After spending two years travelling, working and studying among the rolling hills of Italy – I’ve grown to appreciate the pleasures of a scenic view of a vineyard now and again. Even better when I can get my vineyard fix along the back roads of where I grew up. The Hudson Valley is home to America’s oldest wine making and grape growing region, all within an hour and a half from New York City. It’s funny how the area reminds me so much of my favorite regions in Italy – where you can meet the owners daily, and taste award-winning wines while basking in the serenity and natural beauty of nature – the historic Hudson River Valley.
Nostrano Vineyard, nestled in Milton, New York – making its debut to the Hudson Valley wine region with a new tasting room and a 2013 vintage lineup of Estate and NYS wines that will surprise you. Nostrano, meaning “of our own” in Italian, is committed to keeping family traditions in farming, and creating new traditions in wine making. Nostrano is commanded by fourth-generation fruit farmer Nic Bozzo, whose family established Hudson Valley’s J&B Trapani Fruit Growers back in 1943. Nic is creating a vineyard destination for locals and visitors alike. After a childhood spent on the 120-acre farm and pursing his degree in Landscape Architecture at Syracuse University, Nic dedicated his talents and passion to the growth of an existing treasure. Bozzo curated a vineyard and winery “of his own” producing estate wines indigenous to the area – Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Baco Noir – that truly capture the essence and bounty of his family’s estate. Although the history runs deep beneath the newly planted vines (Nic started just 4 years ago), the Nostrano team makes a tireless commitment to the quality of wines coupled with a perfect stop along the Hudson Valley wine trail for travelers and local wine lovers.
I stopped by the opening of Nostrano’s tasting room a few weeks ago to celebrate the perfect pairing of a family tradition with a modern vision. Nic and his fiancée Kayleigh are making their vineyard overlooking a valley of vines and majestic views, the perfect place to spend time with friends and family during any season. (The beautiful snow-capped valleys are just as appealing as sunshine & summer!) My favorites of the new lineup were: NYS Pinot Noir – an unpretentious blend of 2012 & 2013 harvests that was light, fruity & fresh, exhibiting red berry & violet aromas, bright cherry notes and medium body, finished in stainless steel before bottling, and ultimately pleasing on the palate with soft tannins; and the 2013 Estate Cabernet Franc, bold & aromatic dark berry flavors with subtle hints of oak and a smooth finish (Nic finishes this wine in American oak). The new tasting room, outfitted in local re-purposed materials and reclaimed woods milled from trees onsite, was designed specifically for guests to relax, enjoy wines and the picturesque Hudson Valley. Nostrano’s tasting room is a must-see – and open year-round, Saturday and Sundays from 12pm to 5pm.
In addition to wine making, Nostrano has been keeping busy with planning events while their vines & wine mature. The barn event space amidst the vineyards is perfect for countryside weddings, as detailed on their website (www.nostranovineyards.com)