This particular wine made me want to go there immediately. They seem very well organized with a bed & breakfast on the property as well as a list of where to buy their wines here.
I first tasted Vidal and Traminette earlier this summer in the Finger Lakes. They are interesting grapes and seem well suited to both areas in New York State. I wrote about some of those Finger Lake wines here.
This was my first time judging at the competition and my second panorama on Hudson Valley Wines. In 2008 I rented a house in New Paltz and visited many wineries. It seems the wines have made leaps and bounds lo these past 10 years. Here’s a nice article by Chris Matthews on the competition. The event was organized by Debbie Gioquindo, the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, who did a great job.