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Since my trip to Plagido’s in New Jersey,  I have had a fascination with table wines. Yes, it feels like it is pretty simple and straight forward with what it is – a mild, simple wine that complements anything and could please anyone, but I wanted to look at it just a little bit more.

According to Wikipedia, table wine can mean one of two things:

  1. a wine style that is not fortified or sparkling
  2. a low quality of wine

Table wine is a grape wine that has a maximum of 14% alcohol in it. This makes it light and if someone refers to light wine or light white wine or table wine, we now know what it means.

So, yes you can usually get a large bottle of red, rose or white table wine for a pretty low price, but the nice thing about it is that you can go either semi-dry or semi-sweet so usually you can get something you can tolerate.

It’s funny, I usually prefer the lightness and cleaner taste of white wines, but I have found that I really like rose’ and red table wine. Perhaps drinking the red table wine will ween me into liking more red wines. It has just been difficult for me to handle the heaviness of red wine in my belly (plus I had a bad experience with red wine a while ago and I have not recovered from that two-day hangover) but I really do think that the red table wine can help me get over that.

Table wine can either be found in the store and be labeled specifically as table wine or, according to this site, other table wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Adams Apple, Moscato, Port, Pinot Noir, Kaskaskia Concord, Double Decker Red and Elderberry.


Fruit Wines

After sipping on my pomegranate and also looking at the raspberry that we have on hand, it got me thinking about fruit wines in general. I have never seen specific fruit wines being sold in any store, unless they supplied wine from a  local winery. Fruit wine or elderberry wine or British-termed country wine is an alcohol made with a fermented fruit other than grapes.

In my search, I have even found dandelion wine. I suppose wine really can be made from anything.

Many would say that fruit wines are not real wines and I suppose some serious wine connoisseurs would never even dream about trying a fruit wine in place of a real dry wine, but this article disagrees with that thought. The argument is that fruit wines pair nicely with chocolate and other types of desserts.

Not all fruit wines are overly sweet and thick. There is a wide range of fruit wine from dry to very sweet. It is also a way to enjoy the taste of summer year-round. According to Dominic Rivard, fruit wine production is up and is becoming more accepted by people all around the world of all ages.

A great deal of wineries produce their own version of fruit wine. I have tried a few and have been satisfied with them. Another thing that is very nice to know about it is that most wineries grow all of their own fruit to make the wine. It makes me feel better to know that it is all made on site. This also helps out the winery when they can no longer produce grapes, but can then fall back on producing fruits for another kind of wine.

Speaking of elderberry wine, how can we not bring up this goodie by Elton John?

So, in my last post I told you about my experience of going to the local Morgantown winery Forks of Cheat. My roommie and I came home with five bottles of wine from the location and have been having a great week.

The wines that FOC offer are listed here. I have now realized that I am very much a sweet wine person. I will continue trying the dry wines, but so far I have always enjoyed my experience with the sweeter wines.

The first wine I sampled was the Niagara. I tasted a Niagara when I was in New Jersey at Plagido’s and this one tasted extremely similar. It tastes like it is made with concord grapes and Darryl probably put it the best way by describing it as “adult grape juice.” I love it. It is a white wine and is extremely refreshing and pleasant. Needless to say, we bought one for $10.50.

I also tried FOC’s Bad Cat Catawba wine. I think it was my favorite wine of the trip. It is a blush wine. But unlike the Blush Noir that I sampled a few weeks ago, it is definitely the color of blush. It is a rosey-pink color and very light. It is semi-sweet, very fruity and complements poultry nicely.

The Bad Cat Catawba Wine Label. Courtesy to Forks of Cheat website.

Van Buren is  also a great wine that they offered. It was a sweet red wine that I deemed the red Niagara. The flavor was so similar to the Niagara but because it is made with red grapes it does not seem nearly as sweet as the white wine. I actually liked the Van Buren better. I cannot find Van Buren wine anywhere online. Every time I search it, the only results I can find mention Forks of Cheat winery. If anyone else has any other Van Buren suggestions for me, please let me know because I know I will be missing this red wine once I am out of this area.

Sherry and I also did our share of tasting the huge variety of fruit wine that FOC offers. We tried the blackberry, raspberry, pomegranate and strawberry. All were delicious and I cannot believe that I am saying this but we agreed that we liked the fruit wines  here better than the fruits from Tomasello. We kept looking at each other in disbelief that we actually liked these better than our beloved

Pomegranate WIne Label. Courtesy of Forks of Cheat website

Jersey winery. We went home with a raspberry and pomegranate each for $12.

The final one that we tried was the Coco Vino. This was interesting and I was not a fan. It is made from the Marechal Foch grape and infused with a hint of dark chocolate. The flavor was so weird. It started so bitter and ended with the taste of chocolate. I had a hard time finishing my sampling glass. Sherry was a big fan. The only way I would want to try it again would be with a slice of cheesecake or if it had some cherry liquor. I think that could make a great mix drink, but I do not want it by itself again. The Coco Vino is priced at $15.

