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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.

Ports

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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Have you tried wine tasting at home? If not, you should! With Virtual Vines, Old York Cellars has connected me to an online network of NJ wine afficionados, an expert wine maker, friendly and knowledgeable sommeliers, and progressive concepts through online wine tasting. Just recently, Tom and I tune in to Old York Cellars Virtual Vines through a Livestream link. We received our wines in the mail beforehand, which is some of the best mail you can get! I rushed from work in NY to home in NJ, hoping there was no traffic, to make it home in time to tune in. Tom kindly and supportively prepared for the at home wine tasting. Bottles were opened and pictures were taken before I arrived! Tom even had time to take his #wineselfie. I picked up Chinese on the way home from my bus stop. Our laptop was set up and I grabbed my tablet, so I can watch and tweet with other attendees (I don’t yet own a smartphone – I’m holding out.) It’s great to be able to connect with other NJ wine drinkers and see what their thoughts are on the wines and how they paired it.

During this tasting session, Old York cellars also had an event at their winery. We got to hear Scott Gares, the winemaker, talk about the wines with Laurin Dorman, the Old York Cellars Sommelier, while a crowd at the winery tasted wines paired with seasonal dishes cooked on premise. The Chef from 55 Main even joined the stream to chat a bit. The virtual attendees got to try Old York Cellars Riesling and Malbec. This Virtual Vines was intended to highlight wines that paired well with turkey. I’m a little late on sharing this information with you. Tom and I headed out to West Virginia to visit family for Thanksgiving and before the trip I didn’t have much time to type this up. Sorry for the delay. Although Thanksgiving is now behind us, these wines may pair well with what you’re eating for Christmas, especially if you’re serving up turkey.

Riesling – This is a dry riesling, with apply, clean, crisp features. It’s is an appropriate option for a Fall, Thanksgiving wine. Since it’s dry, this riesling is not sweet or tart. It reminded me more of a Chardonnay. Lauren described it as having stonefruit flavors. I haven’t had a stonefruit before, but those words seem to capture the taste of the wine. I actually wasn’t crazy about this one at first. However, when we returned from our Thanksgiving trip, I had some of the riesling left in the fridge. It seemed more appealing to my taste buds after letting it sit.

Malbec – The Malbec is gone. Good wines don’t last long in my possession. This was a beautiful, complex wine that presented multiple qualities. At first, on the nose, I could smell blackberries and then, I got a smokiness, which made an interesting combination. The taste fit the scent. The Malbec was slightly spicy with a fruity taste. I also thought the wine had a thick texture to it, like plushness.

@Foodwinechickie said, “2013 Malbec by @OldYorkCellars – juicy fruit, medium body, velvety texture #virtualvines.” I’d have to agree.

I’d also like to recommend that you consider Old York Cellars for Christmas gifts. Their reds are some of the best and pair excellently with chocolates. This Malbec with chocolate would be a great gift for an adventurous wine drinker. They offer a combination of wine and chocolate gift options. If you are buying a gift for someone who likes sweets or fruit flavors, definitely consider getting their Blackberry wine. Also, they make customizable labels and their What Exit Wines make great gifts for Jersey lovers.

Some of Old York Cellars gift options include wine glasses, wine opener, t-shirts, chocolate tin, wine soap, chocolate and wine gift set, and varieties of gift boxes. Find items for purchase here, call them at 908-284-9463, or email narendra@oldyorkcellars.com for orders.

If you’d like to attend the next Old York Cellars Virtual Vines, check their back at their website for their upcoming  January event.

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How cool is wine run by women? Total gender bias here, but I like supporting and empowering women and I like wine. I recently had the opportunity to try STLTO wines. Apparently, this company is run entirely by women and the brand is geared towards ladies. The letters on the label are intended to celebrate female qualities. The abbreviation stands for sophisticated, timeless, lavish, trendy, and outstanding.

Here’s what I thought of some STLTO wines:

STLTO Pinot Grigio – This wine was buttery at first and sharp on the finish. It presented a woody taste that was similar to the flavor of chardonnay, but it still had the typical characteristics of a pinot grigio. Tom and I both liked it.

