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Archive for the ‘Virtual Vines’ Category

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A couple weeks ago, Tom and I were able to partake in and enjoy another Old York Cellar’s Virtual Vines, an online wine tasting. I really look forward to these events. It’s exciting to get wine in the mail. It’s also nice to be connected to an fun, online wine community that also enjoys NJ wines. As I’ve participated in these multiple times, I’ve gotten familiar with a group of “Tweeters” that I enjoy chatting with during Virtual Vines events. As we watch the online videos, mostly at the same time, we tweet questions to Old York Cellars, we ‘like’ and ‘favorite’ each others tweets, and we tweet our take on the wines. It’s a little bit tricky pairing food with wine, listening to the video, and tweeting at the same time. I mostly drank and tweeted. I had to watch the video again to catch the details of the wines, but it’s nice and convenient that the video is still available so that I can do that.

During this Virtual Vines, we watched Old York Cellar’s Sommelier, Laurin, and the Winemaker, Scott, talk about the recently released 2012 Oak Chardonnay and the 2013 Merlot. They tasted the wines and talked about their flavors as they ate Cabot cheeses that were paired for each wine. We tasted along at home.

2012 Oak Chardonnay – Their Oak Chardonnay is a blend of estate and supplemented grapes. Scott and Laurin explained how it goes through a process that’s called malolactic fermentation. Diacetyl is a byproduct of this fermentation. This is what gives the Chardonnay it’s buttery taste. Most people think it’s the oak, but it’s actually the acid. Laurin explained that movie theater butter flavor is actually diacetyl and that made me think, how would popcorn taste with this Chardonnay. I may have to find out.

This particular Chardonnay is lighter in oak than other Chardonnays because the oak is left in the wine for a shorter period of time. This wine was also different from other Chardonnays by how it seemed to be balanced in fruitiness and oakiness, where most seem to lean to one side or the other. Tom, my husband, prefers an oakier Chardonnay. I like those too, but I also appreciated this one. It had nice, unique qualities. I like fruity and sweet wines, so it gave me a little bit of that with the oaky flavor I also enjoy. I’ve also tasted steel barred Chardonnays. These are usually more fruit forward since they don’t have the oak quality from the barrel. This wine seemed like a mixture of those two types.

This wine is actually one of their most popular. GrapeExp_Cindy tweeted “Plenty of depth and so food friendly.” I agreed! This wine went well with the salmon we had for dinner. Laurin recommended monterey jack, gouda, brie, mild cheddar, or young asiago to go with their Oak Chardonnay.

OYC Tweet Oak Chardonnay

2013 Merlot –  Scott said the Merlot uses 2 different yeasts that are designed for Cabernets. One yeast provides complex characteristics, while the other gives cedar and ripe fruit flavors. The Merlot is fermented in a jacketed tank that enables Scott to control the temperature at about 70 to 75 degrees. (For comparison, the Chardonnay was fermented at about 55 to 65 degrees.) Scott mentioned that this creates heat in the Merlot when it goes into malolactic fermentation, which results in flavor from beginning to the end (on your palette.) They also provided an interesting tip. When you look at the edge of the wine in a glass as you swirl it, the color shows how young or aged the wine is. This Merlot had a garnet color, indicating it’s youthfulness. A brownish color on the edge would show that it’s aged.

According to Laurin and Scott’s description, this Merlot has a softness, a lot of tannin, dark cherry, cedar notes, tobacco, and a long finish. Laurin said, “This one, immediately, I mean it hits your palette and it’s like BOOM! It’s definitely a flavor explosion.” I certainly got a powerful, smoky quality from this Merlot. I tweeted that it would pair well with a cigar because of it’s smokiness. I really enjoyed this red, but I think to sip it, I have to be in the mood for it. It certainly presents itself as a relaxing wine, something to slowly enjoy while you’re also taking in a good book, a good show, or good company.

4-15-2015 OYC VV Merlot

Laurin and Scott said this Merlot goes well with the fat in cheese because the fat counteracts the acidity. They also gave tips for drinking wines with cheese. First, take a sip for a baseline. Then, bite the cheese. Next, sip again. The cheese softened the taste of these wines. There’s less acidity in the 2nd sip. Pair this Merlot with a hard cheese like sharp cheddar. It will soften the tannin. I actually happened to eat sharp cheddar while tasting this wine and they did go well together.

May 28th Old York Cellars will be having another Virtual Vines if you would like to join. They will be sampling their 2013 Pinot Noir and 2013 Chardonnay. Before then, on May 2 and 3rd, you can enjoy an in person event at their ‘Vine to Wine’ Spring festival.

If you’d like to watch the last Old York Cellars Virtual Vines, check it out here.

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Just recently, Tom and I took part in another Old York Cellars Virtual Vines wine tasting. To attend a Virtual Vines wine tasting, you just have to sign up ahead of time to receive your wines in advance. Then, on the day of, login to Livestream to attend the live tasting session. For this Virtual Vines, we logged in at our kitchen table, where we set up our laptop and tasted the wines. I have to add that I was running late on my way home because of traffic and Tom prepared everything. I’m so lucky to have such a good husband! Appetizers were made, wines were opened, glasses poored, he took pictures, and logged into the Livestream. He also coined the term “wine selfie” – all before I came home. Check out the slideshow to see Tom’s “wine selfie.”

For this particular home wine tasting, we tried their What Exit line of wines. We sampled What Exit White, What Exit Red, and What Exit Blush. I tweeted as much as I could about our tasting experience, because each tweet generated $1 towards the Hometown Heroes organization. Hometown Heroes helps people in crisis. They also honor real heroes in the community like Old York Cellars, who is helping those in need through their fundraising efforts. Hometown Heroes, as well as the What Exit Wines line, began after Superstorm Sandy hit. Proceeds from the sales of What Exit Wines benefit recovery efforts.

What Exit White – We started with the What Exit White. It wasn’t long before it was gone! I tweeted, “We may have already finished the @WhatExitWines White. It’s that good.” This white is 90% Chenin Blanc and 10% Seyval Blanc. This was a light, crisp, and easy drinking white wine. We got hints of honey with a finish of apricot.

What Exit Blush – What Exit Blush is similar to What Exit White in that they both have 90% Chenin Blanc. Except that the remaining 10% in the Blush is Cabernet Sauvignon. The What Exit Blush is a dryer blush, not sweet or fruity like others.

What Exit Red – Old York Cellars makes some of my favorite red wines. As I said in other articles, my taste tends to lean sweet or to white wines. I am usually surprised by how much I enjoy Old York Cellars reds. What Exit Red is another one. This wine is made of 80% Merlot, 10% Barbera, and 10% Landot Noir. I loved the bouquet. I smelled fragrances of fruit and oak. This red was warm and bold. It seemed to provide heat, but it didn’t make me hot. It’s mild for reds, which may be why I like it. I got a black cherry flavor from this one.

I loved the labels on these bottles. If you love all things Jersey, you would like them too. The What Exits wines are good, but it’s also worth buying just to have this awesome label! The labels are customizable too. You can include your exit, town, or a personal message. What Exit Wines would make great, unique, and special gifts.

If you’d like to see Old York Cellars for yourself and welcome the Fall harvest, check out their upcoming Fall Harvest Festival on September 27th and 28th. They’ll have hayrides, vineyard tours, and they’ll share information about the harvest. The next Virtual Vines is taking place on September 25th. Check their website for event details.

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