I’m back on the New Jersey wine trail. Our friends, Kathy and Colin, visited us from Michigan and after a day of introducing them to New York City we took them to the next best places, New Jersey’s wineries! We brought Kathy and Colin to one of our favorite wine trails that’s about 40 minutes from where we live in Matawan. We headed west on route 33 to Silver Decoy, Cream Ridge, and Laurita wineries. These wineries are about 15 minutes away from each other, so they make for a quick, easy, and fun adventure. We started at Silver Decoy and then made our way to Cream Ridge Winery. This part of NJ features a nice quiet, relaxing country atmosphere that’s not far from the hustle and bustle of the cities that sandwich this area.
Every time I visit Cream Ridge, I’m delighted by the warm welcome from the staff. The people here are incredibly kind and passionate about their wines. Cream Ridge has a nice cozy environment. The building itself makes you feel like you’re in a country escape (for those who live in the more crowded areas like me). As you leave your car in the gravel parking lot, you are greeted by a wooden archway and antique street laps that guide you along the pathway. In front of the building there are tables and chairs surrounded by picturesque wine barrels. Before entering the building, you are greeted by white wooden rocking chairs inviting you to stay a while. Once inside this country cottage winery, cute culinary and wine items greet you on the shelves along the left and front walls. Further ahead on the right is their wine tasting bar. Just behind the bar are some unique wall mounted wine racks including a wagon wheel with wine bottles between each spoke.
We walked up to the wine bar and made our selections of what we wanted to try. Their tasting options include, white, blush, red, and fruit wines. After tasting the first two wines, we were invited on a special tour with Tom Amabile, the founder. It was a nice intimate tour with the four of us and another couple. Tom explained what happens to corks in wine bottles, how they’re made, and about the corking process. Tom also introduced us to the word “ullage”, which refers to the space between the wine and the bottle. This educational and interesting tour was a really nice presentation and I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to meet Tom and learn about his history and winemaking story. After the tour, we went back to the wine bar and continued our tasting.
Muscato Amabile – This wine is characteristic of a muscato just a little bit fruitier without being too sweet.
Sangria – Their Sangria is yummy and unlike other sangrias I’ve had before. Most often the sangrias I try are mixed with chianti. Cream Ridge makes their Sangria with blush wine instead, which gives it a slightly different quality. The blush blends well with the fruit tones in this Sangria. I really enjoyed this fruity wine.
Mango - Tom, my husband, said the Mango wine was really good. Apparently, he’s really descriptive. He said this one was his favorite of the fruit wines. In my opinion, it was a good balanced fruit wine. Sometimes dessert wines can be too sweet, but Cream Ridge has excellent fruit wines that emphasize the fruit flavors without overpowering the wine.
Cherry - It seems that many New Jersey wineries offer cranberry and blueberry wines. I don’t often come across cherry wines, so sampling this Cream Ridge specialty was a nice treat. This wine includes cherries grown right here in NJ. Their Cherry wine is a delicious fruity wine that appropriately highlights the cherry flavor. Make sure you try this NJ Governor’s Cup winner.
Chocolateberry – I didn’t try Chocolateberry during this particular occasion, but I have tried it before and thought it deserves a special mention. The first time I tried Chocolateberry wine was at a wine festival in Allaire State Park. It seemed that visitors were going nuts over this wine. If you are a chocolate fan, you’ll love it. Somehow, they’ve captured the essence of chocolate in a bottle and infused it with berry flavor. It’s a nice unique option that’s definitely different and worth a try.
Almondberry – I’ve only had two almond wines ever. This one is excellent. It’s a delicious combination of raspberry and almonds. It’s sweet, tasty, unique and a delight. I was so excited about this one I had to buy it. Right now the bottle is sitting in my wine rack and I’m trying to see how long I can last before I tear into it and finish it off.
Javaberry – Javaberry is a coffee drinker’s wine. I’ve always loved the smell and taste of coffee, so it’s not surprising that I enjoyed the way Javaberry wine tastes. I was so impressed with how they captured blackberry, chocolate and espresso notes in this wine that I couldn’t leave without it. Javaberry is another unique, special wine.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Cream Ridge crafted a special green McChardonnay. $1 from every bottle sold will be donated to Restore the Shore. You can check it out here on their facebook page. Between Tom, Me, Kathy and Colin, we left Cream Ridge with bottles of McChardonnay, Blueberry, Almondberry, Javaberry and cork holder birdhouses. Cream Ridge doesn’t just provide delicious fruit wines, you might also leave with something nice for your home.
I really appreciate Cream Ridge’s wines. They’re options cater to my taste that leans towards fruity and sweet flavors. If you also enjoy sweet, fruity, and fun wines, I would strongly encourage you to visit Cream Ridge Winery. You will leave with delicious wines that also make nice conversation pieces with company. Cream Ridge is celebrating 25 years this year. Be sure to stop by and celebrate with them and say hi to Tom Amabile.
4 Wine Glasses (Out of 5)