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At Wine Country we like to make wine shopping as easy as possible so you can start enjoying your wine that much sooner. With literally thousands of wines to choose from it can be a bit intimidating when you’re looking to make a purchase, so we’ve selected a handful of our favorites to spotlight and we’ll tell you exactly what makes them so special.
We love wine, beer and spirits. So much, in fact, that throughout the year we sponsor some of the most incredible events around—big events like the New Jersey Wine & Food Festival and the Whiskey Festival of New Jersey and more intimate events that allow us to support the organizations and happenings in our very own backyards. But, whether big or small, we bring the spirit—and the fun—wherever we go. Check back throughout the year so you don’t miss out!
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The Rise Of Affordable Good Kosher Bordeaux
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While some rosé styles are quite distinct there are others where you might find it helpful to think of the nearest parallel in terms of white or red wine for a pairing. Here’s a round-up of the matches that work best
1) Light dry rosés - e.g. Most Provençal rosés, Pinot Noir based rosés from Burgundy and the Loire, and Italian Bardolino The nearest equivalent to this style of rosé is crisp dry white wines such as Pinot Grigio and they’ll go with similar food: principally light salads, light pasta and rice dishes, especially with seafood, raw and lightly cooked shellfish and grilled fish and goats’ cheeses. Perfect hot weather drinking.
2) Light off-dry rosés e.g. other Loire and traditional Portuguese rosés with a touch of sweetness such as Rosé d’Anjou and Mateus RoséPartly a question of taste. If you prefer this style to the one above you can drink it with similar foods though it will probably be more successful with salads than with raw fish. Can be useful with mildly spiced curries and rice dishes
3) Medium dry rosés - e.g. white Zinfandel and sparkling ZinThe category that used to be called blush. Again, if this is the style you like you’ll want to drink it with all the foods mentioned in 1) above. But those who prefer this style of rosé may also find it useful with spicy food and as a dessert wine (it’s spot on with unsweetened strawberries and not oversweet strawberry tarts)
4) Medium-bodied dry rosés e.g. Southern French (Rhône and Languedoc) and Spanish rosés from Rioja and NavarraA hugely versatile style that will stand up to big flavors such as anchovy, olives, garlic, saffron and pimenton. So, the ideal wine to drink with tapenade or a salade Niçoise, a paella or grilled chicken, fish or lamb with herbs. A good wine for barbecues if you don’t like your rosés as strong and sweet as 6) below. Also enjoyable with rustic pâtés and terrines, other charcuterie. ham and sheep's cheese.
5) Elegant, fruity rosés - e.g. Merlot-based Bordeaux rosé, More expensive Provençal rosés such as Bandol and PaletteClassy, grown-up rosés which I find it helpful to equate to Pinot Noir. Drink them with serious seafood such as lobster, seared salmon, tuna or duck and delicately cooked rare lamb. Good too with white-rinded cheeses such as Camembert and Brie so long as you don't let them get too ripe and runny.
6) Full-bodied fruity rosés - e.g. Syrah and Cabernet rosé from Chile, California and AustraliaNearer a full-bodied red than a rosé - big, bold and bursting with fruit. Often quite high in alcohol but it tends not to show because they’re not tannic and served chilled which makes them ideal for a barbecue and for drinking with spicy food such as curries. Also good with ripe peaches. Very much the modern rosé for contemporary food.
7) Sparkling rosé e.g. Cava, Australian and New Zealand sparkling roséCovers a range of styles from dry to medium dry. Lighter, drier ones make ideal party drinking (Cava rosado is good with tapas), sweeter ones could be poured with cakes, muffins and fruit tarts.
8) Rosé Champagne - Again there’s a variation in style between lighter and more full-bodied ones. Lighter styles suit canapés and the type of foods mentioned in 1) above, more substantial vintage rosé Champagne can take on grilled lobster and grilled meats.
