Tasting Along the Jersey Shore Wine Trail
a guest blog post by JerseyBites.com and JerseyShoreinMotion.com writer Melissa Beveridge

As the days get hotter and hotter (and yes humid), your
usual glass of Merlot or an oaky Chardonnay just may not cut it. Yes, you may
love the heavy tannin taste of a Merlot as the temperature dips, but in the
summer, it may lose its luster. So what’s a wine drinker to do? Give up wine?
Of course not! Instead, summer is the time to try new varietals of grapes and experiment
with lighter, crisper wines that can complement the grilled foods, fresh
fruits, and hot days.

So over the course of a few weeks I went out on a quest
through the Jersey Shore Wine Trail, speaking directly with the experts
themselves. I knew that oftentimes, I reach for my old familiar bottle of Bordeaux
(or Working Dog Winery’s Cabernet Franc) in the winter, but may not want to
drink a glass with my farmers market finds. This was where the winemakers lent
a helpful sip and luckily for you, I’m sharing their wine do’s and don’ts.

For all you red wine drinkers out there, summer can be
tough. As I mentioned before, I usually reach for a Bordeaux but know that it
just can’t stand up to the heat and humidity of a New Jersey summer. I honestly
can’t give up reds, which is why the Relaxing Red from Laurita Winery was so
refreshing. Not only can you serve it slightly chilled (or not, it’s your
preference), but it can actually hold its place when compared to a Merlot. It’s
truly a great switch for red wine drinkers who still yearn for the body of a
heavier red, but with a little less weight. If you’re really looking to step
out of your comfort zone and literally sip a glass of summer (fresh berry jam
anyone?), try out the Tailgate Red from Laurita Winery. Not only is it the base
to their very popular Sangria, but it may be the base to a fun summer too.

Another great bottle to add to your summer cellar is 4JG’s
Winery Chambourcin Reserve, the “prettiest of the reds,” said owner Janet
Guinco. (Working Dog Winery also offers a 2013 Chambourcin that’s perfect for
grilled chicken and pork). Lighter than your traditional Cabernet Sauvignon, it
still offers a similar taste compared to a Pinot Noir, full-bodied yet fresh. Then
there’s Cream Ridge Winery’s 99, a light summer red that can be served chilled
or at room temperature. (Honestly, it was like adult grape juice – delicious in
the heat!) If you’re looking to impress your guests, try out the Brachetto, a
precious grape that offers a slight tang to pair perfectly with your grilled
summer salads or even the Syrah from Working Dog Winery which tastes of smooth
tannins and lively fruit, but is still full bodied and smooth.

Summer is also a time to try something new, so maybe you
prefer reds or whites, but why not try out a Rose? (You’ll feel very French, I
promise). The Monmouth Blush from 4JG’s Winery is dynamite. Dry and not too sweet,
it complements your summer menu whether you’re serving up chicken, salad, or a
light pasta. Basically, it’s your equal opportunity wine. And if you’re really
going for the gold here, add this to the Frape where the Monmouth Blush’s dry
fruitiness compliments the sweetness of the Frape. It’s also not nearly as
strong as a glass of wine (thanks to a 1:1 ratio of water to wine). Think of it
as just another way to stay hydrated.

Now for all of you white wine drinkers. Just because you’re
drinking white doesn’t mean you don’t have to switch up your bottle routine for
the summer. For those looking to get out of the Chardonnay rut, sip on a glass
of Laurita Winery’s Pinot Grigio. A little citrus effervescence combined with a
heavy start that slowly makes it way to a light finish, it’s the Italian
countryside in a glass. Or enjoy a glass of Working Dog Winery’s Traminette
who’s seductive aromas of floral apricots pair perfectly with poultry and Asian
cuisine.

Another great lighter white wine is Laurita Winery’s
Windswept White, a Sauvignon Blanc that offers a slightly sweet flavor with
hints of pear. There’s also the Eastern White from Cream Ridge Winery that is
extremely grapey (again that adult grape juice). Then there’s the Cayuga White
(a great aperitif) and the Vidal Blanc from 4JG’s Winery which provides the
perfect complement to saltier foods including bacon and yes, scallops (wrap
them together, serve with a glass of Vidal Blanc and you are the hostess of the
year!)

For a glass of wine that still has some viscosity to it with
deeper herbal elements, try the Moscata from Cream Ridge or the Vignoles from
4JG’s, a new personal favorite of mine. Also known as Rivolt in Germany, the
French Vignoles is similar to a Riesling, providing hints of herbs and floral
notes that stands up to hearty cheeses like Blue Cheese and Gorgonzola as only
a French (or German) champ could.  

So step away from your usual bottle and try something new
from some of New Jersey’s finest wineries. From $5 tastings to Happy Hours and
festivals, these wineries not only pair you up with a wine that will become
your summer go to, but they’ll also show you a good time.

© 2017 Garden State Wine Growers Association Supported in part by a grant from the NJ Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism
Created by IGM Creative Group
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