Indian Summer. Perhaps that isn't the politically correct term, but whatever you'd like to call it, this seventy degree weather is delightful. The break in the jeans led me to Cream Ridge Winery in a summery skirt this week.
Cream Ridge was my first taste of NJ wine by many years. My boyfriend in college would bring this around, mostly the Almond Berry, and we'd enjoy it during holiday parties. Despite drinking the wine on multiple occasions, it wasn't until 2009 until I actually visited the vineyard.
This winery is unique for a number of reasons, but the two most noteworthy are the fact that it is open every day of the week and that tasting is free. The winery is family owned and operated; my last tasting was by the daughter, this one by the son. He had vines tattooed on his arm and actually lives above the tasting room itself. I noticed the tasting bench had been expanded since the last time I was here.
Chardonnay - Dry but doesn't have the flavor of chardonnay. Unique.
Gewurztraminer - Sweeter than most Gewurztraminers; tasty.
Eastern White - Light and sweet; the picnic wine.
Country Blush - My host noted it tastes like the Eastern White, and I agreed although this was a slight note dryer. Bought a bottle for Alex to enjoy when she comes to visit next week.
Fredonia - did not try
Chambourcin - I always pronounce this wine like sham-bourcin. Here, the pourer explained it as shaum-bourcin. Which is correct? Very oaky and is unlike any other. Enjoyed.
Pineapple - Very sweet with a full pineapple flavor. When I shuddered due to the sugar, I got a nasty look.
Cherry - did not try
Strawberry - did not try
Blueberry - did not try
Apricot - pouring it I could already tell it was too sweet. It looked like brandy and tasted similar as well. The apricot flavor is noticable.
ChocolateBerry - on the sign out front, but I didn't try it.
AlmondBerry - did not try this time; it's a sweet dessert wine that only a few sips can be taken of. A best seller.
I felt kind of silly taking notes; it was obvious every word I wrote was read by my host. I got self conscious and wrote only minimally. Unfortunately reconstructing my thoughts later was a challenge.
Only the red wines are grown on site. The chardonnay is California; other whites are from various places but mostly NY.
I asked if the opening of Laurita helped or hurt the traffic at the winery; he said it seemed to help because many people hit up both wineries and top it off with Silver Decoy. It is a nice trifecta, I must say.