"When in Rome,
do as the Romans do." So goes the old adage. In Italy, where it's
customary to bookend one's meals with a pre-dinner aperitivo or a post-dinner digestivo, Italian liqueurs such as amari, sambuca and limoncello are as much a part of the dining
culture as the meal itself.
What is a liqueur?
Liqueurs are alcoholic beverages that have a
relatively low alcohol content, typically ranging somewhere between 15 to 30%
ABV. These distilled spirits are sweetened with sugar or other
sweeteners and flavored using different ingredients ranging from fruits (e.g. Chambord) to chocolate (e.g. Mozart), coffee (e.g. Tia Maria), flowers (e.g. St-Germain), nuts (e.g. Amaretto), honey (e.g. Drambuie), herbs and spices (e.g. Galliano), whiskey (e.g. Irish Mist), cream (e.g. Amarula) or even
vegetables such as artichoke (eg. Cynar). There are also several crème liqueurs such as crème de cassis and crème de banane, which tend to contain lower
amounts of alcohol, around 15%, which puts the in different category
The word 'liqueur' is thought to be derived from the Italian word
'liquefare,' which means 'to liquefy.' During the Middle Ages, tinctures were
concocted by monks as remedies to cure or treat various ailments. Dried
herbs and other medicinal flora were infused in alcohol to release their
essential oils. Sugar was also added to these early liqueurs to make them more
Sambuca is similar to anisette but made from a distillation of star
Sambuca 'con la mosca,' which means 'with the fly' in Italian, traditionally
comes with three coffee beans floating on top to symbolize health, wealth and good luck. To add
to the fun, the sambuca's surface is briefly set on fire before serving to
toast the beans, then extinguished just before drinking. Others prefer to
dilute this sweet liqueur with chilled water. Molinari is the world's most popular brand of sambuca and has been in
operation since 1945, a testament to its tastiness and effectiveness as a digestive
Campari, the signature bright red
bitter, is most commonly served with tonic water, or with equal parts sweet
vermouth and gin as a Negroni. You can also enjoy this
sweet, syrupy liqueur on the rocks, or as a refreshing spritz by simply adding white or sparkling wine. Campari was originally
produced in the late 1800s in the Piedmont region of Italy, but today's recipe
now calls for 60 different ingredients, including orange
peels, bergamot, rhubarb, ginseng and herbs.
Frangelico is easily recognizable with its distinctive Franciscan friar-shaped
bottle. Named after the Piemontese hermit monk who is believed to have lived in
the region during the 18th century, the recipe for this sweet dessert liqueur
goes back centuries. Tonda Gentile hazelnuts are soaked in a base spirit together with coffee, cocoa, vanilla
bean and other herbs. The resulting liqueur is then filtered,
sweetened and bottled.
A sip of limoncello is a taste of pure sunshine. In Italy, this delicious digestivo is
served in ice-cold shot glasses. Made from lemon rindsthat are fermented and then
macerated in alcohol, limoncello is often associated with the Amalfi Coast in
towns like Sorrento, where the large, fragrant lemons grow in abundance. Its
tangy, refreshing taste makes it the perfect summer liqueur.
Amaretto is frequently used in desserts and cocktails. Depending upon the
brand, this dark, sweet almond liqueur is flavored using various ingredients such as: almond
kernel oil, herbs and other botanicals. The name 'amaretto' means
'little bitter' in Italian, although the liqueur itself is traditionally sweet. Disaronno is the best known brand of amaretto, produced in the town of
Saronno. Those who prefer a slightly more bitter tasting almond liqueur should
try Averna, a Sicilian maker of amaretto.
The intensely fragrant Fernet-Branca is a bitter herbal digestivo that was invented in 1945. This
Milanese bitters is made from a secret blend of 27
different herbs and other flowers, roots and plants that are said to aid digestion and help settle the stomach.
