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We recently met with friends and went to the inaugural Waretown Spring Wine Festival. This festival took place at the Waretown Recreation and Lake Area. On this day, the weather was great. The sun was shining and there was a cool breeze. It was so nice to be outside after the long, cold winter we had.

When we entered the festival, we started with Chestnut Run Farm. I hadn’t tried them before and I was curious to see what they had. They seem to specialize in apple and pear wines with dry and sweet options. If you tend to appreciate these flavors then they’re worth a try or a visit. If not, then other wineries would suit your tastes better. Here’s what I liked at Chestnut Run and what was notable at the other wineries.

Chest Nut Run Farm

Semi-sweet Fuji Apple was probably the best of their selection. It was not too dry, too sweet, or tart. It had a nice, crisp, fuji apple flavor. The fruit used in Chest Nut Run wine is grown on their farm. I could imagine this pairing nicely with an apple sushi roll at one of our favorite nearby sushi restaurants.

We were also able to taste their Spiced Pear wine, which wasn’t on their wine list. This wine is one of their customer favorites. I appreciated the flavor. It was like a spiced apple wine, but to me pears and apple taste alike. It may be too sweet for some. I thought it seemed like a dessert wine. Their Spiced Sweet Asian Pear wine won a Double Gold Medal in the 2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Their Semi-Sweet Asian Pear is also a medalist, winning a Silver Medal in the 2012 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition.

Monroeville Vineyard & Winery

Monroeville Winery’s NJ Stillwater was unique because it’s a red wine fermented in a bourbon barrel. I thought that was a nice, unique touch. I couldn’t get a sense for the bourbon flavor, but our friend, Jen, enjoyed it.

They also had a NJ Asian Pear wine. I don’t remember trying pear wines until this day. I enjoyed the flavor of this one. I’m thinking they may have a pear wine to compete with nearby Chestnut Run Farms.

My favorite of the Monroeville wines was their Monroeville Red. As soon as I tasted it, I thought, this is Concord grape! I could tell because I loved the flavor! Concords tend to be sweeter. It was a little too sweet for Jen, but just right for me. I thought about buying the Monroeville Red, but I didn’t make it back over to their tent.

Plagido’s Winery

I’ve tried Plagido’s wines at other festivals. I enjoy their sweet red selection.Our friends liked their Sangria, which comes in a pouch. This particular Sangria has a stronger presence of pineapple. I enjoyed the combination of flavors of sweet red wine and pineapple. Although, to me, most Sangrias miss the punch that my mom’s Sangria recipe has.

Valenzano Winery

There are so many good wines from Valenzano Winery. We really need to make a trip there!  Bramble on Raspberry and Berry White Cranberry were both tasty. So were their Raspberry Riesling and Blackberry Syrah. I also enjoyed the Red, White, and Blue Sangria. However, their newest wine that I hadn’t seen before, Jersey Devil Lab 2, stole the show! Tom and I tasted it and were told it was made with cherry, vanilla, and graham crackers. I felt like I could really taste each of those flavors, especially the graham cracker on the finish. Tom told our friend, Peter, who missed that tasting, that he’d like it. Without tasting it, he bought it! And he did like it! He was kind enough to share it with the rest of us. Peter’s girlfriend, Brianna, also purchased a bottle. She got their Cabernet Merlot. We stepped aside and enjoyed these bottles there.

Wagonhouse Winery

I told myself before arriving at the festival that I was going to buy more Shore Thing wine from Wagonhouse. When we made it to their tent to taste it, they were sold out! I was so disappointed. Shore Thing tastes like Summertime in a bottle and I thought I’d use this opportunity to stock up. Oh, well. I’ll look for it at the Lakewood BlueClaws Jersey Shore Wine festival.

All in all, it was a great day with good wine and good friends!

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A couple weeks ago, Tom and I were able to partake in and enjoy another Old York Cellar’s Virtual Vines, an online wine tasting. I really look forward to these events. It’s exciting to get wine in the mail. It’s also nice to be connected to an fun, online wine community that also enjoys NJ wines. As I’ve participated in these multiple times, I’ve gotten familiar with a group of “Tweeters” that I enjoy chatting with during Virtual Vines events. As we watch the online videos, mostly at the same time, we tweet questions to Old York Cellars, we ‘like’ and ‘favorite’ each others tweets, and we tweet our take on the wines. It’s a little bit tricky pairing food with wine, listening to the video, and tweeting at the same time. I mostly drank and tweeted. I had to watch the video again to catch the details of the wines, but it’s nice and convenient that the video is still available so that I can do that.

