Archive for the ‘ Wine Tastings ’ Category

Wine quotes to live by

The bottle doesn't talk back

Today was just one of those days of reflection. I sat at my computer screen, watched the stock market make a positive move up and was thankful I made back some money. My husband was somewhat content, didn’t bother me much about our account and all in all I was a happy camper by 4:01 pm.
By 4:02 I was reflecting upon some things (with glass of wine in hand) that I can always count on to make me feel good, besides a good day in the market. After a little pontificating this is what I discovered; that wine always makes me feel good, lest it’s crappy wine, which I try to avoid. No matter what, a little bit of wine always and I mean always makes me feel fine!

So after some though,t I have decided to put together some memorable quotes about wine that make me feel good and reconfirmed my believe that wine is not only  good for you but helps maintain a positive outlook on life. Many of my friends are wine drinkers. We share a common bond and are part of a club. We enjoy our wine and conversation. Sometimes the conversation is so much more stimulating because of the wine, but I don’t care, conversation or not, I still like my wine.

So here it personal list of wine quotes to live by:

My personal mantra: Drink well. Live charitably ( that’s the philanthropist in me)

Another personal quote of mine: The bottle doesn’t talk back!

Found this one on Facebook today: Wine is like duct fixes almost anything!

Close friends contribute to our personal growth. They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there.
Judith Viorst

Even more importantly, it’s wine, food and the arts. Incorporating those three enhances the quality of life. Robert Mondavi

I learned early to drink beer, wine and whiskey. And I think I was about 5 when I first chewed tobacco.

I like my wine like my women – ready to pass out.
Robin Williams

“A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.”

Time is never wasted when you’re wasted all the time.

When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading. ( I like this one)

The consumption of alcohol may cause pregnancy.

Alcohol is necessary for a man so that he can have a good opinion of himself, undisturbed be the facts.

I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

Get drunk and laugh at the world

Alcohol is a mans best friend!

“I drink therefore I am.” ~ W.C. Fields

“I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury. On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

“He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long.” ~ Martin Luther – German theologian


Try on some sparkling wine for the summer. More wines of summer

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Drink it up!

It’s hot out there and sometimes a cold beer or super chilled white just won’t do. And forget about a red. A bold red just won’t do in the summertime.

What about sparkling wine? It’s light, refreshing and appealing to the senses. Just the sound of a popping cork can turn a boring  evening into a an unexpected evening of merriment.

Believe me when I speak of sparkling wines, I’m talking American sparkling wines. Remember Champagne is a term only reserved for the French ( produced exclusively in the Champagne region of France). And when I’m speaking about American sparkling wines I’m speaking California bubbly. California  boasts great microclimates that are suitable for sparkling wine production. Many of California’s bubbles are award winning and less expensive than their French counterparts.

So when you’re itching for something new and just plain old tired of the same old cold brew, reach for some bubbly to  enhance your senses and expand your wine vocabulary. It’s great with small appetizers at a party.
Read on below to discover just a sampling of some of California’s great sparkling wine houses:
  • Domaine Caneros – from the house of Tattinger
  • Gloria Ferrer– owned by the Ferrer family, owners of Spain’s Freixenet
  • Iron Horse-small family owned winery renowned for their sparklers. Their sparkling wines were served at the famous Reagan-Gorbachev meeting.
  • Mumm Napa – a great tasting experience
  • Roederer-A classic rich sparkler
  • Schramsberg– America’s first sparkling wine house
Food pairings with great bubbly:  Spicy Thai, caviar, oysters, parmesan or feta cheese and ceviche

Try this  sparkling wine cocktail on  for size for a summer evening treat:
Black velvet
1 part chilled stout beer
1 part Brut sparkling wine

Pour the stout into a pint glass or flute. Carefully add the sparkler on top. The effect is layered and eye catching!

-Cheers! -Adrienne

The Garden State Wine Has Arrived

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This and a bottle of Europa!

To borrow from written history, various documented internet sources, and my own education in and around the New Jersey Vineyards over the past year, I have discovered my new home makes more than just ‘Okay and fruity’ wine.

