Is it wine blogging Wednesday again? It seems like just yesterday that I reported on my Noblio Sauvignon Blanc for "Off-Dry Wednesday hosted by Basic Juice (he also has good taste in making restaurant recommendations in case you're going to Salt Lake City). Another Wine Blogging Wednesday means only one thing, another month of Summer has passed.
This months theme is "Drink Local. Real Local" and it's hosted by the founded of this game, Lenn of LENNDEVOURS. My first thoughts are, oh my god, you're not going to make me drink wine from New Jersey are you (obviously I live in New Jersey)? I had a vision of drinking a pink glass of sweet Boones Farm Cherry Hill. Isn't Cherry Hill in New Jersey? Wasn't Boones Farm the place where the aliens from War of the Worlds first landed in New Jersey?
The first think I did is go to my local wine outlet, Shoppers Vineyard, in Clifton and with a bit of embarrassment I asked, "Do you have any wines from New Jersey?" I informed the sales associate that I needed one just for a joke. Certainly there can't be any good wine from New Jersey, can there?
I was pointed towards a bottle of Alba Vineyard, 1999 Heritage, New Jersey Table Wine. Table Wine? Doesn't New Jersey even have a wine appellation or an AVA? Maybe not. It's just New Jersey grown and raised. I am hoping that this "joke" is a $6 bottle but it turns out that it's $14.99. Oh well, for the good of the program, I buy it.
Alba vineyard is located somewhere in western New Jersey near the Pennsylvania border and Delaware River. The winery is in a historic stone barn built in 1805. They have a full facility including a tasting room and gift shop!
[now the wine]
First of all the label is very nicely designed and distinctive. This could make Alba a good gift from Jersey, if you happen to vacation here (why?). The color of the wine is about as deep violet as you can get. When I hold it to the light I can barely see light through it. I am not good with the nose of the wine but I do smell oak and cedar. Maybe licorice.
The first sip is actually pleasant. The taste is unique. Now I know it's not Boones Farm. The depth of flavor unfortunately doesn't match the depth of taste but the wine still has a nice aroma and light body which reminds me of a Beaujolais but more spicy and more oakey with and earthy taste
According the Alba's web sight, the 1999 Heritage is made of 85% Marechal Foch (huh?), 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was cellared in new American Oak for 12 months. The say the wine has a pronounced flavor of black cherry, spice and hints of mocha and licorice. I would have to agree since I could taste each of those flavors. Just to note, 1999 was one of the worst drought years in growing history for Alba. That's reassuring!
[in my opinion...]
This wine was a good discovery and I can see it going great with strong cheese, a lamb burger or even a herbed pork chop. I bet it would be great with any kind of BBQ too. I would definitely buy this wine again and even consider it for a unique gift from New Jersey to my friends in California. I am looking forward to trying it the second day after its been open for a while. It's a keeper!
Not to ruin a good moment but Alba also make a blueberry, raspberry and apple wine in addition to Chardonnay (from east coast grapes), award winning Riesling, Pinot Noir and "Vidal Blanc" which is similar to a chenin blanc. Some of their wines are made from grapes grown throughout the east coast.