Archive for March, 2013

California Wine Round-Up: Unusual Wines for Spring

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Spring has sprung and Temecula Valley is celebrating with some unexpected wines! For the seasoned wine-lover, these unusual varietals offer a new and surprising twist to the classic wine tasting experience.

Check out our recommendations for some exciting wines coming out of Temecula Valley wine country. Now that’s something worth toasting – cheers!


Temecula Sparkling Wines for Spring

California sparkling wine is primarily made with chardonnay and pinot noir – but here are a few surprising sparklers to liven up your spring table!

South Coast Winery grows a large variety of fascinating grapes in Temecula Valley. This winery estate currently offers Sparkling Gewurztraminer (a popular German grape) and Sparkling Pinot Grigio (Italian white grape), both at $18. Their famous Ruby Cuvée* ($22) is bright red in color and made from syrah, which is a key grape from the Rhone region of France. The stylish bottle makes a favorite host gift for bridal showers, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day and other girlie special occasions.

Thornton Winery offers a similar sparkler: their syrah/grenache blend – N.V.** Cuvée Rouge – retails for $24.

Counoise Blanc de Noir Sparkling ($24), produced by Oak Mountain Winery, offers an unusual sparkling wine – fruit-forward with a blush color and an earthy finish.

Food Pairing Tip: What should I eat with these wines?

Pair these spring sparklers with some seasonal fruit (oranges, cherries and strawberries) and locally-sourced cheese. We recommend a visit to Temecula Valley Cheese Company (951-693-9500.) Or top off with some OJ and you’ve got yourself one classy mimosa to serve with a simple spring frittata.


Temecula White Wines for Spring

Commonly found in Spain and Portugal, Albariño is a lesser-known white grape which does very well in Temecula Valley. Keyways Vineyards & Winery produces this bottle for $23, along with the French grape Roussane ($29) which is similar in taste to Viognier.

Bright, zesty and crisp, French fave Sémillon makes an appearance at the micro-boutique winery, Doffo Vineyards.

Wilson Creek Winery’s Spring White ($18.99) is a light and refreshing choice, and an obvious selection given the season.

Food Pairing Tip: What should I eat with these wines?

Sip these rare white wines alongside citrus-marinated salmon or a light asparagus & pea pasta dish topped with Parmesan. Might we also suggest a spring-vegetable paella?


Temecula Red Wines for Spring

Robert Renzoni grows an unusual Italian grape called Lagrein, which he then combines with Merlot to create an unexpected blend called Vecchio Frate – translation “Old Friar” – resulting in a perfectly light and fruity red to sip during these spring months. ($38)

Heard of Primitivo, Vermentino or Arneis?  Don’t worry, most of us haven’t!  But Cougar Vineyard & Winery boasts these virtually unknown Italian red grapes, happily introducing them to Southern California wine enthusiasts. (prices vary)

Food Pairing Tip: What should I eat with these?

Quick crab stew in tomato-fennel broth or Mediterranean grilled chicken salad not only pair well, but are simple weekday supper options when you want to keep things light and easy.


*cuvée means blend

**non-vintage meaning grapes from different years blended together


“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”  ~William Shakespeare



Temecula Valley Winery Events for April

Friday, March 29th, 2013


Spring in Temecula Valley, California brings some wonderful wine country activities, including movies in the vines, vineyard art classes, wine and women craft parties, wine tasting workshops, earth day specials and live music performances every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

See below for winery event details and check out the monthly event page for more information on Grape Day, April 18.

Come visit in April when the grape vines begin their bud break!


Callaway Vineyard & Winery

Sangria Sunday at Meritage at Callaway

Sundays: April 14, April 21 & April 28

Sangria Sundays at The Lounge @ Meritage at Callaway. Enjoy sipping on our very own Watermelon Sangria. Live music from local musicians begins at 5:30pm. No reservations required. Visit our website for more information.  Sangria, other drink specials and tapas available a la carte at The Lounge @Meritage.

Women & #WineWednesday

April 24th | 6pm to 8pm

Need some wine time with your girlfriends?

The last Wednesday of every month come to the Reserve Room for “Women & Wine Wednesday.” Sample Callaway wines and enjoy light appetizers. Each gathering will have a unique theme or craft to make & take home!

~Herbaceous Ladies~ At this month’s “Women & Wine” event visit with friends while creating wine cork herb labels with Callaway corks and wooden skewers. Reservations and pre-payment are required for these events. Call to RSVP: 951-676-4001.

