Our third winery visit along the Shawangunk Wine Trail was Stoutridge Vineyards and Winery in Ulster County's Marlboro, NY. Stoutridge is a member of the Shawangunk Wine Trail as well as the Meet Me in Marlborough Farm Trail.
The farmhouse at Stoutridge Vineyard dates back to the mid-1800s and was built by pioneering Italian immigrants. Sometime around the American Civil War, the farm became a part of the historic 80+ acre McCourt fruit farm. In 1895, Hannah McCourt sold off a 14-acre parcel to Moses McMullen, the majority of what is now Stoutridge Vineyard.
Moses farmed the land for seven years until he, in turn, sold it to Vincenzo Marino in 1902. Vincenzo converted his barn into a winery and began producing wine commercially, doing so until his death in 1919. Prohibition was ratified later that spring and the Vincenzo’s eventually lost the farm.
In 1923, the farm was purchased by Joseph Noto of Miami, Florida. He immediately dismantled Marono’s winery and built a pig barn and automobile garage. He and his family farmed the fruit orchards and grapevines until his death in 1944. To this day people in Marlboro refer to the land as "The old Noto Farm."
In 1945 Joseph Olivo bought the farm and sold it in 1952 to Philippa Turrigiano who used the farmhouse as a consolidation warehouse for illegal brandy production, a popular activity on farms throughout Marlboro at the time. Philippa was arrested by federal agents in 1956 and the land was confiscated and sold at government auction to Dominic Pagnotta II.
Dominic and his family kept up the fruit trees and grapevines until his death in 1969. (Dominic III became a teacher and used the land for hunting and as a training ground for pistol and rifle use with the New York State Hunter Safety Program. In 2006 at age 70, Dominic became the champion of the Amateur Trap Shooting Association’s annual event, "The Empire Grand American.")
Stoutridge is Born. The century-old farmhouse was burned down by vandals in 1988 although the foundation remained intact. The current owners of Stoutridge Vineyards, Stephen Osborn and Kimberly Wagner, bought the farm from Dominic and JoAnn Pagnotta in 2001. They set about the restoration of the farmhouse, vineyards, and the old Marono Winery.
In restoring this property, Stoutridge took great care to plant
native trees and shrubs. Over 100 trees have been planted on the
property since 2008. They even utilized recycled materials for the driveways and roadways, constructing them with
recycled NY highway tailings — the part of the road that gets scraped up
before a new blacktop is applied.
Today, Stoutridge Vineyard exemplifies natural winemaking and environmentally responsible operations.
One of the most unique aspects of Stoutridge is their malting and kilning floors, one of only eight distilleries in America to do its own malting and the only US distillery with a kilning floor.
Ninety percent of Stoutridge wines are produced from grapes sourced from local vineyards. Using local grapes reduces the amount of fuel used for transportation to the crush pad. One of the goals at Stoutridge is to capture the local flavor. Many of the wines are farm-centric, wine bottled 100% from the vines of Hudson Valley farms to capture regional and local authenticity.
Stoutridge focus on natural winemaking with fermentation being the sole processing step believing their wines retain more of the balance, flavor and complexity found in nature. Careful control over fermentation is key to making wines with no chemical intervention with fermentation conditions maximized for the natural effects desired.
Stoutridge have a barrel room that houses large barrels that can hold up to 700 gallons, and smaller barrels that can hold 375 gallons. The barrels are made from Hungarian oak which is quite similar to French oak, but at a significantly lower cost. They estimate their barrels lasting over 100 years, which is considered sustainable since a new oak forest can be grown to harvest wood to replace the barrel.
Kimberly Wagner, co-proprietor served us in the tasting room and explained their emphasis on natural wine production resulting in natural wines that are un-like traditional wines we typically encounter.
The tasting notes provided with the wine samples stated: "Our award winning wines are processed without pumps or filters and without the addition of any chemicals(including sulfites). The wines are made on-site from local grapes and are unfiltered or unfined (so cloudiness and sediment is normal). When you pour the samples into the glass, notice they smeill different than they taste!"
I inquired about how much of the wines are 'estate', meaning they are produced from proprietor grown grapes, asking many acres were under vines and producing grapes that are used in their wines. She intimated that many of their twenty acres are being replanted due to an infestation of an invasive Chinese louse akin to the stink-bug that attacks and saps the energy from the stems. Hence only two acres were currently producing grapes for wine. The rest of the wines are crafted from grapes sourced from growers throughout the Hudson River Valley.
We tasted our wines on the patio in front of the estate chateau.
Stoutridge Winery Ridge White
Winemaker notes: Fresh vibrant wine with the unmistakable fruitiness of American native grapes and the soft smooth finish of European varietals. A great wine for lunch and light dinners that will remind you of our Hudson Valley vineyards. Best served ice cold. Unfiltered and unfined.
The day's tasting notes specified a 50:50 blend while the current bottle on offer specifies 60% Seyval and 40%g Niagra grapes in the blend.
Tasting notes indicate this won the following awards:
- Finger Lakes Intl. Wine Comp. Bronze
- NY Wine & Food Classic Silver
- Finger Lakes Intl. Wine Comp. Silver Finger Lakes Intl. Wine Comp. Silver
RM 84 points.
Stoutridge Winery Seyval / Riesling 2016
Winemaker notes: "Refreshing crisp wine with flavors of fresh cut lemon and grapefruit. It is medium bodied and bone dry with vivacious acidity and inviting finish. Great with fresh chees or pairs perfectly with any seafood or shelfish. This is a blend of 60% Seyval and 40% Riesling.
RM 85 points.
Stoutridge Winery Ridge Rose 2008
Winemaker notes: "The Ridge designation is one that the winemaker uses on the most artistic creations out of the cellar. This dry wine has powerful aromas but also is nuanced and subtle. Deep smoky and nutty flavors wrapped around a plum and black cherry core of ripe fruit. Astoundingly good wine with hard cheeses and fresh fruit. Decant 30 minutes for best flavor. Unfiltered and unfined."
Atributed to NY Wine: 85% Lemberger, 10% Chancellor, and 5% Noiret
RM 85 points.
Producer Notes: "This wine has outstanding vibrancy as well as the notable silkiness which makes the Merlot grape so prized. Of all of our wines, this one tastes most like the vineyard. From top-quality Long Island fruit. Pairs well with veal, chicken, and game birds. Or a wonderful sipping wine without a dry tannic edge. Unfiltered and unfined."
- Finger Lakes Intl. Wine Comp. Bronze
- NY Wine & Food Classic Bronze
Stoutridge Winery Merlot-Frontenac 2010
Producer Notes: "Very complete flavor profile from the deepest, richest purple fruits on the Frontenac side to the bright red zestiness of the Merlot side. Fermentation comes through with a savoriness that finishes the wine and makes it very food-friendly. Nothing heavy or jammy here. The 14.4 alcohol is completely buried in the fruit and the wine remains cool and juicy. Unfiltered and unfined."
Award cited: Finger Lakes Intl. Wine Comp. Bronze
RM 86 points.