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Archive for September, 2011

Harvest Season in Temecula Valley

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

All over California, winegrowers are picking, racking, and punching down – it’s smack dab in the middle of Harvest Season!

Harvest – or “Crush” as it’s often called in the New World – usually falls between August and October.  Specific times of picking are determined primarily by ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid, and tannin levels, which varies with each winemaker depending on the style of wine they wish to produce.  The weather can also shape the timetable of harvesting with the threat of heat, rain, hail, and frost which can damage the grapes.  Did you know that most harvesting takes place at night?  The grapes need to be cool at the time of picking, so farm crews all over Temecula Valley set up their floodlights and mechanical pickers in the evening and pick until dawn.

You may have heard a particularly odd wine term called “punching down the cap.”  When grapes or grape bits are left in a fermentation vessel, as in red wine making, all the solids—grape skins, seeds, stems, pulp—rise to the surface. This mass of solid matter is called a “cap,” and winemakers want to integrate the cap back into the wine. Think of the cap like a tea bag—if it’s just sitting there floating on top, you’re not going to get the color or flavor that you would if you dunk it in to steep. (Also, leaving the cap floating on top runs the risk of bacterial growth.)

There are two main ways to deal with the cap: pump-overs and punch-downs. Pump-overs are what they sound like: the fermenting juice is circulated, or pumped, over the cap. This doesn’t break up the cap so much as it helps keep it submerged. A punch-down is when a device (think of a big potato-masher) pushes the cap down, breaks it up and submerges it again.

The how (and how often) of dealing with the cap depends on a winemaker’s style. The more aggressive one is with breaking up the cap, the more a wine will be extracted, dark and tannic.  Just an FYI, if a winemaker invites you to help with a punch-down, you’re in for a workout! It takes an extraordinary amount of physical effort to punch down that cap.

 Temecula Valley – Images from Harvest 2011:

 

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Winery Spotlight: Get To Know….Keyways Vineyards & Winery

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Keyways Winery was one of the original wineries that established Temecula Valley Wine Country, and has the special distinction of being the only female-owned and managed winery in the region.

The story:

Keyways Winery was established in 1989 by Mr. Carl Key and was one of the very first to prove the viability of growing grapes in Temecula Valley. Current owner and manager Ms. Terri Pebley Delhamer has taken this historic winery and renovated the entire estate, both inside and out, to reflect the warmth and charm of an early California mission winery and vineyard. The tasting room features a black onyx bar, cork floors, a fireplace and- in an effort to appeal to women- beautifully appointed restrooms, filled with decorator touches. The outdoor area includes many spaces perfect for events such as the Vineyard Pavilion, Rose Terrace and Garden Gazebo.

The wine:

When Terri took over the vineyard, she replaced the original zinfandel grapes with Viogner, Roussanne, Tempranillo and Grenache.  Keyways’ winemaker David Raffaele lived in Italy for nearly six years and became fascinated with Italy’s enduring and prolific wine legacy. Highlights of Keyways’ wines include the 2008 Petit Verdot and their Meritage, dubbed “Territage,” for Keyways’ owner, Terri. Keyways also produces several dessert wines including a 2010 Late Harvest Roussanne and a 2010 Muscat Canelli.

 

Tastings:


Keyways is open Monday-Thursday, 11:00am-5:30pm and Friday-Sunday, 11:00am-6:00pm. The winery hosts multiple events, including Wine Down Fridays which are held on the 2nd and 4th Friday of every month and Sangria Serenade every Sunday from 1:30-5:30pm. See their events page for more information.

 

 
 
Keyways Winery
37338 De Portola Road
Temecula, CA 92592
(951) 302-7888

 

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Winemaker’s Roundtable: Five Facts About Bordeaux Blends

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

For this edition of Winemaker’s Roundtable, we’re talking about Bordeaux Blends- specifically, red Bordeaux blends. These lush, deeply rich wines are called Meritage here in California, and Temecula Valley wineries offer a fine variety of what would be a great pairing to a holiday meal.

  1. Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in Southwest France, and is the world’s premier wine industry capital. Bordeaux’s defining characteristics are its limestone soils and the neighboring rivers, which are used to irrigate the land.
  2. A red Bordeaux wine is a blend of two or more of these five grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
  3. In 1988, a small group of Napa Valley vintners formed The Meritage Association, using the term “meritage” (a combination of merit and heritage, and pronounced like the latter) to denote red and white Bordeaux-style wines made outside of Bordeaux. The term “Meritage” was created to avoid using the name “Bordeaux” for wines that are not actually produced in the Bordeaux region.
  4. Because the percentage of each grape used in Bordeaux blends varies, each year’s vintage brings different flavors and nuances, making tasting Bordeaux blends a fun and interesting experience. Red Bordeaux blends typically are rich, full-bodied wines with notes of black currant, blackberries, cocoa and cherries.
  5. Bordeaux-style wines go well with grilled steak, rack of lamb, or even game meats like venison or duck. Several Temecula Valley wineries offer wonderful Meritage wines perfect for the holidays or simply your next meal:
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October Winery Events and Concerts

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

It’s harvest season in wine country, and October holds many exciting and fun events for you to experience Temecula’s wine region.