For the full events calendar, click here!


Europa Village

Wednesday, April 10th 11:00am – 2:00pm
Art in the VineyardsArt in the Vineyard with Monti Ladd – “Roses & Vines”

Friday, April 19th 4:30pm – 6:00pm
Wine Education – Class 1 of 3

Sunday, April 21st 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Paint & Palate – Celebrating DaVinci’s Birthday
Paint, Sip & Enjoy!
A local artist takes you through, step-by-step, how to create your own masterpiece while sipping wine and having a ton of fun!  Absolutely no art experience necessary!
Tickets cost only $35.

Thursday, April 25th 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Musical Wine Pairing Dinner – “El Fandango!”

Live music performances on Fridays and Sundays!

For the full events calendar, click here!  Or call (760) 500-0383.


Falkner Winery

VIP Vertical Tasting

Saturday, April 6th | 10:30am to 12:30pm

The cost for the tasting is $50/person plus tax; $40/person plus tax for Food & Wine Club members.

Falkner Winery is pleased to announce its next VIP Vertical Tasting will be on April 6th and focus on our Cabernet Sauvignon wines. For those who are not familiar with the term “vertical tasting”, it means tasting multiple vintages of the same wine from the same producer. The next tasting session will focus on eight (8) vintages of the Falkner Cabernet Sauvignon. Inquiries call 951-676-8231.

Free Jazz Sundays

Sundays, April 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th | 3:00pm

For the full events calendar, click here!


Lorimar Winery

Movies in the Vines

Monday, April 22 | 8:00pm

Movie : “The Princess Bride”.  Wine bar and concessions available.

Epicurean Food Demo

Wednesday, April 3rd | 4pm

Come experience an interactive cooking demonstration incorporating the unique items from the Lorimar Winery Epicurean display located in the gift shop.

Live Music Weekends, Come out every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 6pm for live music while enjoying first-class hospitality, sensational vibes and great wine. Inquiries call 951-694-6699.

For the full events calendar, click here!


Ponte Family Estate Winery

Earth Day Special – Offer valid Friday, April 19th through Monday, April 22nd.

Bring in empty bottles of Ponte Wine and get 2 Ponte Green Bucks per bottle to use toward another purchase in the tasting room.

April 24th, 2013 | 5:30 p.m.

Join Team Ponte! Come find out more about how you can train for a half marathon or 5K, raise money for local charity Rancho Damacitas and make some new friends along the way.  April 24th meeting in Ponte Winery Reserve Room.

Inquiries call 951-694-8855.

For the full events calendar, click here!


South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Vineyard Rose Restaurant
Where Every Day’s A Celebration

Three-Time Holder of WINE SPECTATOR AWARD OF EXCELLENCE. Whether it’s our Quality Wines, Foods, Happy Hour Wine Specials, Draft Beers & Appetizers; or our Ladies’ Happy Hour Sunday Escapes, there’s something for everyone. For Reservations, please call: 951-587-9463 x3

Sunday – Divas in d’Vines | 12Noon-4:00
Live Entertainment; 1/2-priced Mimosas, Spumante, Romanza and Sangria
Monday – Happy Hour | 4:00-5:30
Tuesday –Happy Hour | 4:00-5:30
Wednesday–Happy Hour | 4:00-5:30
Thursday –Happy Hour | 4:00-5:30
Friday – Happy Hour | 4:00-5:30

Behind The Scenes Winery Tour
DAILY: 11:00am and 1:00pm

Get up close and personal with the real workings of a winery during a harvest crush with South Coast Winery’s Behind the Scenes Wine Tours. This $40 walking wine tour culminates with a private, plated wine & cheese pairing with a fun and informative Wine Concierge. Wine Club Members, enjoy the tour for just $35 per person. Reservations strongly suggested: Call 951.587.9463x 7219

Blessing of the Vines Festival
Sunday, April 21st

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa is kicking off its winegrowing season. Non-denominational Officiant officially blesses our vines, as they come out of winter hibernation, from deep beneath the ground, and light up our world with new growth and the promise of a fruitful harvest. Wine, food and family-fun and games are also a part of the mix. RSVP (951) 587-9463


Thornton Winery

Art of Winetasting Workshop

Saturday, April 6th | 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Pizza & Cabernet Sauvignon: $45.00 per person / $40.50 wine club members. Call for reservations: 951-699-0099.

