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Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’


“Labor Day could be a washout across parts of the East, but that may only be the beginning…”

In New York City, showers have dampened the holiday festivities Monday morning, followed by overcast skies and more rain in the afternoon and into the night hours.”

“The remnants of Isaac will slowly crawl towards the East Coast spoiling outdoor plans along its journey this weekend. Just the opposite will hold true in the West; a showery start will turn out sunny and pleasant by the end to the Labor Day holiday.”   WeatherBug Meteorologist, John Bateman.

Yep, all those dismal weather forecasts were spot on.  It was nothing but grim darkness and showers, nearly the entire Labor Day weekend, for us East Coasters. 

But you know what?  I kind of loved it, in a strange way…

Nothing to do all weekend but lay around, listening to the rain smacking against the house,  flooding the gutters and washing  down the driveway into the grass and flowerbeds.  Nothing to do except hang out with the family, play some games, and curl up on the sofa to watch some “quality” TV with Mrs. WineLife365 and the kids.

Not a thing in the world to do, but soak up some quiet time and turn a Labor Day cookout into an impromptu cook-in.  You gotta keep up your energy when you’re doin’ nothing, right?!  :)

What to eat…what to eat?  How about a  little homemade (homemade by the local deli department) roasted vegetable and grain salad, lemon orzo w/pine nuts, and sesame noodle salad partnered with my indoor creation of grilled lemon-lime-nutmeg-Montreal-and-bbq seasoning rubbed chicken!  

While checking out the wine stash in my cellar (aka, closet with a rack in it):  I came across the perfect bottle to celebrate our impromptu east coast cook-in.

Producing 8,000 cases annually, Heritage Vineyards of Richwood, in the Dirty Jerz, is cranking out some terrific grade-A juice.  The 2009 Heritage Estate Reserve BDX (Sample, MSRP: $70 US) truly earns its “reserve” status:  only 119 cases of this Jerseylicious juice were made.  The ‘09 BDX  cuvée consists of 70% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 10% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and is aged in new French oak barrels for 14 months.  Notables on this red include:  black cherry, raspberry, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, black pepper, toasted oak…and it was the shit with the stovetop grilled chicken and  lemon orzo w/pine nuts.  What an extra special treat to end a long, rainy weekend on an exceptionally high note!!

With only 119 cases produced, it’s probably all gone by now.  But guess what?!  The 2010 Heritage Estate Reserve BDX ($70 US) is available now in the winery’s tasting room; and it ranked 3rd in the Judgment of Princeton*, just behind the 2004 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild ($650 US) and 2004 Chateau Haut-Brion ($650 US)!

*The Judgment of Princeton, was a structured blind tasting of top New Jersey wines pitted against top French wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy.  The event was based on the famous 1976 wine book, Judgment of Paris, and it took place at Princeton University on Friday, June 8, 2012.

Dinner with a Couple of Locals from Across the Bridge

This past Fancy Dinner Friday sure felt a whole lot different from other Friday nights we’ve spent together as a family.  No mascots on this night;  instead, this past Friday evening we all felt a bit of anxiety and concern as Hurricane Irene continued to move furiously up the East Coast into our neck of the woods.  In spite of this, though, we still managed to have a pretty spirited chat with our boys that ran the gamut from, “What was your favorite thing you did this summer?” to “What was your least favorite thing?” and “Are you ready to go back to school?” 

As the pasta cooked to al dente perfection and the meatballs simmered in red sauce, Andrea Bocelli played softly in our dimly lit dining room.  It was the perfect setting to reflect on how fortunate we really are to have one another.  All this sense of home and togetherness got me thinking about a couple of wines that had been sitting on my wine rack waiting to be opened on a night just like this one:  Heritage Vineyards kindly sent two wines for my wife and me to try from their 2007 vintage.

I’ve written about New Jersey wines several times.  Some wine lovers may be surprised to know that New Jersey’s Outer Coastal Plain is similar to the Bordeaux region of France.  The soil itself has its differences, but in terms of climate, both areas are very similar.  Because of New Jersey’s climate and geological diversity, there are more than 225 different varietals being grown in the Garden State – ranging from Pinot Noir and Riesling in North Jersey to Italian varieties, such as Sangiovese and Barbera, in South Jersey.  

Heritage Vineyards, located outside the small town of Mullica Hill, NJ is owned and operated by Penni, Bill, and Richard Heritage.  The winery rests on 100 acres of farm land; of which approximately 22 acres are allocated for winemaking, while the remaining land is used for apple, peach and pear farming.  The family hopes to eventually transition its entire farm into wine vineyards and expand its winemaking program.

We started with the 2007 Heritage Station Estate Chambourcin (MSRP: $20.99).  Chambourcin, or “East Coast Zinfandel” as Penni and Bill call it, is a French/American hybrid that has only been available since the early 1960s.  It was planted in the United States in the 70’s and grows particularly well in the northeast and midwest regions.  This winter-hardy, vigorous and disease-resistant grape has found ideal conditions to flourish in New Jersey; and Heritage Vineyards, along with several other New Jersey wineries, are using it to produce some noteworthy wines.

