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A Jersey Girl who loves Jersey wine ...and the fermented fruits of the tri-state area.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Westfall Winery is Apple-icious...and then some

Westfall Winery became one of my favorite places when I first traveled to the area a few years ago.  Nestled in the hills of northwestern New Jersey, Westfall Farm is a beaucolic gem with a rich history dating back to the colonial era.  Lumber, produce, dairy and horses each acted as the mainstay of the farm at one time or another until 2000 when wine was introduced to the grounds.

While I will happily taste anything, fruit wines are my personal fave.  Westfall's Apple Cinnamon Wine is no exception.  While I've tasted several great apple wines (Valenzano comes readily to mind) Westfall's 100% apple blend makes a unique mark on the palate with its cinnamon flavor.  A mouth-watering perfume escapes the minute you pull the cork and lingers on the tongue for a sweet and tangy finish. 

When chilled, the apple essence fleshes out on your tongue as if you just took a bite from your fresh pick-your-own stash.  Served warm, the flavor ushers in the memory of that first autumnal chill in the air as the wine becomes a nectar with sweet and tart nodes.  No matter how you serve it, Westfall's Apple Cinnamon brings back fond memories of blissful autumn days spend breathing in fresh, crisp air and jumping on piles of colorful leaves.

Plan on bringing a picnic with you when you visit Westfall.  There is a wide variety of award-winning wines from the standard merlots and pinots to the Country Wines that highlight the fruit flavors of the region.  Reasonably priced, Westfall Winery is the highlight of the Sussex Wine Trail.

And, if you're lucky, they'll have some of their Chocolate Orange Port -- not listed on their website, but an amazingly dark and powerful dessert find when I visited in the late summer of 2010.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

let them ...drink wine

T-minus two hours-ish until Downton Abbey graces the screens of PBS viewers across the nation once more and here I sit, sipping a gorgeous Blackberry Wine from Buckingham Valley Vineyards. 

It seemed only appropriate to pull something sweet and dark for the occasion.  Apparently the series that homages the dusk of the British Empire has inspired a call for more than one sweet after dinner drink.  According to WinesfromSpain.com the airing of Downton Abbey has inspired a 15% increase in sherry sales across London.  Ironically, the spike in sherry sales has also been impacted by the opening of bars devoted to the sweet stuff.  With names like "Capote y Toros" the bars are influenced by those of a similar nature in Andalucia, Spain, the birthplace of the sweet stuff.  Not quite as popular in Jersey, Renault Winery is the only one I know of that has a sherry in their list. 

The wine of Downton, however, is most likely claret - "a now uncommon dark rose" that once was the most common wine exported from the Bordeaux region of France.  Originally a spiced red wine, claret eventually became an unspiced, dry dark red Bordeaux associated with the British upper class.  Today, French wine makers are looking to re-fashion claret as a light, sweet, fruity wine akin to its Plantagenet roots.  When it comes to Jersey, Tomasello Winery offers an American Claret, a semi-dry red table wine. 

During the Downton era, wine was a commodity of the rich.  Today, thanks to the prevalence of local wineries and the renaissance of the American wine-making industry (which has struggled to make a comeback since the repeal of Prohibition) wine is becoming as popular at middle class dinner tables as it once was in the great halls of now-defunct castles.  Perhaps, therein lies one of the greatest appeals of Downton Abbey is the understanding that we, too, can live like royalty - at a fraction of the price.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

wine is for drinking..and writing

I'm a writer who likes wine.

Don't worry - I'm not going to torture you about tannins.  I'm a writer, not a critic.  And observing and reporting has never tasted so good.

Jersey wines are my mainstay.  Just now as I typed that I imagined some reader gasping in shock and clicking off this blog, nose in the air.  But, the fact is, wine is becoming as prevalant a passion among suburbanites as it is among sommeliers.  The age of wine snobbery is over and the era of the local winery is here - especially in Jersey, where small wineries can now ship their product directly to consumers.

This blog will feature the wines I love drinking, the wineries I love visiting, and the characters and culture I run into along the way.

So, grab a glass and come along for the ride.