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Posts Tagged ‘Valenzano Winery’

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We recently met with friends and went to the inaugural Waretown Spring Wine Festival. This festival took place at the Waretown Recreation and Lake Area. On this day, the weather was great. The sun was shining and there was a cool breeze. It was so nice to be outside after the long, cold winter we had.

When we entered the festival, we started with Chestnut Run Farm. I hadn’t tried them before and I was curious to see what they had. They seem to specialize in apple and pear wines with dry and sweet options. If you tend to appreciate these flavors then they’re worth a try or a visit. If not, then other wineries would suit your tastes better. Here’s what I liked at Chestnut Run and what was notable at the other wineries.

Chest Nut Run Farm

Semi-sweet Fuji Apple was probably the best of their selection. It was not too dry, too sweet, or tart. It had a nice, crisp, fuji apple flavor. The fruit used in Chest Nut Run wine is grown on their farm. I could imagine this pairing nicely with an apple sushi roll at one of our favorite nearby sushi restaurants.

We were also able to taste their Spiced Pear wine, which wasn’t on their wine list. This wine is one of their customer favorites. I appreciated the flavor. It was like a spiced apple wine, but to me pears and apple taste alike. It may be too sweet for some. I thought it seemed like a dessert wine. Their Spiced Sweet Asian Pear wine won a Double Gold Medal in the 2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Their Semi-Sweet Asian Pear is also a medalist, winning a Silver Medal in the 2012 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition.

Monroeville Vineyard & Winery

Monroeville Winery’s NJ Stillwater was unique because it’s a red wine fermented in a bourbon barrel. I thought that was a nice, unique touch. I couldn’t get a sense for the bourbon flavor, but our friend, Jen, enjoyed it.

They also had a NJ Asian Pear wine. I don’t remember trying pear wines until this day. I enjoyed the flavor of this one. I’m thinking they may have a pear wine to compete with nearby Chestnut Run Farms.

My favorite of the Monroeville wines was their Monroeville Red. As soon as I tasted it, I thought, this is Concord grape! I could tell because I loved the flavor! Concords tend to be sweeter. It was a little too sweet for Jen, but just right for me. I thought about buying the Monroeville Red, but I didn’t make it back over to their tent.

Plagido’s Winery

I’ve tried Plagido’s wines at other festivals. I enjoy their sweet red selection.Our friends liked their Sangria, which comes in a pouch. This particular Sangria has a stronger presence of pineapple. I enjoyed the combination of flavors of sweet red wine and pineapple. Although, to me, most Sangrias miss the punch that my mom’s Sangria recipe has.

Valenzano Winery

There are so many good wines from Valenzano Winery. We really need to make a trip there!  Bramble on Raspberry and Berry White Cranberry were both tasty. So were their Raspberry Riesling and Blackberry Syrah. I also enjoyed the Red, White, and Blue Sangria. However, their newest wine that I hadn’t seen before, Jersey Devil Lab 2, stole the show! Tom and I tasted it and were told it was made with cherry, vanilla, and graham crackers. I felt like I could really taste each of those flavors, especially the graham cracker on the finish. Tom told our friend, Peter, who missed that tasting, that he’d like it. Without tasting it, he bought it! And he did like it! He was kind enough to share it with the rest of us. Peter’s girlfriend, Brianna, also purchased a bottle. She got their Cabernet Merlot. We stepped aside and enjoyed these bottles there.

Wagonhouse Winery

I told myself before arriving at the festival that I was going to buy more Shore Thing wine from Wagonhouse. When we made it to their tent to taste it, they were sold out! I was so disappointed. Shore Thing tastes like Summertime in a bottle and I thought I’d use this opportunity to stock up. Oh, well. I’ll look for it at the Lakewood BlueClaws Jersey Shore Wine festival.

All in all, it was a great day with good wine and good friends!

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Tom and I had a great time at the 2nd Autumn Wine Festival at Jakes Branch Park in Beachwood, NJ. We had never been to this wine festival before or this park. It was a beautiful day, a perfect opportunity to sip wine in the great outdoors of NJ. The crowd was decent, not too busy. If we didn’t just step right up to the tasting tables at the wine tents, we may have had to wait just a couple minutes to slip in.

The park was really easy to get to, right off the Parkway on Double Trouble road. As soon as we pulled in, we found convenient parking! That’s a relief. People were parked right along the pathway by the entrance. From there, it was a short walk to the actual event. We saw people walking towards the festival from farther directions in the park, but it didn’t look like an inconvenience to them.

The entrance to the wine festival was at the tip of the park by the flagpoles. The winery booths and artisans were set up across from each other to the right of the entrance. Food trucks were beyond the winery displays along the pavement that was just behind the grassy section. At the end of the winery tents, a band was performing. There was an open section of land before a pond, where people were sitting out on blankets and chairs enjoying wine and the tunes.

Enough about what you can expect at this event. Here’s our wine highlights from the Autumn Wine Festival:

Coda Rossa Winery was the first winery we tried at the festival. We haven’t been to this location yet, but we look forward to visiting.