All Winery Passport Event: 21st Annual Harvest Celebration Barrel Tasting Weekend – November 5 & 6, 2011

If you missed the 2nd Annual CRUSH Event on September 10, fall brings another amazing opportunity to taste all 34 member wineries for one low passport price.  The Harvest Celebration Weekend is a much-anticipated annual tradition in Temecula Valley Wine Country.  Taking place from 10am – 4:30pm on Saturday and Sunday, this two-day passport event is the perfect wine-tasting day trip or weekend getaway for couples, friends, and groups.  Wine-lovers from Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Palm Springs, and the Inland Empire make the short drive every year to wine country to enjoy meeting winemakers and to sample wines not yet available to the public.

Simply purchase a passport ticket for a self-guided tour of all the Temecula Valley wineries; each stop includes wine-tasting, delicious small plates of food, and a special Best Winery Scarecrow Facebook contest you can participate in!  The winner will receive four tickets to the World of Wine 2012 event.

This event sells out early so order your tickets today!  For more information, please visit our Temecula Valley events page.  Please note, “Sunday Only” tickets and “Designated Driver” tickets are also available at reduced prices.

Also, consider booking a shuttle to remove any worries about driving on your tour.  You can easily purchase your shuttle service and Harvest tickets directly with The Grapeline Wine Country ShuttleClick here to reserve and purchase now!

Baily Winery

October 22

25th Anniversary Party- Dinner and wine included. $100 per person. Call for reservations – (951) 676-9463. Limited seating available- Call Today!

Cougar Vineyard & Winery

Saturdays and Sundays in October, 2p-5p
Live music. Go to  www.cougarvineyards.com for performers schedules.

Sunday afternoons:
NFL Football on the big screen

October 5, 6:30pm
Winemaker Dinner at the Gambling Cowboy in Old Town Temecula. Five-course dinner paired with Cougar wines.  $60/person. Reservations required, call 951-491-0825.

October 8-10
Columbus Day Weekend Art & Wine. Sample wines and specialty foods while viewing unique works of fine artists and photographers.

Keyways Winery

October 14 and 28, 7-9:30pm
Wine Down Fridays– Includes dinner and a glass of wine and cover charge for live entertainment. $15 Members; $25 non-Members. Make reservations here.

Leoness Cellars

October 16, 3-6pm
3rd Sunday Concert Series –Hosted by the Vineyard Troubadour

Longshadow Ranch Winery

Saturdays, 6-10pm
Bonfire Saturday Nights– Horse drawn carriage rides, mechanical bull riding, face painting for the kids.  Open to the public, families welcome. No admission charge.  Call 877-80-RANCH for more information.

October 7, 6-10pm
Fundraiser for Sophie– Come help us raise money for Sophie, a beautiful 4 year-old battling stage 4 cancer. Wahoo’s will cater the event and we’ll have face painting, live music and a silent auction. Donations can be made at microgiving.com

October 29, 6-10pm
Halloween Extravaganza featuring a performance by White Lightning– Join us for “Trick or Treat” in the vineyard!

Masia de Yabar

October 1, 6-9pm
Argentinean Barbeque– Dine on a selection of grilled meats paired with Masia de Yabar wines. For reservations call 951-303-3860.

Live music every Saturday and Sunday from 1:30p-4:30p

Monte de Oro Winery

Fridays (except Oct 7), 4-8pm
Happy Hour on the Hill – A 180-degree panoramic view of the Temec­ula Val­ley from atop our out­door patio pro­vides a back­drop to what most assuredly will be a won­der­ful expe­ri­ence had by all. Free admission. Note: October 14th Happy Hour on the Hill to benefit Loma Linda Healthcare System.

October 1, doors: 5:30, concert: 7pm
Big Bad Voo-Doo Daddy Live Concert- General Admission $45 (includes concert, souvenir glass and one glass of wine). VIP- $95 (includes reserved VIP seating, plated 3-course meal, souvenir glass and 2 glasses of wine. Purchase tickets here.

