24 April 2014

Bottle Juice

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Carlo De Vito

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OK, so everyone knows that I think Bob Bartlett is one of the most talented fruit winemakers in the world. As I have said before, if he were in France or Belgium, there be a stature of this guy somehwere in a town square. He's that good.

And to prove it, you shouldtry his Blackberry Wine (sweet). I usually hate blackberry wines. I can only think of two or three that didn't make me absolutely blanche. Usually, they taste like lollipops flavored with booze. No so, here.

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I first met David Whiting in the summer of 2000. The winery wasn't two year old. Red Newt Cellars was founded in 1998 by David and Debra Whiting. Wine production was started with the 1998 vintage with a mere 1,200 cases of Chardonnay, Riesling, Vidal, Cayuga, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The first white wines were released at the grand opening of the winery and restaurant in July of 1999.

Now, this is not to say that David Whiting and I know each …

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So, I came home tonight, after walking through a snow storm, only to find my next bottle for tasting already opened. Dominique and a friend of hers had decided to start it off. I was a little disappointed and a little intrigued. I was a little dejected, because opening any bottle of wine should be a small thrill, and I had missed out on it. And a little intrigued because half the bottle was gone.

The wine in question was a Tomasello Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Outer Coastal Plains. Tomasello…

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So we went to visit some friends last night in New Jersey for dinner. We drove in a blinding snow storm. Lot's of fun. Lots of back country roads passing small farms in central New Jersey, cows and horses hunkering down in the blustery weather.

We have known Matt and Natalka for many years, going back to our days in Freehold. It is not the first time that either of them has appeared on one of my blogs. They helped us with our farm upstate. They have been with us through thick and thin.

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Tony Valenzano, Sr. was a wine making hobbyist, planting vines and growing grapes since the early 1990s on his seven acre farm at 340 Forked Neck Road in Shamong -- right in the heart of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. His hobby has grown into one of the Garden State's most prominent wineries.

In 1996, Valenzano Winery became a licensed winery. The initial year, less than 500 gallons of wines were produced at the initial Shamong location, and a few accounts were opened …

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While still a fairly young business, Cassinelli Winery and Vineyards has already created a profound and distinguished name for itself. Founded in 1998, the business really started to take off in 2002. Now, just eight short years later, it produces an impressive assortment of wine varieties, including Chardonnay, Merlot, Viognier, Sangiovese, and Malbec.

For Al Cassinelli, owner and founder of the winery, an interest in harvesting and winemaking sprouts from his strong Italian background …

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Editor's Note: The following piece is not mine. I had intended to put it in a tickler file and then drege it up when the next time the Maryland Wine Festval rolled around, but decided that with the passing of Bob Ziem, no time was more appropriate than now.

The First Maryland Wine Festival, 20 [Some] Years Ago

by Jack & Emily Johnston

The very first Maryland Wine Festival was held at the Shriver Homestead in Union Mills, in September, 1984. It was the brainchild …

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I did not know Bob Ziem prsonally, but that was not to say he was not important to me or to eastern viticultural. Who am I but some simple minded blogger? Bob Ziem did things. He went against the grain his whole wine life, and all of us, NY, NJ, MD, VA, etc., were all the richer for it. He was a champion of hybrids and other cutting edge viticultural practices. He helped solidify a fledgling wine industry in the east. He was an important man. His winery is no longer there. But his accomplishments cannot be denied.

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So we made some chicken brests marinated in some locally made bbq sauce, and I made a big batch of stewed fresh multi-colored peppers and five pounds of roasted potatoes getting ready for the Super Bowl. We had some chips and dips with the pregame and the first quarter, and then by the second quarter we were ready.

Originally I picked a red, and as I was searching around found a bottle of 2000 Vignoles from Vyncrest. Now I was not sure what to expect. A vignoles from 2000 was either going …

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West Virginia farmers who grow specialty crops are getting financial help from the state.

The state Department of Agriculture is giving nearly $ 185,00 in grants to help farmers promote their specialty crops. Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass announced the grants on Thursday.

The projects receiving funding include West Virginia State University research into building economical and eco-friendly structures that farmers can use to extend the growing season for fresh produce.West Virginia University…

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