Drink Local: Alba Vineyard

Eating locally sourced vegetables, dairy, meat is becoming more popular in the US. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that local wineries and breweries need support too.

Even in Pennsylvania, not an area that comes to mind when one things of vineyards, there are opportunities to support the local businesses. New Jersey and New York also have a rich vineyard culture, making the tri-state area one to sample.

This time, I’ll be taking about Alba Winery in New Jersey. I’ve sampled several of their wines and most certainly have my favorites. They have a wide selection from their silver medal winning Gewurztraminer, to their highly drinkable Old Mill Red (another medal winner). For the sweet inclined, they have an array of dessert wines such as their Red Raspberry.

The vineyard is strives to be a small, independent business dedicated to having a low ecological impact.

I think some of the vineyard’s major standouts are their two blush wines. Their Chelsea Dry Rosé is a great pair with light food. It’s not overly dry, and has refreshing fruity notes that are very pleasant on the palate. If you want something a bit sweeter, they have their Rosa. With berry notes and a clean feel in the mouth, it’s a great summer sipping wine. Very moderately priced, you won’t feel too guilty using it as a base for sangria either. I recommend strawberries, orange slices, and a splash of sparkling water for a Rosa sangria.

The only disappointment I found was their Voyager Malbec. It’s one of their Chelsea Cellars line, from their west coast vines. I found the Malbec to be too oakey. It’s aged in oak for 30 months, which seems a little excessive. The wine feels heavy, dense to me. I am a fan of young reds, so it was out of my comfort zone. My sister in law enjoyed it, but my brother agreed with me that the oak was a bit much. I did find that it made an excellent wine sauce for chicken when simmered down with thyme and honey added to it.

Visit Alba’s website here for information about the vineyard and how to get some of your own Alba wine.