Following brunch, we stopped over at Amanti Vino for their weekly free tasting. Of the 4 wines we tasted, my favorite was the Cascina Ca'Rossa Nebbiolo 2007. Generally I find Italian wines a little too acidic, dry and "dusty" for my palette, but this one was delightful - light with bright notes of strawberry and hints of spice. I picked up a bottle for later (been meaning to go back to a great restaurant around the corner called Osterio Giotto).
We then went on to Stew Leonard's where we tasted a few more wines. The most surprising was a red from the Southern Rhone that was primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (very rare for the Southern Rhone where Syrah and Grenache are the main varietals). I wish I remembered the name or thought to write it down! We then made our way over to Shopper's Vineyard where we just missed the weekly tasting (as exhausted as we were, I don't think any of us were upset by this). We stopped by one more wine store (mostly to show off the beer section on behalf of Laura's brother - a foamophile - my newly coined phrase for been lovers!) and then made our way to the ginormous Whole Foods in West Orange to forage for our dinner ingredients.
We paired said ingredients (warm salad with baked beets, sauteed mushrooms and onions, roasted red pepper, pepitas, avocado and a touch of shaved goat cheese) and ended the day with one of my favorites - a wonderful bottle of 2006 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir from the Flax vineyard. I'm hoping that alone was worth the trip!
Here's to the 'burbs. Manhattan is not the only place serving up some terrific wine and food experiences. As my friends get sick of me saying, "Jersey effin' rocks."
Until the next sniff, sip or quaff (in Jersey or beyond),