People think that I hate hybrids — but that just isn’t true. There are hybrid grapes that I think are pretty awful generally — I’m looking at you seyval blanc and traminette. But at the end of the day, if a wine tastes good, I don’t care what grape it’s made from.

This wine tastes good, even if it’s a four-grape blend that includes three hybrids that I haven’t enjoyed much in the past.

Whitecliff Vineyard NV Red Trail ($14) is a blend of dechaunac, frontenac, noiret and merlot — and the result is a spicy, easy-drinking red.

Fresh strawberry and red cherry fruit aromas are sprinkled with black pepper and cinnamon. On days two and three, an earthy, almost-loamy note emerged as well.

Though somewhat one-dimensional and lacking a bit of structure, the light-bodied palate is juicy with red berries and a subtle earthy edge. It’s the type of carafe-style red you can chill a bit if you want and drink with a wide array of foods.

Producer: Whitecliff Vineyard
AVA: Hudson River Region
Price: $14*


(2.5 out of 5, Average-to-Very Good)