DiMatteo Vineyards Review
Address: 951 8th Street Hammonton,New Jersey 08037.
Phone Number: 609-704-1414
Tasting Hours: Mon, Tues, Fri 12:00-5:00, Sat-Sun 11:00-5:00
Region: Outer Coastal Plain AVA, New Jersey
Reviewer: Charlie Toms
Review Date: 6/1/2013
Reviewer: Charlie Toms
Nearly all of New Jerseys wineries are family-owned. However, DiMatteos Vineyards is the quintessential family-run business. Each time I visit their tasting room, or taste their wine at a festival, a member of the DiMatteo family is present. Like many families in New Jersey, they have long made wine for personal consumption. In 2000, Frank DiMatteo Jr. and Frank DiMatteo III planted a vineyard, and two years later, the winery opened to the public.
The winery is located in Hammonton, which is in southern New Jerseys Outer Coastal Plain Viticultural Area, and is the epicenter of New Jerseys wine production. Their original property consisted of a tiny tasting room surrounded by an attractive hillside vineyard. Some years ago, a group of us were standing outside in the snow on a cold windy day in February eagerly waiting admittance into DiMatteos tasting room which could only hold a few customers at a time.
In 2010, the winery moved to a much larger building in Hammonton. The new facility has a pine-clad tasting room with a marble wine bar, behind which is a warehouse with fermenting tanks, cases of wine along the walls, and tables for events. Frank Jr. , the former owner of a construction company, runs the tasting room like an old-school host women get served before men. Frank III is a lifetime farmer and is usually out in the fields meticulously tending to his vines like an artist perfecting his masterpiece. Regardless of who is doing the pouring, the DiMatteos give patrons a generous-sized sample to taste.
DiMatteo currently produces wine using Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Concord, Diamond, Ives Noir, Merlot, Niagara, Syrah, Traminette, and Vidal Blanc grapes. DiMatteo specializes in making wine from often-snubbed native varieties such as Concord and Ives, and they are the only winery in New Jersey to grow Diamond grapes, which is a Concord-based hybrid developed in the 1880s. Like most wineries in the state, DiMatteo also makes wine from locally-grown fruit, including apples, blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries. Overall, DiMatteo has 14 acres of vineyards, from which they produce 1,500 cases of wine per year, and sell the remainder of their grapes to other wineries.
On my most recent visit to DiMatteo, I tried six of their wines Blushing Madison, Jersey Red, Jersey White, Pasquale Red, Traminette, and Vidal Blanc and a red sangria that they made that day. The only wine that I did not like was the Vidal Blanc, which had a harsh acerbic taste. Jersey White was mild and well-balanced and would pair well with a lightly-seasoned meal. The Traminette was much more full-bodied and fruity. Blushing Madison, the winerys only blush wine, was just as strong as the Traminette but less sweet.
The sangria was decent, but seemed weaker-tasting than other sangrias that Ive had. Jersey Red is a palatable, semi-sweet blend and reminded me of unpretentious red wines that I had in Europe. Pasquale Red is DiMatteos signature wine and was strong, sweet, and smooth. This award-winning wine is the highly satisfying product of old-fashioned Italian winemaking crossed with indigenous American grapes and would be a great compliment for a pasta dinner.
DiMatteo Vineyards is less than 10 minutes from either the Atlantic City Expressway or Route 206 and is within 20 minutes of 10 other wineries. DiMatteo attends most of the major wine festivals in the state, and can also ship to residents of New Jersey and 38 other states that permit wine deliveries.