Small wineries seem to pop up around Central Jersey, rivaling the emergence of craft breweries. And while this is not really wine country, they seem to enjoy some success and a good following. I’ve written reviews of some local breweries, and this is our first story on wineries, starting right here in Monmouth County.
Fox Hollow Vineyards opened in Holmdel (almost across from Vonage) in October 2016. First of all, it has a great location, a nice farm-like setting with a big patio, chairs around two fire pits, a few more tables with umbrellas, and new covered area for the colder months. That’s beside the huge room inside, where they do the tastings and they hold all their barrels and bottles.
As for the wines… these are again New Jersey wines. You have to work very hard (and travel a lot… and be lucky…) to find real gems here. And Fox Hollows grows all their grapes right here on their 25-acre farm, so not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Let me say that my standards for local wines are very low, so I’m easily impressed. So let’s see what are they offering in the spring of 2017 (by the way, a tasting is $8 for 5 wines and you get to keep the glass):
The whites are two Rieslings, a kind of flat 2015 and a a much better barrel-aged dry one from 2014. Their Chardonnay was very bland and tasteless, but they have a nice surprise with the 2014 Traminette. If you like Northeastern sweet grapes, you’ll definitely enjoy this, it’s a very good flavor. And actually the only bottle I ever bought from Fox Hollow.
Now to the reds, there’s a Chambourcin, a table wine with some berry flavors but a bit too sour. The Cab Franc and Cab Sauvignon are slightly better, although nothing special to be remembered (or worth the price).
Their best wine in my opinion is the 2014 Field Master Blend, their signature product. It’s a blend of their two Cabernets, but the mix came out a lot better than its components. However, while a decent full bodied red, it’s quite insane to charge $40 for a bottle. Would be a good $15 red, but $40 no way. Even a glass at the winery is $10, that’s like a fancy bar price. Did I mention they don’t let you buy bottles to enjoy them outside by the fire? But since it’s the only wine I could really enjoy repeatedly, I had to keep paying for these glasses.
Overall, Fox Hollow is maybe a bit over the average Central Jersey winery (I found not one, but two wines I could enjoy), quite overpriced, but with an excellent setup for a bigger group to relax and drink wine. And if you live in Monmouth County, it’s perfectly located, between Freehold and the shore, right next to Holmdel Park.
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