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Archive for the ‘Cream Ridge 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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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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Tom and I kept trying to make it out to Cream Ridge Winery this winter. I follow them on Facebook and as soon as I saw that they released their Winter Spice wine I knew I had to try it. Things got busy before Christmas and we couldn’t make it out there before the holiday. Then, winter storms prevented us from making it there every time we attempted to visit. This past weekend, NJ wineries were participating in the Wine Growers Association event, Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail Weekend. Spending our time at our favorite local wineries is just what Tom and I wanted to do for Valentine’s weekend. We planned to go Saturday and then nature dropped another couple of inches of snow on the 10 or so that we have already, so we waited one more day. On Sunday, the roads were clear and nature looked lovely. There are beautiful houses in this area and expansive farm land that looked charming under fresh fallen snow.

Each time we go to Cream Ridge Winery I like it more and more. There’s an inviting warmth here that’s palpable. It’s an added component that not every winery provides. The friendly atmosphere suits the cozy environment displayed within. As we approached the tasting room, snow enveloped the building and topped the wine barrels that sit outside. As we entered the wine room, they were noticeably busier than a normal weekend day. For special events, they draw patrons into their barrel room where they’ve placed additional tasting bars for the occasion. This opened up the main tasting room that we walked into. Conveniently, there were 2 spaces available for us right at the end of the bar. We were quickly greeted by the sommelier and we were excited to try what was new. It seems that there’s always something new and exciting at Cream Ridge as they continue to introduce original wine flavors. I skipped most of the regular wines and spent more time tasting their new, fun options.

Blue Mooney – I really enjoyed Cream Ridge’s Blue Mooney wine. It’s another unique flavor that surprised me. Blue Mooney is a combination of Chambourcin and blueberry. As I brought the glass to my nose, I got a delightful blast of the blueberry aroma. If this was in a candle, I would buy it! The fragrance was so nice that I kept sniffing it! The wine was just as delicious as it smelled. The Chambourcin gives the wine characteristics of red. It mixes well with the sweetness of blueberry. Blue Mooney was real light, smooth, and slightly tart. It wasn’t as sweet as dessert wines, but sweeter than reds typically are. I bought a bottle of this one!

99 Rows – 99 Rows features a Fredonia Grape and celebrates Cream Ridge’s 99 rows of vineyard. I found it to be a mild wine with a mix of sweetness.

Spring Tide Sangria – Spring Tide Sangria is a mixture of concord, plum, and citrus flavors. This wine tasted sweet and mild. I got a hint of the concord accent. Being a big fan of concord grapes, I would have preferred it to be a heavier on the concord. But that’s just me. Spring Tide Sangria had a nice refreshing quality. This seems like it would be a good party wine that would present a variety of flavors while not being overpowering.

Plum – The Plum wine tasted like a white wine that was light on the fruit side. On the finish, I felt a slight kick on the way down.

Almondberry – I find the Almondberry wine to be very enjoyable and apparently so do many others. I heard a sommelier say that this is one of their most popular wines. This wine combines raspberry and Niagara grapes and showcases an almond accent. It’s an interesting and delightful mix. I wouldn’t mind if it went even heavier on the almond flavor.

Winter Spice – Winter Spice was the one we really came to try! We were glad that there was still some Winter Spice left. This wine reminds me of one of my favorite wines. So of course, I had to get 2 bottles, especially when I saw that their supply was limited. Winter spice can be served warm or chilled. It’s a fruity tasting, blush wine spiced with nutmeg, clove, and allspice. When heated the flavors really come alive and become more fragrant. I like spiced wines served both ways. I appreciate that this one is called ‘Winter’, so I’m not limited to drinking it just around the holidays.

