Posts Tagged ‘Chardonnay’

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Recently, when Tom and I went on our north west NJ wine trail, we stopped at Alba, Villa Millagro, and Beneduce Vineyards. On this occasion Beneduce was our last stop. Beneduce Vineyards is fairly new. They purchased the vineyard in 2000, but their family has been growing wine in the US since they emigrated from Italy in the early 1900s.

We cut through a residential area to get there, so don’t let that throw you off. The actual vineyard was set back off the road a little bit. After driving up a gravel driveway, you are greeted by an outdoor relaxation area off to the right and just ahead of greenhouses. Further to the right are rows of vines. The actual wine tasting room is just past the outdoor area. The tasting room is large and smells new. Immediately on your right is a tasting bar with large windows behind it that overlook the patio and greenhouses. There were some smaller casks near the back wall and a HUGE wine barrel at the far end of the room. There was also a wood burning stove in the corner, just past their gift shop. We purchased the tasting that included the meat and cheese sampler.

We tried…

Three Windows White – Aged in stainless steel, this Riesling had an enjoyable taste that’s less sweet than typical wines of this style. Tom enjoyed it and he usually prefers dryer whites. I did notice that it had a bit of kick on the finish, which was borderline too much for me.

Chardonnay – The Chardonnay is fermented in oak from different forests. That didn’t seem to have an impact on the flavor for me. It seemed like an average oaky Chardonnay in taste, feel, and smell.

Shotgun Red – This red is a blend. It’s also aged in stainless steel which gives it a fruitier feel than their other wines. It’s more fruit forward than sweet, with hints of strawberry and cherry. This wine is called Shotgun Red because they found shotgun shells when digging for grapes on this property.

Cabernet Sauvignon / Malbec – This wine was aged in American Oak and gave off a hint of plum and a mocha aroma.

Centerfold Pinot Noir – Unlike the other red we tried, the Pinot Noir is partially aged in French Oak. I sensed a pomegranate flavor and enjoyed the pleasant smell. The tannins were silky, but it was a little too bitter for me.

This winery is a nice additional stop to the north west NJ wine trail. It may be nicer to stop here during the summer and enjoy their patio area.


2 Wine Glasses (Out of 5)


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We recently attended our very first virtual wine tasting (Virtual Vines) and it was awesome. I commend Old York Cellars for being so progressive and bringing the tasting experience to your home. After all, when we buy wines, they will be consumed at home or with friends and family, so why not do a tasting in the comfort of your living room or kitchen.

This live, interactive, online, tasting session with their wine maker, Scott Gares, included a bottle of Chardonnay, a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, 6 chocolates from Laurie’s Chocolates, and dinner pairing suggestions. Tom cooked up wild mushroom ravioli with tomato sauce  (not one of the suggestions), we poured ourselves glasses of wine, and tuned in to the live stream from Old York Cellars.

We started with the Chardonnay. Here’s what the vintner had to say:

NJ provides growing conditions similar to France which is why quality Chardonnay grapes are harvested at Old York Cellars. This particular Chardonnay was bottled in September and for about a year since then. The wine gets softer while sitting, which is how it avoids “bottle shock”. The just released Chardonnay smells of the American Oak that’s used in the fermenting process. It’s easy going, gives more nose, and is soft on the palette. The taste is apple on the finish, buttery, medium oak, and not overpowering. The wine felt soft and light. The oaky quality seemed mild to me. If you take a breath over the Chardonnay on your tongue, the oak flavor releases more. I also felt that the wine tingled a bit on my tongue, but that might have been just me, since no one else mentioned it during the session. Lighter foods were recommended with this wine since light food pairs well with lighter wine. Laurie’s Chocolates caramel milk chocolate went well with the Chardonnay.

We tried the Cabernet Sauvignon next:

The”king of the red grapes,” Cabernet, started in Bordeaux. Now, it’s grown and finished at Old York Cellars’s where they grow, crush, press, and age the wine. Old York Cellars’s approachable Cabernet Sauvignon is well balanced in fruit and alcohol. The tannins and mild acidity give the Cabernet a good back bone. I don’t typically enjoy reds. When we do drink them, we usually serve it slightly chilled, which isn’t really advisable. We loved it, it was really good. I think it was even better than their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. Last year’s growing conditions may have enhanced the flavor. They had a later harvest because of all the rain we received in NJ. Like the Chardonnay, their Cabernet Sauvignon was also bottled in September. To me, the Cabernet Sauvignon gave off aromas of Fall. It was fruity at first with a cherry quality and a slight tobacco taste on the finish. They recommended tasting this wine with Laurie’s Chocolates truffles. In addition to some other dishes, they said this wine goes well with fuller body cheeses. I enjoyed the Cab with our mushroom ravioli.

Old York Cellar’s next Virtual Vines Online Wine Tasting will be on November 14th. Keep track of Old York Cellars’s wine events at NJ Wine with Me or on their website at www.oldyorkcellars.com/events.


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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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Four JG’s was celebrating Bud Break this weekend. This winery seems like it’s only open for special events, so we took this opportunity to check out the vineyard that is closest to our home. (more…)

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[Update: Silver Decoy Winery has since changed their name to Working Dog Winery]

Our 2012 NJ wine journey began with Silver Decoy Winery in East Windsor. My husband, Tom, my sister, Kristie and I made plans to go to this particular winery.  It was a beautiful day – one of the first warm days at the end of the winter that gets you excited for spring – a perfect day for wine tasting. (more…)

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