One of things I'd like to do on the old (new) blog here is to write about the wineries that we visit. In addition to generally being a little tipsy when we depart, it's usually hard to remember the specifics of each winery and their grapes. This should be a big help to us, and hopefully to other wine snobs as well.
We traveled to Sharrott Winery on Sunday, August 29 for their annual Wine Festival. Sharrott is located in Hammonton, New Jersey. For those of you who don't know - and most probably don't - the dirty Jersey is one of the main wine producing states in the US. Shocking. Even more shocking is that I actually drink wine produced there, despite my long-standing aversion of all things Jersey. But we should probably leave my feelings for Jersey for another post and stick to the topic at hand. Hammonton, New Jersey is in Southern NJ - probably about 3/4 of the way to Atlantic City from Philadelphia. It was an easy drive from Delaware - straight up to Philly and down the Atlantic City expressway. It might be harder to get there during certain times due to the infamous "shore traffic" but we left Delaware around 11:30 on a sunday and made it there in about 45 minutes.
Aside from the fact that it had the distinct Jersey odor - the Winery was simple but nice. They have one building that I only went inside to do lady things after quite a few glasses so I can't really speak to what I would have thought sober - suffice it to say that the toilet was in working order so hurray for that. The festival itself took place outside - they had a tent set up for tasting and a little stage for a band. They had a number of somewhat random vendors - there was a bank, cigars, a limo service? - set up along one side of the area and that's where we set up shop with our greyhound adoption group. They also had some totally delicious but somewhat non-sequitor food - hot dogs, funnel cakes, fried crab cake sandwiches - I mean, I love me a good hot dog but don't generally wash hot dogs down with a nice white. Usually. Not that it stopped me on Sunday. Ahem.
The tasting for the festival was $10 per person and was "all you can taste" and they also gave us a lovely glass. We have so many of these glasses for wineries all over and I just have to send a message to the winery people: If you like wine enough that you go to a lot of wine festivals - you already have wine glasses. In fact, chances are good that you have white wine glasses, red wine glasses, stemless glasses, plastic glasses for your intoxicated friends (not ME, I assure you...), etc etc. You don't need their silly glasses. Charge me $5 for the tasting and save your glass.
Onto what you (by you I mean I) really want to know. The wine.
I admit that I didn't try any dry wine. It was hot, I was cranky and I wanted to taste and purchase. Cut right to the chase.
We started with their sweet Riesling. For a sweet Riesling, I found it to be a bit on the drier side. Or maybe not dry, but it had quite an acidic taste that I didn't care for. I mean, I could have had a glass, and it might have been a good "middle of the road" wine for mixed company (when I say mixed company I mean people who like real wine and not grape juice), but it wasn't anything terribly special and was on the pricier side ($17ish a bottle?). Bottles purchased = 0
We moved on to the Vignoles. Their website describes this wine as having a "slight sweetness that compliments the natural fruit character with aromas of pineapple and honey". Now, sometimes I think that people who write these descriptions are smoking crack, but this was an excellent description. This wine was bright, fresh and perfect for a hot summer day (and trust me, folks, this was a HOT! SUMMER! DAY!) Bottles purchased = 3 Bottles consumed immediately upon purchase = 1
Make Me Blush is - duh - a Blush wine. Honestly, I must have been so underwhelmed by this wine that I don't remember much about it except that it was underwhelming. A bit surprising as I usually like Blush wines, but it wasn't anything I had to have. Bottles purchased = 0
Crimson Sky is described as "sweet with bright acidity, notes of candied cherry and a long, fruity, floral finish". Seriously whoever wrote these descriptions should have a job writing wine descriptions because this was another excellent call! This wine reminded us a lot of Valenzano Winery's Dangeruss Red, which just so happens to be a family favorite. Definitely a sweet wine, but not so sweet that it isn't drinkable. Bottles purchased = 3 Bottles consumed immediately upon purchase = 1
They also had a raspberry wine that sounded delicious but was not. It tasted very sour to me - the kind of wine that I can nearly guarantee would give me a belly ache. Bah.
Not available for tasting at this event was a Blueberry wine that I was dying to try as I am a usually a fan of Blueberry wine. So we purchased a bottle for our own tasting and when it was a big hit purchased an additional two bottles. It had an excellent blueberry flavor but wasn't overwhelmingly sweet. I was informed at some point in the afternoon that Hammonton is actually the blueberry capital of the world and while I cannot confirm or deny this, I can tell you that it was definitely after we'd kicked a bottle (or two...) but from the taste of this wine I'd probably believe it.
For my readers who might like things on the drier side, I can just offer that A liked the Dry Riesling and the Vidal Blanc. (You like that - how I just slipped in "my readers" - like I have readers. Ha!) He was also a fan of the Vignoles, though - so that might be a nice purchase if you and your better half face the struggle of incompatibility when it comes to your wine preferences.
I can also tell you that I tasted with my BFF who generally shares my palate, but on this day she preferred the Riesling to the Vignoles and wasn't a fan of the Blueberry at all. She was also wearing her cranky pants, so who knows?
I've also got to give a shout out to the winery for inviting Greyhound Angels Adoption to be a part of the event. It is always "greyt" to get out and spend the day with our greyhound friends and even better when we can spread awareness about greyhound adoption. We had about a dozen dogs there, including Nolan who is up for adoption and worked the crowd like he knew his future depended on it. We got a lot of interested folks and the dogs got a lot of pets and we raised $84 while downing a few bottles. Overall, a lovely day.
So... if you ever find yourself in Hammonton, NJ with some time to kill - find yourself a blueberry field OR Sharrott Winery and you won't be disappointed.