Archive for April, 2015

May Winery Events

Thursday, April 30th, 2015



May is filled with some pretty special days; Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, International Sauvignon Blanc Day, Chardonnay Day and even National Wine Day! Plenty of reasons to celebrate in Temecula Valley Wine Country.

Baily Vineyard & Winery

Sangiovese Saturdays at Carol’s
Saturdays in May; / 11:30a-3:00p / Live music, mulled wine, cheese fondue, 1/2 price Sangiovese

Dog Day Sundays
Every Sunday / 11:30a-2:30p / Bring your well-mannered pooch to lunch! Live acoustic entertainment.

Estate Club Private Wine Tasting
Thursday-Sunday / 11:00a-2:30p / Tours and vertical tasting of library wines. Sit down with bread and cheese plate; $30 (Reservations required 24 hours in advance) / Bar Tasting; $20. Call for reservations: 951-972-9768.

Mother’s Day Champagne Buffet Brunch
Sunday, May 10 / 11:00a-3:00p / $59.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity / $19.95 per person, children 12 and under, children 5 and under are free. / Includes champagne, soft drinks, coffee or tea. / Reservations and credit card are necessary. 24 hour cancellation notice. Call 951-676-9243 for reservations. Dogs welcome on Mother’s Day; especially mother dogs.

Blending Event
Saturday, May 23 / 1:00p / Be a winemaker for a day! Create your own unique Meritage blend with guided direction from Winemaker, Phil Baily. Selected wines to blend are the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc which will have just been taken out of barrels after 30 months aging. / $100 per person, plus tax. Includes a bottle of Baily’s Library 2007 Meritage ($80 value). / Reservations must be made in advance with a credit card. Call 951-972-9768 for reservations.

Shakespeare in the Vines: Elizabethan Masquerade Feast & Silent Auction
Saturday, May 16 / 6:00p / Includes wine, champagne, tray passed hors d’oeuvres, 4-course Prime Rib or vegetarian dinner and masks. / Visit www.shakespeareinthevines.org for pricing information and reservations or call 951-402-7488.

Bel Vino Winery

Live Music
Saturdays & Sundays in May / 12:00p-4:00p / May 2 – Michael SG / May 3 – Sam & Stacy / May 9 – Kenny Hale / May 10 – Crimson Crow / May 16 – Michael LeClerc / May 17 – Shameless / May 23 – All In May 24 – Dominic Rocha / May 30 – Michael SG / May 31 – J.A.D.E.

Mother’s Day Brunch
Sunday, May 10 / 9:00a-3:00p / Brunch buffet will consist of over 15 different food offerings, including an omelet station, Croix Madam Eggs Benedict, smoked salmon, smoked ham and so much more! Sparkling wine, mimosas and non-alcoholic beverages are included; wine and beer are also available for an extra charge. Live music and a free gift for Mom! / $59.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity / $54.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity for wine club members / $10.95 & $22.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity for kids 12 and under.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery

Happiest Hours
Grab your friends and join us for a marvelous time! Friday and Sunday from 3:00p-6:00p in the lounge at Meritage at Callaway. 20% all tapas, $2 off wine by the glass, 20% off bottles of Callaway wines and available domestic, import and craft beers.

Wine Flight Fridays
EVERY Friday beginning at 3pm
Travel around the world with us and experience a different wine region every month. Savor and compare the varietals that best represent a particular region paired with a special selection of Tapas typical of that region. This month, enjoy a wine flight of 3 wines from South America for $15.

Sangria Sundays at Meritage at Callaway
Every Sunday at Meritage at Callaway from 4pm-8pm in the main dining room. Enjoy sipping on our very own Watermelon Sangria while soaking in the sunset vineyard views. Live music from local musicians begins at 6pm. No cover charge and no reservations required.

Live Music Fridays
Every Friday from 5:00p-8:00p

Cougar Vineyard & Winery

Live Music
Every Friday evening / 5:00p-8:00p / Come enjoy live music at Cougar Winery. The deli is also open later until 7:00p. For musician schedule, visit www.cougarvineyards.com.

