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Archive for the ‘Cape May Winery’ Category

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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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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During our most recent Cape May wine trail trip we had to stop at one of our favorite wineries again, Cape May Winery & Vineyard. If you’re not getting tired of me writing about Cape May Winery, I will keep doing so because I love going here. I highly recommend this New Jersey winery! They have a great selection and it’s one of the most relaxing places to enjoy a glass of wine and some snacks. Cape May Winery has a beautiful tasting room, a nice backyard (vineyard) patio, a lovely deck that overlooks the vines, and a good variety of cheese and crackers to enjoy while you sip your Cape May wine.

I wrote about Cape May Winery earlier this year. I just looked at the wines I tasted then. The wines I sampled during our recent trip were mostly different. I tried to mix up my choices for you!

The Wines

Lighthouse White – Is a nice crisp fruity wine. The freshness and hint of honeysuckle provide a nice summery feel.

Lighthouse Riesling – This Riesling smells good and tastes just as good. It’s sweet and crisp and releases lemon and honey flavors.

Lighthouse Red – This one had to come home with me. Although, it was like picking a puppy – I really wanted all of them to come home with me. This red was a little more like a blush in the way in which it was sweet and crisp and light in color. However, unlike a blush, it wasn’t overly sweet or tart. This blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Chambourcin was a nice surprise. Red fans may not like this, but I think sweet drinkers and white fans will. The Lighthouse Red is really good with chocolate.

Isaac Smith Apple – Delicious. Apple fans, you’ll love this wine! Kristen bought it. When I was at her apartment she offered me some and I had to decline, only because I didn’t want to drink the whole bottle on her. A little isn’t enough. Just take a sniff of this wine and you get a blast of Fuji and Granny Smith apples. Inhale as you sip for a delightful experience. Don’t let the apple fool you, it’s only slightly sweet. I was able to taste the alcohol on the way down.

Isaac Smith Fini Blanc – Also delicious, this wine also had to come home with me! It was so good, I saved it for my birthday. I also enjoyed a glass of this on Cape May Winery’s deck. I think I’m partial to white wines that present apricot flavors like this one did. As my palate leans to the sweeter side, I must warn you that this is a Dessert Wine. Sweet fans, you will enjoy it.

Cape May Red – This award winning wine has a smooth and bitter finish. You really taste the red berry flavors. The vanilla oak flavor adds to the smoothness and presents a pleasant mouth feel.

These are all quality wines! Be sure to stop here during your Cape May trips or as one of your New Jersey wine trail stops!

www.capemaywinery.com

Wine responsibly.

Rating

5 Wine Glasses (Out of 5)

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Cape May Winery & Vineyard was the second place we stopped at during our Cape May wine trip. Tom, Carol and I have been here multiple times. I always look forward to coming here. When I think of wineries and the beach, I think of this place. (more…)

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