A small town tour of southern NJ took us through into Pilesgrove where we found Auburn Road Winery (and they have a blog!). Driving through the towns we kept seeing advertisements for decorative cabbage. These colorful blooms are very bizarre with their green edges and vibrant centers. Apparently this trend must be somewhat stylish because on Sunday I noticed many trees in Manhattan were adorned with them. We pulled past the ornate vegetables and up to the vineyard.
There's not much to the tasting room structure as you drive up. A small sign hangs over the door to signal you have arrived.
"Enoteca" is an Italian word with Greek origins that I believe roughly means wine bar. If you look this up on urban dictionary, this means a "place where you drink wine, get drunk, and get sweet hookups." Perhaps we made that true as the engaged Liz & Matt were with us.
Going inside was quite a surprise after the barren exterior. The wooden bar shined, the stools were comfortable, and an array of non-alcoholic snacks and drinks were available for anyone not imbibing. A fireplace was lit; the whole scene was very comfortable and modern.
All twelve wines are free to taste. The group of us filled up the bar, which I think upset the hosts as they commented usually large groups call in advance (our mistake). Vicki and Shannon guided us through the wines at a rapid pace (Alex commented on how they were "haulin ass" through the wines- I missed two tastes because I just wasn't finished with the prior pour). They were also out of wine lists so I wrote my notes on the back of an advertisement.
Pinot Grigio - Aged in stainless steel. For me this was very tasty and dry. Matt didn't enjoy this much.
The White Bottle - Very similar to the pinot grigio. Ali, Liz and I agreed this was just okay; MM on the other hand got a glass of this at the end.
Battleship NJ White - Dr. Ali's favorite because of its crisp flavor. Liz commented this was light and enjoyable; Matt also favored this of the whites.
Sole - A vidal blanc grape similar to reisling. Ali commented how this was notably sweeter than the other whites so far. Greg got a glass of this.
Blushes & Sweet Wines
Rosalita - As a true rose made with red grapes this is quite tasty. I felt this would go quite well in sangria. Sandy stated blushes aren't usually her genre but this worked very well for her. Alex got a glass of this at the end.
Blessington - A sugary wine that surprisingly had a lot of spice to it. Both Ali and Liz said this was too sweet for their palettes.
Kind of Blue - A blueberry that for the first time wasn't overwhelmingly sweet. Most NJ blues could barely be used as a cheesecake drizzle; this I could actually picture myself drinking a glass of. My dad completely disagreed as he noted this was tasty but couldn't drink a glass of it.
Mad Anthony's Chase: Spiced Apple wine - Liz explained this is a Thanksgiving Wine. My grandmother bought a bottle for the holidays.
Good Karma - Sangiovese and merlot blended to form a buttery and delightful taste. Liz, Ali, Matt and I got a bottle to share outside.
Battleship Red - Merlot and Cab blend. A wintery wine to keep you warm; very smooth.
Rustica - A very tasty table red. Alex enjoyed this as well.
Chambourcin - At this point I determined NJ should have a state grape, and we should claim the chambourcin before MD does. Vicki used a decanter to aerate the wine before pouring each taste. This "full-medium body wine," as Vicki explained, left Jonaid licking the glass after his taste. Dad got a bottle to share outside.
"I know it's your birthday and you can decide and all but I really think we should get a glass to enjoy here," Sandy insisted. I laughed, and of course agreed. Two minutes later Mum came over and asked if we could all go outside and enjoy a glass of wine for a few minutes. The unanimous decision was to enjoy the peak in the weather (58 degrees) and to relax on the patio with some wine and appetizers. Cam and Nate got a couple of root beers; Aunt Lynne got a white sangria.
As we walked outside a group came out of a party bus. It appeared they were another unannounced large group. At the next winery the party bus also stopped there as we were sitting outside. "You are following us!" my Dad bellowed, jokingly, but got some weird looks returned to him. He just doesn't understand that when in NJ, it's rude to be friendly. Maybe by instigating the positive attitude we can make the change. And what better way to break the ice than with a nice glass of Good Kharma!