During this Virtual Vines, we watched Old York Cellar’s Sommelier, Laurin, and the Winemaker, Scott, talk about the recently released 2012 Oak Chardonnay and the 2013 Merlot. They tasted the wines and talked about their flavors as they ate Cabot cheeses that were paired for each wine. We tasted along at home.

2012 Oak Chardonnay – Their Oak Chardonnay is a blend of estate and supplemented grapes. Scott and Laurin explained how it goes through a process that’s called malolactic fermentation. Diacetyl is a byproduct of this fermentation. This is what gives the Chardonnay it’s buttery taste. Most people think it’s the oak, but it’s actually the acid. Laurin explained that movie theater butter flavor is actually diacetyl and that made me think, how would popcorn taste with this Chardonnay. I may have to find out.

This particular Chardonnay is lighter in oak than other Chardonnays because the oak is left in the wine for a shorter period of time. This wine was also different from other Chardonnays by how it seemed to be balanced in fruitiness and oakiness, where most seem to lean to one side or the other. Tom, my husband, prefers an oakier Chardonnay. I like those too, but I also appreciated this one. It had nice, unique qualities. I like fruity and sweet wines, so it gave me a little bit of that with the oaky flavor I also enjoy. I’ve also tasted steel barred Chardonnays. These are usually more fruit forward since they don’t have the oak quality from the barrel. This wine seemed like a mixture of those two types.

This wine is actually one of their most popular. GrapeExp_Cindy tweeted “Plenty of depth and so food friendly.” I agreed! This wine went well with the salmon we had for dinner. Laurin recommended monterey jack, gouda, brie, mild cheddar, or young asiago to go with their Oak Chardonnay.

OYC Tweet Oak Chardonnay

2013 Merlot –  Scott said the Merlot uses 2 different yeasts that are designed for Cabernets. One yeast provides complex characteristics, while the other gives cedar and ripe fruit flavors. The Merlot is fermented in a jacketed tank that enables Scott to control the temperature at about 70 to 75 degrees. (For comparison, the Chardonnay was fermented at about 55 to 65 degrees.) Scott mentioned that this creates heat in the Merlot when it goes into malolactic fermentation, which results in flavor from beginning to the end (on your palette.) They also provided an interesting tip. When you look at the edge of the wine in a glass as you swirl it, the color shows how young or aged the wine is. This Merlot had a garnet color, indicating it’s youthfulness. A brownish color on the edge would show that it’s aged.

According to Laurin and Scott’s description, this Merlot has a softness, a lot of tannin, dark cherry, cedar notes, tobacco, and a long finish. Laurin said, “This one, immediately, I mean it hits your palette and it’s like BOOM! It’s definitely a flavor explosion.” I certainly got a powerful, smoky quality from this Merlot. I tweeted that it would pair well with a cigar because of it’s smokiness. I really enjoyed this red, but I think to sip it, I have to be in the mood for it. It certainly presents itself as a relaxing wine, something to slowly enjoy while you’re also taking in a good book, a good show, or good company.

4-15-2015 OYC VV Merlot

Laurin and Scott said this Merlot goes well with the fat in cheese because the fat counteracts the acidity. They also gave tips for drinking wines with cheese. First, take a sip for a baseline. Then, bite the cheese. Next, sip again. The cheese softened the taste of these wines. There’s less acidity in the 2nd sip. Pair this Merlot with a hard cheese like sharp cheddar. It will soften the tannin. I actually happened to eat sharp cheddar while tasting this wine and they did go well together.

May 28th Old York Cellars will be having another Virtual Vines if you would like to join. They will be sampling their 2013 Pinot Noir and 2013 Chardonnay. Before then, on May 2 and 3rd, you can enjoy an in person event at their ‘Vine to Wine’ Spring festival.

If you’d like to watch the last Old York Cellars Virtual Vines, check it out here.

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Will this winter ever end? This past weekend I pointed out to Tom that we’ve been dealing with snow, cold, and harsh winter conditions for at least 4 months. I think it started when we hit the road on Thanksgiving Eve to visit family in West Virginia. At that time, I cautiously plotted our road trip as to avoid where the worst of a snow storm was supposed to be hitting. We were successful that time. That storm was just the beginning of many more to come. I’m sick of winter and Tom and I even had a chance to escape. We recently flew to Disney World and enjoyed 80 degree temperatures. It’s hard to go from a warm, tropics-like atmosphere to single digits. Then, on Friday night, snow had ruined our plans yet again.

