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This article was prepared for the March 13, 2005

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Toasting the Spring Vintages

In the wine world spring heralds the uncorking of new vintages. But

whether you consider yourself a wine connoisseur, even an oenophile,

or like most of us, you just appreciate a nice glass of wine, a little

help from the experts never hurts. What’s good? What’s not worth the

money? What is the "must have" wine this year?

Let someone else do your sleuthing for you and just enjoy the fruit of

their labor. Two wine tasting events on Friday, March 18, promise to

divulge a wealth of information for inquiring minds. At Lambertville

Station in Lambertville, wine enthusiasts can look, smell, swirl, and

swish more than 15 international wines, from rare finds to classic

styles. Wine representatives will introduce the new wines and speak

about the winemaking process. And since nothing accompanies a good

glass of wine better than good food, the Lambertville waitstaff will

serve some of their famous hors d’oeuvres. Wines will be available for

purchase at a discount.

Sebastian Hall, general manager of the Lambertville Station, who

travels each fall to established and up-and-coming wineries in

California’s Napa and Sonoma valleys to select wines for this event,

has pulled together some highly-rated cult wines this year including:

Arietta Merlot ($85); Cosentino Sangiovese ($16); Longsgaard

Chardonnay ($85), Quintessa Red Meritage ($75); and Tintara Shiraz


"My journey into the world of wine started with a 12-bottle wine rack

and a few bottles of wine," Hall says. "Today, what was a kitchen

decoration has turned into a 600-bottle wine cellar."

At the Frog and the Peach in New Brunswick, general manager Jim

Mullen, who joined the restaurant in September, 2004, after stints at

Morel’s in New York City and before that at Montrachet for 15 years,

says he has "been trying to invigorate the wine list. You try to find

things that are new and exciting, a percentage of things that people

haven’t seen before and that the staff has fun selling."

Mullen says the Frog and Peach has a long history of doing wine

dinners with a speaker. "I was looking for ways we could shake that

up. Just do a stand-up tasting where I could introduce people to some

wines, more to present a really nice cross-section from all over the

world, some things that are light and simple, some big and powerful.

I’m trying to create a variety from light, dry wines to dessert

wines." The March 18 tasting is the first of three this spring; the

others are on Thursday, April 21, and Thursday, May 26.

Mullen is still considering which wines he will present but a few

stand out that are under serious consideration. "We’ve been pouring a

dessert wine from Hungary, a late harvest Tokaji, from the producer

Demeter. Tokajis are world-famous wines that fell into disrepute in

the Communist years. This one is just a little bit brighter and

lighter – good with seared fois gras. Then there’s a Downing family

zinfandel – called Fly By Night zinfindel from Oakville, big and

powerful but also finished and elegant."

Also up for consideration are burgundies, says Mullen. "I love

burgundies, but they can be expensive. I found a wonderful one, Hautes

Cote De Nuits from producer Michel Gros. He makes some of the wines in

one of the most expensive areas in burgundy, but Hautes Cote De Nuits

is up the hill, a little more rustic, and it’s the best burgundy you

can find (for the price)."

Winetasters can order wine by the case at the event. And of course

nibble on passed hors d’oeuvres as well as plates of charcuterie and

cheese. Known for its elegant food and ambiance, one might think the

Frog and the Peach would get all stuffy when it comes to wine. Mullen

is eager to put the kibosh on that idea. For him, the bottom line on

the wine thing is all about having a good time. "Wine can put some

people off and seem pretentious. We try to avoid that at all costs. We

just try to make it fun. It’s a wonderful way to spend an evening,

relaxed, informal. We enjoy introducing things to people. One of the

most fun parts for us is finding things that are reasonably priced.

Anyone can find great wine. What’s difficult is to find wines that

taste great and are reasonably-priced. To me that’s a lot of the fun."

Spring Wine Tastings: Friday March 18, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.,

Lambertville Station, 11 Bridge Street, Lambertville. $35 if you

pre-register; $45 at the door. 609-397-8300; Friday, March 18, 6 p.m.,

Frog & The Peach, 29 Dennis Street, New Brunswick. Register. $69.


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Sourland Hills Actors Guild seeks adults and teens ages 11 and up for

a production of "Bye Bye Birdie," to be performed in June. Auditions

on Monday and Tuesday, March 21 and 22, 7 to 9 p.m. at Village

Elementary School, Room 200, 100 Main Boulevard, Skillman. For

information call 908-904-0489.

Seeking Poets

The Arts Council of Princeton seeks poets to participate in its

semi-annual regional poetry slam to be held on Friday, April 1, 7:30

p.m. Postmidnight hosts, prizes awarded. For information and

registration call Janet Stern at 609-924-9777. $6 donation.

For Teens

VSA Arts of New Jersey offers a spring poetry workshop at North

Brunswick High School beginning Wednesday, March 23, through the

Unlimited Potential Theater Company. Free to ages 16 and over.

Register at 732-745-3885.

New Jersey Institute of Technology offers a summer program for

students in grades four to eleven to pursue education in science,

math, and engineering. Visit www.njit.edu/precollege or call

973-596-3550. Deadline for applications is Friday, April 8.

For Families

Kids’ MusicRound offers music and movement classes for families with

young children. Sample classes are held in Montgomery, Pennington, and

South Brunswick through Tuesday, March 22. Visit

www.kidsmusicround.com or call 609-333-0100.

Music Together offers music classes for families beginning Saturday,

April 9. Demonstration classes are held in Princeton, Pennington, and

East Windsor through Thursday, April 7. Visit www.musictogether.com or

call 609-945-0302.

Plainsboro Preserve offers Nature Nut Bunch Club for ages 5 and 6

beginning Wednesday, March 23. $65 for the series. Visit

www.njaudubon.org or call 609-897-9400.


New Jersey Association of Realtors offers scholarships to members of

the association or relatives of members who will be/or are attending

college. Visit www.njar.com or call 732-494-4705.

Mercedes-Benz of Princeton invites students who will be the first from

their family to attend college or vocational school to apply for

scholarships. Visit www.mbusa.com/drivefuture for information.

Library Friends

Princeton Public Library offers poster prints of "Happy World" by

Ik-Joong Kang to those joining the Friends of the Princeton Public

Library. Cal 609-924-9529 for information.

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