Home » Wine Tasting in the Wine Cellar, Crystal Springs Resort, Hamburg, NJ, USA

Wine Tasting in the Wine Cellar, Crystal Springs Resort, Hamburg, NJ, USA

Sommelier Suzanne Wager
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We spent a perfect Friday afternoon in the Award-Winning Crystal Springs Wine Cellar taking a Wine Tasting class with Wine Director and Sommelier Suzanne Wagner. As the Wine Director and Sommelier Suzanne Wagner is responsible for the Wine Spectator Grand Award-Winning Wine Cellar which houses an impressive collection of 45,000 bottles of wine with a value of approximately $10 million USD.


Sommelier Suzanne Wagner

Wine lovers take notice, every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 4:00 pm Suzanne Wagner is the host of a Wine Tasting that takes place in the Wine Cellar located in the Crystal Springs Clubhouse. We had the pleasure of attending the class on Friday, March 4, 2022, where Suzanne engaged and educated attendees while stimulating our palates and our minds.

The class was designed to provide information in a fun yet educational way discussing wine components (tannin, acidity, alcohol, sugar, aromas & flavors, oak, and minerality). Suzanne began the tasting with a glass of Ciodet Sansèr Prosecco DOC Treviso Extra Dry with 11% alcohol. She told us to swirl the glass to get air into the glass to release the aromas, then stick our nose deep into the glass to get the full nuances of the wine. The next step was to take a sip, which Suzanne noted was a palate cleanser, then to take a second sip, because that is the one that counts.

Sweetness Chart - Sommelier Suzanne Wager - photo by Luxury Experience

The level of sweetness varies in sparkling wines, and Suzanne prepared a chart showing the various categories that range from the least amount of sugar, Nature/Sauvage with less than 3 grams of sugar per liter, to Brut with less than 15 grams of sugar per liter, to the sweetest, Doux with more than 50 grams of sugar. The complete list of sparkling wine categories are Nature/Sauvage, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec, and Doux. Interesting to note is that Brut is not bone dry, yet it is not sweet, and is the most popular type of sparkling wine. With our palates educated, we moved on to training our olfactory senses to isolate individual nuances and aromas first by smell and then by taste.

Sommelier Suzanne Wager - photo by Luxury Eperience

Our palates thoroughly cleansed with the prosecco, we were ready to taste the first of the wines, a Chardonnay from Carmel Road, Monterey, 2018, 13% alcohol from California. This was an unoaked Chardonnay aged in stainless steel tanks, with lots of minerality which would pair well with seafood dishes.

Suzanne discussed the distinctive styles of wine, Old World vs New World. For example, if there is more earthiness to the wine then it is Old World style, whereas New World has less acid, more fruit, more oak, and more alcohol. By looking for those signals, we learned how to distinguish the origin the way sommeliers do, in a blind tasting.

For the next wine we sampled, Suzanne had covered the bottle for us to do a blind tasting. The wine was an old-world wine from Armenia which is the oldest wine producer in the world dating to 6,000 BC. Due to the high elevation, very dry desert like conditions with a cool climate, and the indigenous Areni grape variety used, it was very much like a pinot noir. Cool climate and volcanic soil produce lots of acidity, making the wine very compatible with "fatty" foods like cheese. She had us sample the wine with a goat milk gouda and a pecorino Romano, which helped to balance the wine. It was also light enough to enjoy as a sipping wine. When Suzanne removed the bottle sleeve, we learned that we had tasted Zulal Areni Vayots Dzor, 2018.

Cheese Pairing - Sommelier Suzanne Wager - photo by Luxury Experience

Our last blind tasting took our palates to a new world wine from South America, to Chile, with the sampling of Vinedos Marchigüe Santa Marta Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, DO Valle de Colchagua, Chile, 2019, 13.5% alcohol, which had bold rich flavors of vanilla, tobacco, and mint. This dark red wine was classic new world with chocolate followed by herbaceous notes and was awarded 90 points.

Key takeaways from the class included how to distinguish old world from new world wines using our olfactory senses, when pairing wine with food the wine should not overpower the food, wines 96 – 100 points are considered outstanding wines, and when you see 90 – 94 points for bottles of wine under $20 she highly recommends buying them.

Australian Room - Wine Cellar Crystal Springs Resort - photo by Luxury Experience
Australian Room

After the tasting we took a tour of the impressive wine cellar collection of 45,000 bottles and includes a bottle of 1888 Chateau La Tour de Bordeaux. The cellar houses the collections in separate rooms, Champagne, Bordeaux, California, White Wine Room, Burgundy Room, International, Australian, and Italian.

Wine Cellar - Crystal Springs Resort, NJ

In addition to the Wine Tastings, they also hold private dinners in the Cellar, and there is a special wine shop called The Curator Wine & Spirits Shop that is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

Edward F. Nesta - Wine Cellar Crystal Springs Resort - photo by Luxury Experience

Our Wine Tasting with Wine Director and Sommelier Suzanne Wagner was fun, educational, and most importantly, very tasty. Cheers!

Read more about Crystal Springs Resort in theHotels and Resorts,Restaurants,Chefs’ Recipes, andAdventures sections.

Debra C. Argen - Wine Cellar Crystal Springs Resort - photo by Luxury Experience
See you at a future Wine Tasting!

For more information or to make a reservation at Crystal Springs Resort, please visit their website: or call them at: +1-973-862-4351.

Crystal Springs Resorts, NJ

Crystal Springs Resort
Wild Turkey Way
Hamburg, New Jersey 07419
United States
Telephone: +1-973-862-4351
Telephone: +1-877-424-5962
Website: www.CrystalGolfResort.com
Facebook: @CrystalSpringsResort
Instagram: @CrystalSpringResort
YouTube: Crystal Springs Resort

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