Monday, August 30, 2021

Henry's at the Farm Fine Dining at Buttermilk Falls Inn

Henry's at the Farm Fine Dining at Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa in New York Hudson Valley

During our visit to the New York Hudson River Valley we dined at Henry's at the Farm, fine dining at the Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa across the river, opposite Poughkeepsie, in the town of Milton, New York. 

Buttermilk Falls’ is an extraordinary historic 75 acre Hudson River estate that offers a remarkable selection of lodging at the The Inn which has been in existence since  the 1760's, a world class spa, a farm-to-table restaurant, an organic kitchen garden and orchard, trails and an animal rescue sanctuary. 

The 1764 Main House offers ten beautifully appointed rooms plus there are eight unique private cottages/guest houses. 

Henry’s at the Farm adjoins the 40 acre Millstone Farm where fresh produce, eggs and honey source locavore farm to table selections. The restaurant is in a standalone building in the enclave, the dining room up a flight a stairs to the second floor, above the ground floor kitchen below.

Our selections of appetizers and entrees from the Daily Specials and dinner men  ....

Pan Seared Jumbo “Day Boat” Scallops - Hearts of Palm, Crushed Cashews, Brown Butter - We shared this appetizer course, this was to die for and was one of the highlights of the meal.

Shrimp Scampi - Another daily special, we shared this appetizer and it also was to die for, another highlight of the meal. Couldn't get enough bread to mop up the sauces of the appetizers!

Ceasar Salad - Overly creative, this was bordering on weird, basically was two stalks of hearts of Romaine lettuce with what seemed to a drizzle of thousand island dressing on each.

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad - Red, Golden, and Candy Cane Beets, Honey Chevre Cheese, Shaved Fennel, Spiced Pecans, Black Mission Fig - Somewhat minimalist, the portions were small leaving me want a bit more of each of the features.

Millstone Farm Summer Risotto - Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Eggplant, Spinach, Red Pepper, Cherry Tomatoes, Fried Zucchini Flowers. Linda's entree selection, the fried eggplant was a bit offsetting and the Zuchini Flower blossoms were disappointing - a huge setback from the remarkable comparative offering earlier in the week at Chez Francois in Vermillion, Ohio. 


Filet Mignon - 8oz. Filet, Foie Gras Butter, Buttermilk Blue Cheese Mash, Roasted Cippolini Onions, Asparagus, Tawny Port Glace. My entree selection, the steak was very good, albeit missing the 'char' of my Pittsburgh preparation request, (leaving me wondering if they knew what I was requesting), the Foie Gras butter and the Tawny Port Glace were delectable, highlights of the preparation accompaniments. The Buttermilk Blue Cheese overpowered the mashed potatoes, overwhelming, even for the most ardent cheese lover, which I thought I was, too much!

Ten Ounce New York Strip Steak from the daily special selections.   A daily special, Richard and Pat split this entree selection and it was excellent, a large portion sufficient for the two to share, prepared and presented perfectly.

From the basic rudimentary winelist, which offered the fundamental selections, at reasonable prices, we chose a moderately priced California Napa Cab.

Robert Sinskey POV - Point of View Napa Valley Carneros Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

To commemorate the three Bordeaux varietals in this blend, each vintage release features three different labels with Photography by producer Rob Sinskey. 

Producer photos of the three labels for 2015

This red Bordeaux Blend consists of estate grown Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, although I could not find the percentages.

Grown in Robert Sinskey Vineyard’s organic cool-climate Carneros Vineyards, this wine has more in common with the Right Bank of the old world than the Left Bank of the New World. 

RSV’s Vandal Vineyard is in many ways like the Right Bank of Napa with a heat summation similar to Saint-Émilion. Conditions are right for Cabernet Franc and Merlot to thrive here with vibrant fruit that has just the right amount of mouth-watering acidity. This label combines in the blend, those two varieties and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon to add backbone and longevity, and you have a wine that strikes a perfect balance of supple fruit and elegant structure. This is matured for two years in French oak barrels (30% new) before being bottled and "rested for another 2-3 years in the estate's cellars. 