As my wife and I tasted the 2007 Heritage Station Estate Chambourcin we remarked several times to one another how the berry flavors in this wine just jump out and smack you in the face – in a good way. :)   It’s a flash of juicy blackberry, blueberry and plum, with a hint of green pepper and a touch of roasted nuts.

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2007 Heritage Station Estate Chambourcin.  

Our second wine, was the  2007 Heritage Station Estate Merlot ( MSRP: $19.99).  Unlike the estate grown Chambourcin, which possessed soft tannins and pure berry bliss, the 2007 Heritage Station Estate Merlot was meant for those seeking refuge in the bigger, mouth-filling camp.  In this Merlot, one gets a big juicy mouthful of Jersey Fresh strawberries, along with green pepper, clove, vanilla, leather, black pepper, and licorice.  My wife was sensing some fennel seed as well – but then again, maybe it was the meatballs.  ;)

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2007 Heritage Station Estate Merlot.

Win 6 tickets to the 1st Annual Six Flags GRAPE Adventure: A Wine and Food Event!

Gather up five of your closest buds, girlfriends or family members because you’re headed to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey – Without the kids!  

You must be joking!?  I kid you not! :)  

Don’t worry – it’s not like you’re going be standing in a line for an hour waiting to be shot 45 stories high at 128 mph on the Kingda Ka coaster, or have to a see a chiropractor after being banged around by the monster wooden coaster El Toro, that features the steepest drop of any wooden coaster in the country. 

Nope, you’re not doing any of that lose-your-lunch, wild thrill stuff because the theme park is going to be CLOSED on the day that you and your wine pals are going to be there! 

On Saturday and Sunday, November 6 & 7, from Noon – 5pm, Six Flags Great Adventure NJ will be hosting its first ever post-season Wine and Food Experience!  

The event will feature NJ wineries, music, and the First Annual Battle of the Chefs.  And if that isn’t enough, the Safari will be open for this event as well!  So you and your wine gang will still have the chance to get up-close and personal with the lions, tigers and bears, and if you’re really lucky – have a giraffe or two lick your car windows clean! 

Good wine, Good food, No kids, No lines, and No visits to the Chiropractor = More Fun!  

Sound Good? Wanna Go? 
Here’s how:
All you have to do to win the complimentary passes to one of the two days is make a guess on the total number of wine closures that I’ve got stashed in my WineLife365 “Estimation Station” (shown below).  That’s it!
The first person to guess the number of closures without going over wins all 6 tickets for the Six Flags Grape Adventure Wine Event and Safari Package! 

Approximate dimensions of the container: 15 x 11 in. at the opening and 9 in. tall

To Enter: 

  • The contest starts now and is open to anyone!
  • Place your guess in the Comment area of this post or the WineLife365 Facebook Page.  Please limit to 2 guesses.
  • This contest will close at 12pm ET on Sunday, October 17th.

I will announce the correct number and the lucky winner shortly after the contest closes.  The winner will get to decide which day they want to go, and the tickets will be available at Will Call. 

Good luck and happy guessing! :)

Please note:  Travel arrangements are not included.


“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.”  Garden State Wine Growers Association

The Jersey Fresh Food & Wine Festival sponsored by the Garden State Wine Growers Association (GSWGA) will be taking place on Saturday and Sunday, August 14th and 15th, from Noon to 5 p.m. at Heritage Vineyards in Mullica Hill, NJ.  With an abundance of New Jersey wineries on hand, this event will feature hundreds of award-winning New Jersey produced wines.  This year’s Jersey Fresh Food & Wine Festival will also have an array of gourmet food and fresh produce available – all made in the Garden State.

This year’s festival also features live entertainment on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the festival will feature Eryn Shewell. This young and talented singer-songwriter has performed in venues such as the legendary Stone Pony, The Saint, The Cutting Room, Bluebird Café, Café Coco as well as popular clubs throughout New Jersey, New York City, New Orleans and Nashville. 

On Sunday, the festival will feature Swampadelica.  This unique group blends and bends lead vocalist’s Nadïne LaFond’s native language, Haïtian Kreyol, with English and then mixes it with electric guitar and a modified and mutated American jazz & rock staple, the Hammond B3. 

Sound Good?  Wanna Go? 
Here’s how:
All you have to do to win the complimentary passes is make a guess on the total number of screw cap wine closures that I’ve got stashed in my WineLife365 “Estimation Station” shown below.  That’s it!
The first person to guess without going over wins all 4 tickets!

Approximate dimensions of the container: 15 x 11 in. at the opening and 9 in. tall

To Enter:

  • The contest starts now and is open to anyone! 
  • Place your guess in the Comment area of this post or the WineLife365 Facebook Page.  Please limit to 2 guesses.
  • This contest will close at 8pm ET on Wednesday, August 11st.

I will announce the correct number and the lucky winner shortly after the contest closes.  
Good luck and happy guessing!

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