Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tomasello Winery

They say things come in threes and wine is no exception. Around 3pm on Saturday afternoon Jonaid and I visited our third winery of the day: Tomasello Winery in Hammonton. I've driven by their other location in Freehold NJ, but was unaware they had additional setups in Smithville and Lambertville. I also learned they ship abroad; possibly making their wines the most easily accessible out of any winery in NJ.

The bright tasting room was very warm - so much so that Jonaid had to escape for a breather outside halfway through the wines. Another group was also tasting as we were there, but they were incredibly friendly and offered good conversation.

Tomasello's tasting is $5 for 5 tastes, keep the glass - but for some mysterious reason Jonaid got a mini dixie cup that was worth two additional tastes.

The wine list had fifty-four wines on it. Fifty four. I couldn't even begin to try them all - much less type. So here's an abbreviated list:

Premium Wines
Contained staples such as chardonnay (three kinds), pinot grigio, rkatsitelli, niagara, metlot, cabernet franc/sauv, and so many more.
French Colombard - to me, terribly acidic. 
Villard Noir - Strong flavor.
Chambourcin - Very smooth, very "public" (?) (I believe I was in mid-conversation when I wrote that word down)
Sangiovese/Shiraz - Wine pourer's favorite, but after the chambourcin I couldn't discern the flavors
Petit Verdot - Mild, tasty, and smooth
Pinot Noir - Enjoyed greatly
Cabernet Franc - Well done

Dessert & Sparkling
Although we didn't try any of these it included the regulars such as blueberry and cranberry, plus a few extras including sparkling, ice wines, and spice wines. I wish I would've tried the ice wines.

While the conversation with the other patrons at Tomasello was enjoyable, the atmosphere was a bit, well, almost hostile.

To begin with, the other party in the room was no longer tasting and was simply enjoying glasses of wine, however it took us some time to get any attention from the employees. Additionally, sometimes in wineries Jonaid and I request to pay for our tasting at the end - usually, because we intend to make a purchase and it's easier with one big checkout. We made it known we planned to do a sale at the end, however that was unacceptable - ring everything up, one at a time. That's alright - it's their protocol, and we went with it.

When you purchase your tastes you are given five raffle tickets - one for each pour. After I asked for a taste, the pourer just stood there, looking at me. I felt a bit awkward, until I said, "Is that okay?" and he said, "I need your ticket," which I'd completely forgotten about. I politely handed it over. On my second pour, I gave him a ticket - but halfway through that taste he interrogated me again. "Did I take your ticket?" he demanded, and I politely explained I'd already handed it over. I promise - I'm not here stealing your wines, shoving bottles into my purse or taking an extra swig when no one is looking. Take a breather.

I understand the winery was likely just doing their best to comply with policies but I guess it just wasn't done in a very welcoming manner. The laid back atmosphere is more my style.

Anyway, one purchase we made was the much coveted wine pump. I love this thing. I've practically been uncorking just to pump.

Cheers! Only six more wineries to go on the NJ Wine Passport!

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