For the full events calendar, click here!


Temecula Valley wine country is an idyllic, easily-accessible, year-round wine destination where visitors can experience premium winemaking in a warm, welcoming atmosphere along with fine dining, stunning scenery and exciting events. Temecula Valley is only a 60-90 minute drive from all major Southern California cities.



Temecula Valley Celebrates First Ever “Wine Tourism Day” on May 11

Thursday, March 28th, 2013


The first-ever Wine Tourism Day in North America will take place on Saturday, May 11th, 2013 with wineries, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses offering a variety of events to the public throughout the country.


Temecula Valley wine country is proud to celebrate Wine Tourism Day with a very special tasting offer! On May 11 only, join us for “Reserve Day” and receive an additional taste of a VIP Reserve wine at any participating Temecula Valley winery!


Select wineries are also offering a bottle or case discount on those reserve wines (discounts may vary), so this is the perfect time to sample and stock up on some of Temecula Valley’s top shelf wines.


Below is a list of participating wineries offering”Reserve Day” tastings to include a specially bottled reserve wine:                             Keep checking back for added winery updates!


The inspiration for a Wine Tourism Day comes from Europe, where the European Day of Wine Tourism has been ongoing since 2009. Attendees of the 2012 Wine Tourism Conference, an annual gathering of the industry’s leaders, discussed bringing the concept to North America.

“There are now over 7500 wineries in 205 American Viticultural Areas, 38 authorized wine appellations in Canada, and another 40 appellations in Mexico”, says Allan Wright, president of Zephyr Adventures, the active wine tour company organizing Wine Tourism Day. “Most of these wine regions and many of these wineries are dependent on visitors who sleep in hotel beds, eat in restaurants, and buy wine from cellar doors. Wine tourism is very important to the success of many local economies and is a subject worth commemorating.”

Wine Tourism Day is supported by a number of industry partners including LocalWineEvents.com, Touring and Tasting Marketing & Media, WineAmerica, the Wine Industry Network, the Wine Tourism Conference, and Zephyr Adventures, in addition to wine and tourism associations in wine regions throughout North America.

For more information and to find a list of events on Wine Tourism Day, please visit www.WineTourismDay.org. Events differ and can range from wine pairing dinners to music events to structured tastings.

Help spread the word about wine tourism by sharing the event through your social media channels!

Twitter: twitter.com/winetourismday | #WineTourismDay

Facebook: facebook.com/WineTourismDay

Temecula Valley wine country is an idyllic, easily-accessible, year-round wine destination where visitors can experience premium winemaking in a warm, welcoming atmosphere along with fine dining, stunning scenery and exciting events; only a 60-90 minute drive from all major Southern California cities.


Wine Country Recipe: Fennel-Apple Slaw with Aged Cheddar on Pita Toast

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Looking for a simple snack for spring?  Try this quick and easy recipe for Fennel-Apple Slaw!  Remember to use farmer’s market ingredients for the freshest and best-tasting produce.

Recipe courtesy of South Coast Winery Resort & Spa


Fennel-Apple Slaw

1 fennel bulb
1 green apple
1/2 bun chives
1/2 bun parsley
Oil, salt & pepper, lemon juice to taste

Aged white cheddar – as much as you like!



Cut off the green top and root bottom of the fennel.  Cut the white bulb in half and thinly slice.  Save a small bunch of green fennel fronds and set aside.
Core the apple, and slice into little sticks.
Finely chop chives and parsley.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine all together seasoning with salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice. Let sit for at least 15-30 minutes to marinate.

Pita bread

Cut pita into bite-size pieces, season with oil, salt and pepper.  Bake in 375 degree oven for about 10 mins or golden brown. Let cool completely.

Cut a piece of cheese to fit on top of pita.
Top with the fennel-apple slaw and garnish with a bit of fennel frond.

Pairs perfectly with sparkling Pinot Grigio! Click below to taste the sparkling Pinot Grigio with South Coast Winery master winemaker Jon McPherson – cheers!


