It’s not very often that I have a free Saturday during the summer. But a few weeks ago, that’s exactly what happened!
What did I do with my free Saturday you ask? Well, in order to keep my readers informed, I decided to do what any good blogger would do – research! Specifically, research on some wineries that were pretty close to home, but I had never visited.
So what did I discover on my mini wine tasting tour of southern Jersey? Keep reading to find out what my “research” discovered!
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ABOUT NEW JERSEY WINE
New Jersey is not a wine region that you are likely to read about in a wine magazine. But, it has some really good wines to offer. You can read more about New Jersey wines and another winery I visited there in this blog post.
SALEM OAK VINEYARDS
Salem Oak Vineyards is located right in the middle of the small town of Pedrickton, NJ. In fact, if you weren’t looking for it, you would drive right by.
Salem Oak Vineyards got its start in 2003, when the family planted 3.5 acres of grapes on their property. By 2013, they decided to start making wine and their tasting room opened in November of that year. Today, the vineyard has 12 acres of grapes that produce 14 different varietals of wine.
When you visit the tasting room, you can either take a seat up at the bar or find an empty table. You’ll be given their tasting menu and you use a dry erase marker to pick up to 7 wines that you would like to try. They also have a pretty extensive food menu, and the food was delicious!
I had the chicken salad sandwich for lunch and it was delicious!
The only complaint I have about our visit, was that it was quite busy while we were there and for the first 30 minutes or so, there was only one person taking care of the entire tasting room. We weren’t in a big hurry so it was no issue. I was also impressed with how well she did taking care of the entire room.
Doing a wine tasting was very relaxing, but I’m glad we weren’t in a hurry!
The tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday (Tuesday is by private appointment only). Check their website for more information.
Each wine is named after a family member or friend.
Jessica Rose: This is their Vidal Blanc. I thought it was very nice. It had the acidity I want in a Vidal Blanc, but it was also light and crisp.
Aida Louise: I was pleased to see an unoaked Chardonnay on the menu, as I typically don’t like “oaky” Chardonnays. However, in this instance, I think a little bit of oak would have made this a much better wine.
Luke: This is a blend of their Vidal Blanc and Niagara. I could definitely taste more Niagara, but I thought the acidity of the Vidal Blanc really added a nice balance to this wine.
Olivia: The Olivia is their Rose’. It is dry but has lots of strawberry both on the nose and the taste.
Brandon Joe: This was the first of their reds that I tasted, and I was impressed. It’s a Cabernet Franc and is very “jammy”, but it’s quite dry and light.
Katie Marie: A Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend, this is very dry and smoky, but also has a peppery spice to it from the Syrah.
Christopher Andrew: The last wine I tried was the Chambourcin. It was very dry and had that distinctive “earthy” taste. Even though I lean towards dryer wine, I preferred the other reds to this one.
Cedarvale Winery is on the Two Bridges Wine Trail. It’s located in Logan Township, NJ.
Before they started growing grapes, the vineyard was a farm producing fruits and vegetables. In 2004 they started growing grapes and the winery opened in 2008. Today, the property has 8 acres of grapes.
Cedarvale Winery’s tasting room.
The tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday. You can find more information on their website.
I am going to start this off by saying that I am typically a dry wine drinker. The sweeter wines and fruit wines are just not my thing. That is clearly what Cedarvale specializes in. Even the wines that were meant to be dryer had a bit too much fruit in them for me.
So, I’m not going to write a snippet about each wine, because they really were not to my liking. But, if you are into fruit wine, I would definitely check them out. The wines I tasted were: 2018 Chardonnay, 2014 Cabernet Franc, 2015 Chambourcin, Blueberry, Strawberry and Apple Table Wine.
IRON PLOW VINEYARDS
Our last stop of the day was Iron Plow Vineyards. The vineyard itself is located in Columbus, NJ, but they just opened a new tasting room in downtown Mount Holly, which is where we stopped. In fact, they had just opened the tasting room the week before we visited. You can find out more about both locations on their website.
The brand new Iron Plow Vineyards tasting room in downtown Mount Holly, NJ.
Iron Plow is a boutique farm winery. They use sustainable farming practices when growing the grapes that are used to make their wines.
The tasting room in Mount Holly is right on the main strip in downtown. There is a bar along with several small tables. They have live music regularly and you can bring your own food or order from one of the local restaurants and have it delivered.
My one complaint about Iron Plow was that I couldn’t just purchase a glass of wine. Your choices were to do a tasting or flight, or buy a bottle. I would have enjoyed having a glass of one of the wines I tasted, but that didn’t seem to be an option.
I decided to do the red wine tasting rather than the white.
Barrel Into the Bottle (2017): This wine was made from the Norton and Frontenac grapes, which is an interesting blend. The wine was very oaky, but had a lot of fruit on it.
Leon Millot (2017): This was not my favorite wine of the day. I have no other way to describe it other than to say it had a “funky” taste and smell for me.
Chambourcin (2016): The Chambourcin was very earthy as it should be.
Merlot (2017): Merlot is not my favorite varietal, but I enjoyed this wine. It was very fruit forward. The wine was aged for 18 months in American, French and Hungarian oak.
Cabernet Franc (2016): This was a very nice Cabernet France. It was oak aged which gave it a bit of a peppery taste to it. The driest of their wines that I tasted, it was probably my favorite.
So there you have it! Hope this inspired you to check out these wineries, or other local wineries in your area.
Have you visited any of these wineries? Do you have any others that you recommend in New Jersey? Let us know! Please comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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