October 22, 5:30-10pm
2nd Annual Rocky Horror Halloween Bash – Let’s do the “Time Warp” like you  have never done it before! The movie will be shown along with a live per­for­mence from some local play­ers. Com­pli­men­tary glass of wine;  con­ces­sion food will be available. $35 (adults over 21 and over; no children allowed). Purchase tickets here.

Oak Mountain Winery

October 6, 6-9pm
Cooking Class with Temecula Catering– Join Temecula Catering as they teach you to make a four course gourmet meal. Reservations required, call 951-699-9102 or email Valerie at vandrews@oakmountainwinery.com.

October 16, 12-4pm
Woofs and Purrs in the Vines– Enjoy and afternoon of live music, food, wine, games and a silent auction to raise money for Cause for Paws, an organization that provides funds to veterinarians and animal hospitals that directly benefits the immediate physical well-being of animal diabetes. $35 donation; receive a logo glass. Reservations required, call 951-699-9102 or email Valerie at vandrews@oakmountainwinery.com.

October 21, 6-9pm
Winemaker Dinner– Five-course dinner paired with Oak Mountain wines. Reservations required-951-699-9102.

Live Music every Saturday and Sunday

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa:

Sundays in October, 12-3pm
Divas In D’Vines – Escape NFL Sundays and enjoy special priced Diva Pedis, Massages and Facials for just $99 at our GrapeSee Spa.  Or enjoy happy hour on the Vineyard Rose Restaurant’s Grand Veranda with live entertainment featuring Tony Suraci, plus ½ off sangrias and mimosas with the purchase of a wide assortment of entrees.

Mon-Friday, 11am and 1pm; Sat-Sun, 11am, 1pm, 3pm
Behind the Scenes Wine Tour– Get up close and personal with the real workings of a winery during a harvest crush with the Behind the Scenes Wine Tour. The tour culminates with a private, plated wine & cheese pairing. $25 non members; $20 members. Reservations strongly suggested.  Call (951) 587-9463

October 4, 11am-3pm
7th Annual Wild Women of Wine Country Luncheon– Gather up your girlfriends and wear your most outrageous pink shoes! October is breast cancer awareness month, so please join us for a celebratory harvest lunch and a fashion show. Proceeds benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Tickets- $35, available at SouthCoastWinery.com or call 951-587-9463 ext 7210.

Stuart Cellars

October 22, 6:30-10:00pm
9th Annual Harvest Clam Bake– Delicious dinner paired with Stuart Cellars wine.  Live entertainment provided by the Bell Entourage Band.  $70 per person; $60 per person Wine Club. Additional $25 for a pre-ordered Live Main Lobster. Reservations required; call 951-676-6414.

Thornton Winery

October 1, 7pm
Champagne Jazz Concert Series- BRIAN CULBERTSON, with special guest. General Admission Ticket $ 75.00, Gourmet Supper Package $ 150.00, Purchase tickets here.

October 9, 4pm
Champagne Jazz Concert Series- THE RIPPINGTONS & ACOUSTIC ALCHEMY. General Admission Ticket $ 65.00, Gourmet Supper Package $ 130.00. Purchase tickets here.

October 15, 7pm
Champagne Jazz Concert Series- CANDY DULFER, with special guest . General Admission Ticket $ 65.00, Gourmet Supper Package $ 130.00. Purchase tickets here.

Wilson Creek Winery:

Sip for the Cure – Entire month of October
Visiting guests will be invited to taste Rosie’s Rose using the additional stub from their tasting tickets and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Rosie’s Rose will be donated to Michelle’s Place Foundation.  Wine club members are entitled to special pricing for the wine at $10 per bottle!

October 2, 5pm
Sip, Savor, Stomp– Join us for a traditional Wine Country Harvest Celebration featuring hayride tours, grape stomping, live music, harvest buffet and apple bobbing. $65.00 per person; $58.50 per person Wine Club. Call for reservations: 951.699.9463 Purchase on-line: www.wilsoncreekwinery.com

October 14, 6-10pm
Cigar Night- Sit back and relax with the glamour and ambience of Hollywood’s most famous gathering place of the 1940’s.  Sunday, October 14th, Wilson Creek transforms into the infamous Brown Derby. An exclusive night of exquisite dinner, premier cigars, fine wine and live music. $100 per person • $90 Wine Club. Call for reservations: 951.699.9463

October 15th:
Live music from Two Fish Duo
October 22nd:
Live music from Jason Weber
Sundays, 10am-3pm
Sunday Bubble Brunch: There is no better way to ring in the coming week than with a Champagne Sunday Brunch at Wilson Creek Winery.  Our scrumptious bubble brunch is served from 10 am to 3 pm every Sunday.  During that time, you will find an amazing spread of seafood, freshly made waffles, omelets and carving station.  Best of all, the bubble brunch includes delicious cocktails and desserts.  Food only: $29.95 per person;  $26.95 for wine club members. Savor delicious breakfast with unlimited champagne for: $37.95 per person; $34.15 for wine club members.

