Not meaning to denigrate either side of the classic pairing, but…well, wine-and-cheese parties are so last-century. If you’re a true oenophile, you want something more interesting to clear your palate between sips than a stale slice of baguette and a cube of supermarket Swiss skewered with a cellophane-festooned toothpick. You want some real cuisine, am I right?
Now that the Hudson Valley is being taken seriously as a gastrotourism destination, the 15 wineries along the scenic Shawangunk Wine Trail in Ulster and Orange Counties have gotten the message. Each spring (for nearly two decades now!) they get together to co-host a two-day wine-and-dine blowout called Pasta Primo Vino, and it’ll be back this weekend.
Here’s how it works: You order your tickets based on which winery you want to use as your starting point. Participants receive a souvenir wineglass at the starting winery and continue on a self-guided tour of the trail at their own pace. Enjoy a delicious pasta dish sample at each of the wineries you visit, with four wines chosen to pair with each pasta sampling.
Unless you purchase the $40 two-day pass, I wouldn’t recommend trying to hit all 15 vineyards in one grub crawl. But remember: Carbo-loading is a good way to buffer the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, so one variety of self-indulgence can be used to rationalize the other, to some extent. Even better, bring along a designated driver for only $15 per day. Sunday-only tickets for wine-imbibers cost $25.
The Shawangunk Wine Trail’s 19th annual Pasta Primo Vino event happens from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 8 and 9. For more information and tickets, call 845-256-8456 or see www.shawangunkwinetrail.com/pasta-primo-vino.