Fernet-Branca is most often consumed neat and served in a cordial glass, but it
can also be combined with gin and sweet vermouth
The Luxardo brand of Maraschino traces its storied past back six generations to the founding of its
original distillery in 1821. Made from a true distillation of sour Marasca
cherries and crushed pits, this clear Italian liqueur is a must-try. Its subtle,
bitter almond flavor will work wonders when it comes
to enhancing your cocktails. After all, it's not every liqueur that can boast
the "Privilegiata Fabrica Maraschino Excelsior" denomination, a
distinction that the Emperor of Austria awarded the Luxardo family's Maraschino
liqueur in 1829.
It’s been 13 years, but the impact of a single line tossed casually in a movie set in the California wine region continues to reverberate to this day. The 2004 comedy, Sideways, earned Director Alexander Payne an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, but little did he know that his writing would help shape the way Americans drink wine for years to come. In the film, Jack (played by Thomas Hayden Church) tries to get his wine snob friend Milo (played by Paul Giamattii) to join him in drinking a glass of Merlot. Milo’s reply was classic: "If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving, I am NOT drinking any (expletive) Merlot!”That’s it. That’s the line that almost did in one of America’s favorite red wines. After the movie’s debut, Merlot sales (which truth be told had already begun to slide) fell at a rate of 1.4% each year. Simply put, it became “uncool” to drink Merlot.By contrast, sales of Pinot Noir, which is highly touted throughout the film, spiked 16% in the months following the movie’s release and have continued to increase at a rate of 9% each year since. "People called it the 'Sideways effect on Merlot,' " says Steven S. Cuellar, chair of the department of economics at Sonoma State University. "Here in wine country when you speak to people who produce Merlot, there is a lot of conventional wisdom and folklore about declining Merlot sales after Sideways.”Merlot — the easiest drinking red there is!But, there’s so much more to Merlot than being the punch line in a movie. After Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is the most popular varietal in the U.S (even with the “Sideways Effect”). An easy drinking red that’s soft, ripe and elegant, Merlot is a great starter wine for newer red wine drinkers. French for “The Little Blackbird,” the Merlot grape became known in Bordeaux for its ability to add softness and luscious fruit when combined with the region’s favorite grape, Cabernet Sauvignon.When the grape first arrived in California in the mid-nineteenth century, American winemakers put their own spin on things and began making wines using 100% Merlot. The idea really paid off—American wine drinkers loved the softness and low tannin levels of Merlot wine.One of, if not the, easiest drinking red wines, Merlot has a pleasant plummy taste and chocolate notes. It is traditionally a bit more affordable than your typical Cabernet and it’s meant to drink now. Right now. No need to cellar—buy it, pour it, enjoy it.Today, one of California’s biggest winemakers, Rodney Strong Vineyards, producers of one of the best selling Merlots sold in the U.S. is trying to help break the “Sideways Effect” and save this noble grape varietal once and for all. Pick up a bottle of Merlot (we recommend Rodney Strong), give it a try with dinner, rediscover the joys of this wonderfully rich red wine and help us Save Merlot… one bottle at a time.
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At Wine Country we like to make wine shopping as easy as possible so you can start enjoying your wine that much sooner. With literally thousands of wines to choose from it can be a bit intimidating when you’re looking to make a purchase, so we’ve selected a handful of our favorites to spotlight and we’ll tell you exactly what makes them so special. Like our Wines to Impress. Special-occasion wines for life’s most memorable moments or that hard-to-please friend. Top-level choices for people who know about wine.Want to “wow” someone with your wine choice? Try a few of our recommendations from our featured winemaker, Huneeus Wines. Vintner Agustin Huneeus has been discovering great vineyards of the world throughout a career in wine spanning five decades and 15 countries. After years in the global wine business, Agustin, along with his wife Valeria, founded the Quintessa estate in the Rutherford District of Napa Valley in 1990, establishing a portfolio of wines that represent the finest vineyard estates, appellations and wines in both North and South America.Along with the Quintessa Estate, the Huneeus Wine portfolio includes Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Illumination Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.In 2009, the Huneeus family forged a partnership with Flowers Vineyards & Winery, producing world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast.We are extremely impressed with the assortment of wines offered by Huneeus. A few of our favorites include:Illumination Sauvignon BlancWhy We Love It: The white wine offering from highly renowned Quintessa, it’s a Sauvignon Blanc that’s alive with exotic stone fruits, lemon zest and a hint of mineralogy with a fresh, flavorful finish. Incredibly aromatic, you’ll notice hints of white peach, lemon, fresh herbs and honey. Delightful from the very first sip. Flowers Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot NoirWhy We Love It: Definitely not your typical Rosé. This premiere Pinot Noir Rosé is from one of the finest Pinot Noir growers in Sonoma. Luscious, coral-salmon hue with aromas of strawberry, raspberry, white nectarine, and pink grapefruit and a surprisingly complex flavor profile. You’ll crave this one, all summer long.
Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot NoirWhy We Love It: We fell in love with this Pinot Noir the first time we tried it. Rich garnet hue, beautifully fragrant nose of wild strawberries, cranberry, violets and herbs, with soft tannins, brilliant acidity and a memorable finish. In a word: spectacular!Faust Cabernet SauvignonWhy We Love It: The kind of wine that you gift someone to ensure you’ll get invited back. Pricey, but worth every penny. A big wine, with big flavor, a great bouquet and incredible legs. It’s what we call a WOW wine. QuintessaWhy We Love It: An absolutely amazing red blend from Napa Valley. Organically grown, a vivid blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Carménère. It’s bright, fruity, beautifully structured, exhibits unbelievable suppleness and has an ultra-smooth finish that goes on and on. Ready to drink now, only gets better with age. Huneeus Wines are truly impressive. But, don’t take our word for it, taste them for yourself at the New Jersey Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting at Crystal Springs Resort on Saturday, April 1st 7:00 - 10:00PM and then pick up a few at your neighborhood WineCountry or Wine & Whiskey Country store or online at www.4wineandwhiskey.comDon’t have a ticket yet to the Wine & Food Festival yet? Reserve yours today before they’re all gone!
At Wine Country we like to make wine shopping as easy as possible so you can start enjoying your wine that much faster. With literally thousands of wines to choose from it can be a bit confusing when you’re looking to make a purchase, so we’ve selected a handful of our favorites to spotlight and we’ll tell you exactly what makes them so special. Today’s focus is on what we like to call “Weekend Wines.” They’re a step above your typical “everyday” wines and, like a Friday night, they’re the ones you look forward to all week long. The ones you bring with you to your favorite BYOB or pull out when friends are coming over — because they go perfectly with your favorite foods…and your favorite people. Don’t have any weekend wines of your own? Try a few of our favorites from our featured winemaker, Rodney Strong. An early pioneer in Sonoma County, Rod Strong was the first to craft a single vineyard Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the first to plant Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley and the first to produce a Chalk Hill Chardonnay. Today, Winemaker Rick Sayre and the Klein family continue their drive for innovation and devotion to Sonoma County, with 14 exceptional estate vineyards representing an exquisite range of varietal selection and regional terroir. Sonoma County MerlotWhy We Love It: Easy drinking Merlot. Really easy drinking. Ultra smooth, with lush fruit flavors and a touch of cocoa and vanilla in the finish. Fabulous with Italian pasta dishes, grilled sausages, big and bold foods. Sonoma Coast ChardonnayWhy We Love It: If you love a good buttery chardonnay this one should do the trick. Aging for 10 months in new French oak barrels creates toasty vanilla and spice complexity and a long finish. We enjoyed this Chardonnay at a great beachside café luncheon of crab cakes and grilled chicken. Fantastic.Sonoma Coast Pinot NoirWhy We Love It: A lighter, friendlier red than your typical California Cab, this Pinot Noir is medium bodied, wonderfully aromatic and has crisp fruit and spice flavors that work beautifully with so many weekend-worthy foods, including grilled salmon (yes, it’s ok to pair red wine with seafood).Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon BlancWhy We Love It: We think that Sauvignon Blanc is the absolute perfect warm-weather white because it’s so incredibly light. But, unlike some other Sauvignon Blancs out there, this one has some backbone to it, some real flavor. You’ll taste hints of citrus, ripe honeydew and fresh herbs which make the perfect meal starter pairing with creamy cheeses, grilled vegetables and light seafood dishes. Alexander Valley Cabernet Why We Love It: In our opinion, the Cabernets from the Alexander Valley region are some of the finest in the world and this one really measures up. It's round, it's mouth-coating, it's everything you want in a hearty California Cab. Deep ruby/purple color, with a sweet kiss of black currants and cherries and a distinctive earthiness. Dry, but not overly dry. Just a really good wine. Like, REALLY good.The wines from Rodney Strong are truly memorable. But, don’t take our word for it, taste them for yourself at the New Jersey Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting at Crystal Springs Resort on Saturday, April 1st 7:00 - 10:00PM and then pick up a few at your neighborhood WineCountry or Wine & Whiskey Country store or online at www.4wineandwhiskey.comDon’t have a ticket to the Wine & Food Festival yet? Reserve yours today before they’re all gone!