  • Meritage – We started their wine list backwards, but we may have started with their best wine! Meritage was really nice. I’ve noticed that the reds I enjoy most tend to be blends. This wine was blended with Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. It tasted slightly smoky, had a hint of spice, and a light fruity quality.

DiMatteo Vineyards – I have to give a special shout out to Anthony! He was awesome! If you go to this winery, look out for Anthony. He was so on it. He maintained conversation with us, while serving other attendees the wines they requested. We started bonding with Anthony when he noticed Tom’s Detroit Tigers hat and started talking about teams and places in the Detroit metro area. He was a real pleasure and I look forward to seeing him again.

Now for DiMatteo wines!

  • Chambourcin – DiMatteo’s Chambourcin was interesting. It seemed to start off sweet and finished dry, which gave it a dynamic quality. It also had a dark tone to it. It was a surprising and pleasant experience.
  • Sangria – Their Sangria tasted unique. Some sangrias put forward other tropical fruit flavors, but their Sangria presented a taste similar to iced tea. It was like a grape iced tea in a way.
  • Pasquale Red – DiMatteo’s Pasquale Red seemed like a heavier version of the sangria. It’s obviously a sweeter red then. The flavor reminded me of Twizzlers.
  • Apple – They served a nice, warm, apple wine. It wasn’t too sweet or tart. It was a yummy Fall treat, so I bought some to serve on Halloween – not to trick-or-treaters! It’s my treat! When I bought the bottle, it came with a sack of spices. When I heat it up, I’m supposed to add the spice bag. I’ll be enjoying this on Friday night!

Plagido’s Winery was another awesome experience. I was surprised. The sommelier at this tent gave us a full tasting experience that I would expect at the winery. Usually other wine event servers just give you a splash of whatever wine you ask for and maybe comment on the grape or flavors provided. I told this gentleman we didn’t know where to start. He asked what we liked. I said I like sweet and Tom likes dry. He gave us the perfect wines for our tastes. I really wanted to buy a ton of bottles from them, but my budget restricted me. I’m looking forward to going to this winery, so I can stock up on their wines.

  • Sangria – Plagido’s Sangria is a pre-made pouch with a strong pineapple flavor. The pineapple gave it a sweet, summery character.
  • Concetta Casalinga – This wine is their #1 seller. Seems odd to say, but it tasted really grapey, more so than other wines. It reminded me of a Concord wine. I also got a hint of cherry.
  • Homestead – Homestead was like a different type of Concord wine. Unlike the other Concords I’ve tasted, this was less sweet and tasted like it had higher alcohol content.
  • 5.8 Earthquake – This may have been the first wine I had that was made of Fredonia grapes. It was another sweet wine. The Fredonia grape gave it a unique quality.
  • Empire Port – Tom really liked their port, probably because it’s aged in oak and a red blend.

Valenzano Winery offers a good variety of wines. They sell one of my favorites, Shamong Red. They also have a number of fun fruity wines.

  • Blackberry Syrah – Their Blackberry Syrah was interesting. It tasted like blush, but less tart. It was light and had a hint of alcohol, which other sweet wines don’t have.

Wagonhouse Winery also has a fun selection of wines with unique seasonal flavors.

  • Autumn Goddess – In this wine I really get spices of pumpkin and apple. They really catch the essence of Fall in a glass. I also love their Shore Thing for Summer, which is a mango peach wine that tastes like sunshine.

I can’t leave out Tomasello Winery – I’m so familiar with their wines. I don’t want to leave them out since I know them so well. For Fall, I would recommend their Autumn Leaf, Spiced Apple, Broomstick Brew, and Almonique. They’re all delicious wines.

I’d also like to let you know about Carolyn’s Crystal Creations. As we browsed the artisans, we were mezmorized by the beauty of her items. Each piece was made of Swarovski crystal. The first one that caught my eye was a turtle necklace. I love turtles. Then, I couldn’t believe the beauty of a horse head piece. I asked if they had bird items too since I’m a bird nerd. She said she can make them. We also went on to have a wonderful conversation. Carolyn was such a plesant person and so nice to talk to. You can find her items here and contact her for custom creations.

Thanks for reading!

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The Lakewood BlueClaws Jersey Shore Wine Festival is one of my favorite wine events to attend. There’s something comfortable about this experience. The stadium provides ample parking making it easy to get in and get out. The event takes place on the front lawn, which is much bigger than you would think. The layout has a square shape with 2 aisles. The outer perimeter is lined with 12 wineries and the middle section is comprised of vendors and crafts, most of which are wine themed. It’s never over crowded, which allows you to attend with friends and family and sample wines at the tables together.

This particular day, it was a beautiful outside, a perfect wine tasting day. Tom, my husband, and I attended with our friend Dan. Thankfully, they let me lead the way and select whatever I wanted to try. It was a little too warm outside to drink reds, so forgive me for not including more. I tried many wines and here are some of the highlights from the event.

