Thursday, October 14, 2010

4JG's Orchards & Vineyards

The second and last winery of last weekend was 4JGs in Colts Neck, NJ. Pulling up we noticed the usual balloon method of keeping the birds away from the grapes was replaced by windmills.

We parked in the field next to the vines and sauntered over to the old house that is the tasting room. The whole place was packed with patrons. At first I thought it was an organized group, but then I realized it was all individuals, many of whom seemed to have been there before.

The winery is named after the family who owns it: Janet Giunco, her husband, and two children, all whom have the initials JG. When we arrived on Sunday Janet's mom was at the door, handing out glasses and collecting the $5 from all who wanted to taste. Jonaid and I paid, and headed inside.

Janet's sister was hosting the tastings. The sister mentioned she and Janet are "Irish twins", meaning they were both born within the same year. She had a remarkable memory and regardless of the crowd size, both indoors and out, knew exactly what every wine each patron was on to next. She solely worked the tasting room as the mom handled glasses and Janet conducted tours of the vineyard. $5 gets you the glass to take home and a taste of all of the wines.

Cayuga White - Dryer with almost a lemon flavor and a good aftertaste. Both Jonaid and I enjoyed it.
Vignole - Too sweet for Jonaid. The flavor of pineapple is very noticeable.
Chardonnay - European style chardonnay that is oaked only briefly. It is a standard chardonnay.
Big Brook White - This is sweeter with a very strange flavor that almost made it seem as if it had sat out too long and the flavor took a bizarre turn, making it strangely tropical. The "tropical" taste didn't sit well with me.
Monmouth Blush - A standard blush; light, but not memorable.
Chambourcin - Jonaid commented this was too light in flavor. Looking at it, the color is much less opaque than most chambourcins. Flavors of cherry were very obvious to me; very smooth with no acidity, although I didn't enjoy it. The only place I ever seem to enjoy strong cherry is in coca-cola.
Chambourcin Reserva - Smoky with a very heavy flavor. Jonaid again said this was too light but I disagreed. I found it to be quite hearty.
Cabernet Franc - Very oaky both in smell and flavor. This was the favorite of the vineyard by both Jonaid and I. The wine pourer noted she likes to drink this while making pasta- and sometimes she even puts it in the sauce!

We went down the list one-by-one, and each wine was organized perfectly so each taste was distinct. All grapes are grown and produced on site. Unfortunately, because of the busy-ness of the sister attending the tasting room, Jonaid and I didn't get to ask many question about the wines, nor were we able to catch the sister's name.

Maybe it was because the family was running the winery; maybe because the tasting room was set up more like a parlor than a business venture; something about 4JGs made this winery very welcoming. In addition to wine there were tables of food with cookies, crackers, cheeses, meats- it felt like a cocktail party almost. There was a lot of hospitality, I just wish the attention was a bit more personalized to allow us to learn more background.

All in all, another good wine weekend. Eat, Drink, and Be Scary!

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