Monday, March 13th, there’s really only one place to be… the Taste of South Plainfield. A place to sample the finest local cuisine from the area’s best restaurants, including gourmet and ethnic specialities and even decadent desserts. And with all of the incredible food — even more incredible wine and spirits, courtesy of South Plainfield’s Wine Country Store.Wine Country is thrilled to be sponsoring six separate tables at the event, each offering a unique assortment of liquid temptations. Of course, all of the wine and beer showcased is available for purchase through Wine Country.Table 1: Valenzano Family WineryValenzano Winery maintains 88 vineyard acres in the Shamong, New Jersey. Stop by Table 1 to try these unique Garden State wines, including Peach Pinot Grigio, Blackberry Syrah, Shamong Red & White and their very own Sangria. Extraordinary tastes, at everyday wine pricing.Table 2: J.P. ChenetVivacious sparkling wines for all of life’s best celebrations. JP Chenet is a French wine brand, that’s easily identified by the curved necks of its bottles. Be sure to sample the Ice Editions, an entirely new approach to sparkling wines, they are at their best when served over ice!Table 3: Organic WineIt’s one of the biggest trends in wine production today. A focus on conserving natural resources, reclamation and reuse of water, solar power and limited, or none at all, pesticides. The resulting wines? Amazing. But, don’t take our word for it… visit us at Table 3! Table 4: The Wines of SpainWith more than 2.9 million acres of vineyards, Spain holds the distinction of being the world’s most widely-planted wine producing nation. The wines of Spain are distinctive and delicious, from crisp Albarino to full-bodied Rioja Rosado — be sure to stop by for a taste.Table 5: Wines of Italy & FranceSpain has more growing acreage, but France and Italy produce more wine than anywhere else in the world. Visit Table 5 and taste some of the best-known varietal blends from these regions, including Chanti, Rosé and Cotes de Rhone.Table 6: Riverhorse Because man cannot live by wine alone… stop by the Riverhorse table and try a flight of unique beers from New Jersey’s coolest craft brewery. It’s the place to be on March 13th from 6:00 to 9:00 at the South Plainfield Senior Center, 90 Maple Avenue, South Plainfield.Advance sale tickets can be purchased for $20 at the South Plainfield Observer, 1110 Hamilton Blvd., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m or at the door the night of the event for $25 each.
Hope to see you there!