 

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Wine Country Recipe: Palumbo Pan Seared Filet with Two Cheese Grits

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

We’ve bid farewell to summer and said “hello!” the cooler breezes of the fall season which will soon be ushering in the holidays. With all the things we love about the season-  the slight chill in the air, sight of leaves turning orange and the scent of a wood-burning fireplace- comes the hearty, comforting foods that keep us warm and satisfied – like this Pan Seared Filet with Two Cheese Grits, courtesy of Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery.  The dynamic duo of cheddar and marscapone cheeses make these grits ultra creamy, and a beautifully seared filet of beef is a perfect match.  Paired with either the Palumbo Cabernet Sauvignon or 2008 Merlot-Syrah and you’re in for a four-star feast right in your own home!

Palumbo Pan Seared Filet with Two Cheese Grits



Ingredients:

  • 4 Filet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin) Thick Cut (2-3 in.)
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Quick Grits (1 box)
  • ½ Cup Cheddar Cheese
  • ½ Cup Mascarpone Cheese
  • Fresh Mushrooms (optional)

 

Filet:
Preheat oven to 400.  Coat both sides of steaks with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Preheat oven proof sauté pan and add steaks. Sear one side of filets till brown (approx. 2 minutes), then flip over and sear for 1 min. Place pan in preheated oven for 10 minutes for medium rare. (Shorten or lengthen time based on your cooked preference)

Grits

Follow recipe on box for 4 servings and at last minute stir cheese into grits. Set aside and keep warm.

Tip:  If grits get too thick, add a little milk and stir till smooth.

To serve, place large spoonful of grits on plate then set filet on top. Garnish with fresh chopped rosemary or thyme.

(Option: Sautéed Mushroom Garnish)

Remove cooked steaks from pan and set on plate to rest. Place pan on high heat.

Add red wine , beef stock and sliced mushrooms. Sauté to your liking and add to steaks.

 

 


 

 

 

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Harvest Celebration Weekend: Pre-Sale Discount Tickets Available Until Sept 30

Monday, September 19th, 2011

21st Annual Harvest Celebration Barrel Tasting Weekend: November 5 & 6, 2011

If you missed the 2nd Annual CRUSH Event on September 10, fall brings another amazing opportunity to taste all 34 member wineries for one low passport price.  The Harvest Celebration Weekend is a much-anticipated annual tradition in Temecula Valley Wine Country.  Taking place from 10am – 4:30pm on Saturday and Sunday, this two-day passport event is the perfect wine-tasting day trip or weekend getaway for couples, friends, and groups.  Wine-lovers from Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Palm Springs, and the Inland Empire make the short drive every year to wine country to enjoy meeting winemakers and to sample wines not yet available to the public.

Simply purchase a passport ticket for a self-guided tour of all the Temecula Valley wineries; each stop includes wine-tasting flights, delicious small plates of food, and a special scarecrow Facebook contest you can participate in!  The winner will receive four tickets to the World of Wine 2012 event.

*Pre-sale tickets are available now until September 30th.   If you purchase your 2-Day Tickets now, you’ll save $10!  $89 per person (regularly $99)  This event sells out early so order your tickets today!  For more information, please visit our Temecula Valley events page.  Please note, “Sunday Only” tickets and “Designated Driver” tickets are also available at reduced prices.

Also, consider booking a shuttle to remove any worries about driving on your tour.  You can easily purchase your shuttle service and Harvest tickets directly with The Grapeline Wine Country ShuttleClick here to reserve and purchase now!

Thinking about spending the night?  Enjoy the Harvest Celebration Weekend with an overnight stay at Embassy Suites, Temecula.  Package includes tickets for two to the Harvest Celebration. *Limited number of reservations available, so book today!

 

21st Annual Harvest Celebration Barrel Tasting Weekend, Nov 5 & 6 Price
September Pre-Sale
SAVE $10 on 2-Day Tickets purchased through Friday, September 30, 2011 (regularly $99)
$89.00
Sunday Only
Sunday Only, non-resident
$79.00
Sunday Only ~ Local
Sunday Only ~ Local Temecula/Murrieta residents only.
$69.00
Designated Driver
Designated Driver; Food Only

 

No Saturday Only tickets available.  All ticket reservations are Will-Call. Tickets are non-refundable. Special Offers and Discounts may not be combined.

 

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