Monday, August 19, 2013

A #VirtualVines Tasting with Old York Cellars

Last night Old York Cellars hosted their second Virtual Wines online tasting where consumers can watch and/or participate in a tasting of two wines from one New Jersey's oldest wineries - active since 1978. The winery encourages consumers to participate at the winery, by hosting their own tasting party, or follow along via the Virtual Wines Livestream site, Facebook, or Twitter.  For me, I was fortunate to receive a complimentary sample. On June 20th, I participated in Old York Cellars' in inaugural online tasting focusing on their new What Exit Wines brand - where consumers can actually customize the label of every purchased bottle. Pretty cool. Last night's tasting was hosted by winemaker Scott Gares and featured two vinifera wines: the 2011 Chardonnay ($17) and Cabernet Sauvignon ($21).

We started with the  2011 Old York Cellars Chardonnay and during the webcast, winemaker Scott Gares described the vineyard and winemaking practices for this wine. Because of New Jersey's hot and humid summers, they pull leaves off the vines in order to help the grapes dry from the moist humidity. The grapes are then fermented in stainless steel, undergo a secondary malolatic fermentation and then ed four months in medium oak.  The result is a wine that balances between the "naked" and buttery spectrum. The nose and initial flavors are a creamy pear-apricot whereas it finishes with green apple and nice acidity.  This is a decent wine, low in alcohol (12.2%) and right in the drink local priceline. The winery also recommends several pairings - basically anything with creamy butter - but also includes crab - old bay; risotto; Gruyere or creamier cheeses; Caesar salad; pork loin; apple, pecan, or key lime pie; and pound cake with strawberries. The final touch is that the sample pack we received included chocolates from Laurie's Chocolates - and the I really liked the pairing with the milk chocolate caramel.

Moving to the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine spent 16 days on skin and after fermentation, aged 6 months in medium oak. The result is a fruit forward, medium bodied wine with ripe cherry flavors. The finish is easy, with soft tannins.  This is not your California cab or even a Bordeaux, but a very tasty option.  As for food pairings, the winery suggests burgers, beef stew, pizza, Italian seasoning, short ribs, dark chocolate, aged cheddar, or colby. As for Laurie's Chocolates, the Cabernet truffle was spot on - a truffle made from the very wine.

I look forward to visiting Old York Cellars. You got to respect a winery that takes the time to create a virtual tasting. Plus they host live music.

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