Drink This: Milea Estates 2020 Hudson Heritage Burdin/Chambourcin
A reminder that sometimes and old hybrid can be seen in a new light
Why did I find myself making a day trip from Long Island to Milea Estates in Staatsburg, NY earlier this month? The “why” is actually a “who” — Steve Casscles.
If you’ve been reading my work for a while, you might recognize the name. Steve was the winemaker at Hudson-Chatham Winery in Ghent, NY (which was founded and formerly owned by my good friend Carlo DeVito). Together, Carlo and Steve were making some of the most uniquely delicious wines in the Hudson River Region AVA from grapes like baco noir and chelois — two grapes that maybe you don’t know much about.
Steve actually works with a lot of grapes that most of you probably haven’t heard of. He grows and propagates more than 70 varieties — some of which don’t even have names — in his home vineyard (it’s literally at his home).
He even wrote a book about many of these grapes that is a must-read for the types of Eastern wine nerds who subscribe to this newsletter.
Carlo and his ex-wife sold the winery around the same time that Steve retired from his government job in Albany — so Steve didn’t have a commercial winery where he could make and sell the wines made from his unique array of grapes.
Note: I really can’t stress enough how unique this vineyard and the grapes grown in it are. If Steve weren’t growing some of the varieties, they’d fade away forever. But anyway…
The Hudon Valley winemaking community isn’t a large one and Steve has known Milea winemaker Bruce Tripp for years. Starting with that friendship, one thing led to another and Steve has finally launched a line of wines at Milea, including Milea Estates 2020 Hudson Heritage Burdin/Chambourcin ($40), which was my favorite wine of the initial launch.