With all this in mind, Tom and I thought we have to get out. Spring is here, despite the snow on the ground. So, we thought we’d venture out with a Spring-like frame of mind to one of our favorite places, Working Dog Winery.

It was a nice day for a drive. The snow on the roads had cleared. The land was coated in white. Hints of daylight peered through the clouds and glistened off the snow.

When we arrived at Working Dog Winery, their large back room was blocked off for a party. This has been happening frequently in the past year. Because the back room was occupied, their other room was filled with folks sitting and drinking with friends. I didn’t mind. It’s nice that they have all that space, because some other wineries don’t provide room to hang out.

We bought a bottle of wine and headed out the back door. They have a big, covered patio with space heaters to provide a cozy, outdoor setting. However, the patio seemed pretty full, too. Past the heated area, we spotted a low table with some lounge chairs. It was cold outside, but with our cabin fever set in, we didn’t mind. Tom and I sat and sipped our favorite wine, Ugly Duckling Red.

Soon, our friend, Dan, joined us with his guest. We enjoyed good conversation, delicious wines, and a beautiful view. The vines were surrounded in snow. In the sunlight, the snow was so bright that I had to leave my sunglasses on. As the day went on, we watched the clouds clear away and the snow melt.

Since I’m pretty familiar with Working Dog Winery’s wines, I didn’t taste any. We know Ugly Duckling Red is our favorite. It’s a unique and accommodating wine, accommodating in the way that everyone we know who tried it liked it. It presents a spicy, peppery quality, with a subtle sweetness. It’s not sweet like dessert wines or sweet reds. It’s balanced. Dan and his guest bought a Chambourcin bottle and Traminette. I didn’t sip the Chambourcin this trip, but I did have the Traminette. The Traminette is refreshing and lightly sweet, not like sweet like Rieslings. Traminette is a hybrid grape made with Gewurtztraminer grapes. It’s one of Working Dog Winery’s most popular. It’s easy to drink and enjoyable.

If you’re looking to get out this Spring, I suggest Working Dog Winery. Although, I should stop suggesting it because they’re becoming too popular! = )

Ranking: 5 out of 5 Wine Glasses

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On January 29th, Tom and I had the opportunity to try Old York Cellars Port Wines during their Virtual Vines online wine tasting. As odd as a virtual wine tasting sounds, it totally works. I signed up and the wines were shipped in advance of the virtual wine tasting. It’s so exciting to receive wine in the mail! Then, I impatiently waited until the day of the tasting.

This particular Virtual Vines was slightly different. In the past, attendees would watch the wine tasting live. I would click on a Livestream link and watch Laurin Dorman, the Sommelier, and Scott Gares, the Winemaker, discuss the wines, how they’re made, and how they taste. Attendees can share their thoughts and questions on Twitter or right there in the Livestream comment box. However, this time, they recorded the session in advance. At 7:00 pm, the usual time, attendees were able to watch, pause, rewind or fast forward the video as they wish. Live conversation was still encouraged. I prefer the live Virtual Vines to the pre-recorded one. There seems to be a special dynamic, connection, and urgency when it happens all at once. I like tasting and learning at the same pace as everyone else. It provides more of a sense of community and engagement, like we’re sharing something. I had less of that feeling during this occasion. However, I can see that it’s beneficial to some that they can go back through the video as needed.

The wines we tried were Old York Cellars Red and White Southpaw Ports. Laurin explained that this style of Port came from the English. They desired sweeter and more fruit forward wines. Because of wars taking place at the time that limited their shipping, they had to find wines made somewhere else. That led them to discover this style of wine. Scott said that Ports are fortified with a distilled spirit to stop the fermentation process and leave residual sugar along with higher alcohol content. Ports are a little tough for me to swallow because of their higher alcohol content. Between the two, I preferred the flavor of the Red Port. It’s actually one of the best ones that I’ve had. Tom remembered that when we first visited Old York Cellars, this is the bottle of wine that we left with. Interestingly, the term ‘southpaw’ indicates a left-handed person and port refers to the left side of the ship. Scott, the winemaker happens to be left handed.