Robert Sinskey Description: "Deep blackberry and blueberry fruit notes with fresh picked herbs, bramble and forest floor lead to an aromatic bouquet that is shy at first and opens with a swirl in the glass. The first sip explodes with flavor, revealing the intensity of optimally ripened fruit. The wine balances juicy red and black fruit like Santa Rosa plum, black cherry, black/blueberry, cassis and strawberry jam with baking spice nuances of star anise, cardamom and allspice and a touch of bay leaf and mocha. Tightly woven structure is balanced by mouth watering acidity and supple tannins..."

"Like striking a major chord, the three varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, harmonize brilliantly - like they were always meant to be together. The wine opens with floral aromas of violet and rosemary, followed by a fruit stand of aromas and flavors reminiscent of blackberry, black plum, currant and black cherry. The primary fruit notes lead into more complex and earthier notes of black olive, sage, star anise, cocoa and a hint of vanilla that softens an otherwise youthful flavor profile."

Bright ruby colored, medium full bodied, bright vibrant black berry and hints of red berry fruits were accented by notes of cassis, all spice and cardamom and a hint of mocha on a tangy acidic finish. Ideal pairing complement to the beefsteaks.

RM 91 points. - @rsvnapa

Whitecliff Vineyards New York Hudson Valley Shawganunk Wine Trail

Whitecliff Vineyards New York Hudson Valley Shawganunk Wine Trail

Visiting the Northeast for Son Alec's and Vivianna's vow renewal wedding festivities, we stayed over to tour the New York Hudson Valley and the regional AVA wine district. We planned some wine dinners and tastings at several select Wine Producers. 

We centered our activities and logistics in the town of Poughkeepsie, NY which proved to be ideal with proximity to a wide range of attractions and varied points of interest and the vineyards and wineries on the Duchess County and Shawangunk Wine Trails.

On the western region of the Hudson River Valley, opposite the town of Poughkeepsie is the Shawangunk Wine Trail,  home to 13 wineries nestled between the Shawangunk Mountains and the Hudson River, just 60 miles north of NYC. 

WhiteCliff Vineyards and Winery - Gardiner, New York 

Twenty miles northwest of Poughkeepsie, (near New Paltz) and just beyond the village of Gardiner, New York is Whitecliff Vineyards. One of the largest vineyards in the Hudson Valley, Whitecliff grow over 20 varieties of grapes planted on 70 acres of vineyards opposite and below the majestic Shawangunk Mountain. They are one of the most accomplished and awarded producers in the region.

The vineyards and lawns sit below the picturesque panarama vista of the white cliffs of the mountain overlooking the estate. It is one of nine wineries of the famed Shawangunk Wine Trail, following in the tradition of French Huguenot settlers who brought wine making to the scenic valley over three centuries ago. 

Whitecliff is working with European vinifera varietals such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Riesling, and quality hybrids like Seyval Blanc and Vignoles, including small plantings of Pinot Noir and Merlot. They are pioneering use of Gamay Noir grape in the Hudson Valley for a true Beaujolais-style Nouveau. 

The winery is named for the striking white cliffs that rise above and provide a panoramic backdrop to the vineyards.

From the Whitecliff website: Whitecliff is an artisanal family run winery created from the ground up by owners and founders, Michael Migliore and Yancey Stanforth-Migliore. Michael has lived on the property since 1975, when he was studying for a master’s degree in organic chemistry at SUNY, New Paltz. In 1978 he started work at IBM as a chemical engineer in semiconductor manufacturing, and soon after began experimenting with grape growing as a natural expression of his background and his skills in chemistry. 

Wine had figured prominently in his upbringing: his German and Italian grandfathers both made wine at home, and it was part of every family dinner. Today Michael works closely with Cornell Cooperative Extension testing new grape varieties, and pushing the envelope on the quality of grape growing in the region. In that capacity he also serves as president of the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association.

Yancey joined in the planting soon after they met—through rock climbing on the Shawangunk Ridge—and married in the early 80’s. While she doesn’t bring technical skills to the business like Michael, she has developed the ability to teach about wine that contributes to Whitecliff’s Tasting Room. 

