According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, this is really an exciting time in New Jersey’s wine industry. And to make this news even more exciting, New Jersey wines have given stiff competition to French wines. At the “Judgment of Princeton” wine competition held this past Friday afternoon at Princeton University as part of the four-day American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) conference it was a banner day for the New Jersey wine industry.
The “Judgment of Princeton” was organized by former journalist, George Taber, to mirror the famous 1976 Judgment of Paris, when a Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon outscored French wines soaring American wines onto the world stage. A panel of nine judges consisting of vineyard owners, international wine critics and journalists, sampled a blind taste test from a specially selected list of four French wines and six New Jersey wines in each category.
The whites had to be 100 percent chardonnay and the reds came from any of the Bordeaux blend grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Petit Verdot and had to be grown in New Jersey. New Jersey wines for the competition were submitted to an informal panel of judges, who then selected the wines for the competition. These judges were not eligible to taste wines at the final competition.
The exciting news is that three New Jersey chardonnays placed in three of the top four against five Grand Cru/Premier Cru burgundies in the competition.Jersey’s Unionville Vineyards, Heritage Vineyards and Silver Decoy Winery placing second through fourth, respectively. Although New Jersey Bordeaux-style reds didn’t fare quite so well as the whites, they did rank third highest in the reds.
The results hardly tell the whole story according to Orley C. Ashenfelter, president of the AAWE and a professor of economics at Princeton University.The judging was so close that, statistically, there were virtually no significant differences in the rankings. Therefore, if the competition were held again, there is a high probability the rankings would change due to how close the wines were judged.
Rankings of the “Judgment of Princeton” are listed below:
1 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos Mouches 2009 FRA
2 Unionville Chardonnay 2010 NJ
3 Heritage Chardonnay 2010 NJ
4 Silver Decoy “Black Feather” Chardonnay NJ
5 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet FRA
6 tied Bellview Chardonnay 2010 NJ
6 tied Domaine Macr-Antonin Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2009 FRA
8 Amalthea Cellars Chardonnay 2008 NJ
9 Ventimiglia Chardonnay 2010 NJ
10 Jean Latour-Labille Meursault-Charmes Premier Cru 2008 FRA
1 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 2004 FRA
2 Chateau Haut-Brion 2004 FRA
3 Heritage Estate Reserve BDX 2010 NJ
4 Chateau Montrose 2004 FRA
5 Tomasello Cabernet Sauvignon “Oak Reserve” 2007 NJ
6 Chateau Leoville Las Cases 2004 FRA
7 Bellview Lumiere 2010 NJ
8 Silver Decoy Cabernet Franc 2008 NJ
9 Amalthea Cellars Europa VI 2008 NJ
10 Four JG’s Cabernet Franc 2008 NJ
According to the New Jersey Wine Growers Association, New Jersey is the fifth largest wine producing state in the country. Many of the new wineries were started by some of New Jersey’s long-time farmers who sought new ways to gain greater profits in agriculture. Part of the new trend has been several fourth and fifth generations of local farmers switching over to the business of growing grapes and making wine. New Jersey has more than 40 wineries producing over 225 varieties from dry to semi-dry, sparkling, fruit and dessert wines. New Jersey wines have come a long way in recent years and can now compete with the best of the best worldwide. For a complete listing of New Jersey wineries, jump here.
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