STLTO Merlot - I brought this wine to a dinner at my sister’s place. I was too busy drinking this wine that I forgot to snap a picture of it! That bottle didn’t stand a chance. Only a splash was left over. My sister, Kristen, was looking forward to drinking more the following night and she was sad that there was only a little left. She’s a red fan, so that speaks volumes to me. Kristen said it wasn’t as dry as other merlots. This wine reminded her of a cabernet sauvignon, which she usually enjoys. I really liked it and would buy it again. It was a smooth red. Sometimes reds are bitter for me and hard to swallow. This red went down easy, maybe too easy. I captured flavors from this merlot that reminded me of currants and blackberry. Meanwhile, the fragrance smelled like strawberry Twizzlers. The STLTO Merlot was a pleasurable drinking experience.

STLTO Prosecco - I may not be a sparkling wine fan. I feel like I really only had 1, well, maybe 2 sparkling wines ever that I actually liked. While on a Disney Millenium Cruise to celebrate Y2K or the new millenium, I had the chance to try Dom Perignon Champagne.  I don’t remember the details about the flavor, but I remembered enjoying it! Other than that, for our wedding, my family served Verdi and I’ve been a fan of it since. Verdi is a spumante, a sweeter sparkling wine, with hints of fruit flavor. It’s easy drinking and it’s my favorite sparkling wine. The STLTO Prosecco I found hard to drink. It was overly bubbly for me. So much so that it was hard to swallow. It was hard to get past the bubbles and enjoy the flavors. However, like I mentioned, I’m not typically a sprakling wine drinker. Those who appreciate champagnes or proseccos may have a different take on this one.

I definitely recommend the STLTO Merlot. If you would like to check out these wines for yourself, the stores listed on wine-searcher.com may sell this brand.

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Tom and I had a great time at the 2nd Autumn Wine Festival at Jakes Branch Park in Beachwood, NJ. We had never been to this wine festival before or this park. It was a beautiful day, a perfect opportunity to sip wine in the great outdoors of NJ. The crowd was decent, not too busy. If we didn’t just step right up to the tasting tables at the wine tents, we may have had to wait just a couple minutes to slip in.

The park was really easy to get to, right off the Parkway on Double Trouble road. As soon as we pulled in, we found convenient parking! That’s a relief. People were parked right along the pathway by the entrance. From there, it was a short walk to the actual event. We saw people walking towards the festival from farther directions in the park, but it didn’t look like an inconvenience to them.

The entrance to the wine festival was at the tip of the park by the flagpoles. The winery booths and artisans were set up across from each other to the right of the entrance. Food trucks were beyond the winery displays along the pavement that was just behind the grassy section. At the end of the winery tents, a band was performing. There was an open section of land before a pond, where people were sitting out on blankets and chairs enjoying wine and the tunes.

Enough about what you can expect at this event. Here’s our wine highlights from the Autumn Wine Festival:

Coda Rossa Winery was the first winery we tried at the festival. We haven’t been to this location yet, but we look forward to visiting.

  • Meritage - We started their wine list backwards, but we may have started with their best wine! Meritage was really nice. I’ve noticed that the reds I enjoy most tend to be blends. This wine was blended with Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. It tasted slightly smoky, had a hint of spice, and a light fruity quality.

DiMatteo Vineyards – I have to give a special shout out to Anthony! He was awesome! If you go to this winery, look out for Anthony. He was so on it. He maintained conversation with us, while serving other attendees the wines they requested. We started bonding with Anthony when he noticed Tom’s Detroit Tigers hat and started talking about teams and places in the Detroit metro area. He was a real pleasure and I look forward to seeing him again.

Now for DiMatteo wines!

  • Chambourcin - DiMatteo’s Chambourcin was interesting. It seemed to start off sweet and finished dry, which gave it a dynamic quality. It also had a dark tone to it. It was a surprising and pleasant experience.
  • Sangria - Their Sangria tasted unique. Some sangrias put forward other tropical fruit flavors, but their Sangria presented a taste similar to iced tea. It was like a grape iced tea in a way.
  • Pasquale Red - DiMatteo’s Pasquale Red seemed like a heavier version of the sangria. It’s obviously a sweeter red then. The flavor reminded me of Twizzlers.
  • Apple - They served a nice, warm, apple wine. It wasn’t too sweet or tart. It was a yummy Fall treat, so I bought some to serve on Halloween – not to trick-or-treaters! It’s my treat! When I bought the bottle, it came with a sack of spices. When I heat it up, I’m supposed to add the spice bag. I’ll be enjoying this on Friday night!

