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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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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