One thing I would like to point out again is that traveling to these New Jersey wineries is a great escape. New Jersey wineries defy the stereotype of what people expect to see in NJ. Each time we visit one, we encounter beautiful scenery including pretty country roads, sheep, cows, barns, creeks, farms, rolling hills and much more.
Our recent wine exploration brought us to Hunterdon and Mercer Counties. There are about 4 wineries in this area. I strongly recommend taking a day with friends for a quick trail like this. My sister Kristie joined Tom and me on this particular adventure. It was an absolutely beautiful day. Starting at 65 degrees in Matawan, it went up to 80 degrees while we sat outside relaxing and sipping the fruits of NJ.
The first place we visited was Old York Cellars. We drove down their gravel driveway past rows of blossoming vines. The parking lot sits on the left of the driveway, just ahead of the tasting room and villa room. There was an event going on in the villa room so we didn’t end up checking it out. We walked into the tasting room. This room was a decent size. As you enter, the tasting bar is straight ahead of you and it spans the length of the room. This room has large windows to the left and across from the bar. The windows to the left look over a patio with tables, chairs, and umbrellas. The window and patio provide a nice view of the vineyard. Across from the bar, under the windows were shelves of merchandise. On this particular day, there was also a grape seed oil tasting.
Old York Cellars offered a variety of tasting options. You can purchase 6 tastes for $5.00. An extra $2.50 and you can keep the glass or taste chocolates with your wine choices. $10 gives you wine tasting, chocolate, and you keep the glass. Too many options for me. I have enough glasses and I’m not crazy about tasting food with wine because it confuses my palette.
Kristie went with the chocolate. Tom and I went with 6 for $5.
I looked at their list for sweet reds first. Not seeing them, I stuck with whites, but picked a red for any red drinkers.
2010 Dry Riesling – This wine is described as containing notes of grapefruit and granny smith apple. I couldn’t quite taste those specific flavors. I found this wine sweet enough for a dry option. The fruitiness gave it a nice fresh quality. Being on the dryer side, I also tasted the alcohol.
2010 Vidal Blanc – I tasted a hint of lemon as it is described. This wine came across light and packs a bite. It’s slightly sweet and fresh.
2009 Chardonnay – Lightly fruity, it didn’t fully seem like a Chardonnay until the way down. It hits you with a surprise oaky finish, which creates uniqueness among other Chardonnays.
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – Not sweet, but close. It seems sweet for a dark red. It was pleasant and smooth.
2009 Vinters Blend – Described as being a blend of Syrah, Merlot and Malbec, with hints of tobacco and cedar, I felt like this wine gave me a slight tingle on the tongue and tasted dark and heavy. I couldn’t quite place the other flavors, but the tingle effect was weird. Not sure where it came from.
On to Tom’s favorite section, the Southpaw Red Port – Made from Marechal Foch with a touch of brandy. It was sweet with nice quality, but too much alcohol for me. Tom really enjoyed it. Occasionally, my stomach is sensitive. At this point, it was telling me to stop. I gave the rest of my glass to Tom. The woman assisting us said it’s best for sipping and savoring. I can see that. I wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Tom ended up leaving with a bottle of Southpaw Red Port. There wasn’t anything that I felt partial to or that I had to have. This was a nice place with award winning wines from the Finger Lakes, New Jersey, and Riverside International competitions, but it didn’t do much for me. Worth a visit to try for your own taste.
3.5 Wine Glasses (Out of 5)