French music played in the background, berets were worn by the staff, and glasses were lifted in toasts for what was possibly a first in New Jersey.
Old York Cellars in Ringoes, N.J., released its first Beajoulais noveau-style wines on the third Thursday of November, in keeping with French tradition.
OYC’s newest wines have the tongue-in-cheek names BeauJerséy Noveau Red and BeauJerséy Noveau Rosé, and may be the first wines of this style to be released in the Garden State.
The decision to make a wine that would be released after only a few weeks of fermentation came because of the outstanding number of wine grapes harvested at the winery this season.
“It was a great harvest year,” David Molin, owner of Old York Cellars, said of the bumper crop. “There were so many grapes this year that it was time to do something different,” added winemaker Scott Gares.
Molin held release festivities at the vineyard, which featured tastings of both wines served with complementary foods. The rosé, which was made using pinot noir grapes, is light and perfect for pairing with appetizers for Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays, said Gares. The red, which is a Chambourcin blend, goes well with lighter meats, he said, such as turkey and pork.
“It won’t overwhelm the turkey,” Gares explained.
The lighter touch and shorter fermentation times give the wines a smoother taste, Gares said, so they lack the tannins that traditionally give wine their tartness.
The wines have a shorter shelf life as a result of their brief fermentation, and should be consumed within three months of bottling.
Old Wine Cellars wines are sold at three locations: the vineyard in Ringoes, and stores in the Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence and Bridgewater Commons mall in Bridgewater. The winery’s award-winning sweet wines are sold at Wegman’s Markets. For more information see the website oldyorkcellars.com.
Old York Cellars produces more than two dozen wines, many of which have won awards and are suitable for use in cooking. Molin said he has been experimenting with his wines in cooking for years, and the results include this recipe for a very grown-up cranberry sauce:
David Molin’s Port Wine Cranberry Sauce
2 (12-ounce) packages fresh cranberries (6 cups)
1¾ cups dark brown sugar
1 cup Old York Cellars Southpaw
Red Wine (port-style wine) or other dry red wine such as Old York Cellars Syrah
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoon grated ginger root
Pinch of kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan over medium heat and simmer until sauce thickens.