Winemaker Brad Martz joined Whitecliff in the 2010 harvest as a volunteer and brought so much focus, energy, and intelligence to the cellar work that he rapidly progressed to full-time winemaker. In addition to hands on work with Michael he’s also invested many hours in learning and research with the Cornell Extension while at Whitecliff. 

Brad applies the careful science necessary to make fine wine, but also brings great creativity with grape varietals that results in our interesting and ever-evolving wine list.

Establishing the vineyard began in 1979 with years of trial and error to determine which varieties will produce good yields and quality wine, while withstanding the cold winters.

The rigorous approach of science and engineering, and determination, has provided the knowledge and the strong base necessary to create a successful vineyard and winery.

There is a quaint Visitors Center tasting room with a spectacular view of the Shawangunk white cliffs from the deck and lawns. 

They offer six different tasting flights of reds, whites, sweet wines, or their 'Best of' selection. 

We tried the "Best of Whitecliff" flight and the "Rich Reds" flight. We found their reds more impressive than the whites with the Petit Verdot, Bordeaux Blend and Merlot to be standouts in that order. 

Most of their wines feature grapes from producers across the region as well as estate grown fruit, hence they are labeled 'New York', or 'Hudson River Region' wines vs the appellation or estate designation. 

Highlights of our tasting ... 

Whitecliff Vineyards New York Petit Verdot 2014

Appropriately poured as the last tasting of this flight, this was the biggest, darkest and fullest wine. This was best of the flight with its fullness, roundness and full flavored fruit flavors and exceeded my expectations for a New York state wine. Sourced from growers throughout the State including some estate and regional fruits, at seven years of age it is most likely at its peak and will not improve with further aging.

This was dark garnet colored, medium bodied, nicely balanced, round blackberry and black raspberry fruits accented by notes of dark mocha chocolate, hints of tobacco leaf and spice on a moderate tannin laced finish.

RM 88 points.


Whitecliff Vineyards Sky Island New York Red Wine 2016

Like the Petit Verdot above, this was appropriately placed second to last in the tasting flight and was another over-achiever in my opinion. At five years, this has had the benefit of some bottle aging and may be at the apex of its drinking profile, not likely to improve further with more aging.

Producers tasting notes: A dry rich and complex blend of Cabernet Sauvignion, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petite Verdot, totally dry, rich tannins, bold apple, cherry notes and a strong finish. This label won Gold across 2 vintages at the SF Intl Wine Competition.

This is a blend of Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignion, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petite Verdot. 

This was garnet colored, medium bodied, nicely balanced and well integrated black currant and black raspberry and cherry fruits with notes of spice, tobacco leaf, black tea, leather and cedar with moderate tannins on a tangy acidic finish. 

RM 87 points.

Whitecliff Vineyards New York Merlot Malbec 2016

This is sourced from regional grapes including from growers on New York Long Island, it is a blend of Bordeaux varietals, 55% Merlot and 45% Malbec. 

Before this trip, my 'benchmark' for New York red wines was Cabernet Franc which here-to-fore was largely uninspiring. I was surprised (pleasantly) to discover other New York varietals, especially Bordeaux varietals, that were notably pleasant sipping and even serious drinking wines. 

Like those above, this exceeded my expectations and was a pleasant, easy drinking red blend. They cite that this is one of their most popular and consistently awarded labels. The bottle label indicates it won Gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, and the medals board notes it won a Gold at the New York Wine Classic.

Garnet colored, medium bodied, nicely balanced, smooth dark berry fruits with notes of dark mocha chocolate, dried cherries and hints of spice and tea on a moderate lingering finish. 

RM 87 points.

Other Wines Tasted ...

Whitecliff Vineyards New York Reserve Chardonnay 2017

Whitecliff Vineyards New York Barrel Rose' 2018

Whitecliff Vineyards New York Dry Riesling 2017 

Whitecliff Vineyards New York Cabernet Franc 2017 

Whitecliff Vineyards New York Two Cabs 2015

Whitecliff Vineyards New York Merlot 2015 




Whitecliff Vineyards website -