Five Fun Facts About… Cabernet Franc

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Born in the Loire region of France in the mid-12th century, Cabernet Franc is an essential blending grape, found primarily in Bordeaux-style blends. Often referred to as “Cab Franc,” this herbaceous red grape also helps create Meritage magic together – along with its constant companions, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Cabernet Franc Grapes

Five Fun Facts About Cabernet Franc

Facts courtesy of Snooth, Wikipedia, and Huffington Post
  1. Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are actually the “parents” of Cabernet Sauvignon – not vice-versa, as previously believed.
  2. Across the world, Cabernet Franc is one of the twenty most widely planted grape varieties. Important wine regions include California, Bordeaux and Southwest France, Washington, Oregon, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Italy, Hungary, Croatia and Romania.
  3. Even though Cabernet Franc usually joins Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in Meritage blends, it can also be bottled as a single varietal. 100% Cabernet Franc wine is most often found in France, but New World regions like California have recently started to make it too.
  4. Wherever Cabernet Franc makes a solo appearance, the grape makes leaner, fresher styles of Cabernet, designed for earlier consumption.
  5. Flavor characteristics of the Cab Franc grape range from sweeter notes like plum, blackberry, violets, raspberry and blueberry to the more savory: sage, bay leaf, rosemary, tobacco, bell pepper and eucalyptus.
  6. Bonus! Alternate names of Cabernet Franc are many! Aceria, Acheria, Arrouya, Bordo, Bouchet, Bouchy (Gascony), Breton, Burdeas Tinto, Cabernet, Cabernet Aunis, Cabernet Franco, Capbreton Rouge, Carmenet (Médoc), Fer Servandou, Gamput, Grosse Vidure, Hartling, Kaberne Fran, Messanges Rouge, Morenoa, Noir Dur, Petit Fer, Petit Viodure, Petite Vidure, Petite Vignedure, Plant Breton, Plant Des Sables, Trouchet Noir, Véron, Véron Bouchy, Véronais,and Cabernet Gris.

Red Wine

Looking for a great bottle of Cabernet Franc in Temecula Valley?  Check these wines out!


Winery Spotlight: Get To Know… Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

The Story

Located off the beaten path on Barksdale Circle, Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery is committed to producing handcrafted wines from estate-grown grapes that proprietor Nick Palumbo believes are ideally suited to Temecula Valley. The 13-acre family-run winery is often described as “boutique,” but Nick favors the term “artisanal” to describe the involvement and passion that goes into their daily operations, from the vineyards to the tasting room.


The Wines

For Nick – a grape grower and winemaker who is both an artist and a cultivator – it’s all about the wine… beginning with the vineyards. The family’s 13 acres are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Sangiovese; they recently planted a block of Viognier and Syrah on a neighboring property to expand their wine portfolio.

Specializing in full-bodied reds, Palumbo winery offers both single-varietal bottlings as well as a few special blends, like the popular Meritage, “Tre Fratelli” and the Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon, which help round out the wine list and showcase the versatility and depth of quality for which Palumbo wines are known.  “I believe there are only two basic ingredients in making fine wines: the fruit itself and the barrel it’s aged in,” Nick is fond of saying.

Nick and his wife-and-partner-in-crime, Cindy, live on the winery property, which makes their vineyards as much a part of the family as their four children. This intimacy with their vineyards has given the pair a “sixth sense” that enables them to intuit what the vines need, how the fruit is developing, and what will ultimately be required in the cellar to produce stellar wines. The family is also invested in their estate for the long haul, practicing sustainable farming as a member of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, which they believe will protect the viability of their vineyards for generations to come.

Click here for the tasting room wine line-up!


The Tasting Room

Tasting Room Hours: Open daily from 11am – 5pm

Tasting Options: Standard Tasting $10 | Includes 5 wines

Mini-Tour and Tasting $25
Get out of the tasting room and into the cellar to learn what makes Palumbo winery so special. A member of the Palumbo family will guide you through the “Dirt to Bottle” process touching on all aspects of production, from their sustainable farming practices to the art of hands-on winemaking. Standard tasting and logo glass included. Tours available by appointment.

Barrel Tasting, Tour and Lunch with the Winemaker $125
This VIP tasting experience is the ultimate way to discover the stylistic influence of winemaker, Nick Palumbo, as well as the natural influence of Temecula Valley terroir. Guests will be taken on a tour of the estate vineyards followed by a private barrel tasting. To top off the experience, guests will enjoy a special wine pairing and gourmet picnic lunch with Nick on the Palumbo patio overlooking the vineyard. Four-person minimum with 48-hours advance reservation required.

Palumbo Family Vineyards address and contact information:
40150 Barksdale Circle Temecula, CA 92591 | 951.676.7900
info@palumbowines.com | wineclub@palumbowines.com


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