Archive for March, 2011

After we were done at Tomasello (read my previous post first) Sherry and I headed to Plagido’s Winery about 2 miles away.

Here I saw the same grape fields that seemed to go on forever. The building up front was not as pretty or elaborate as Tomasello, but we went inside and enjoyed ourselves. Plagido’s has been open since 2007 and is family owned.

The amount of wines that they offered here was significantly lower than our first place. The woman told us that since all of the wines are made from grapes grown directly from their establishment, the amount that they had to offer in the month of March was limited. Here is the wine list that they normally have. However, when we were there none of the fruit wines were available and many of the dry reds were unavailable as well. This just shows how much weather effects grapes and the wine made from them. Obviously, grapes are extremely fragile and must be nurtured.

I tried the Niagra, Vidal Blanc, Plagido’s Choice, Antonia Rosso, and the Merlot. All of them were very nice. The Plagido’s choice was probably my favorite. It is made from the seedless Marquis grape and  is the Signature white wine that starts dry and has a sweet finish. It is very similar to the taste of a Concord grape.

The tasting was all free but Sherry and I each bought another personalized wine glass to prove that we were there along with a few bottles. We had a great time and now our apartment is officially stocked with specialty wines from southern New Jersey.

A neat thing that the Garden State Wine Growers Association is doing is allowing people to “Travel through the wine country of New Jersey.” We were handed a passport that listed Jersey’s most scenic and historic wineries. Once you visit all of them and get each page stamped, you send the passport back and will be sent a special gift from the association. Once you do that, you are also entered in the Grand Prize drawing for a trip for two to ITALY!  I have no idea when I will be able to visit all 34 of them listed, but  I have 2 so far!


Ahhhh, back in school and back to the books. It is sad really. I woke up last Wednesday morning to snow on the ground in New Jersey…not a pleasant surprise when we were thinking about taking a walk on the boardwalk that day. But it all went really well. We walked on the Asbury Park boardwalk on Friday instead (in a sweatshirt and winter coat!) but it was fun.

One of my favorite things about the trip was going to my first winery! Since it was still cold out, my roommate and I did not get to go on a full-blown tour, but we did get to go to two wineries in southern New Jersey. Tomasello and Plagido.

If you are unfamiliar with New Jersey, here is a map of the state and the many wineries that they have. The two I went to are the red points:

The experience was wonderful. Tomasello has been Sherry’s favorite winery since she and her family attended Six Flags Grape Adventure this past November. This festival is a great experience for people trying to learn more about New Jersey wineries and their products.

Tomasello was really cool and very pretty. All I saw when we rolled into the parking lot was all of the grapes in the area and this beautiful building at the front. We walked up to the building and to our right was the wine tasting room. We stepped in and the woman described the establishment. All of the bottles were lined up from driest to sweetest. We were handed a special glass with the special Tomasello engraving on it and we sipped and tasted our hearts desires.

The first one I tried was the American Ranier Rosé (non-vintage) Tomasello Table Wine. I never really knew what a “table wine” was. I always saw it and could never understand what it’s purpose was. When I asked the woman working, she simply stated that table wine is just a nice, mild wine that complements most meals very well. This particular Native American Catawba grape was very nice. Sweet enough to be enjoyed, but not too overbearing. The table wines were placed right in the middle of the line-up so not too sweet and not dry. I also sampled the red and white versions of the table wine and those were equally as light and delicious.

The other thing that I loved about going to special wineries was all of the special flavors that you can get. They had almond, cherry, blueberry, pomegranate, spiced apple, cherry, raspberry, cranberry and lots more. It was like drinking juice! I loved it. We also found some great wine recipes that we are definitely going to try in the near future.

I couldn’t believe that all we had to do was point to whatever we wanted and just drink. We ended up paying five dollars to keep our glasses along with many bottles of wine.


Seven Daughters Medly

SPRING BREAK! We all know what that means. An exotic location with good people, relaxation and fun food and drinks! I have found myself New Jersey watching March Madness sipping wine with Brian’s mother. Yeah, not really an exotic location, but a change of scenery is what I need.

