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November 11, 2008


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I've tasted the first two, but can't remember if I had the H-C. It's surprising to me how different the Warwick is from the Benmarl, though I enjoyed them both very much. I thought the Black Dirt Red would have possibility as a "Thanksgiving wine" because it is pretty light. Curious what happens on the second taste!

Carol: Funny you mention it as a T-day wine. I actually scribbled that in my notes.

And it is almost startling how different they are. I'm not sure that I really know what Baco tastes like after tasting these three. What is the Baco and what is the winemaker?

Benmarl's winemaker is Kristop Brown. He trained under Mark Miller's son Eric and wife Lee who took over Benmarl a few years before it was sold (after Mark Miller retired) The own Chaddsford Winery in PA. I had the opportunity to tour Benmarl 10 years ago and Mark Miller gave me a tour. Words can't describe it.

at this moment you currently have 3 comments so I don't really want to throw off the zen nature of things... but alas I must.
Nice post bro, good concise descriptions. Despite from the flavor profile being completely different it looks like Baco Noir is like Virginia's Norton. And the fact that Norton is a native grape and Baco Noir is a hybird...but that would just be splitting hairs! :)


Most Baco I have tried leans toward the Hudson-Chatham style. I've had the '05 Benmarl and it was unlike any other I have sampled. Baco and another red hybrid, Chambourcin, are growing on me. I enjoy them with burgers on the grill.

You ask what is the Baco and what is the winemaker. You can gain a little insight in Steve Casscle's column in the premier issue of Hudson Valley Wine magazine, where Steve (local long-time HV viticulture expert) explains what can make one Baco different from the next. If anyone needs a copy, let me know. Look for more insight on other HV grape varieties in upcoming issues...

im not going to put to much stock in this, but perhaps the difference with Warwicks is that it was grown in the black dirt, the flat drained river/lake bottom that orange county is famous for, while Benmarl's and H-C's are grown on more "traditional" hudson valley vineyard land. who knows, i do love the benmarl though!

Oh yea and to Linda from the Hudson Valley Wine Magazine, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can i somehow subscribe to that mag, with the back issue too? [email protected]


Thanks for some notes on an odd grape. I have had a few Baco's from North of the border, but I haven't been able to fall in love with them yet.

The ones I've had have had a gamay-ness to them, but not in appealing way. I'd like to try some top examples before I swear it off.

Most of the Baco vines at Benmarl are 20-25 years old which may account for some difference. There is some Marechal Foch & 1 % of a white varietal in this wine as well to balance the acid and fix the color. Kristop also has special insight into making Baco from Eric Miller who worked with this grape for 25 years or more.I like HC's Baco Reserve as well. With Baco having low tannins it may need that little extra oak treatment.

having made baco noir at benmarl for several years, i agree with the comment that the baco must have received a fair amount of "manipulation". knowing steve casscles for about a million years as well, i would love to try his version knowing it would be of true terroir. the black dirt comment is interesting, as it is accepted that vines do like to struggle vs living it up in super rich soil. some of benmarl's best baco's(always blended with chelois and marechal foch) were consumed at the age of 25 years plus. eric miller and his 1970's crew were cutting edge- producing well structured wines with incredible aging potential. as far as turning out hybrids that hit the palate right, anyone can make a wine out of a california grown vinifera. my teatotaling bible thumping grandmother included. it's paint by number wine. the bigger challenge is offbeat varieties grown in sketchy climes, like skiing gnarly piste in backwoods vermont vs kempt corduroy at Heavenly. and bringing up VA's norton, you might as well throw in south africa's pinotage.

Yes, the benmarl is heavily manipulated. De-acidified, cold stabilized,designer yeast,full malolactic, new eastern european oak and 2 grams per litre residual. Made to express the youthful Baco fruit and definetly for early consumption.
I can't wait to try the Warwick and Chatham baco noirs. This grape has many sides to it.

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