Thursday, September 8, 2011

Visiting the Shawangunk Wine Trail: Applewood Winery

Ever since our visit to Foggy Ridge Cider for the MyJoogTV Episode 9: Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band @ Foggy Ridge Cider episode, we've been on a hard cider kick. And what better way to feed that habit, but through a tour of apple country in New York's Hudson Valley and the Shawangunk Wine Trail. The trail consists of eleven wineries, with a few producing hard cider from the regions abundant apple crop. We started out intending to visit Warwick Valley Winery & Disillery, but found the roads blocked because of storm damage from Hurricane Irene. Having a limited time schedule, we reversed course to the next closest winery in Warwick, Applewood Winery. This farm winery is the oldest continually operated farm in the county and still contains a stone that bears an inscription of the first owner's initials ("SGS 1700"). The current operation began in the 1950's when the land was purchased by the Hull family and apple trees planted to create Applewood Orchards. In 1993 Jonathan Hull expanded the apple farm to include a winery and plantings of vinifera, labrusca and hybrid and grape varieties.

On our visit, we were surprised to find a packed parking lot; surprised because of the seclusion of the farm. They have gotten the word out; plus there was live music scheduled for later that afternoon. The winery offers a large selection of wines, from Chardonnay, Reisling, and Cabernet Franc to Traminette and Concord. And plenty of Apple wine and hard cider; actually sparkling hard cider, the semi-dry Stone Fence Cider made from fermented estate apples, honey, and champagne yeast. This was all we needed, purchasing one cold and two to bring home. Even though we prefer dry cider and brut sparklers, this cider was nice and refreshing -on that 90 degree day. The apple flavors bounced through the palette with the honey providing a touch of sweetness at the finish. And at $8.25, what a fair value. We didn't sample the other wines, but enjoyed the bottle of Stone Fence Cider before returning to Greenwood Lake.

On the rise back, we stopped at Friendly Beer & Soda Corporation to grab some local beer and to our surprise, found bottles Warwick Valley Winery & Disillery hard cider proudly displayed on the register counter. We took home bottles of the Doc's Draft Hard Apple Cider and the
Doc's Draft Hard Pear Cider. The pear was wonderful, dry-dry-dry; and with plenty of pear flavors. The apple was made semi-dry and had a similar flavor profile as the Stone Fence Cider minus the CO2. Despite the slight sweetness, it was clean and refreshing. The reason why we love hard cider.

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