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Posts Tagged ‘Wine Festivals’

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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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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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