Danza del Sol Winery

Live Music on the Patio
Saturdays in May / 1:00p-5:00p / May 2 – Rachael Stark / May 9 – Jeff Johnson / May 16 – Tony Suraci May 23 – StereoFlux / May 30 – Desert Rose

Mother’s Day Brunch
Sunday, May 10 / 10:00a-12:00p or 1:00p-3:00p / Make this Mother’s Day special with a delicious menu and unlimited sparkling wine to celebrate the ladies we love! / $75 per person, plus tax / $67.50 per person, wine club members / Children 3-12 are $24 per person, plus tax. / Reservations are necessary by calling 951-302-6363 ext. 26 or by email at k.hefley@danzadelsolwinery.com

Sip & Swirl
Sunday, May 17 / 1:00p-4:30p / Sip & Swirl on Canvas, featuring Art & Vino with Jill Roberts / Class includes one glass of Danza del Sol wine per adult, plus assorted cheese and fruit tray served at intermission, and all art supplies. Class size limited to 30 people. All classes must be reserved in advance and are subject to availability. / $60 per person, plus tax; $54 per person, plus tax for wine club members. For more information, call (951) 302-6363 ext. 26.

Get “Sauced”
Sunday, May 31 / 3:00p-6:30p / Join us for a fun-filled afternoon of food, wine and culinary entertainment in our clubhouse! $60 per person, plus tax; $54 per person for wine club members.

Doffo Winery

Mother’s Day Brunch
Sunday, May 10 / 10:00a-2:00p / $35 per person; $25 per person for children or non-drinkers.

Kurt Caselli Foundation Charity Event
Saturday, May 30 / 10:00a-6:00p / $10 per person / Live music, food, vendors and motorcycle demos.

Europa Village

Live Music
Fridays from 5:30p-8:30p and Sundays from 1:00p-4:00p

Mother’s Day Lunch
Sunday, May 10 / 11:00a / $45 per person; $40.50 for wine club members / $15 per person, children 12 & under’ $13.50 for wine club members. / Gourmet three-course Sparkling Wine Lunch and live music.

Falkner Winery

Mother’s Day Sparkling Wine Brunch
Sunday, May 10 / 10:00a-4:00p / $69.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity; $59.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity for wine club members / Children (3-10) $29.50 per person, plus tax and gratuity; $24.95 per person, plus tax for wine club members. / Live entertainment / Reservations are required by calling 951-676-8231 ext. 1 or make a reservation request online at www.falknerwinery.com.

Wine Appreciation Class
Saturday, May 16 / 10:00a-12:30p / Designated for all levels of wine knowledge / $45 per person / $70 per person with lunch. / Reservations required by calling 951-676-8231 xt. 109

Club Vine at the Pinnacle
Thursday, May 21 / 6:00p-10:00p / Reserve the date for a fun evening event with DJ, dancing, food wine and more! Open to Wine Club, Industry and public. Free cover or $30 (2) for reserved table.

Live Music / Sundays 12:00p-3:00p / May 3 – Guilty Conscience Band / May 10 – Guilty Conscience Band / May 17 – Guilty Conscience Band / May 24 – Danielle Taylor / May 31 – Danielle Taylor

Frangipani Estate Winery

Mother’s Day Lunch
Sunday, May 10 / 11:00a-3:00p / Enjoy the breathtaking views of our estate vineyard, while you enjoy a boxed lunch and a glass of wine on our winery hilltop patio overlooking the vineyard. Lunch includes a choice of sandwich pasta salad & homemade brownie. / $22 per person. Reservations are required by May 6th by calling 951-699-8845.

Leoness Cellars

Wine & Vine Symposium – Experience Syrah in a New Way
Friday, May 8 / 4:00p-6:30 / Sip along with our team of expert farmers, winemakers and Master Sommelier, Eddie Osterland, as they share their anecdotes and insights into wine production – from seedling to bottle. Tasting & discussing a variety of exclusive Leoness Syrahs not available in our tasting room. / Pre-purchase tickets online: $45 members, $49 non-members; www.leonesscellars.com

Longshadow Ranch Winery

Summer Bonfire Saturday Nights
Every Saturday night through October / 6:00p-10:00p / No admission price / Live music, mechanical bull rides, along with wine. Supervised children with their families are welcome to attend.

