Coda Rossa Winery in Franklinville was one of the first local wineries I visited this year in an effort to fill my “passport” by visiting all of those currently operating in New Jersey. The winery is named for the Red Tail Hawks which live in the vineyards and are of course a common sight to anyone from the area. Owners Kathy & Kenton Nice earn their last name with their friendly demeanor and enthusiasm for sharing their wines with visitors to their tasting room.
Coda Rossa produces a variety of both local grape and fruit wines, as well as some produced from or blended with California grapes. I sampled a variety of both during a Barrel Tasting weekend event. The Californias included standard varieties such as Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah and several blends. I found most a little sharp and not to my tastes with the exception of a very nice and complex Nebbiolo, featuring a blend of Nebbiolo and Old Vine Barbera. Unsurprisingly it’s one of their most expensive wines at $22/bottle but I liked it enough to take one home.
More successful to me were their New Jersey reds, especially the Cabernet Franc (always one of my favorites) and a very nice blend they call “Ameritage”, combining local Cab Franc with Cabernet and Merlot. The taste from their 2010 barrel was especially exciting and I look forward to tasting it once bottled and released this fall, but in the meantime I bought one of their Ameritage 2009’s for $18, and a Cab Franc for $15. They also produce a number of “Whimsical Whites”, blending grape and fruit wines for fun results such as the “Black Bird” (New Jersey Syrah and blackberry wine). As I said, these were fun but none really wowed me enough to buy as I’m not a big sweet wine drinker.
Coda Rossa has Friday night movies at their vineyard with wines for sale by the bottle and glass, and their tasting room is typically open on the weekends. They are also associated with The Wine Room of Cherry Hill, where you can gain hands-on experience making your own wine and bottling your own “vintage”.
I look forward to seeing Coda Rossa continue to grow; when we visited, many young vines had just been planted and I’d like to see them do more with their own local grapes, as that’s where I thought their wines succeeded best to date.
CODA ROSSA WINERY – 1526 Dutch Mill Road, Franklinville NJ 08322. Open for wine tasting every Saturday and Sunday Noon – 5pm, for Wine Trail Events, and by appointment. 856-697-9463.