2011 Southpaw Red Port Wine – I found this port to be a nice winter treat. I felt like it really warmed me up on this cold winter evening, which was just what I needed. I tasted dark cherry, slight plum, and a subtle hint of licorice. The Red Port is a fortified Marechal Foch. This grape is early to ripen and grown on Old York Cellar’s property. It’s a French-American hybrid grape that grows well on the East Coast. Scott described it as a fruit forward, young style Port. It’s aged for a short period of time, so it has a subtle oak taste. The Southpaw Red Port has 20.1% alcohol and 5% residual sugar. The sweetness and alcohol is well balanced for a Port.

Old York Cellars mentioned that the Red Port goes real well with 72% dark chocolate. Someone else had suggested pairing this wine with smores. Another attendee poured it over vanilla ice cream. This sounds like a great idea, but it’s too cold out for me to think about ice cream.

2012 Southpaw White Port Wine – You can see the thickness of the White Port as you swirl the glass and watch the legs form. This is the viscosity. The thick texture was visible in both wines, but more so in the White Port. The color was darker, a heavy, golden-honey color. This color was achieved because it was aged longer, about a year or year and a half before bottling. For comparison, Old York Cellars Riesling is aged for about 9 months and possesses a lighter tone. The Southpaw White Port is like a thick and somewhat fruity liqueur. The White Port tasted like honey and apple, but with a bite. It’s a brandy fortified wine made with Riesling grapes. I would say this is a slow sipper, not meant to be consumed with a full meal, but sipped as a treat or apertif. Scott said the Ports should last about 3 nights, if you have a glass a night. That’s probably all I could drink. The White Port contained 20.6% alcohol and 7.5% residual sugar.

If you’d like to watch this Virtual Vines, you can watch it here. Also, check back here for the next Virtual Vines. For Valentine’s Day weekend, Old York Cellars is participating in the Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail Weekend from 12 – 5. They’ll have live music, specialty chocolates, red wine hot chocolate, chocolate shots, and a sweethearts custom labels booth, where you can get your picture on a bottle of wine.

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You can love your partners and wines for two weekends in February. NJ wineries are celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 7th – 8th and February 14th – 15th. The Garden State Wine Growers Association is presenting Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail Weekend during both of these weekends. You can sample and buy wines and chocolates at participating wineries, which will be most NJ wineries. In honor of this special occasion, many NJ wineries will also present other entertaining features, like food and live music.

These particular weekends have a special place in my heart. About 4 years ago, Tom, my husband, planned a special Valentine’s Day wine excursion. We started with the central Jersey wine trail, which includes Four JG’s Vineyard, Cream Ridge Winery, and Working Dog Winery, which was then Silver Decoy. At the time, we had no idea these wineries were so close to us. This was the day that started my fascination with NJ wineries.

Cream Ridge Winery and Working Dog Winery both left an impression on me during this outing. Both wineries made good use of their space. They had many tasting areas open to accommodate the crowds. Their wines were intriguing. Cream Ridge has many interesting fruity flavors that are fun, tasty, and unique. They also produce good common varietals. Working Dog Winery introduced us to our absolute favorite wines, Ugly Duckling Red and their French Oak-Aged Chardonnay. After meeting these 2 wineries, I couldn’t wait to get back. This is now one of our regular wine trails.

The Valentine’s Day Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail Weekends are a great opportunity to meet more of NJ’s wineries and do something fun for the occasion. I wrote a piece for my friends @ GetOutsideNJ. Here you will see a list of Valentine’s Day NJ wine events taking place for the next two weekends.

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On February 7th from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Haddonfield, NJ is hosting a special town-wide event, Haddonfield Uncorked. This is a unique event for Haddonfield, which has historically been a dry town. A new law allows retail shops and restaurants in town to sell NJ wines. Haddonfield Uncorked is taking place just ahead of Valentine’s Day, so that you can buy wines as gifts or for your special holiday dinners.

In honor of this occasion, I spoke with the owner of Ristorante, Walt Ziejewski to find out more about the event and this new opportunity. MiaMare, which serves authentic Italian cuisine, was one of the first businesses to participate in this program. MiaMare has partnered with Coda Rossa Winery from Franklinville, NJ and will be selling their wines. Diners can buy bottles to pair with their meals or visitors can purchase them to take home. MiaMare will be featuring a special wine list offering different varieties of Coda Rossa’s wines, which have been selected to compliment their menu items. For this event, MiaMare will also be presenting seasonal food specials. Walt recommends Coda Rossa’s Tuscan, a commonly palatable Chianti style wine, to pair with their veal options and their Pork Osso Bucco. Walt also suggested the Meritage, a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, for those who would like a bolder red. I’ve tasted this particular wine and I have to say, it’s awesome! From my experience, this wines tastes slightly smoky, with a hint of spice, and a light fruity quality.

