Joe Canal's is a chain of discount liquor, beer and wine stores in
Southern and Central Jersey. They have a pretty good reputation for offering good beers and wines at great prices.
I was on my way to Woodbridge to visit family for dinner when I spotted Joe's Iselin-Woodbridge store on Route 1 and decide to stop in.
I found a great dessert wine and some other goodies at a really great price.
The staff was not particularly knowledgeable. Which is fine if you know exactly what you want, but not if you are seeking to explore something new. Maybe I was there on a bad day.
Update: My friend Debbie Miller Nelson who I just learned works at Joe Canal's wrote me on Facebook to say:
"And the Staff is VERY knowledgeable, unless you asked a stock guy whose job is to stock shelves. Sorry you had that experience. Always ask for a wine manager. We're always available."
I trust Debbie, so do ask for a Manager if you need help.
We were looking for some Austrian wine and the fellow on the floor said he did not think they had any, but if they did they would be near the German wines.
I did end up finding exactly what I was looking for Berger Gruner Veltliner even though their selection of Austrian wine is small. The price was right. I guess there are just not a lot of Austrians in the Woodbridge area. There was a Georgian/Moldavian (Russia) section so that must tell you something.
I also found a very nice Rose, Domaine de la Chanade Les Rials Servadou Rose 2008 which my friend Debbie Nelson says is "A perfect alternative to White Zinfandel, this summer rose has wonderful ruby color and aromas of strawberry with a slight sweetness on the palate. Perfect for backyard BBQ’s and summer sipping on a hot day." It was one of the 1,000 under $10, priced at a very modest $9.99.
My best find was this terrific dessert wine Chateau La Foncalpre Monbazillac 2007. A full bottle for just $16.00.
Monbazillacis a village on Dordogne River in South West France. It is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée(AOC) for sweet white wine produced in the village. Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle varieties used to make this wine. This one is 80 % Sémillon and 20% Muscadelle.
It is similar to a Sauternes, "Château La Foncalpre has a beautifuldeep yellow colour, a complex and very rich acacia blossom honey nose and pleasant gingerbread. Long and fat touches without excessive heaviness. Serve very chilled." Terrori Saveur Origine
Joe Canal has a website at http://www.ultimatewineshop.com/