The state has begun to take back its bragging rights of being ‘The Garden State’* in the last few years, and is staking a claim in some of the best wines produced outside of California and France. In 1767, London’s Royal Society of the Arts had already recognized two New Jersey vintners for their success in producing the first bottles of quality wine derived from the colonial agriculture. The problem I believe, started when everyone wanted a stake in the wine industry here and began buying up land and growing wine grapes further north, where the soil and weather are vastly different. Thus the huge difference in wine.

The GSWGA website with its marketing verbiage of ‘Savor The Experience’ and hearing from locals about how great their wines are in the central Jersey area (as they showed me their local fruity blueberry and cranberry wine), I was beginning to think no one knew what good vino really was. I already hail from Texas where there are very few, if any drinkable to my mature palate in the Lone Star State ( Texas grows wine grapes, and bottles it!). Yes laugh! Five years ago when I hit what I call the central Jersey wine trail…well…I was more than disappointed. De ja vue hit me like a mad bull in a packed rodeo parking lot!

I am sure a few winery cowboys would love to come after me on that comment, but I do agree in the spring along the east bound highways of I45: blooming wildflowers, historical site seeing, and a few stops at wineries can break up the ‘out of the AC lock down’ lifestyle of the Lone Star State, but I discovered something MORE breath taking in Jersey.

The Outer Coastal Plain American Viticultural Area– beautiful acres of green grass, pine barrens, and shore line. New Jersey is a puzzle so spread out that it can take years to place each piece together and find your way around, but its worth the wait. New Jersey wineries are generally in one of two areas: the triangle defined by Atlantic City, Cape May, and Philadelphia or the strip from near Trenton to High Point along the Delaware River.

Last year while taking a weekend excursion, which there are so many here to discover with its rich history, I ended up in the Marlton, Berlin, and the Atco New Jersey area. Noticing the clump of wineries on the ‘Garden State Wine Growers Association’ map, we decided to visit a few and see if they differed from the upper regions near our home in Princeton. Some were more drinkable, but our last stop was Amalthea Cellars. We walked away more than two hours later with over a case of wine, and I have made a few trips back since.

A big southern Thank You to ‘The Garden State’* as is well known for; it consist of rich cultural food history, small historical towns dotted up and down its old highways, sprawling farmland, farmers markets and (in my opinion) some of the best wineries down south. Put them together, and the sweltering summer heat of late aside, I have come to embrace my new home of wine and foodie paradise.

There is a lot going on now that the New Jersey Outer Coastal Plain AVA is getting noticed, and I would not miss it if I were you!

*HISTORY: New Jersey’s nickname, the Garden State, derives largely from the more than one hundred year history of growing of fruits and vegetables in this area which supplies such produce to the mid-Atlantic region and as far north as Montreal.


Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Beer drinking, wine sipping and cocktail slamming for summertime in New Jersey

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Summertime drinks in New Jersey

Cocktails for you in the summertime heat

I love the summertime and love to kickback with family and friends. As the temperature soars, I like to keep cool and relaxed, no matter what the temperature is outside. Here’s a list of go to wines and cocktails to sip while taking in the New Jersey heat. These are sure to please all your beer drinking, wine sipping and cocktail slamming friends and family:


Cloudy Bay, Sauvignon Blanc , Marlborough NZ, 2008. A blast of grapefruit in your face. Aromas of citrus with generous lime and herbs. Great acidity with a long intense finish. 92 points WS, 92 points W&S $21.99

Castle Rock Pinot Noir Sonoma County-light and refreshing with aromas of dark fruit. Pair w/ grilled salmon. Value wine

Priavino Dolcetto D’Alba 2005. Nice depth and aroma for a summertime wine. Again, great with pasta or pizza

Orogeny-Green Valley, California 2006 . Hints of Bing cherry and pomegranate with spicy oak. Nice big fruit on this wine.Not cheap, but worth hunting down.

2009 Classic White Blend Wolffer Estate Vinyards: a blend of 38%Riesling, 37% Gewuztraminer and 25% Chardonnay. Pale yellow color. 12.5 % ABV Goes nicely with spicy Thai. Value wine.


Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Cosmo –new to the scene and surprisingly deliciously cool and refreshing!