Lorimar Winery

Live Music
Fridays & Saturdays 6p-9p / Sundays 2p-5p

Wine Blending Party
Wednesday, May 6 / 4p-6p / $25 per person/$20 for wine club / Join us for a hands on wine blending experience!  You get to be winemaker for the day with a full educational seminar and in depth analysis of key varietals to make the perfect blended wine.  Visit www.lorimarwinery.com for more information and tickets.

Mother’s Day at Lorimar
Sunday, May 10 / All Day / Laurie Morvan Band from 2p-5p / $25 mimosa flights for Mom.  No reservations required.

Happy 3rd Anniversary, Lorimar!
Saturday, May 16 / All day / Live music, wine specials, sweet treats, photo booth and more!

Monte De Oro Winery

Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters – Live Concert
Saturday, May 2 / Doors open at 6:30p; Opening Band at 7:00p
General Admission: $55

Mother’s Day Brunch
Sunday, May 10 / 10:00a and 12:30p seatings / See website for member and non-member pricing and more information.

Breakfast with the Balloons
Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31 / 7:00a / See website for more information.

Mount Palomar Winery

Wine Country Wiener Fest
Sunday, May 3 / 110:00a-4:00p / For more information, please contact Jim Richardson at 951-532-5415 or jrrichardson@raytheon.com

Bottles “n” Brushes Painting Class with Wine
May 7 and May 30 / 11:00a-2:00p (May 30 class is 12:00p-3:00p)/ $45 per person – includes a glass of wine! (Discount given for multiple guests) / To sign up or for more information, please contact Dorothy Hawthorne at 951-302-3088 or doughawthorne@verizon.net.

IDOLOZED: A tribute to Billy Idol
Friday, May 22/ 6:00p-10:00p / $25 per ticket (pre-sale) $30 at the door / Contact Robert Walker at 760-716-6295 or heyday@heyday.com

Oak Mountain Winery

Live Music in the Pavilion
Every Saturday and Sunday in May / 1:00p-5:00p

Mother’s Day Learn to Paint Event
Sunday, May 10 / 1:00p-4:30p / Learn to paint while sipping wine with Jill Roberts. Includes all art supplies, a glass of wine, hors d’oeuvres and step-by-step instruction (no experience necessary) and your painting to take home. / $60 per person; $54 per person for wine club. Book your seats at www.oakmountainwinery.com.

Wine Blending Party in the Cave
Saturday, May 16 / 6:00p-9:00p / Sample three different red wine varietals and learn what differentiates them from one another. You’ll want to take careful notes because the next two hours, you’ll be blending and tasting as you craft your own wine! Includes a family-style dinner and a glass of wine. If you’d like to bottle your creation and take it home, the staff will fill your bottle, cork and capsule it with a custom label for $29. / Reservations are required by calling 951-699-9102 or emailing events@oakmountainwinery.com.

Cooking Class
Friday, May 29 / 6:00p-9:00p / Spend the evening at Oak Mountain Winery for a night of wine, food and fun while Temecula Catering’s Chef teaches you how to make a gourmet meal. You’ll learn to make (hands on) and then eat a four-course meal. / $65 per person, plus tax and gratuity. / For reservations, please contact the winery at 951-699-9102.

Oak Mountain Winery University
Bubbles 101 – We want to burst your bubble with our champagne class
Blending Reds – Create, bottle and label your very own blend
Wine Tasting for Dummies 101 / Our beginners class for Wine Tasters.
Rhone Wine Class 201 / Our second, more advanced class after taking Wine Tasting 101 is our Rhone Wine Tasting Class 201.
Bordeaux Wine Class 201 / You will learn how these grapes are grown and how they are harvested and processed, while tasting Oak Mountain wines from different areas in the Bordeaux region of France.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Wine & Dine Chef’s Table at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant
For those who truly love to dine, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s culinary team offers a front row seat into their world with a special “Chef’s Table Dinner”. The Vineyard Rose Chefs create a custom five-course menu just for you. Our expert Winemakers then pair each course with our award winning wines to heighten the dining experience to another level. Whether it’s a special celebration or an intimate affair, our Chef’s Table dinner for 2 to 8 guests will define the art of fine cuisine with a memorable evening of food and wine for only $135 per person. Call 951-491-8077 to reserve your table today.