Walt informed me that each establishment was able to pick which NJ wineries they wanted to sell. I asked why he chose Coda Rossa wines. He said he did because of how the owner is passionate about their wines, like Walt is passionate about his foods. The Coda Rossa owner stands behind their wines. This is important to Walt because he knows products made from passion and love taste better. Walt added that the nice thing about NJ wineries is that they’re small. They’re not like the big houses in California where some may seem to push wine just to make money. NJ wineries provide you with an opportunity to appreciate the subtleties of their flavors. With these special touches, you can see what the winemaker was trying to accomplish. NJ wine at MiaMare Ristorante just makes sense. Walt explained, “Wine is enjoyable and part of many cultures. Definitely part of the Italian culture!” Selling NJ wines at his restaurant adds a convenience feature to the guests more than anything else, when their wine runs out as they’re having a good time, they can extend their fun with NJ wines. Diners can also save themselves a stop by buying their wines at the restaurant rather than a liquor store.

If you’re looking for something to do on February 7th, searching for gift ideas, or wondering where you can get wines, be sure to check out Haddonfield Uncorked. Remember to return to these shops and restaurants. They won’t just be selling wines on this day, but all year round.

On the 7th, MiaMare will be offering a special wine tasting with a representative from Coda Rossa. Stop by and try some wines and delicious food made from love.

I keep thinking about wines! Which wines to bring to all our upcoming holiday parties? I often buy seasonal wines, NJ wines that I know the host likes or something unique to introduce to everyone. Below are my suggestions of NJ wines to gift or bring to parties for different types of wine drinkers. You’ll certainly notice my favorite wineries listed because they have good selections and great wines. You can find some of these wines at local liquor stores. Or if the winery is near you, stop by and purchase it at their establishment. I also use www.wine-searcher.com to track down some wines. Just enter the wine into their search box. Call before you make the trip to make sure they have it in stock.

Dry Whites

Cape May Barrel Fermented Chardonnay – Tom and I both prefer oaky Chardonnays. The buttery, vanilla, and oak flavors sit well and provide a relaxing experience for us. This one contains those features and gives just a hint of lemon. Our favorite Chardonnays in NJ are made by Cape May and Working Dog Wineries.

Working Dog Winery Chardonnay – One of this variety, an older vintage, took 4th place among white wines in the “Judgement of Princeton” wine contest held by Princeton University, which paired French wines against NJ wines in a blind taste test.

Unionville Vineyards Pinot Grigio – This wine was one of the best Pinot Grigio’s I’ve had. It’s just right. It’s not as harsh as some others, yet it provides qualities true to this varietal.

Dry Reds

Old York Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec – Their Cabernet Sauvignon is well balanced. It presents a cherry like flavor and tobacco taste on the finish. The Malbec is slightly spicy with a fruity taste. It smells like blackberries with a smoky quality. Both of these wines are dynamic by offering fruit flavors at first and earthy flavors afterwards.

Brook Hollow Winery Cabernet Franc – This is another interesting wine. It reminded us of grilling. It’s suitable for meat dishes. This Cabernet Franc had a peppery spice and grapey taste. It seemed heavy in flavor.

Sweet Whites 

Cream Ridge Winery Eastern White – Cream Ridge Winery classified the Eastern White as being “back by popular demand.” So your friends and family just might enjoy this one, as long as they have a taste for sweet things. It’s made from Niagara grapes, which tend to be used in sweeter wines. It had a white grape juice quality.

Working Dog Winery Traminette – This is a pleasing white wine for someone who likes whites and sweet wines and something other than Riesling. It’s an interesting grape because it’s a hybrid that was developed at Cornell University. It comes from Gewurtztraminer grape. Traminette is one of Working Dog Winery’s most popular wines, so it would most likely be a party pleaser. It’s taste is reminiscent of honey and apricot.

Cape May Isaac Smith Apple – This wine would make an interesting story at a holiday party. The label is shaped like a coffin and this wine is called Isaac Smith Apple because Mr. Smith used to be a local coffin maker in the 1820’s and the vineyard property belonged to his estate. The wine itself is interesting. Those who enjoy apple flavors would really enjoy it. It tastes like you’re biting into a Granny Smith apple and the juice running into your mouth happens to have alcohol in it. It’s sweet like candy and the apple smell reminded me of the same flavored Jolly Rancher.