If anyone I know likes sweet or fruity wines, I always recommend Cream Ridge. They have a special touch when it comes to sweet wines and original concoctions. And they’re just so nice that you’re almost guaranteed a pleasant experience. I hope you enjoy their wines as much as I do. For more on Cream Ridge, check out my article on our past visit.

www.creamridgewinery.com

Rating

4 Wine Glasses (Out of 5)

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I often tell our friends and family about all the fun wine events NJ offers. They then express interest in attending. So, when one of my preferred festivals came around, I reached out to them and invited them to come along and we all met at the Jersey Shore Wine Festival. I particularly enjoy this event, because Lakewood Blueclaws stadium is a nice facility and easy enough to get to, being right off the parkway. There is a good number of relevant and pleasant vendors and wineries. If people in attendance aren’t that in to drinking, then they may enjoy shopping some of the little tent shops. The crowd is well managed and you’re not fighting people to get sips of wine.

The Atmosphere

The actual festival is held in an area on their front lawn and not actually in the stadium. This is completely fine because this location offers plenty of space. The featured wineries are positioned in a square shape and vendors are lined up back to back in the middle of the square. It creates a good flow and allows you to glance at nice items for sale while you’re walking from one wine tent to the next. At the far end of the “square”, is an open area where you can layout a picnic blanket and sip some wine while you listen to the band on the other side of the open space. If your tummy rumbles or you need something to absorb all the wine, there’s also some food vendors and you can grab a sausage or a hot dog.

The Wines

Cream Ridge Winery – I often visit this winery, so I didn’t need to sample everything they had because I already have. Although, I did try their Kiwine. I follow Cream Ridge Winery on facebook and I knew that this wine flies off their wine rack, so I had to try it while it was available. It was good. Fruity and sweet wine fans would probably enjoy this one. It captures the kiwi flavor without overpowering the wine. It’s a refreshing blend of kiwi, lime, and Niagara grapes.

Ventimiglia Vineyard – I wasn’t overly impressed with Ventimiglia Vineyards when we visited a year ago. Although, that’s mostly because my taste leans sweeter. If you prefer dry white wines, then this NJ winery would suit you. In my opinion, since we last visited, they upped their game. Ventimiglia actually said they responded to their customers who wanted a sweeter wine and they created High Point White. This wine was right up my alley and one of my preferred wines of the event. It was appropriately sweet, not overbearing, and well balanced. High Point White is made with Syrah and Cayuga grapes.

Wagonhouse Winery – I haven’t yet made it to Wagonhouse Winery, but I’m looking forward to the visit. Wagonhouse has a lot of tasty fruity options. I was most amazed by their Sundance wine. This is part of their Three Boys Brand line of wines. It’s a scintillating blend of peach and almond flavors. This wine was the highlight of my day. Even Tom, who doesn’t typically enjoy fruity wines, liked this one. I can’t wait to visit and buy more. Another wine worth mentioning is their Autumn Goddess. If it was fall we would have stocked up on this. Autumn Goddess may be one of the best apple flavored wines we’ve had. It was a beautiful blend of apple, nutmeg, and pumpkin flavors. I’ll have to make this a fall stop.

Plagido’s Winery – I haven’t yet been to Plagido’s Winery. However, I was pleased with my preview of what they offer. I love concord wines, so I have to mention Plagido Red. This was a nice light concord wine. Both Tom and I really liked their Blackberry wine. It was sweet with a gently lingering blackberry flavor.

Unionville Vineyards – I wrote about this wine before and didn’t want to overlook it just because I experienced it already. Unionville Vineyards Pinot Grigio is one of the best that I’ve had. It’s a good quality dry white wine that doesn’t possess the harshness that some others have.

4JG’s Orchards & Vineyard – 4JG’s frappe and vino was a big hit among our family members. They serve the Monmouth Blush with a frappe mix that you combine and freeze. The Monmouth Blush is a great, tasty, and perfectly characteristic of what a blush should be. This wine mixed with frappe is a refreshing slushy summer treat. Although, I think it’s better in smaller doses. Too much and your mouth might begin to pucker.

I tried more wines, but the selections listed above are the ones that I most enjoyed during this occasion. There were some additional wines or wineries that I skipped so I could try different ones. I definitely would recommend the annual June Jersey Shore Wine Festival. I’ll see you there in 2014.

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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. (more…)

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