Happy Hours at Vineyard Rose Restaurant
Monday-Friday 3:00p-5:30p / Join us in the Vineyard Rose Lounge for reduced priced selected appetizers, award winning select glasses of South Coast wines and local drafts. Visit www.WineResort.com to view menus and find out more.

Wine Wednesdays at Vineyard Rose Restaurant
6:00p-9:00p / Wednesday nights just got even better at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant as award winning pianist, Blessie Isaac-Hopkins, takes the helm behind our elegant grand piano. Reserve today for an unforgettable Wednesday evening with fine wines, delicious food and live music between the hours of 6:30p to 9:00p. Call 951.587.9463

Vintner Vault Thursdays
Every Thursday is Couples Day at South Coast Winery’s Vintner’s Vault Tasting Room. Bring your spouse, your loved-one, your partner, your friend and treat yourself to a wine tasting experience for two. / Couples Tasting: $20 wine tasting for two people. Includes two keepsake South Coast Winery wine glasses with your paid tasting

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Vintage Vantage Menu
Monday-Thursday 11:30a -3:00p / Specially priced $9.99 lunches at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant for those aged 55 and over. Call 951-587-9463 x 2 for more information or reservations.

Behind the Scenes Wine Tours
Tours are held daily at 11 AM, 1 PM and 3PM, Monday through Sunday. Due to the limited sizes of each tour, advance reservations are required with prepayment, and are non-refundable. Must be over 21 years of age to attend. Call 800-539-1375 Ext. 350 to reserve your spot today.

Thornton Winery

Friday Live Music
6:00p-9:00p / May 1 – Heart of Rock & Roll – Huey Lewis Tribute / May 8 – Black Hat Patsy / May 15 Mor Sol / May 22 – Mrs. Jones Revenge / May 29 – Big Truth

Mother’s Day Buffet
Sunday, May 10 / 11:00a-4:00p / $62.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity / $22.95 plus tax and gratuity for children under 12.

Champagne Jazz Concert Series
Saturday, May 2 – Brian Culbertson with Elan Trotman / 7:00p / General Admission tickets – $85 / Gourmet Supper tickets – $160 (3 course meal, concert ticket & assigned table)

Saturday, May 16 – Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers with Nick Colionne / 7:00p / General Admission tickets – $75 / Gourmet Supper tickets – $150 (3 course meal, concert ticket & assigned table

Saturday, May 30 – Jazz Attack featuring Richard Elliot, Peter White & Euge Groove / 7:00p / General Admission tickets – $85 / Gourmet Supper tickets – $160 (3 course meal, concert ticket & assigned table)


Celebrate Mother’s Day in Wine Country!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

TheMothers Day 2 ancient Greeks paid annual homage to Cybele, the mother figure of their gods, the Romans dedicated an annual spring festival to the mother of their gods, and in 16th century England, a celebration called “Mothering Sunday” was inaugurated — a Sunday set aside for visiting one’s mother.  When President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill back in 1914 designating the second Sunday in May as a legal holiday to be called “Mother’s Day”, he dedicated the day “to the best mother in the world, your mother.”

Show your Mom how special she is!  Lunch, brunch, dinner – or just a day of wine tasting – is surely one way to get on her good side.  And remember, you’re the reason she drinks wine in the first place…

Here’s just a few ideas for spending Mother’s Day in Temecula Valley Wine Country:

If brunch suits your fancy, you’ve got lots of options!  Try Carol’s at Baily Winery; 11a-3p, Bel Vino Winery; 9a-3p, Danza del Sol Winery; 10a or 1p, Doffo Winery; 10a or 12:30p, Frangipani Winery; 11a-3p, Monte de Oro Winery; 10a or 12:30p, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa; 10a – 3p, Thornton Winery; 11a-4p, Wiens Family Cellars; 11a-1p, Wilson Creek Winery; 10a-3p.

Lunch and Dinner will both be served at Meritage Restaurant at Callaway Vineyard & Winery from 10a-8p.

And if you’ve always wanted to Learn To Paint, Oak Mountain Winery is offering a fun alternative to the usual at 1p.

All of our wineries will be open and ready to see you.  Happy Mothers Day, all!


