Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: This Wine's From Joisey. You From Joisey?

For those of you who need a translation or explanation for the above title, it goes back to a 1981 Saturday Night Live skit written by and starring Joe Piscopo (and Deborah Harry, singer AND Jersey Girl). The original line is "I'm from Joisey! You from Joisey?" The skit also led to a very famous ad lib, which has become a catch phrase heard by Jerseyans everywhere when they tell you where they're from: "What exit?" (meaning what exit on the infamous NJ Turnpike).

I live in Ohio. I have lived here for just about 25 years now. But I was born and raised in the great state of New Jersey. I spent my summers down the shore (not AT the shore, Jerseyans go DOWN the shore). I clog my arteries with Taylor Ham (I still do. I make a Taylor Ham stock-up run every time I visit Mom). I know what a hard roll is. I have eaten in diners at all hours of the day and night. I stand at attention when I hear Springsteen's "Born To Run" (and have taught my Ohio born children to do the same). It is my dream to have Springsteen sing "Jersey Girl" to me in person. I would kill for a good salt bagel with cream cheese. I never paid sales tax on clothes or pumped my own gas growing up. And I am a better person for it all!
And for the record, yes, I am from Joisey. Exit 15w on the Turnpike. OK???

Now, you might think, why is The Winey Mom lecturing us about the benefits of being born and raised in the third smallest state? Where is the wine in all this?

The wine in all of this is grown and made in New Jersey. Specifically in the small Musconetcong Valley town of Finesville. (Western New Jersey....just over the Delaware River from Bucks County, PA) It's here that you'll find Alba Vineyards, the folks who produced Mainsail White. You don't think of wine when you hear New Jersey, do you? But lately their wines have been garnering some attention - all of it good! (see The Bottle Notes article on The Judgement of Princeton)

I found Mainsail White at Livingston Bottle King. If you live in Northern New Jersey, as I did and my mother still does, you know the store of which I speak. Kind of legendary around our parts, since you can't generally can't find wine in supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations. Thus, you go to Bottle King (at least I do!). 

I hope you are totally getting the feel for my home state by reading this. If not, you just aren't trying hard enough. Please go get yourself a bagel and a cup of cawfee (as it is pronounced there) and continue reading..

Mainsail White (NV, 11.5%, New Jersey) is made from a blend of estate grown Vidal Blanc, Cayuga White and Riesling (just a little) grapes. It starts out with that Riesling aroma, which to me was pure honeysuckle - not real heavy honey, a more flowery honey. It tastes of key lime with the honeysuckle on the outside of your tongue. There was a hint of something else there too - I'm guessing it was sea air added for Jersey authenticity. The finish was tangy with just enough roundness to keep it from being too crisp and puckery - a smooth finish.

The folks at Alba call this their "Wednesday Night White" because it goes with lots of different foods and fits perfectly into a mid-week ($7.99) budget (monetary and time-wise for those of us with children that play sports).

I was oh so pleasantly surprised to read about the growing wine industry in New Jersey. Right now there are 41 wineries there - not bad, huh? Cause when you've got the Atlantic Ocean pushing you on one side, and New York City and Philly on the other, squeezing all those wineries in is fairly impressive, isn't it?

Actual, unretouched photo of
The Winey Mom's shopping
cart, taken during her last
visit to NJ, 7/12.
If you get the chance, give a Jersey wine a few sips - I think you'll really like it. And if you visit the state, please let me know. I'm low on my Taylor Ham supply.


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  1. Great post- I am from Long Island but totally got the feel of Joisey!!

  2. Love our Lon Gisland :) pals! Cheers!


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