Plagido’s Winery was another awesome experience. I was surprised. The sommelier at this tent gave us a full tasting experience that I would expect at the winery. Usually other wine event servers just give you a splash of whatever wine you ask for and maybe comment on the grape or flavors provided. I told this gentleman we didn’t know where to start. He asked what we liked. I said I like sweet and Tom likes dry. He gave us the perfect wines for our tastes. I really wanted to buy a ton of bottles from them, but my budget restricted me. I’m looking forward to going to this winery, so I can stock up on their wines.

  • Sangria – Plagido’s Sangria is a pre-made pouch with a strong pineapple flavor. The pineapple gave it a sweet, summery character.
  • Concetta Casalinga – This wine is their #1 seller. Seems odd to say, but it tasted really grapey, more so than other wines. It reminded me of a Concord wine. I also got a hint of cherry.
  • Homestead – Homestead was like a different type of Concord wine. Unlike the other Concords I’ve tasted, this was less sweet and tasted like it had higher alcohol content.
  • 5.8 Earthquake - This may have been the first wine I had that was made of Fredonia grapes. It was another sweet wine. The Fredonia grape gave it a unique quality.
  • Empire Port – Tom really liked their port, probably because it’s aged in oak and a red blend.

Valenzano Winery offers a good variety of wines. They sell one of my favorites, Shamong Red. They also have a number of fun fruity wines.

  • Blackberry Syrah – Their Blackberry Syrah was interesting. It tasted like blush, but less tart. It was light and had a hint of alcohol, which other sweet wines don’t have.

Wagonhouse Winery also has a fun selection of wines with unique seasonal flavors.

  • Autumn Goddess - In this wine I really get spices of pumpkin and apple. They really catch the essence of Fall in a glass. I also love their Shore Thing for Summer, which is a mango peach wine that tastes like sunshine.

I can’t leave out Tomasello Winery – I’m so familiar with their wines. I don’t want to leave them out since I know them so well. For Fall, I would recommend their Autumn Leaf, Spiced Apple, Broomstick Brew, and Almonique. They’re all delicious wines.

I’d also like to let you know about Carolyn’s Crystal Creations. As we browsed the artisans, we were mezmorized by the beauty of her items. Each piece was made of Swarovski crystal. The first one that caught my eye was a turtle necklace. I love turtles. Then, I couldn’t believe the beauty of a horse head piece. I asked if they had bird items too since I’m a bird nerd. She said she can make them. We also went on to have a wonderful conversation. Carolyn was such a plesant person and so nice to talk to. You can find her items here and contact her for custom creations.

Thanks for reading!

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Every Summer my family vacations in Wildwood, which is just a couple exits away from Cape May. During this annual trip, I usually urge my parents to try the Cape May wineries. They really enjoy resting on the beach all day while on vacation – I can’t blame them – so they usually decline my suggestions. However, knowing that I wanted them to check out the Cape May vineyards, they planned a special weekend with us to visit these wineries. So a couple weekends ago, I was finally able to go with them. This particular weekend celebration was a birthday present from them and an anniversary gift for Tom and me. This past week, Tom and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.

Our weekend in Cape May was nice, but it was a little busier than I expected. I didn’t realize September is wedding month in Cape May. If you are planning on going to Cape May, keep in mind that some places may be closed or closing early to cater to private events. That’s what we encountered when we tried visiting a couple other places. When we arrived at Cape May Winery it looked like something was going on there. I thought they were having a special event on the back patio, but it may have just been a musician performing outside and a big crowd. All the times we’ve been to Cape May Winery, we’ve never seen it that busy! Luckily, we were able to grab a spot at the tasting bar on the upstairs deck. Which was a first for me. I don’t think I’ve tasted on their deck before. We were also able to find seats on their balcony to sit and enjoy a glass of wine.

I have to admit, I was less impressed with their wines this time around than I have been in the past. I enjoyed them better during previous visits, but it was still a nice experience. Here’s what we tried.