In conclusion, it was great tasting wines for free before actually laying down the money blindly. I now know which ones I like and can buy them whenever I want because they sell the entire collection at Kroger right down the street from me and of course I could always go to the winery up the street and visit my new kitty friend Oscar again…

So, things are going well for me in the wine world right now. This past weekend my roommate Sherry and I decided that not only were we going to hold a small party at our apartment, but we were also going go to the ever popular winery here in Morgantown, WV.  We knew Forks of Cheat Winery was close, but we did not realize HOW CLOSE it was to our apartment. It was literally seven minutes up the road. Easy to get to and after the visit we were kicking ourselves for not going earlier.

Forks of Cheat is located at 2811 Stewartstown Road Morgantown, WV 26508. What we pulled up to was a cute, little house painted in green, purple and gold. A man came up from the field and introduced himself as Jerry, the founder and owner. He showed us around the estate and told us about his small business. The area has a total of 16 acres and they grow all of their grapes and fruit for their wines.

They also have an entire area where they hold weddings. If you are looking to hold a wedding at a winery in WV, this place would be perfect. The designated wedding area holds a maximum of 100 people and has an amazing overlook of the grounds. Sherry and I picked a wonderful time to go and visit the winery because it was a beautiful day and all I could think about was what it would be like to have a wedding at a vineyard. I think it is a marvelous idea.

The Forks of Cheat grounds. The wedding area is the purple and orange building on the left!

Afterwards, we went inside and looked around at all of the great gifts that they offer and tasted wines with Darryl. You can see the entire Forks of Cheat staff here and do not forget to go all the way to the bottom to see all of the wine animals that roam around as well. Oscar is me and Sherry’s new best friend!

Where the wine ferments

During the tasting with Darryl, I felt like I learned more about wine than ever before. That just goes to show how having a very good and helpful person during tastings can just make the experience that much better. He took us through the proper order in which to taste (start with the whites and work your way down to the darkest reds so that you can really appreciate the color) and how they suggest that you taste a maximum of four wines. When he first said this I thought it was because they do not like to hand out a whole bunch of wines to people or else they do not want you to become intoxicated. But he then told us that after about four wines your palette becomes less sensitive and you do not really get the true flavor of the wine. I guess this is why when you try an alcohol you do not like at first, after you have a few drinks in you they go down so much easier.

Here are some more facts and tips about wine tasting and how to look at your palette.

That's me overlooking the vineyard!

Mix up the Wine!

With the warm weather coming I know I always get a craving for some good mix drinks. I always love having a nice pina colada, margarita or a beautiful mojito. This got me to thinking about what can be done to change up our everyday wine and turn it into a party!

The pros with mixing up wine and champagne is that if you do buy a wine that you do not like and it is too dry or sweet, you can easily make it drinkable. It may just be a nice, change-up and to try something new.

Another situation it may be be good is if one is not really into wine quite yet. If one has not acquired the taste for wine yet, adding some soda or something may help you ease into it easier. The Wine Virgin agrees that mixing wine mix drinks can help quench the summer heat.

The good news about this is that almost any champagne or wine can be mixed. Here are some videos by professional bartenders showing you how to mix it up!

Champagne Punch

The Bellini


I know I will be trying out a sangria this weekend and possibly some other drinks. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Organic Wine

Organic food is the new trend and craze of today. Organic means that the consumed product is produced by NOT using modern synthetic inputs like pesticides and chemical fertilizers or additives. In America, organic food is the fastest growing sector in the food marketplace increasing by about 18 percent in one year.  I cannot pinpoint when exactly this fad began, but it really started to be apparent in 2005. But organic does not only apply to food, it is also wine.

Organic wine is made from grapes that have not been treated with artificial chemical fertilizers,pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. Organic wine dates back to 1990 when Congress passed the National Organic Foods Act.

I know my roommate and her mother are very much into the organic wines. Sometimes I feel they are a part of the organic cult that is out there and preach the amazing-ness of it. But there is still a lot of confusion about organic wine.

Generally, organic wine is more expensive and some claim that there is no such thing as a good organic wine. But this is not true. I have tried some of Sherry’s special wine and I can say that it really isn’t bad. What it has is an interesting flavor that sets it apart from others.

You also need to know where to look to find the affordable organic wines. New York Frey Vineyards is extremely affordable with some wines under $9. The Kennewick, WA Badger Mountain Vineyard has a few different kinds as well that fall in the $10-15 range.

Here is a short video that will tell you more about today’s topic.

Another interesting thing about organic wine is that many say that the headaches and migraines that people get from drinking our drink of the gods, are caused by the sulfites within. The organic wine does not contain added sulfites and people claim they do not get headaches because of it.

If organic wine is for you, or you just would like to learn more about it, consider the organic wine journal. Here they have countries, articles, reviews and video all about organic wine.

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!