Baco Noir


It wasn’t the wine-dar that brought me to Chatham-Hudson Winery in Ghent, NY.  It was a factory-installed Nissan GPS, the promise of hand-rolled Dominican cigars, and of course, Wine.  Specifically, the Baco Noir.  At the center of it all were my son Willie and his wife Dana, who had cleverly planned it all as a Father’s Day celebration.

What’s a Baco Noir, you ask?

As you all know I’m an adventurerist wine drinker.  If I find a new varietal of grape and they make wine with it, I pull a Captain Kirk and boldly go where no Griffy has gone before to drink it.

Baco Noir is a hybrid red wine grape produced from crossing Vitis Vinifera Folle Blanche, a French wine grape with a unknown indigenous grape Vitis Riparia.  It’s kind of the Pocahontas story of wine: a rugged French Grape, meets pretty, hearty native American grape, and the result is a red grape that produces a pretty tasty wine that can stand up to the harsh winters of New England, New York and Eastern Canada.  Thank you Maurice Baco, the guy who performed the marriage.

The wine is a very tasty red, with a rich, highly-pigmented red color, and pronounced acidity.  Think a “dry” taste with a long finish.  The grapes for my bottle were grown in the Finger Lakes region of New York, which just reinforces my desire to get there this year.  These wines have the ability to age well, and in fact need some cellar time to soften its aggressive acidity.  Some reviewers have referred to this wine as the “lumberjack” wine because of it tannic muscularity, woodsy full-body taste, and hardworking nature.  You’ll never see the Baco Noir referred to as a “finesse wine.”

When I first tasted the wine I was expecting a Pinot Noir.  Surprise, absolutely not!  Pinot is a refined and silky dress shirt with French cuffs, Baco is plaid flannel shirt with rolled up sleeves.  I would bet they do have similar DNA though, as some things they share is common is an earthy taste and tobacco on the palate.  The ideal pairing of this wine would be barbecue.

However, Baco in the hands of a skilled winemaker–and I would say Carlo DeVito the winemaker at Chatham is as skilled a winemaker as I’ve come across–is making Baco Noir into a Port wine.  Chatham-Hudson as several ports that get the most out of this wine, and they pair EXTREMELY well with Dominican cigars!

Folks I feel a little bad telling you about this wine because outside New York state and Ontario Canada, you are not going to find it.  But only a little, because the wine was really good.

Hugh Johnson the English writer once said, “Wines don’t make statements, they pose questions.”  The question this wine asks first is, “Where can I get it?”


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