Wait a sec - let me get the last of the Rosalita...
The semi-sweet blush is bright and juicy with a light mouthfeel and pleasantly puckering tannins dancing along the sides of your tongue. Chilled and carrying all the appeal (and none of the sugary nature) of a candy apple, this wine pairs as well with cheeses as it would BBQ, and should frequent your summer dining experiences under the stars as it did ours last evening as we sat watching Shakespeare amidst the vines of Auburn Road Vineyard & Winery in Pilesgrove, NJ.
The evening started as all visits to a winery should, with a tasting. We sidled up to the packed bar in the Enoteca and were quickly welcomed with two logo-emblazoned glasses that were ours to keep with the tasting fee ($5/person for 10 wines on that day's list).
Our favorites included:
Sole - a bright Vidal Blanc containing strong mineral notes and a fruit-forward finish.
Good Karma - a vinifera red blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, this fusion of Italian body and French flavor carries all the tannins you'd expect from a dry red in a light body, making it the perfect wine for grilled chicken or salmon. Slightly too tannic for my husband, the sweet drinker, I find Good Karma to be a great balance between semi-sweet and dry pallates. This is the bottle I can easily share with friends who are the driest of drinkers.
Roxanne - the light dry rose that acts as the base for the Rosalita, this wine offers the crisp tang of grapefruit and is best served chilled.
Kind of Blue - Hammonton, NJ blueberries are used to create this fruit wine that rides the line between sweet and tart
Blessington - the husband's favorite, this wine rings a Concord note, but is actually a sweet red blend of grapes that don't include the labrusca favorite. Chill it for a great summer sipper.
A few of the wines, including Rustica, aren't currently available; I look forward to tasting the 2012 vintages when they are released. The Classico - the motivation behind the creation of Auburn Road Vineyards - is a gorgeous dry red wine. I will readily admit to not being a dry red drinker, but in my humble semi-opinion, Classico is a distinctly American vinifera blend with a healthy balance of tannin and fruit.
Auburn Road Vineyards and Winery offers the Enoteca - a beautiful dining area boasting a patio that looks out into the vineyards and offers enough green space for live performances, of which there are many. With dinners on Friday nights and light fare all around, this is the place to cap your wine ride or hang out on a relaxing summer day/evening. For the oenophile, Auburn Road's Enoteca offers the kind of space you're looking for when you're out to contemplate the wine you're drinking.
To compliment our bottle(s) of Rosalita, we ordered one of the artisan cheeses from the Italian Market in Philly, a crusty loaf of Italian bread with olive oil, a bowl of the soup du jour (yellow pea with roasted red pepper) and the Coco Bar for dessert (think a high-end Klondike with a coconut infusion). Everything was fresh, delicious and a perfect match for the wine.
An excellent performance of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) by the Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company provided excellent theatrical accompaniment to thoughtfully crafted wines. What a fabulous show put on by three talented actors and a staff of dedicated professionals. If you have the chance, catch this show! Watching Shakespeare unravel among the vines was a transcendent cultural experience I will forever cherish.
Auburn Road Vineyard and Winery is the quintessential experience for wine drinkers seeking an American twist on vinifera grapes. With an environment as welcoming as the wine, Auburn Road is already a Jersey Wine classic.