I recently visited Turdo Vineyards in order to complete my NJ Wine Passport, and I have to say, they are the best winery in the entire state. Since they were closed for most of the winter (they completely sold out of wine last year), I visited all the other wineries in NJ, with Turdo being the only winery left to visit. I have to say, I truly saved the best for last. If you are a TRUE wine drinker, this is the only place in the state worth visiting. Most NJ wines get a bad rap, and I can see why... Almost all the other wineries produce these "Fruit Wines", aka syrupy concentrate with alcohol, which to me, is a major disappointment. NJ can never compete with CA, NY, or OR when it comes to high quality wines, when 95% of the wineries produce wines for non-wine drinkers. But, fortunately, Salvatore Turdo along with his wife and son, have kept true to the Old World European style and tradition of dry reds and white wines.
I visited the winery this past weekend, which was just its 3rd weekend open, and I was impressed from the second I stepped on the property. The vineyard and property itself are beautiful, very European, colorful, and classy. I'm sure it will look even nicer once all the vines and staggering number of flower pots on the outdoor patio are in full bloom. First and foremost, this is truly a family-owned and run operation. I was greeted at the gate by the owner's dog, and once I walked in the tasting room, I was greeted by Luca, the owner's son. He also poured the wines for my tasting. He knew a great deal of the wine making process, as well as wine knowledge in general... Very refreshing, considering most of the other wineries I visited, had people who only knew how to pour and ask if I wanted to buy.. It was a treat to actually be served by the owners. Luca, was also kind enough to introduce me to his father Sal, and mother, Sara. And, from the moment Sal introduced himself, you could feel the passion oozing out of him, when he talked of his wines.
And, not to sound cliche', but you can truly taste his passion when sampling his TURIS wines. All the whites were dry and crisp, the reds were elegant and well-balanced, and the dessert wine, put all the other "sweet" NJ wines to shame. No wonder all the display bottles in the tasting room are covered in multiple gold and silver medals. At one point during the tasting, I forgot I was in NJ, and felt as if I was in an upscale wine bar, sampling varieties from reputable wine regions around the world. It was extremely gratifying to visit a winery that is focused solely on making premium wines, on a yearly basis. And is not focused on live bands, or events to bring people in. If the majority of the other NJ wineries could follow Turdo's lead, within 10 years, NJ wont be the laughing stock of wines made in the US.
If you enjoy high quality wine, Turdo is your one and only stop in NJ. I will be back once they release the other 2 Italian varieties in the summer. I may just have to pruchase another case, as I did on my first visit...
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