An Exploration of Wines by Caterers in Bergen County, NJ, Part 1
The world of wine can be as rich and deep as the explorer of this fermented grape drink of the gods chooses to go. From bubbles to stills, from reds to whites, developing a relationship with wine can be a lifelong journey. The Brick House caterers in Bergen County, NJ have created this short introduction to expand your acquaintanceship with wine a wee bit.
In Part 1 of this exploration, we’ll talk about white wines and sparkling wines. Then, in Part 2 we’ll talk about reds. In addition to exploring some general varieties, we’ll introduce some specific wines offered on the menu in The Brick House dining rooms and by our caterers in Bergen County, NJ.
White wines are made from what are called “white” grapes—which are in fact green, yellow or even pinkish in color. White wines tend to feel lighter in your mouth and typically pair well with lighter foods, such as chicken, vegetables and fishes.
The specific grape variety used will have a big impact on the specific flavor, making them more aromatic, earthy, sweet or dry. Another big factor with whites is whether or not they are aged in oak barrels or for how long they are kept in contact with oak. Totally unoaked whites are crisp and light with less sweetness, such as Pinot Grigio from Italy. Whites that have aged with oak, such as most Chardonnays, for example, have a strong oaky character and tend to be drier than other whites.
We’ll discuss Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio in more detail below. Other whites can include White Zinfandels, Sauvignon Blancs and Rieslings. Offered by the glass at The Brick House, you’ll find:
- Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi from California $7/glass
- Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand $9/glass
- Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, from the Columbia Valley in Oregon $8/glass
Italy makes more wine than any country in the world. She also exports more and consumes more at home per capita than any other nation, some 30 gallons per person per year. Vines grow in astonishing variety from one end of the country to the other—from the Tyrol in the extreme northeast to the orange groves of Sicily. Italy winemaking traditions are centuries old, with wines that evolved largely as accompaniments to local cuisine. …the grilled meats and game birds so popular in Tuscany, for example, are handsomely set off by fine reds like Chianti Riserva, Vino Nobile, or Brunello di Montalcino. In the northeast around Venice seafood delicacies from the Adriatic are accompanied by fresh dry whites such as Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, and others that are among Italy’s best dry white wines.
– The Pocket Guide to Wine by Barbara Ensrud
Pinot Grigio is one of the most famous of Italian whites and according to Barbara Ensrud, makes for “firm, dry, fruity white wines from grape of that name.” The Brick House caterers in Bergen County, NJ offer several beautiful Pinot Grigio options. Today we’ll feature the:
Kris Pinot Grigio, Alto Adige for $28
From the Alpine town of Montagna, Italy, Kris wines have been in the family for 7 generations.The flavor of this delicacy is best described straight from the Kris website as follows:
“Ironically, “grigio” means “gray” in Italian, which couldn’t be further from the truth in the case of KRIS, which is bursting with colorful aromas and flavors developed in high vineyards of the Veneto region. With enticing aromas of acacia flowers, lime, tangerine and hints of apricots and almonds, KRIS Pinot Grigio is bold but clean and refreshing on the palate, and offers a long finish tinged with orange blossom and honey.”
The interesting Kris labels have as interesting a history as the wine itself: “The playful, mysterious KRIS labels were designed by Italian artist Riccardo Schweizer, who was part of Europe’s Cubist movement along with his friends and contemporaries, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. Born of love, the labels were commissioned by the KRIS winemaker’s wife as a gift to him for their wedding anniversary.”
For another Italian white option, try the Antinori Tenuta Guado al Tasso Vermentino, from Bolgheri for $40 or the Villa Rosa Gavi di Gavi from Piemonte for $29.
Chardonnay is a white wine that originally comes from France and is considered rather elegant. It has become one of the most commonly enjoyed white wines in the modern era and is in fact among the top 5 most grown grape varieties in the world!