2013 Cape May Riesling – This wine was a dryer Riesling that tasted less sweet than others of this kind. In their Riesling, I tasted hints of honeysuckle and citrus. Dad and I ended up having a glass of this when we relaxed on the deck.

Lighthouse White – The Lighthouse White was a crisp wine with flavors of honey and apple.

Lighthouse Riesling – I was somewhat disappointed in this wine. I remembered it more favorably. This version had a tart and citrus quality. I found it to be a little sour and it left a vinegar-like taste in my mouth. It did have a lovely smell with fruit accents.

Lighthouse Red - The Lighthouse Red is a blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Chambourcin. I tend to enjoy red blends. This was nice. I tasted a bit of spice and cherry. However, I felt like I enjoyed it more in the past.

Lighthouse Blush – This wine is like a white zinfandel with a hint of cherry. It’s the fruitier wine of the Lighthouse line. Mom liked this one best. Like me, her taste leans sweeter.

Isaac Smith Apple – If you like apple flavors, this is your wine! Isaac Smith Apple is a nice fall treat. As you sip this wine, it’s like your biting into a Granny Smith and getting wine instead of juice from the apple. The apple flavor is right on point. It’s a really nice treat. But it is sweet like a treat or like candy. The smell reminded me of the apple flavored Jolly Rancher. I appreciate the taste of this wine, but for some reason, apple juice, apple cider, and other appley drinks turn my stomach a little. The flavor was so good I wanted more, but for my tummy, I held back. Mom ended up getting a glass of this one.

Wines vary year to year and some times or some days my tastes change. Although this tasting experience was different for me, I still love the experience and feel of Cape May Winery. It’s a great blend of beach and country. I love sitting on the distressed wood deck, that is reminiscent of driftwood, while overlooking the vines as I watch hawks circle above the trees and smell the salt sea air. Cape May Winery continues to improve the facility and expand. On this visit, I noticed what looked like a newer building in the back. Cape May Winery is definitely a must visit.

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My 30th birthday was a few weeks ago. For the occasion, my husband, Tom, planned a fun day of wine drinking at our favorite local wineries. We stopped first at Cream Ridge Winery and then at Working Dog Winery. We had 3 cars of people with us. Somehow we all got split up along the way, but we happened to get there at the same time! When we arrived at Cream Ridge and parked in their lot, we noticed people outside walking along the vines. I hadn’t really thought of doing that here, but I want to mention it, so you know it’s something you can do. I also noticed that they expanded their outdoor patio area, which is great. The one thing I thought Cream Ridge Winery was missing was more of a hang out spot. We usually go here just for a tasting. It’s nice to see that they increased their outdoor seating area so you can spend more time visiting. However, on this particular day, the weather was gray and there was a lingering threat of rain, so we wouldn’t be able to sit outside for long.

As we approached the door and passed through the front patio seating area, there was a band getting ready to play. To the left on the front lawn, there was a small food trailer, like a truck, set up to offer visitors some meat treats, like hot dogs and such. As we entered the wine tasting room, the bar was filled with visitors. We waited just a little bit for some space to clear. We were a somewhat big group, so 3 of us stood at the counter and the rest hung behind. We reviewed the wine lists together and leaned in to get our samples. We all had different tastes. Here are some of the wines I tried during this visit.

Riesling – The Riesling was juicy with a lemony flavor. It was somewhat sweet and packed a little punch on the end. The tasting notes say that their Riesling is a good match for spicy food.

Eastern White – The tasting list said the Eastern White is “back by popular demand.” Personally, I can see why. It’s made from Niagara grapes and that gives it a Welch’s white grape juice quality. It was slightly tangy, but definitely sweet. My tastes lean to the sweeter side, so i liked it. It was a little too sweet for some of the others that were with us.

Cabernet Franc – I found the Cabernet Franc to be interesting. It had a roasted characteristic and it gave off a flavor of black cherry with a hint of licorice.

Summer Sangria – The Summer Sangria had a perfume-like aroma and the taste reminded me of cherry. This wine was more on the sweeter side. It’s made with concord, my favorite grape, and Niagara.