Belvedere Grapefruit Vodka

¼ oz. limejuice

¼ oz good triple sec

¼ oz fresh cranberry juice

Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain and serve into chilled martini glass

Hendricks & Tonic. How can something so simple be sooo good. Well it is. My son turned me on to this gin. Blew me away. Worth every penny!

Pour Hendricks into highball glass over fresh ice. Fill with fresh tonic water. Add juniper berries and mint sprigs for extra zing and zest!

Beer Based Sangria ( Haven’t had yet, but will make an effort to try) Courtesy of Food and Wine:

  • Bartlett pears, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Four 12-ounce bottles lager, chilled
  • 1 cup triple sec
  • Ice
  • 2 Bosc pears, sliced, for garnish
    • In a food processor, combine the Bartlett pears with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and process to a puree

Cheers! -Adrienne

New Jersey Wine & Entertainment- 2010

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Sprawling Vineyard of Amalthea

New Jersey Wines ~ Savor the Experience!

More than two hundred years ago, London’s Royal Society of the Arts recognized two New Jersey vintners for their success in producing the first bottles of quality wine derived from colonial agriculture. Today New Jersey’s wineries continue the tradition of producing high quality wines. But New Jersey’s 30+ wineries offer more than just nationally and internationally acclaimed wines, they offer a total wine experience.

Savor New Jersey’s award-winning wines at wineries nestled amid rolling hills and breathtaking scenery. Sample the wines and taste the quality for yourself. Browse the gift shops and tour the winery to see how and where the wine is made.

Garden State Wine Growers Association Need a new passport? Pick up your Passport to the NJ Wine Country when you take a Walk In the Vineyard Wine Trail Weekend, July 17 & 18, 2010 at wineries across the state. Be the first start your 2010 NJ Wine Country adventure.

We suggest you hit one of the ‘Outter Coastal Plain’ wineries in South Jersey. Among them Amalthea winery- 409 Vineyard Road, Atco, New Jersey. The beautiful sprawling tree and grass covered property is surrounded by Amalthea’s small vineyard. Once you turn off the main road and begin down the gravel pathway- you feel the world was left behind and the historic ‘Green Tavern Inn’ and Wine Makers Cottage become a peaceful getaway into a wine lovers paradise. Enter the tasting room and have some well developed whites to reds while the staff is thoroughly trained in vine growth, varietals, to blending styles the owner has created from extensive training in France.

Events: Barrel Tasting- Enjoy a signature Chardonnay Caesar Salad and other delights while tasting some of next years vintages, and placing your six bottle limit order for your favorite pick! $10 per person, 12-5 PM Saturday and Sunday, July 17th & 18th- 2010

WAMPPWine Art Music Poetry Project, July 31st, 11-5 PM- Enjoy music, poetry, and art while enjoying wine and food as local and New Jersey grass root performers entertain you throughout the afternoon. Bring lawn chairs and blankets to spread out picnic style across the beautiful lawn of Amalthea Cellars in the shade of this tree covered property!

This past weekend the winery was flooded with new comers and followers of Amalthea bringing friends and family to taste their favorites, and walked away with new favorites. One man shared with me his love for the winemaker, Louis Caracciolo’s skill in his top blend, Europa- a European style reminiscent of an exquisite Bordeaux style. This winery holds all makes and styles of wine, so there is sure to be a bottle with your name somewhere on the property!

In 1976, the first vineyards were planted at Amalthea Cellars. Founder Louis Caracciolo’s infatuation with wine making began as a young boy making wine in the cellar of his Italian immigrant grandfather. Emilio brought the art from “The Old Country” at the age of thirteen to the southern New Jersey town of Blue Anchor at the turn of the century. Being exposed to the charm of wine making at an early age ignited a passion that continues to this day at Amalthea Cellars. Caracciolo often says of his philosophical grandfather, “I came on the scene with an unlit torch and my grandfather passed the flame.”

Hope to see you down there, and Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Shiraz or Syrah; what’s in a name?

