Happy start to Summer, wine lovers! We are excited to bring you a review of our recent experience at Alba Vineyard earlier this month. Alba Vineyard is located in Pohatcong, NJ and has been open to the public since 1982. They are one of the oldest wineries in our state.
Alba recently built and opened a new tasting room on their property. We have been to Alba previously, but had not been back since the transition to their new tasting room. When we walked into the new spot, we were amazed by the beauty of this new space. The design is breathtaking and we also learned that it was built by the owners, themselves. A talented family of winemakers and contractors? That is impressive!
We were ecstatic to meet Nick Sharko during our visit who is one of the owners and operators of Alba Vineyard. Nick gladly took us back for our tasting and spent a good amount of time discussing Alba’s wines and the facility upgrades that they’ve recently made. In addition to discussing their wines, Sharko provided us with highlights of some special wine releases that will be coming in the future. Keep your eyes out for some big releases coming soon from Alba!
We opted for the reserve wine tasting which is priced at $25/person. The reserve tasting gives you the option to taste eight of Alba’s higher end wines along with some small bites (cheese, meats, crackers, etc.) to accompany the tasting. The eight wines include some of their single vineyard plot wines which give you the option to taste the unique terroir on Alba’s property. We also had the opportunity to taste two wines that were not on the reserve tasting menu, thanks to Sharko! One of which was a third Chardonnay, which allowed us to taste and compare a total of three Chardonnay’s during our tasting.
The eight wines from the reserve menu that we tasted were (tasting notes from Alba):
2017 Dry Riesling- Ripe peach, bright citrus notes, and balanced with minerality
2018 Pinot Gris- Bright acidity with notes of minerality, mango, and fresh citrus
2017 Wedding Rock Chardonnay- Grapes were harvested at night to maintain its structure, ripe fruit and minerality with a long and balanced finish, 14 months 66% new oak barrels
2016 Grand Reserve Chardonnay- The creamiest of the Chardonnay’s we tasted, barrel aged for 16 months 100% new oak and includes another 6 months of bottle aging, notes of peach and mango
2017 Chelsea Dry Rose- Charmbourcin grapes used to make this dry rose, lots of fresh strawberry notes with some watermelon
2015 Pinot Noir- Cherry and earthy notes on this vibrant and balanced Pinot
2014 Cabernet Franc- lots of dark fruit on this structured and bold wine, 30 months in French oak barrels, this wine showcases the noticeably hot and dry end to the 2014 harvest season
Dolcina (NV)- Late harvest Riesling and Gewurztraminer, notes of honey, peaches, and nectarines on this dessert style wine
The two wines that we tasted that were not on the reserve tasting menu were:
2017 Estate Chardonnay- Sur lie aging style, French oak barrels, creamy notes of fig, pear, and melon
GTR Field Blend (Gewurztraminer, Traminette, Riesling) (NV)- A beautifully done white field blend that we were able to taste from the barrel, stay tuned for more information on this fantastic wine
After our tasting, Sharko spent the time to show us around their updated production and storage facility. We are by no means experts in the wine industry, so we appreciate the time he spent with us providing us with valuable wine-related ‘nuggets’ of information. We learned about the toasting of various barrels that Alba utilizes and how to read the markings on each barrel. These are the types of valuable moments from winery visits that we look back on years later and will appreciate!
To end our tasting and tour experience with Sharko, he took us to their new outside seating area and patio to look out onto the vineyard, his bread and butter. Sharko oversees and manages the vineyard operations at Alba, and he sure knows his stuff. Being able to hear him describe each plot in the vineyard and share his passion for the land was an exhilarating experience. We appreciate Sharko spending the time to give us the tour of Alba and share his passion. He’s a busy man and we value the time he shared with us that afternoon.
We ended our experience with purchasing a total of three wines. The wines we left with were the 2017 Wedding Rock Chardonnay, the 2015 Pinot Noir, and the Dolcina dessert wine.
Have you been to Alba Vineyard before? If so, what’re your thoughts? If so, have you seen their new tasting room location? Send us your thoughts!
Wine is calling, we must go!
Nick & Ed
(Photo courtesy of Alba Vineyard)