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May 10, 2010 02:13 PM

New Jersey Wines

Just curious as to which wineries you have visited in NJ, what wines you really enjoyed, etc.? I've been to a few wineries, some good, some ok, most of them very scenic and cheap for tastings, if they charge at all.

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  1. My experience with NJ wines has mainly been at the annual wine festival held in August, where several NJ wineries attend. I've always loved Alba's apple wine, and I use it to make sourdough stuffing. I also enjoy Tomasello's Blueberry Spumante, which is fruity and refreshing. To me, most of the grape wines taste the same from vineyard to vineyard. I did a mini tour of some vineyards during the Valentine's day tour a couple years back, but don't remember the exact wineries visited.

    I do love the fact that NJ does have it's own Napa. Which wines/vineyards are you a fan of?

    1 Reply
    1. re: juman23

      I have been to Tamasello's store in Freehold, liked the chambourcin, which I never heard of until that day. They have a free wine tasting there, also picked up a few "sit by the fireplace, fruity wines". Hopewell Valley is also good. Barbera was my favorite. This past weekend went to Silver Decoy in East Windsor/Robbinsville, $5 for the tasting, very scenic and relaxing atmosphere. Some I liked, some were just ok. We're actually doing Laurita and the other right near it (name escapes me as I sip my wine!) in a week or two. I'll keep you posted. Better me there!

    2. We've been to the Laurita Winery in New Egypt. It's a beautiful place. As for the wines, I found the unoaked Chardonnay, the Lemberger, and the Chambourcin to all be quite drinkable and enjoyable. Our tasting was reasonably priced and quite leisurely paced. In fact, it's certainly one of the better food geek stops on the OC.

      1. As much as I love the idea of there being wineries in NJ, I have yet to have a wine from NJ that I would actually purchase. Call me a wine snob if you will, but I know what I like, and what I do not like.

        The problem with a lot of the NJ wines I have had is that they have so much residual sugar in them. This is mainly refering to the fruit wines that you see. But if you enjoy really sweet wines, there is nothing wrong with these at all. Unfortunately, that is not my thing.

        I really do believe that great wines could be crafted in NJ. I think there is some great land, capable of growing amazing grapes. I'd be really curious to see what a great winemaker from California could do with NJ grapes.

        As for the wineries we have visited, Laurita is indeed absolutely gorgeous! They put some serious money into this place, and it has gorgeous views, and a gorgeous building. Their wines didn't do a whole lot for me, and quite honestly, I found them expensive for the quality. If I remember correctly, a lot of their wines were in the $15-$25 range, and I would rather spend that money on a wine that I will enjoy. Call me cheap if you will when it comes to supporting the local NJ wineries. I have no problem however dropping $50-$100+ on a bottle of wine that I know and enjoy, and know will cellar for many years.

        The other winery close to Laurita is Cream Ridge. Many fruit wines, as well as some chocolate wines and what not. Never had anything super inspiring from there, but like the other wineries, they are always fun to visit.

        I have had a wine from Hopewell that I enjoyed, but cannot remember what the wines was exactly. But even so, the wine was made from grapes sourced from California.

        Another fun experience is a ride up to Sand Castle Winery up on the Delaware River on the PA side up near Lahaska. Their new castle is gorgeous, and the views are stunning. Again, don't expect much from their wines, but their rose is actually tasty for the money.

        Just my 2 yen. -mJ

        3 Replies
        1. re: njfoodies

          OK, you are a wine snob and you're cheap! :-)) And I agree with you 100%. I have lived in NJ for 30+ years and have yet to find a NJ wine that I liked. As someone once said, "Life is too short to drink bad wine".

          However, if someone can make a specific recommendation about a NJ wine that I should really, really try because it's really, really good, please let me know.

          1. re: ambrose

            Wine snob! Absolutely! LOL! Cheap? Definitely not when it comes to wine! LOL! I am however trying to gdrink our cellar down though and get it down to around 600 bottles. That means we have to drink at least 100 bottles this summer before the Fall mailer season hits. UGH! Cellar diminishment party at our house this summer! =)

            For some wine geek fun however, I am not sure how many collectors there are on here, but there is a great resource out there called CellarTracker, which has now launched as a site called Grape Stories. I track every bottle of wine we buy, consume, etc, etc. You can even write, and read others tasting notes on your wine, and it is an awesome resource.

            Once of my favorite features, although scary to look at sometimes, is the fact that you can run reports. I just ran a report on my "purchases over time." Scary to see how many bottles we have purchased since we started using CellarTracker, and even scarier to see what our average bottle cost is. YIKES! LOL! Awesome resource though! -mJ

            1. re: ambrose

              Alba makes a very good dry reisling my dude and I have always enjoyed....they also make a tasty sparkling wine for the rest in the state---bah!

          2. I've been to a handful of wineries in South Jersey during some of the wine trail weekends. For the most part they have ok white/sweet wines; most of the reds are one-note. I'm by no means a wine snob or expert, but the only one that stands out is Amalthea Cellars in Atco. They actually have red wine that are comparable to wines I would get in store from the West Coast/S. America/Europe.

            1. We recently visited Valenzano in Shamong - Tastings cost $5 which was credited toward your purchase. Found the wines to be good and prices were excellent.