The Merry, Merry Month of May!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

May 25 _Natl Wine DayMay has so many national “wine days”, we can eat, drink and be merry all month long!  Along with Chardonnay, a familiar favorite, it’s a great excuse for you to try a couple of the lesser-known varietals like Muscat Canelli and Sauvignon Blanc – all of which grow well here in the Temecula Valley.

First up on the calendar is #MoscatoDay, which falls on May 9th.  The day was introduced here in the US by Gallo Family Vineyards back in 2012 to celebrate the rising popularity and sky-rocketing sales of the varietal.  If you know nothing about Moscato (or Muscat/Muscat Canelli), it originated in the Piedmont region of Italy where it’s a favorite due to its sweetness, lightness and affordability – and is popular as a sparkling wine. You’ll find Moscato table wines in white, red or rosé styles, and they make an especially delicious dessert wine.  With it’s bouquet of peach, honey and citrus, a delicate sweetness and fresh acidity, it’s perfect served with a plate of fresh cheeses.

Try the Muscat Canelli from Leoness Cellars or Lorimar Winery; or the Moscato from Ponte Family Estate Winery.

May 15th is #InternationalSauvignonBlancDay.  Originating in the Bordeaux region of France, the grape is also widely planted throughout New Zealand – and grows with ease here in the Temecula Valley.  An acidic wine that displays a citrus-y, grapefruit-like quality, it’s a pleasing choice for a warm summer day. A very versatile vino, Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with shell fish, grilled vegetables (even asparagus!) and cheeses.  It’s the perfect picnic wine!

A few faves include those from:  Europa Village , Maurice Car’rie Winery or Monte de Oro Winery.

And then there’s the day to pay homage to the old standby, Chardonnay, on #ChardonnayDay, May 21st.  The world’s most planted white wine grape varietal is enjoyed by fans all over the world.  Generally dry to medium-dry with pear, apple, tropical or citrus fruit flavors, Chardonnay is grown in virtually every wine-producing region.  Crisp and fresh with little to no oak aging, or creamy and buttery with extensive oak aging, there’s a Chardonnay out there that will make just about anyone smile!

Can’t live without Chardonnay’s are available at: Callaway Vineyard & Winery, Oak Mountain Winery and Thornton Winery.

Finishing out the month is #NationalWineDay, which is celebrated on May 25.  Not to be confused with National Drink Wine Day which is held in February, National Wine Day is actually just another lame excuse for us wine lovers to drink wine.  Because for wine lovers, everyday is wine day, right?  Cheers!


Wine Country Recipe: Citrus Marinated Grilled Flank Steak Tacos with Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Sauce

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

steak-tacos-ck-1898520-xJust in time for Cinco de Mayo! Citrus marinated steak and rich, smoky tomatillo sauce turn these tacos into something special. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.

1½ lbs flank steak

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ orange grated rind and juice
1 lime grated rind and juice
½ bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder (or other chili powder)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey

Roasted tomatillo sauce:
12 tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 avocado, pitted and diced
½ bunch cilantro leaves
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 lime grated rind and juice
salt and pepper to taste

10 white corn tortillas, grilled
lime wedges

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place the flank steak in a resealable plastic bag and set aside.In a small bowl combine the marinade ingredients and whisk together. Pour the marinade into the bag with the steak, seal and shake together until the steak is well coated. Place the steak onto a shallow dish and then place in the refrigerator for about one and up to 6 hours.

While the steak marinates make the tomatillo sauce. Pour the tomatillos onto a baking sheet and top with the minced garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the tomatillos for 20 minutes or until soft. Pour the cooled tomatillos into a food processor with the remaining sauce ingredients and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to use.

Remove the flank steak from the marinade and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the flank steak on each side for about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes Slice the steak against the grain into thin strips.

To assemble the tacos place desired amount of steak onto a grilled tortilla and top with the tomatillo sauce. Serve warm with a wedge of lime.

Serves 4

Suggested Pairings:

Callaway Winery ~ 2012 Zinfandel – This classic Zin begins with full aromas of rich, ripe strawberry, black cherry, dusty white pepper and anise, leading to the palate brimming with dried cranberry and jammy red and black fruits.

Leoness Cellars ~ 2012 Zinfandel – Rich and full-bodied, this wine offers aromas and flavors of sweet boysenberry and blackberry framed by soft tannins and a long, silky finish.