5 Health Benefits You Need to Know — According to TheNewPotato.com1. It can help you ward off a cold. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that among 4,000 faculty members at five Spanish universities, those who drank more than 14 weekly glasses of wine for a year were 40% less likely to come down with a common cold. According to the National Institute of Health, antioxidants in wine are believed to fight infection and protect cells against the effects of free radicals, which may play role in cancer and other diseases.2. It can regulate your blood sugar. The skin of red grapes—a rich source of red wine’s natural compound resveratrol—may actually help diabetics regulate their blood sugar, finds recent research published in the journal Nutrition. Study participants who took a 250 mg resveratrol supplement once a day for three months had lower blood glucose levels than those who didn’t take the pill.3. It lowers your risk of stroke and heart disease. Red wine tannins (which are what make red wine the color red) contain procyanidins, which are known for protecting against heart disease. Resveratrol also helps to remove chemicals responsible for causing blood clots, which is the primary cause of coronary disease and strokes.4. It can boost your metabolism. Flavonoids in wine alleviate stress. When your body is going through a period of high stress, it looks to store the most fat; flavonoids encourage your body to let go of excess stress hormones, booting metabolism. Red wines with a high amount of flavonoids (think an intense Cabernet or any other dry red) can help regulate your metabolism – in moderation!5. It can boost your mood. We got this tip from Nutritionist Mikaela Reuben: “Wine, but more specifically red wine, contains resveratrol. Resveratrol can stimulate structural change in the hippocampus of aging rats. These changes are associated with improvements in mood functioning and regulation. It is not determined whether red wine contains enough resveratrol to stimulate structural change and improved mood in a human brain, but it is a great thought, and based on my own personal experience, seems to be legit.”
So grab yourself a glass of your favorite Pinot Noir and toast to your good health!
February 13th, New York City. The annual Kosher Food & Wine Experience (KFWE). An opportunity for side-by-side tastings of some of the best, the newest, the most unique kosher wine offerings from around the world. A place where winemakers come to share the stories of their vineyards and the passion they pour into each and every bottle. We were lucky enough to attend and spend time with many of the vineyard owners and winemakers, including Wine maker Amichai Lourie from Shiloh Winery.
Established in 2005, overlooking the astonishing view of the Benjamin strip – Shiloh Winery produces extraordinary wines from a biblical site that is the most ancient terroir in the world. The grape-growing conditions needed to produce the finest quality wines exist in the Judean Desert and most notably where Shiloh´s vineyards are located.
An oasis within a desert zone with cold nights, warm days, and an altitude of more than 2,600 feet above sea level — offering an ideal climate for wine growing. From this vineyard, founded by Dr. Mayer Chomer, wine maker Amichai Lourie has cultivated an array of world-class wines: Chardonnay, Merlot, Petite Syrah, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Red Blends. But, one of the most exciting selections to come from this vineyard is the Heroes Edition.Among our favorites from the wines we tasted, were the three distinct, single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon offerings from the Shomron terroir Heroes Edition 3-Gift Pack Set:
Yehoshafat - A full-bodied, concentrated and well-structured wine with firm tannins and multiple layers of complexity with rich fruit and a substantial aging potential. Aromas and flavors of black fruits and coffee prevail, along with notes of dark chocolate. The finish is long and elegant.
Why We Like It: One of the things we really like about this set, was how different each wine is from the other. This one, more than the other two, is really meant to age, so we liked the idea of opening the other two wines now and saving this one to savor in another year or two. It will just keep getting better and better.
Ariel - Full-bodied, with noticeable oak influences, secondary aromas, sweet fruit and spices. the palate is fresh and inviting, with layers of herbaceous and forest berry flavors, as well as a seemingly endless finish.
Why We Like It: Fruity and bright, we imagine this wine pairing beautifully with lots of different foods. Ultra smooth, complex, and with a truly memorable finish, this is a Cabernet for true Cabernet lovers.
Avraham - Full-bodied, fruit-forward wine, half of which was aged in new French oak barrels and half in American oak barrels. Noticeable green notes of bell pepper, mint and herbs, it issmooth and makes for pleasant drinking in its youth.
Why We Like It: Aging in both French and American oak results in a wine that’s the “best of both worlds,” exhibiting the subtle spiciness of its French oak and the creamy texture and smoothness that comes with American oak barrel aging. We liked this one. A lot.
If you weren’t able to attend the KFWE or haven’t yet tried the amazing wines from Shiloh Winery, Wine Country has one of the largest selections of kosher wine available, including the full assortment of offerings from Shiloh.