I am a wine newbie and I’m not ashamed to say it. Like a good bottle of wine, my juvenile taste buds have just been aging and refining over the last 20 years; moving away from mudslides and Amaretto sours to complex and amazing wines. It’s seriously fun to be in my (eh hem) 40’s and feel like Charlie Bucket when he entered Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory every time I enter the local wine emporium. I have a lot to learn, but I’m happy to share my experience with local New Jersey wine this past weekend with you.
Enter the seductive Cabernet Merlot from Valenzano Winery.
I was hoping to actually go to the Valenzano Winery and do a tasting in person this weekend, but it’s been so cold that it’s hard to get motivated to leave the comforts of home. Hence, the trip to the corner store instead of the beautiful property in Shamong, NJ. We paired this wine with a gorgeous charcuterie board; a creamy havarti, a mustard cheddar (which I would recommend with a beer instead of a wine), a tart organic fuji apple, some dry genoa salami and a gorgeous, rich raw cheddar.
Wow. What an enjoyable experience. I also purchased a couple other bottles which I will talk about another time, but seriously, it was a lovely wine. This medium-bodied red is a gold medal winner, a Governor’s Cup Award winner, has had great reviews in the NY Times and has also received the “best blend” award by the NJ Monthly Magazine. Valenzano Winery is located in the small town of Shamong, located in southern New Jersey on 88 acres surrounded by the beautiful Pine Barrens.
Now being the eco-warrior I strive to be, what really peaked my interest in this winery is that they make claim to be the “greenest” winery on the East Coast. Every bottle they produce is made with 100% green energy from their large solar electric system. It actually covers a full 1/4 acre – that’s a lot of solar panels! They also seem to have made quite a difference locally since turning from a hobby to a full time business in 1996. When you visit the website, you will see some unique wines such as cranberry wine, blueberry wine, plum wine and even cider wine which would be great to accompany a summer picnic!
So, now I can say, wine connoisseur or not, after this enjoyable experience I am proud of the amazing viticulture here in the Garden State of New Jersey. We may be better known for our crazy reality shows and some out-of-this-world tomato pies, but this Jersey wine has my vote! Try pairing it with last week’s taste!