Strawberry – Tom sat out this tasting since he was our DD. But I saved the strawberry wine sample for him, since he loves strawberries. He thought it was good. He said it tasted like strawberry, but with a punch. Cream Ridge Winery’s Strawberry wine was a silver medal winner.

Almondberry – I knew I liked this wine, but it was even better than I remembered. It may have been a different year than the ones I tried before. Almondberry is made with raspberry, Niagara grapes, and touched with an almond accent.

Frozen Sangria – The Frozen Sangria was really intriguing. The freezer pouches were pre-made with the winery’s branding. When you purchase this wine, they pour the bottle into the pouch for you. You take it home and freeze it. This sangria is made with the Eastern White wine. Since, I liked the Eastern White and sangria in general, of course, I enjoyed this one too!

It was really difficult deciding which wine I wanted to buy. I wanted the Frozen Sangria, Summer Sangria, Eastern White, and Almondberry. I ended up getting the Almondberry. If you’re thinking about checking Cream Ridge Winery out, I’d recommend it for the experience and their specialty wines. Their wines lean towards the fruitier or sweeter side. However, they do have options for those who enjoy more traditional or dryer wines. As I’ve mentioned before, the staff is very friendly. The winery itself is cute. They have a nice shop and they put on fun events throughout the year.

This past weekend was their 23rd Bluegrass & Pig Roast Harvest Festival. If you missed it this year, mark it on you calendar for next year. On September 27, Cream Ridge Winery is hosting their 2nd Annual “Finish Wine” Bicycle Rally. Visit their website here for more details.

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My birthday was this past weekend and in the lead up to the occasion some friends and family asked what I wanted. There’s not much that I can think of other than wine and clothes. I replied with my favorite NJ wines, which are easy to rattle off! However, with a friend visiting from out of state and family located all over NJ, I realized that it may not be easy for them to get these wines. Other than NJ wines, I don’t know of too many others to suggest. As far as white wines go, I enjoy Kendall Jackson with sushi. I also like Bogle and Toasted Head Chardonnay. One of my usual go to’s is a German Sweet Red made from Dornfelder grapes. I think it’s called, Weingut Fritz Windisch Heimersheimer Rotenfels Dornfelder – there’s no way I can say that, but I know what the bottle looks like. I realized I really need to try more wines to diversify my palate and so I know what to look for in the stores when they don’t have my preferred Jersey wines.

With this revelation, I decided to add a new feature to NJ Wine with Me called Wines of the World. Once a month, I will try a completely new wine that I’ve never had before and let you know what I think it tastes like. Hopefully, my thoughts can help you determine if these wines are worth a try. If you try it or tried it, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

For the first installment of Wines of the World, I tried 2 white wines by Brancott Estate in New Zealand. They are both of their Flight Song line. The first is Flight Song Sauvignon Blanc 2013. The fragrance reminded me of a Riesling, which tends to remind me of iced tea. I found the wine to be effervescent in a way. It was somewhat tingly, which gave it a refreshing quality. It seemed like it had more acidity. The Flight Song Sauvignon Blanc taste reminded me of lemon and grapefruit, which would explain the iced tea smell. The finish was slightly sour. While I experienced some fruit flavors, this was not a sweet wine. It leaned to the dryer side. I can imagine sipping this wine at a backyard party on a deck while watching fireflies bob above the grass.

The next wine was Flight Song Pinot Grigio. I liked the flavors of the Sauvignon Blanc, however, I preferred their Pinot Grigio. It went down real easy because it didn’t have the sharpness that some other Pinot Grigios have. I didn’t get as many flavors from this wine, just a touch of lemon. It didn’t have the aftertaste or tingle that I experienced in the Sauvignon Blanc. I can see myself finishing a bottle of this. If you notice in the pictures, there’s a little bit less in the Pinot Grigio bottle.

An interesting note about these wines, they are made with grapes that were harvested earlier in the Summer when natural sugar levels are lower. This enables the wine to have less calories and sugar, but remain flavorful.

After trying these, I’ll have to try some other New Zealand wines to see if the features of these wines were unique to the location or just to this vineyard. If you would like to buy these for yourself, they are for sale @ WineChaeteau.com, which is a NJ based wine retailer.

What should I try next? Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments if you try these.

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