EMPIRE WHITEIt was almost a year ago that I wrote about Empire Red, a new wine from Hudson-Chatham Winery that combines the key three red grapes — baco noir, merlot and cabernet franc — from each of New York's  largest wine regions, the Hudson Valley, Long Island and Finger Lakes respectively.

Co-owner Carlo DeVito and winemaker Steve Cascles haven't stopped there though, recently releasing Hudson-Chatham Winery 2009 Empire White ($15), the white wine sister to Empire Red.

Made with 33% seyval blanc from the Hudson Valley, 33% riesling from White Spring Winery on Seneca Lake and 33% sauvignon blanc from Long Island, it brings together the signature white varieties of the regions.

Fresh and fruity, the nose shows the full range of citrus — lemon, lime and grapefruit — with a little honey, hay and understated herbaceous notes.

Easy drinking and citrusy (again) the palate is dominated by white grapefruit right out of the refrigerator, with faint hints of herbs. As it warms a bit, subtle peach character emerges just a bit. Good-not-great acidity leads into an abrupt finish, where that hay-honey combination peeks through again.

The riesling is a bit buried on the palate — but I guess you'd expect that with a bold grape like sauvignon blanc in the mix.

Much like the Empire Red, I think the concept of the wine is outstanding but I think with the white, it's difficult to blend riesling without losing much of it's true character. This seems more like a sauvignon-seyval blend in that regard.

Producer: Hudson-Chatham Winery

AVA: New York
Price: $15*


(*Ratings Guide)