Winter Libations to Keep You Sane


Photograph: Carole Topalian

No matter how you want to rationalize it or how many winter fetes or snow-filled sports you take part in, winter can (and will) be challenging for most in the Hudson Valley. It is long, and while not exactly cruel, “uncaring” would be more the word for it. As summer cherries and farm dinners will be a distant memory in January, we have one treasured, surefire means of coping with months of sub-freezing temperatures—good wine.

Michael and Theresa Drapkin understand this coping mechanism with the utmost purpose and alacrity. Together they own Kingston Wine Co., located in historic downtown Kingston, which focuses on classic, traditionally made wines with little added and little taken away. A notable cadre of the wines decorating their handsomely adorned shop are made using time-honored, historically rich techniques, achieving an authentic expression of place and culture. And come winter, they find these wines to be a means to not just maintaining sanity but decanting something vital that has been stored away for such a winter’s day.

Here is a selection of wines from the Drapkins—one for each month of winter, which is, if we are honest with ourselves, at least five months long. —E. Steinman

November Wine:
2014 Domaine des Terres Dorées Beaujolais Nouveau L’Ancien
(Imported by Louis/Dressner Imports)

It’s the first month of winter. You’re elated for the shift in seasons, adding wool sweaters and knit caps to the wardrobe and communing with others around the table for Thanksgiving. Celebrate this change and the recent grape harvest in France with a glass of brightly flavored, youthful Beaujolais made with minimal intervention and following time-honored techniques.

December Wine:
2013 Enoteca Bisson Prosecco, Veneto, Italy
(Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchants)

A month of mostly good stuff: maybe the first blanketing of fluffy white snowflakes, which we may come to dread but initially love, an uplifting day of skiing in the western Catskills and the hope of the new year. To heighten this appreciation nothing works better than something that sparkles upon arrival.

January Wine:
2012 Eminence Road Farm Winery Pinot Noir
“Elizabeth’s Vineyard,” Finger Lakes, NY

After recovering from the holiday you’ll need a glass that won’t overwhelm your senses or leave you feeling like a hedonist. A lithe, sinewy red from northern New York will be the perfect fix and won’t incite any guilt.

February Wine:
2013 Kir-Yianni “Parranga” White Blend, Macedonia, Greece
(Imported By Michael Skurnik Wines)

Amidst frigid temperatures and a lack of remaining vacation days, how about a pull of liquid transportation through the vehicle of the fermented grape? A whiff and swoosh around the tongue of this Greek white wine will carry you to a land of whitewashed villas, dining seaside and fresh summer produce.

March Wine:
NV Venturini Baldini Lambrusco Rosso, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
(Imported by PortoVino)

There is hope for sunnier days around the bend, but it sure isn’t tangible. You still desire internal warmth coupled with the lift of spring. A cool glass of this frothy, dry and authentic Italian Lambrusco and you’ll have all your desires met and an agreeable means to get you through the tail end of winter.

Bonus Wine: (because you will need it)
2013 Tocai Friulano “Proprietor’s Special Reserve”
Millbrook Vineyards and Winery, Hudson Valley, NY

Amidst frigid temperatures and a lack of remaining vacation days, transport yourself to the bucolic northeastern region of Italy with a taste of this medium-bodied, mineral driven local white wine. Millbrook Winery uses the noble Tocai Friulano grape which is indigenous to the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Kingston Wine Co.
65 Broadway

[Check the website for upcoming winter events, including the scheduled January Port + Chocolate celebration with Fruition Chocolate.]

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