Developed in a town called Chardonnay in the Burgundy region of France, the name means “place of thistles” but the wine is actually known as White Burgundy in its homeland. While Chardonnay comes from Burgundy, it is an extremely versatile grape that grows well and easily the world over. The location where the grape is grown will have a profound effect upon the final flavor. According to Vinepair.com,
No two places that grow Chardonnay produce the exact same wine, yet every region finds it is relatively easy to grow. This discovery is what helped the grape quickly spread across the world. As the grape spread, winemakers discovered that warm climates would produce a Chardonnay grape that was ripe and full of tropical flavors, while in cooler climates the grape had flavors of apple as well as earthy fall aromas such as mushrooms and the smell of fallen leaves. With the variety of different Chardonnays that can be produced around the world, wine drinkers literally have a Chardonnay for every season and occasion. This worldwide variety allows Chardonnay to go extremely well on its own while sitting outside in the summer, or even on a cold winter’s night with a hearty stew.
Another factor affecting the flavor is the whether or not the wine is aged in corks, which as mentioned above, Chardonnays frequently are. When this is the case, they are described as “oaked.” According to Winefolly.com, “Oaked Chardonnays are rich, full-bodied and often have additional oak-aged flavors of vanilla, baking spices, or butter. Flavors range from tropical (think pineapple or mango) in warm climate regions, to leaner, green apple and citrus in cooler climates.”
They describe Unoaked Chardonnay, on the other hand, as “not what you might expect! The taste is similar to zippy styles of Pinot Grigio or Sauvinon Blanc “green” flavors.”
The ripeness of the grape will also have a great influence upon the final flavor of Chardonnay. Winefolly.com says “depending on how ripe the grapes get, the flavor ranges from citrus and green apple, to overripe peach and canned pineapple.”
At the Brick House, you’ll find several California Chardonnay options such as Beringer from Napa Valley, California for $33/bottle and Cakebread Cellars also from Napa Valley, for $65/bottle.
If you’d like to sample a French option from Burgundy, try the Bouchard Père & Fils Pouilly-Fuissé for $55/bottle.
Champagne and Other Sparkling Wines
Sparkling wines tend to be crisp, refreshing and fun. Often used for toasts and popped to celebrate any event worth celebrating (any excuse will do), a good sparkling wine is a delight.
Champagne is actually a very specific wine from a specific region, but the name has become somewhat synonymous with sparkling wines in America. It is, in fact, a type of bubbly wine, made from specific grape varieties and comes from a region in France called Champagne. It is made from a combination of grapes and, surprisingly, the primary grape used is a red grape (usually Pinot Noir). However, because the skins are removed and only the juice used, the red color is not imparted to the drink.
Prosecco is another famous bubbly wine, but in this case it is made with white grapes and comes from a region in Italy.
The Brick House caterers in Bergen County, NJ offer a range of sparkling wines, so you can celebrate your event in style. A few options include:
Mionetto Moscato, Treviso, Italy offered split for $10
Founded in 1887 by Franesco Mionetto in the small, northern Italy village of Valdobbiadene, Mionetto has an international reputation as one of the best fresh and crisp sparkling wines with a floral bouquet and fruit finish.
According to their website, Mionetto has “Freshness and fruity aromas: Prosecco is a premium and prized wine for its combination of refreshing lightness and yet complexity of flavor…Lightness: With its fine bubbles and a food-friendly low alcohol content (around 11%), the Prosecco is versatile. It can be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif, throughout an entire meal or in cocktails.”
For another Italian spakling wine, try LaLuca Prosecco NV, from Veneto for $28/bottle.
A true champagne classic, The Brick House offers a couple Veuve Clicquot varieties:
Veuve Clicquot “La Grande Dame”, France 190/bottle
According to the Veuve Clicquot website, this incredible creation was “first launched in 1972 for Veuve Clicquot’s bicentennial, the rare and remarkable La Grande Dame champagne is a tribute to Madame Clicquot…When Madame Clicquot took the reins of the House in 1805, she became one of the first businesswomen of modern times. Called la Grande Dame of Champagne by her peers, she led a life defined by her audacious, courageous choices such as shipping her excellent champagne around the world.”
The Brick House also offers the Veuve Clicquot “Yellow Label” Brut NV for $90/bottle. According to the website, Yellow Label is made with “50 to 55% Pinot Noir, 15 to 20% Meunier and 28 to 33% Chardonnay. These figures vary slightly from year to year according to condition.”
If you’re celebrating a special event, you’ll want the best food and wine that Caterers in Bergen County, NJ can offer! At The Brick House, choose from among a beautiful selection of white, red and sparkling wines. Tune in next month for Part 2 of our wine exploration as we dive into reds: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and more!