Culture

Savoring Almondberry with My Cousin Vinny

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Cream Ridge Winery recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. As one of the oldest wineries in the state, Cream Ridge has a wide selection of award-winning wines to choose from.

“Your cousin Vinny is blocking people in with his gold Caddy again.”

Only in New Jersey can you really have a cousin Vinny.

Tom Amabile, owner of Cream Ridge Winery, laughed at my observation. Amabile couldn’t be a more appropriate name for the man who began the winery 25 years ago: Sweet by name, sweet by nature. After giving one of the most informative tours we’d ever been on, Tom stuck around to give us special insight into the cork versus cap debate running hot in the wine world.

Excusing himself to attend to his cousin, Tom returned shortly with a need for more chairs. “Half of my wife’s family was in that car!”

My husband and I pitched in and trailed out front with some folding chairs. Once we finished setting up, Tom entreated us to return to the tank room. “As a thank you,” he explained as he led us over to the cold steel beauties with a mischievous glint in his eye, “take a taste from the tank!”

We held out our glasses to the tap. “That’s pure Niagara right there,” Tom explained, beaming with pride.

Rightfully so. The basis of some of their most popular wines, Cream Ridge’s Niagara embraces the full fruit of the white grape. Lacking the foxiness typical to labrusca varietals, this golden elixir is luscious.  Blend it with red raspberry wine and almond essence and you have Almondberry, a unique delectable best seller that has been the winery’s most popular offering for 23 years.

The Frozen Sangria - a deliciously sweet-tart cocktail for the most hesitant of wine drinkers.

The Frozen Sangria – a deliciously sweet-tart cocktail for the most hesitant of wine drinkers.

Niagara is also the backbone of two brilliant tropical inspired wines: Pineapple and Kiwine, a blend of kiwi and lime. Light and refreshing, these are two must-haves for any and every summer party. The Summer Sangria, sold in frozen pouches during the hot summer months, is a delightful blend of Niagara and Red Fredonia that proves the greatness of sangria lies in its base. With the strength of a dry and the fruit of a sweet, this sangria is a cellar standard.

Many wine fans are also big coffee drinkers. Now, thanks to Cream Ridge Winery you can have the best of both worlds with Javaberry, a blend of blackberry wine, dark chocolate and espresso. A surprise to the palate, this rich, flavorful dessert wine pairs well with chocolate cake or ice cream and is just as enjoyable as aperitif on its own.

Do not miss the Ciliegia Amabile. Not surprisingly, this 100% cherry wine is a Governor’s Cup Winner. Rich and smooth with a balanced complexity capturing every sweet-tart essence of the fruit, the Cherry Wine is one of the best fruit wines in the state.

Offering complimentary wine tastings, Cream Ridge Winery has become a hotspot for birthday and bachelorette parties, weekend cyclers, limo trips and any and every one heading down to the Jersey shore. Whether you’re around for the Cycle Ride, Bluegrass Festival, or a sunny weekend, stop in and sidle up to the tasting bar. After all, at Cream Ridge you’re another member of the family.

Owners Tom Amabile and  Joan Mooney-Amabile celebrating Joan's 80th with a special issue: Blue Mooney Wine.

Owners Tom Amabile and Joan Mooney-Amabile celebrating Joan’s 80th with a special issue: Blue Mooney Wine.