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Wineries in New Jersey/Wines from NJ

I am visiting a friend and want to bring various wines from our home state. I am seeing more NJ wine in stores (Alba, Silver Decoy, Tomasello). Are there any you have had that really impressed you? We are more red drinkers, but anything that is tasty works for us.

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  1. There is a winery in Cape May unfortunately called Turdo, also known as Turis. their wines are good, particularly their Italian varietals.

      1. the alba raspberry is a great dessert wine.

        2 Replies
        1. re: scholar399

          I am drinking Balic Cream Red from Balic Winery in Mays Landing, NJ as I type. It isn't bad, it's growing on me. I have not tried Alba wines yet, going to pick some up soon. I have also not tried Renault. Some Silver Decoy, Hopewell Valley, and Tomasello's are good.

          1. re: jethro

            The Alba dessert wines are good. Try them on vanilla ice cream, too!

        2. i've always been a fan of unionville wines

          4 Replies
          1. re: p314n

            Thank you p314n. This sounds kin of close to Hopewell Valley Vineyards. A nice 2-fer trip for me!

            Hopewell Valley Vineyards
            46 Yard Rd, Pennington, NJ 08534

            1. re: jethro

              I have a good friend that's a sommelier and one thing he's told me is that, "There's no such thing as a good NJ wine.
              After going to the NJ Wine Fest at Allaire State park for a few years I'd have to agree. This state is pretty good for Craft Beer, but the wine scene just isn't happening.

              1. re: rickster71

                I tend to agree. Bringing the gift of craft beers rather than NJ wine to the friend might be more enjoyable for everyone involved.

                1. re: tommy

                  With the exception of perhaps Flying Fish's ESB and novelty Exit series, I'm having a hard time trying to guess to which NJ beers or breweries you guys are referring. To me, our craft beer industry is nothing special, especially when compared to a lot of other states in the region.

                  As to the OP's inquiry, the Lemberger and unoaked Chardonnay from Laurita winery are the best NJ wines I've tasted. I would avoid the fruit wines put out by many. What about a bottle or two of Laird's Apple Brandy, which I believe is still made here (unlike the Applejack)?

          2. I have enjoyed wines from Unionville and Silver Decoy. Give them a try-it's fun to taste wines.

            1. Yep, from what I hear, a local craft beer would be a better gift. Here's wine expert Anthony Giglio (who once called Jersey wines "dreadful plonk") in an interview with The Daily Meal earlier this year:

              "New Jersey makes tons of wine, but the problem is they’re using vitis lambrusco grapes, the native grapes, because you can’t use vinifera grapes.

              "Now this is getting geeky, but all the European grapes are vitis vinifera and in the U.S., all the native grapes are vitis lambrusca and those are the ones, that you know, you get Concord grape jelly from. So you go to state fairs or even farmers’ markets where you see the local wines; they’re always going to be sweet. They have to disguise these wines in sugar and fruit wines; even if they have Chardonnay, it’s probably blended with something local."

              Read more: http://www.thedailymeal.com/anthony-g...

              3 Replies
              1. re: melissa511

                Frankly, in trying to make his point, Giglio displayed a clear lack of knowledge. There are wines being made in NJ from nonnative grapes. Importing vines is certainly nothing new, and places like Laurita use those grapes for certain wines. Personally, I thought the idea to use German and Austrian varietals because of climate similarities was a worthwhile experiment.

                I agree that the industry needs to mature and overcome the traditional association with the sweet wines produced by some of the older producers. Nevertheless, the potential certainly exists and the climate is not prohibitive. It's hard to imagine that a region that produces so much, and such a variety of, produce could not develop successful vineyards.

                To me, the great irony in the piece came from the comments on Virginia wines. Almost a decade ago, I sat with a colleague who was in the process of purchasing a nascent vineyard in the Old Dominion. I thought the whole thing was a really cool idea given the fact that he was primarily doing it for fun. Another who was present told him he was a moron, "You can't make anything that isn't sweet and sticky. What are you going to do with that much swill?"

                1. re: MGZ

                  Also, I suppose this is as good a time as any to renew my follow up question to the OP: If a local, craft beer is a better choice, then specifically which are recommended?

                  1. re: MGZ

                    NJ wine is lousy -- let's be honest. I appreciate that folks are trying and as they refine their vines and technique, maybe something good will emerge. But at the moment, the wine is lousy. And the craft beers are non-existent, too. The rec for applejack is a fine one, though that won't appeal to every drinker.

                    When it comes to food and drink, NJ's strengths lie elsewhere. It's a hard state to bring food gifts from. It can't compete with California on the quality, variety, and freshness of produce. It can't compete with NYC on high end restaurants. It cannot compete with anyone on wine. We dont set the latest trends like food trucks, etc. So what can it do? It offers some good, hole in the wall places to eat. Some of them are pleasingly kitschy, some are authentic ethnic eats, etc. These are places like delorenzos, manna, etc.