The Wines

Four Sisters Winery – Perhaps this is cheating. One of the wines I was most looking forward to was Beaver Creek Red from Four Sisters Winery. This is one of my favorite wines in NJ, or in the US for matter. I didn’t buy it last year and I regretted and missed it. So, before sampling it, I already knew I wanted to buy it. Their tent was one of our first stops. We tried this right away and it was still as delicious as I remember it. It’s a perfect concord grape wine. Beaver Creek Red is sweet and refreshing. It’s good for a nice Summer day, but honestly, I’d drink it any time of year. It’s one of their best sellers.

Four Sisters Winery also provided samples of Niagara. It’s a somewhat sweeter white. You can almost tell it’s sweeter by the color, which was more of a golden yellow. I also enjoyed their Papa’s Red and Holiday Seasoned. Papa’s Red is a slightly sweet chianti wine. The Holiday Seasoned is the Papa’s Red with spices like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg added.

Cream Ridge Winery – Cream Ridge Winery highlighted their Summer wines at this festival. Their Pinot Mojito seemed to be a big hit. I’m not into the mint flavor, but if you like mojitos, you should try this! We almost bought it just for the bottle. It’s not a typical wine bottle. Instead it resembled more of a beachy Patron bottle. It was a shorter barrel, indicating that you are in for a different experience. Their Kiwine is another special treat with it’s hints of kiwi and lime. It’s not overwhelmingly fruity like some from other wineries. Cream Ridge Winery does fruit wines really well. While there’s hints of fruit, it still captures the essence of the wine. Of their summery offerings, their Sangria was my favorite. It had an effervescent quality. It was the best Sangria we tried at the festival. It was unique with concord, niagara, and citrus flavors.

Bellview Winery – My favorite from Bellview Winery was the Fiesta wine. I’m lucky enough that they carry this one at the local liquor store, so I can buy it whenever I want. I’m a sucker for sweet reds and this one often hits the spot. It’s a combination of cranberry and red grape wine. It’s a party in a bottle.

Valenzano Winery – I skipped one of my favorites at Valenzano, the Shamong Red. It’s a sweet red wine made from concord grapes. The Shamong Red and their Red, White, and Blueberry Sangria, which is another delicious wine, are both sold at our local liquor stores. The highlight at the Valenzano tent was the Berry White Cranberry. Many NJ wineries have a red cranberry wine, but their white cranberry is the only one I’ve tried. It was a tasty, unique treat. Again, a little bit on the sweeter side, but you probably could have guessed that. White Cranberry is less bitter and tart than red cranberry and it presents more of a citrus quality.

Wagonhouse Winery – Wagonhouse Winery featured many unique flavor combinations. This seems to be their specialty. They were out of Fallen Quaker, which they said was one of their most popular. Autumn Goddess is another one of their hot wines, which would be a wonderful Fall treat, along with their Ornery Apple. The wine I enjoyed most from them this time around was the Shore Thing wine. I like it so much that I bought a bottle and I’ve thoroughly savored a glass of it already. The sommelier said it’s a combination of peach, honey, and almond. Somehow it captures the essence of Summer.

Monroeville Vineyard & Winery – This may have been my first time sampling wines from Monroeville Winery. We haven’t been there yet and this was their first time at this festival. I enjoyed their selections including their Apple wine blended with their Cranberry wine, which they mixed for us. Their Monroeville Red, a sweet, red, concord wine was my favorite of their wines and one of my preferred wines of the day. I made sure to grab a bottle before we left.

Tomasello Winery – We’ve tried Tomasello wines many times before. There’s a tasting room in Monmouth county that’s near where we live. If you go there, say hi to Anne! One of my Tomasello favorites is their Almondique. In the Fall, I also love their Witch’s Brew. I’ll be adding a few more favorites to the list, their fruit Moscatos. They have a Blueberry, Cranberry, and Raspberry Moscato. The Cranberry was a little bit tart, which is characteristic of cranberry. The Blueberry was delectable, smooth, not too fruity or sweet. Of the Tomasello wines we tried this day, Blueberry Moscato was the best. The Raspberry is also tasty and it really captures the raspberry quality (my mom loves this one.) However, Tom and I preferred the Blueberry. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get this one at nearby stores.

4JG’s Orchards & Vineyards – If you enjoy history in addition to wine, you may really appreciate the Monmouth Blush. It’s a lively, dry rose made with cabernet franc and vidal blanc. They leave the skins on for a couple days to give it the blush shade. I was captivated by the bottle. I love local history and trail blazing women, so I couldn’t help but ask about the label picturing a battle scene with a female figure positioned prominently in the center. I was informed that 4JG’s is actually on Monmouth Battleground and the woman represents Molly Pitcher. This winery is not open every weekend, so certain events and festivals are the only time you can capture their wines. When discussing this with their sommeliers, we discovered that they also provide grapes to many of the other NJ wineries. You can learn a lot from 4JG’s!

I highly recommend attending this wine festival when it comes around annually in June. If you attend other festivals, be sure to try offerings from these wineries!

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