Thornton Winery ~ 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – Very classic berry and pepper aromas came forth while subtle herbaeceous notes meld with the warm toasty aromas from the oak.

Wilson Creek Winery ~ 2011 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – This Cabernet displays deep rich ruby color. Aromas of spice reminiscent of clove with hints of leather layered with a fruitiness of blueberry and raspberry play on the nose. This wine’s structured tannins are well incorporated into a long pronounced finish.


May 5th is Cinco de Vino Day!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

cinco de mayoOh me, oh my, oh!  It’s Cinco de Vino!  Okay, so it’s really Cinco de Mayo, but come on!  Loving all things wine, what else are we gonna’ talk about?

Mexican food with wine, you say?  If you’ve never ventured into pairing wine with your favorite Mexican food, trust us.  It’s as fun as it is easy!

Let’s start with a little hint: alcohol intensifies the heat of chiles, and chiles intensify the alcohol, so choosing lower alcohol wines is the first step.  The second step is to choose those that are crisp with acidity.  They’re best suited to complement the complex flavors and spices of great Mexican cuisine.  And thirdly, always pair the wine with the sauce, not the protein. i.e., consider the ingredients in your dishes.  In general, red wines will work best with earthy chipotle, pasilla or adobo chile sauces – or if it’s all about that cheese!  White wines will work better with lime, citrus, tomatillo and cilantro or herbal sauces. Cinchy, huh?

Some particularly good white varietals to consider might include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, an Albarino – or even a dry Riesling.

Red wine lovers should try Tempranillo, Sangiovese or Malbec, a luscious Zinfandel or even a supple Syrah.

But, like we always say, wine guidelines and suggested pairings are just that – suggestions. The right wine for you is the one you like best!  We just recommend that if you’re entertaining, play it safe and have a couple of different options available.

There’s a Temecula Valley wine out there that will make your Mexican fiesta excelente and take your meal from tasty to sabroso!

Some Temecula Valley white wines to try:

Hart Winery “Two Vineyard Blend” Sauvignon Blanc
Cougar Winery 100% Pinot Grigio
Baily Winery dry Riesling
or Danza del Sol “Sabroso”, a Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc – perfect for dessert!

If you prefer reds, try:

Longshadow Ranch Estate Tempranillo
Frangipani Winery’s Estate Sangiovese
one of Doffo Winery’s many Malbecs
Lorenzi Winery “Zin City” Zinfandel
Falkner Winery “Rock Creek” Syrah


April 12 is Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!

Friday, April 10th, 2015

grilled cheese day 2And since we all know that cheese and wine is simply divine, it’s just yet another day to celebrate the best pairing ever!

And there’s so very many ways to enjoy.  At minimum, a good grilled cheese sandwich requires just three ingredients:  bread, cheese, and butter.  But, oh, what we can do with a little imagination…

The classic American grilled cheese sandwich emerged in the 1920s when inexpensive cheese and affordable sliced bread became available.  Keep it simple with plain old American cheese on white bread and a rich, fruity Chardonnay will always work.

Wanna get a bit fancy?  How about cheddar cheese with bacon.  After all, isn’t everything better with bacon?  The cheddar will up the sharpness of the cheese, so go red, but nothing too heavy.  A nice lighter style red like a Sangiovese would be a great match-up.

How about eating like the French, and enjoying  “Croque Monsieur”,  a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  Make yours with Gruyère cheese, coarse-grained mustard, thinly sliced ham, dried apricot halves, and toasted pistachios – and throw it on a couple of French bread slices.  Add a vibrant rose or a fruity, but dry, Tempranillo for a perfect combination.  Or maybe adding some sweet caramelized onions to your Gruyère is more your preference?  In that case, pour a lightly sweet Riesling.

If Brie is your cheese of choice, try a panini-style sandwich with apple butter and bacon (again, what’s not better with bacon?) on raisin-walnut bread.  Nothing better than bubbly with brie, right?  But with the addition of the bacon, maybe a nice Chenin Blanc would be the ticket.

Goat cheese lovers, add a bit of smoked salmon with a bit of dill flavored butter.  That would be a heaven on earth partner for a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.  YUM!

The choices and pairings are endless.  Give a few a try – and tell us about your favorites.  Just make sure you’re drinking Temecula Valley wines while you’re at it!

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