Brian’s mom Ronnie picked up a bottle of white wine for me to try for just this reason. Seven Daughters wine. This $14 wine is Californian and combines seven different kinds of grapes together in one fine bottle.

  • Chardonnay 26%
  • French Colombard 25%
  • Symphony   19%
  • Orange Mucat 12%
  • Riesling 8%
  • Sauvignon Blanc 7%
  • Gewurztraminer 3%

Seven Daughters also makes a red wine combining Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Carignane, and Sangiovese. It also adds some extra aromas of vanilla, lavender and pepper.

The white wine was nice. It was very nice and extremely flavorful. Every time I take a sip, I get different tastes. Here is what Ronnie Cash (Brian’s mom had to say about her first time drinking the wine.

“I would not spend $14 on it again. I am not a huge fan of Chardonnay, but that flavor is not overwhelming. The other flavors in it tone it down a bit, so that is good.I originally did not believe that they mixed all of these wines together. But now that I have tried it, it’s ok, I would drink it again. It is a very mellow taste.”

Here is someone else’s review of Seven Daughters White and Red Wine.

Speaking of March Madness, they have a Girl’s Guide to Bracketology on the site as well, which is pretty humorous. In a way, I do not know whether to just laugh or be offended. I know sports and I know how to make picks. This is just insulting to a degree. But happy brackets everyone!

I am Blushing Noir…

As mentioned in my family post, I did try a new kind of wine when I went home to North Carolina with my family.  My mom bought some Gallo Blush Noir. Gallo is Californian and has been around since 1933.  Gallo is nicely priced and great for parties because you have the option of getting the mega-big bottle to share. They also have the Best Taste Promise guarantee!

The Blush Noir is a darker color (generally when I think of blush wine, I think about a more pink color, but this is more of a deep red, almost purple). Noir is french for dark so it technically is “dark blush.”  It was not super sweet but still had some nice blackberry flavors and other fruits as well.

 I found it perfect for dinner and sitting outside on the deck and talking with family. It can also be used as a dessert wine and paired with chocolate. I think this would also make a really nice Valentines Day wine that I think I will keep in mind for next year as well.

I was not able to drink too many glasses of this wine because I think it does feel heavier in the stomach than white wine does.

Blush Noir is not a very popular kind of wine and I have not been able to find many different kinds of it other than Rosehaven Blush Noir. Perhaps trying a Pinot Noir would be a good one to try next since I liked this kind.

Thinking about it, this was the first non-white wine that I have had since I started this blog. This is sad! I really do need to do some more red wines. I think I am a little hesitant about trying red wine because it is usually so heavy. White wine tends to feel lighter and does not make me feel sick, and I do worry a little bit about that. But I will try more red and blush wines!

Family and Wine

So, I am taking a break from school this weekend. Because I will be going away for spring break next week, I am back home and visiting my family this weekend. It is always nice to get home and see everyone.

One thing I love about my family is that whenever I come home, it’s like a party. It’s an excuse to get everyone together and eat, drink and be merry! Every night this week I am hoping to enjoy a few drinks and catch up with everyone. It is always a good time.

My mom bought some of our favorite Moscato and I will be trying some Blush Noir (yay red wine!). The exciting part about that is that we will be having a steak dinner tomorrow and I will be having some of that Blush Noir to complement that red meat (see I am learning!).

Speaking of pairing some of my family’s favorite foods with wine, here is a list of some good wines to drink with pizza. My personal favorite is the pepperoni, I am now very curious about a 2008 Primaterra. I will have to stop by World Market soon and stock up! Yummm

Obviously, the most important thing about going home is spending time with family that I do not get to see much anymore. Adding wine and food just completes the picture!

Full Course Wine Meal

I have always heard that good meals are meant to be paired with wine. This is proven when going out to Italian restaurants, they are always trying to push that perfect bottle of wine to go with the meal.  After a few weeks of sampling wine like I never thought I could, one of the first things I notice with bottles of wine and wine sites is the food pairings that they go with.

