It’s not summer, so what am I doing in Cape May, NJ in the middle of winter…looking for a summer house. Yes, it’s going to be my new wine destination soon. We actually pulled into this winery last Memorial Day weekend to find it closed. When we were down there a few weeks ago on a house scouting trip we checked it out and it was open. They opened December 15, 2011 with a soft opening and will have a Grand Opening in May.(You have to have some fun, while house hunting.)
When you first pull up to Willow Creek Winery, you see the picture above. It’s a beautiful house, but it isn’t the winery. You have to drive around to the left and follow the signs. At some point you think you are really in the wrong place but then it opens up to more vines and a beautiful large winery.
They spared no expense! They have a 50 acre farm in Cape May, NJ. Their first vines were planted in 2004 and in the past eight years they have planted over 5000 vines and 10 varietals. The varietals planted are Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Corot Noir, Malvasia Bianca, Sangiovese, Alberino, Sauvignon Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Chambourcin and they are planting Malbec this year.
The winery holds two labels Willow Creek and Wilde Cock. The Willow Creek label is for estate wines and Wilde Cock uses grapes from their farm as well as grapes that are sourced from other places. Not necessarily New Jersey which I found strange. Some of their blends for their Wilde Cock label are sourced from Washington State.
Paul and I did a full tasting which was $10 per person. We began with Malvasia Bianca 2011 and 2010. The 2011 was aged in 3 year old French oak for 3 months and finished in stainless steel. It showed flavors of pear, honeysuckle and honey. The 2010 was aged in 100% stainless steel and it expressed the grapes acidic, mineral and citrus attributes.
The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc was aged in French oak for 7 months. Personally I don’t like my Sauvignon Blanc oaked as I feel it takes away the grapes personality and expression.
There were two Pinot Noirs, 2010 and 2011. The 2011 spent one year in French Oak. Flavors of raspberry, tobacco and smoke. I didn’t like the nose on this wine. The 2010 was much nicer on my palate. This spent 1 1/2 years in French oak, with flavors of raspberry and a hint of black pepper.
We can’t forget the 2010 Merlot. This had a nice nose with dark berry aromas. The palate bursted with black cherry and plum flavors.
The Bacchus Red is a medium bodied wine and a blend of Merlot, Chambourcin and Cabernet Sauvignon. I tasted a lot of cherry in this blend.
There was a Rose in the mix. The Meditrina Rose which was estate blended with 49% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Chambourcin and 1% Merlot. It had 1.5% residual sugar. It reminded me of a candied cherry jolly rancher.
On to the Wilde Cock label which the name comes from the owner who is Barbara Wilde, but not sure where the Cock comes into play. Onto the Wilde Cock…
We began the flight of Wilde Cock with the Wilde Cock Red. This was a blend of Merlot from the estate and Shiraz from Washington State. It was thin with notes of black cherry and a tad of black pepper from the Shiraz on the finish.
We then moved onto the Wilde Cock Sweet White. It’s a blend of Riesling and Moscato. The Moscato is sourced from Washington State. A bit to sweet for me, but it did have a little fiz going on. Not sure if it was suppose to be that way or going through a second fermentation in the bottle.
Last selection tasted was their Wilde Cock Southern Sangria. Made with pomegranate and cherry nectar it was actually very nice and had a great nose.
The winery offers an “Adopt a Vine” program where you can adopt a vine for 12 months. Each month you will receive a private news letter discussing the stage of growth your vine is in and will have the opportunity to come out each month and care for it.
Looking forward to many more tasting when I am down in that area.