Hubby and I spent the first couple of days just relaxing on the beach. The weather wasn’t great, so there were a couple of hasty retreats back to the rental house. That didn’t stop us from trying to catch the some rays and some reading time in-between raindrops, though. After putting in our beach hours, on both of the first two evenings, we walked from our rental along the shore up to the Washington Street Mall to check out the shops, as well as to search our dinner. Cucina Rosa was high on my list of places to try because how could we go to the Jersey Shore and not go for some Italian food, so when we walked by, I knew we had to go in.
On the first night, we headed to Cucina Rosa without reservations, which was a mistake. We were turned away after having a whiff of the fabulous food. As we left, I tried not to look too longingly at the plates all piled high with yumminess. As you can imagine, I didn’t hesitate to make reservations for our second night.
On our second night, we headed back to Cucina Rosa with reservations in hand. We even managed to snag one of the few outside tables. After we were seated, though, I looked around and realized I made a rookie mistake—I didn’t bring my own wine to dinner. Many of New Jersey’s restaurants are bring your own, with only limited or no wines for sale on property. Thankfully, Cucina Rosa had a limited wine list, and it was one that gave me the opportunity to order a wine from the Cape May Winery & Vineyard.
The Cucina Rosa Red Table Wine (winery) was made in Cape May, New Jersey and had a nice ruby red color. On the nose, there were strawberries and raspberries. In the mouth, there were strawberries and raspberries with a hint herbs. The wine had a light-to-medium body, light-to-medium tannins, and medium acidity.
Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely! If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $19, there was no question that I was paying a bit of a premium to buy a local wine that was made specifically for the restaurant I was in. But really, that’s the key…it was made with the restaurant in mind, so it paired amazingly well with a wide variety of food. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from a New Jersey made wine, but, happily, this bottle surprised me.
I started with the clams casino, which were a little spicy and delicious. The wine, though, took the dish over the top to wonderful. It tampered down the spicy, brought out the oregano flavors, and just melded together in a way that didn’t overshadow the appetizer, but was very complimentary and pleasant. As an entrée, I had the linguine in white clam sauce, which I thought might end up being too delicate for the wine. However, the clams, garlic, and oregano had such a distinctive flavor and the wine itself was light enough in body, that the two paired together surprisingly well.
The bonus for me with New Jersey’s liquor laws was that after three glasses of wine, I was able to put the cork back in the bottle and leave the restaurant with 1/3 of a bottle of wine to enjoy at home.
In the end, this is obviously not a wine that you’ll be able to buy when you’re out and about. However, if you find yourself in Cape May, NJ, I strongly suggest that you not only go to Cucina Rosa for dinner, but also when you do, don’t bother to bring your own bottle. Instead, splurge on the wine that the Cape May Winery & Vineyard has bottled specially for the restaurant. It will be worth your while.
Question of the Day: Have you ever had a New Jersey wine? What did you think of it?
Purchased at Cucina Rosa Restaurant
Overall: 4 Corks