Sweet Reds – My Favorite Category

Valenzano Winery Shamong Red and Red Reserve – Made from concord grape, Valenzano describes Shamong Red as NJ’s best-selling native wine. They also say it’s a popular all-occasion wine. I would have to agree. I could drink this on any occasion and now that I’m talking about it, I want it. I often find this one in area liqour stores. Shamong Red Reserve is real similar to the Shamong Red. It may just have a slight difference, possibly being the Ives grape. The Reserve is a three-time “Best American Varietal” winner at the NJ Wine Competition held by Rutgers. Keep an eye out for these!

Four Sisters Winery Beaver Creek Red – Also made with concord grapes, this wine is one of their best sellers. It’s one of my favorites! It’s described as having a candy apple like flavor. Maybe the sweetness gives it a candy-like quality. I don’t really get apple from it, more like a sweet grape. It reminds me of concord grape jelly.

Working Dog Winery Ugly Duckling Red – I don’t really consider this red a sweet one, but it has sugar added. However, this wine is certainly a crowd pleaser. Everyone I introduced to this wine enjoyed it. Ugly Duckling Red presents a unique flavor combination. It presents the heavyiness and spice of Cabernet Franc or Chambourcin, but it goes down gently with a hint of sweetness because of the sugar added. It’s best served chilled. You probably won’t have any of this left by the end of the night, so buy 2 bottles – get one for yourself!

Tomasello Winery’s Rainier Red – I mention multiple Tomasello wines because they’re good, but they also have a couple tasting rooms in different areas and their wines are sold in many liquor stores. The availability of these wines increase the chance that you may be able to buy them. Rainier Red is classified as a red table wine, which indicates it’d be a good for a group of people with different tastes. This wine is slightly sweet and it’s made from a concord grape.

Dessert Wines

Tomasello Cranberry or Blueberry Moscato – These wines are definitely for people who like SWEET or guests who are ready for dessert. The cranberry is tart, which you would expect from cranberries. They also have blueberry and raspberry. The blueberry is milder than their other fruit Moscatos.

Old York Cellars Blackberry – Their blackberry wine is naturally sweet, like a blackberry. This would be excellent with cheesecake and chocolate. It’s not tart like other dessert wines. Even people who don’t like sweet wines may like this one.

Seasonal Wines

Cream Ridge Winter Spice – Winter Spice can be served warm or chilled. When it’s heated the flavors really come alive and it becomes more fragrant. This wine isn’t available all year, so get it while you can. It’s on the sweeter side. It’s a blush wine spiced with nutmeg, clove, and allspice. Just describing it, I want some now! I also like how the name suggests I can drink it all winter and not just for the holidays!

Tomasello Spiced Apple or Mulled Spice Wine – These both are good wines and slightly different. Obviously, the apple wine has more apple flavor with added spices. Mulled Spice is a basic red with mulling spices added. It’s sweet without going overboard. One time my Aunt had this in a crock pot at a holiday party. The aroma filled the room. It’s best served warm as the heat releases the flavors.

Four Sisters Winery Holiday Seasoned – Their Holiday Seasoned is the Beaver Creek Red, but with cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg added, a great combination of flavors. Again, this wine served warm ignites the flavors and aroma.


Four Sisters Winery Poppa Joe – Tom had described this as being a “good after dinner treat.” Finish off your meal with this one. This was among their top 3 wines. It was like the concord, but with more alcohol.

Cape May Winery Isaac Smith Port – This is another interesting wine to talk about. It’s part of Cape May’s Isaac Smith line that’s named after the coffin maker. The flavor of this Port is also interesting. It’s mostly Chambourcin with some Syrah. The taste is like blackcherry. It’s a little strong for me, but it’s a nice after dinner drink for those who might follow up their meal with liquor.

Plagido’s Winery Empire Port – Tom also really liked this Port. It’s aged in oak. The Empire Port is a red blend with a kick.

Tomasello and Valenzano wines can be found in some liquor stores throughout the state. There’s also a few Tomasello retail stores/tasting rooms. They’re located in Lambertville, Freehold, Smithville, and Chester. The other wines may have to be purchased from the vineyards.

If you try any of these wines, let me know what you, your friends, and your family think. Happy Holidays!



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