Good question! Basically they are the same grape varietal, genetically, but the flavor profiles are quite different because of the different climates, terriors and wine making techniques. The Australians call it Shiraz  while Americans and French call the varietal Syrah.
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Now to the flavor profiles:
French Syrah is planted in the Rhone region, which is divided into 2 halves; the Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone. Northern Rhone wines are made primarily from Syrah grapes and can command a hefty  price e.g. Hermitage. The wines are tannic and leathery with spice and pepper over tones. Generally these wines take a longer time to age than Southern Rhone wines.

Southern Rhone wines are generally made with more Grenache than Syrah but produce wines that mature earlier than Northern Rhone wines. Here we have the Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Cote-du-Rhone wines. Southern Rhone wines are mellower with some spice overtones.

Australian Shiraz is famous in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale areas. Their wines are rich with fruit and very smooth. Many times these wines are even blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added aging and complexity. The Barossa Valley produces Shiraz with big fruit and chocolate overtones.

California Syrah-Enter the famous Rhone Zone of California. Here we have producers that produce Rhone style wines with earth, spice and pepper overtones. Some notable areas are :Sonoma County, Paso Robles, Edna Valley and Santa Barbara County, leading the way in production. Some winemakers swear the climate of Paso Robles mimics the southern Rhone area of France. A few California Rhone producers have cult status and command a hefty price. Examples include: Saxum, Sine Qua Non Syrah and Alban Syrah Edna Valley.

My favorite Syrah/Shiraz picks ( somewhat affordable):

  • Carlisle Syrah Russian River Valley 2007  About $50 (if you can find it)
  • Qupe Syrah 2007  A classic Syrah for under $20. A great value
  • Two Hand’s Bellas Garden Barossa Valley 2007 Classic Barrosa Valley. About $60. Treat yourself!

My favorite pairings:
Ausssie Shiraz with big fruit-BBQ
California style Syrah-lamb or grilled steak
French Rhone style Syrah with big spice- roast leg of lamb

Cheers! –Adrienne

NYC Madeira tasting; something to learn and love

Yesterday was the IVBAM Madeira tasting in NYC and boy did  I learn somethings. I don’t drink much Madeira, but after the tasting I’ve become a believer and a lover.
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Some facts on Madeira: Madeira wine is relatively undiscovered by American consumers. Most Madeira is marketed in the European Union, representing 65% of the market, followed by Japan and the United States. Produced on the island of Madeira, off the coast of Portugal, it is a fortified wine and is offered in four sugar profiles: dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet. The most traditional grapes used in the process are Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, Malvasia, Tinta Negra and Malmsey. Malmsey is considered the sweetest of Madeira’s and is usually served as a desert wine. The unique quality of Madeira and is ability to age well is due to the heating used during processing called estufagem.

While not on many tables in the US, Madeira has a history of being on the tables of European kings, emperors and statesman. On July 4th 1776, Madeira was served to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The versatility and elegance of Madeira wine is expressed by the different sugar profiles produced:

  • Dry- is an excellent aperitif; goes well with olives, smoked salmon and caviar.
  • Semi-Dry -goes well as an aperitif, stuffed mushrooms , smoked ham , foie gras and other pates.
  • Sweet- goes well with fruit, nuts, dark chocolate, Danish blue cheese, Stilton. The wine also goes well with cigars and pipe tobacco
  • Semi-Sweet-goes will with tropical fruit , soft cheeses, cigars and pipe tobacco.

Madeira is considered ageless, since the usual factors that destroy a wine, heat and oxygen have already done their worst to the wine during its cask aging process. As a rule, vintage dated Madeira must spend at least 20 years in cask. Younger Madeira cannot be vintage dated. Madeira that is labeled Solera will carry the date of the original cask, so a wine that is labeled Solera 1815 is wine from blending casks that were first started in 1815. Madeira’s are aged in wood and are normally bottled for sale when 3, 5, 10 or 15 years old, depending on their quality and ageing potential. The very finest Madeira’s will become Vintages. The remarkable longevity of Madeira is best exemplified by the Vintages, which can remain in excellent condition for around 150 years and in some instances longer still.

Madeiras  showcased at  IVBAM tasting:
Blandy’s , Henriques &  Henriques, Justino’s, Pereira D’Oliveira and Vinhos Barbeitos
All fine and of exceptional quality. Pick up a bottle and explore!

Cheers! -Adrienne