Monday, April 09, 2007

Cream Ridge Cranberry Wine

Tom Amabile was one of the most accessible winemakers when I first started getting interested in locally made wines. Even though he had no idea of the trajectory of my involvement, he was always happy to answer any question I had as a wine lover. He has done this for everyone, and is one of the reasons that local wine has made it in New Jersey. I first discovered the winery after I graduated college. To this day, Tom doesn't know who I am, but he's always been friendly and eager to talk wine any time I've gone in.

"I consider my job, what I do, like a chef,” says Amabile. “I try to get the best fruit possible to make the best wine possible.”
Cream Ridge Winery opened in 1988. They produce premium award winning wines, including our specialty fruit wines. In 2005 they received the NJ Governors Cup for their Cherry Wine(Ciliegia Amabile). For six years they have attained the distinction of winning the NJ Governor's Cup, which is the highest rated wine in the state. They won the Governor's cup four times for the Cherry wine, one time for the cranberry and one for the plum. This year they received 14 awards at the NJ wine competition including five gold medals which are: Cherry wine(Ciliegia Amabile), Walnford White, May Wine, Almondberry Wine and Plum Wine.

This Easter we enjoyed his Cranberry fruit wine. It was the perfect sipping wine after the ham and lamb and potatoes were put away. Sweet without being cloying, and not syrup-y either. It was like drinking a nice, big bowl of fresh fruit. It was a nice way to end the hectic hustle and bustle of the holiday weekend. A surprise choice, and one roundly applauded. And it was a nice way to remember one of the first wineries I ever went to - and one of the nicest winemakers I have ever known.