A foodie's evening out: wine tasting, hors d'oeuvres, and jazz
[caption id="attachment_871" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Owner, Tom explaining the winemaking process"]Owner, Tom explaining the winemaking process[/caption] When I set up the meetup for my foodie group, New Jersey Foodies at the Grape Escape wineries, I did not know what to expect. Being a self-proclaimed foodie, I was fascinated by the concept of “providing a wine making experience” but it was only once I  attended the open house and tasted their wines, was I SOLD! Grape Escape was started by owner couple Tom and Nancy Nye to give wine-making experience to wine enthusiasts. Groups can buy into this  experience by purchasing a share of a barrel, similar to a CSA. The essential difference is that here the winemaker owns the wine and the bragging rights  to the wine. Groups partake in the entire process from picking the grapes, crushing the grapes, barrelling the wine and bottling/labeling it at the end of 8 months. The grapes are imported from Chile/Argentina in Spring and San Fransisco/Italy in Fall. Over time, the owners have expanded this concept to include vinegar, olive oil, mozzarella, and chocolate making.
[caption id="attachment_872" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Chilean wines available for tasting"]Chilean wines available for tasting[/caption] I  tasted some great Chilean wines (Pinot Noir, Malbec, Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Luna, a Bordeaux blend). My favorite was a 2009 Malbec reserve barrelled in Hungarian oak. I tasted Carmenere for the first time here and loved the velvety texture of this wine. I learnt that this  variety of grape orginated from Bordeaux, France but now Chile is the world’s largest prodiucer of Carmenere.
In addition to the great wines, we also got a taste of some unique Italian delicacies by Piccollo Italia, a restaurant in Ocean county, NJ. Exceutive Chef,  Brian Giualtieri was personally handing out beautifully crafted hors d’oeuvres including fois gras, varieties of cheeses and meats topped with exotic quince and fig preserves and truffle infused honey. Jazz music performance by Darla and Rich set the mood for the evening.
[caption id="attachment_873" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Food by Piccollo Italia"]Food by Piccollo Italia[/caption] The winemaking process is listed at here.
The address of the winery is 12 Stults Road #101  Dayton, NJ 08810. Phone: (609) 409-9463.
If you can , I would recommend attending their next OPEN HOUSE on April 24, 2012 at 6-8pm. Details are at http://www.thegrapeescape.net/events/20080424-openhouse.aspx

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