It got me to thinking…What are the trends? And how is it figured out what should go with what?  With my research, I have found something interesting. It is quite possible to consume 3 different types of wine in one full course meal.

  • 1 glass of a light white wine with salad
  • 1 glass of heavy red wine with a robust main course
  • 1 glass of a sweet dessert wine after

You can even buy prepackaged and build your own full course wine sets!

Not that I cook full course meals by any means whatsoever, but I must say that it is not as difficult as I originally thought. Basically, if it is a lighter meal, pair it with a lighter, white wine. If it is red meat or red sauce, a red wine is best. If it is a cream sauce or white meat, white wine goes.  And to finish up, if it is something sweet (like a dessert) pair it with a sweet wine.

It is also helpful to take the idea of weight and texture into consideration when pairing wine. If one is still a little unsure about what to drink with what, check this page or chart out to solve all problems. I know I will be referring to these.

Sauvignon Blanc #3

I found it! After a disappointing bottle of Sauv. Blanc, I found the bottle that has been recommended to me – Chateau Ste. Michelle-Horse Heaven Hills 2008. It was the most I spent on a bottle of wine so far. At the store it was $18 but as long as it is under $20 I will not freak out. However, I will be going back to $15 and under after this week.

Chateau Ste. Michelle is a Washington State winery located 15 miles Northeast of Seattle. It is Washington’s oldest and most acclaimed winery.

The reason why I searched for this particular wine was because it was supposed to truly  sum up what a real Sauv. Blanc is meant to taste like. It had a very strong flavor, which was a wonderful improvement from the last bottle’s Barefoot. It definitely had a more grassy or herbaceous taste to it, which was very nice. It was spicy with a strong melon flavor as well. I liked it.

It does not appear to be a very common wine. I had a hard time finding reviews on this, but I did find more on the Horse Heaven 2009 version. Obviously, it is slightly different, but I am assuming it is still worth getting.

I think I have decided that Sauvignon Blanc is not my personal favorite wine. It is ok and I think I can appreciate a good and flavorful version of it (like this Horse Heaven or Monkey Bay) but I cannot see myself buying a bottle to enjoy for a relaxing weekend.

I am planning on continuing my dry wine kick and we will see where that ends up.

Health Benefits of Wine

I have heard it for a long time. Drinking a glass of wine a day is really good for you. But why? I have searched and found.

Yes, it is true wine (red and white) is very good for your body. However, contrary to what college students want to believe, it is all in moderation and not consuming as much as possible.

I can remember attending a party not long ago with a friend of mine and another friend who had been newly health conscience and seriously dieting, came running up to us completely smashed. I questioned him about his diet and he proceeded to tell me that alcohol is really good for you, so the more you drink, the better off he was. I honestly have no idea if he was serious or just trying to make a joke out of his obviously poor judgement. But, I remember thinking to myself, wow keep making up excuses my friend.

Wine has been found to raise good cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, lower the risk of heart disease, reduce the risk of some cancers, and slow the progression of some disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.

To reap the benefits of wine here is the general rule of thumb to follow:

  • Men should not drink more than 2 glasses of wine per day
  • Women should not drink more than 1 glass of wine per day

Just to put it out there, 1 glass of wine is 5 ounces and there are 5 servings in a 750 mL bottle of wine. This doesn’t leave us a lot to enjoy. So, it must be learned to solely look forward to that one glass and let that be your treat for the day.  If you want to read an interesting article on the Mediterranean Effect phenomenon check it out here. Basically, this is a radio/science interview that discusses the French’s terrible eating habits, but are still in good health, presumably because of their red wine consumption.

There is even a red wine diet that was released in September 2007. I don’t really hear much about it right now, so I am not sure how long this stuck around or how many people it affected. Wine (and every other kind of alcohol) contains a lot of calories that turn to fat in the abdomen, this is not fun to look at, but it is something I am definitely taking into consideration with spring break coming up rapidly.