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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

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Five Fun Facts About… Moscato

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Moscato, Muscatel, Muscat… what’s the difference between them? Just the names, actually.  Rather than just being one grape, Muscat includes a family of grapes in a range of colors (from white to brown, or to near black.)  For instance, Moscato is the Italian name and Muscatel the Spanish.

Here in the U.S., Moscato is making its mark and has become the hot wine of the moment. Some would say sweet versions of Moscato are ideal for the American sweet tooth; it’s also an easy wine for the new wine drinker to love.

For a perfect spring day, pack a picnic with a chilled bottle of Temecula Valley Moscato and pair it with good cheese, buttery crackers and seasonal fruit. Salud!

pipesmagazine.com

Here are Five Fun Facts About Moscato

1.  Muscat is the only fine wine grape that doubles as a table grape.

2.  Twitter currently buzzes with an average of 250 tweets an hour about people drinking their Moscato.

3.  In addition to Moscato, Muscatel and Muscat, this common white variety is also known as Muscadel, Muscat Blanc and Muscat Canelli.

4.  Virtually all pink Moscatos gain their hue from a splash of red wine, not skin contact.

5.  The breadth and number of varieties of Muscat suggest that it is perhaps the oldest domesticated grape variety, and there are theories that most families within the Vitis vinifera grape variety are descended from the Muscat variety.

Looking for a great bottle of Moscato wine in Temecula Valley?

Check these wines out!

 

Article sources:
Wikipedia, Muscat
WineIntro.com
Michigan University
Broker-wine.com
RoBeRt Haynes-Peterson/HawaiiBevGuide

 

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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!

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Temecula Winemaker Roundtable: Fun Facts About… Red Wine Blends

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Red wine blends are increasingly popular in the US, though they’ve long been the standard for regions as famous as Bordeaux, the Southern Rhone and Tuscany. Why? Because winemakers appreciate the flexibility and control blending allows; they are able fine tune the final wine to bring out the best of each variety and use them to balance each other. Like a meal made with one ingredient or a song that features only one instrument, single variety wines are sometimes less interesting and harmonious than blends.

Red wine blends may be labeled a variety of ways. Some popular blends you may see in Temecula include “Meritage” or “Super Tuscan” wines, but wineries frequently give their blends proprietary names, such as Monte de Oro’s Synergy 65, Callaway’s Calliope Red or Wilson Creek’s Double Dog Red.  This is a fun way of making the wine more identifiable, but it also signifies that the winery has truly created a wine that is theirs and theirs alone, since no two blends are exactly alike!

*See below for more Temecula red blends.

 

Here are five fun facts about red wine blends!

Facts courtesy of The Daily NewsWikipedia, Wine.LoveToKnow
  1. Bordeaux blends: Red Bordeaux blends are generally made from a combination primarily dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot.  They also often include Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carménère.
  2. A red Meritage is a Bordeaux-style wine made in California that is a combination of at least two of six varietals:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot or Carmenère.
  3. A Super Tuscan originally served as reference to an Italian viticulture region. While some Super Tuscans are single varietal, most are blends primarily containing Sangiovese or Merlot, some are blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, and some even more unusual blends which might include Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.
  4. GSM is a classic combination of three grape varieties (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre) from the southern Rhone Valley.  It is also referred to as a Southern Rhone blend.
  5. Rhone blends from France’s Rhone Valley can contain up to 22 varieties.  As the US has only 12 of those varietals planted, New World wines are most often a combination Syrah and Viognier blended with Mourvèdre, Grenache, Roussanne and Marsanne, and perhaps Counoise, Cinsaut, Grenache Blanc and Petite Sirah.


 

Looking for a great Temecula Valley red wine blend?  Check these wines out!

 

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Five Fun Facts About… Late Harvest Wine

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Are you familiar with late harvest wine?

Remember those small, lovely bottles you’ve seen in the dessert wine section of your favorite tasting room or wine store?

Many wine-lovers have yet to discover how delicious a late harvest wine can taste – especially when paired with cheese and honey, chocolate or a fruit-based dessert.

The perfect sweet dessert wine for Valentine’s day, late harvest wine is simple to understand and easy to find here in Temecula Valley!

 

Here are five fun facts about late harvest wine!

Facts courtesy of Snooth and Wikipedia
  1. “Late harvest” refers to wines made from grapes left on the vine longer than usual and picked later than normal. Late harvest grapes are often more similar to raisins, but have been naturally dehydrated while still on the vine.
  2. Late harvest wines are made around the world with almost every grape imaginable. Grapes like zinfandel and riesling are ideally suited to produce late harvest wine and are among the most popular.
  3. Grapes used for late harvest wines go through their full growth cycle and then some – becoming super sweet and losing acidity as they ripen.
  4. “Noble rot” is the term for the edible mold that causes grapes to lose nearly all of their water content. This natural process begins to take place in late September and can last until late October.
  5. Late harvest grapes are often hand-picked. Sometimes, the usable grapes from one vine may only produce enough juice for a single glass.

 

Looking for a great bottle of Temecula Valley Late Harvest Wine?  Check these wines out!

 

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Five Fun Facts About… Merlot

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Considered one of the most food-friendly and approachable wines on the planet, Merlot surged to popularity in the United States in the 1990s. Now wine-lovers can find great Merlot and delicious Merlot blends from all over the world – from South America to France to Italy to right here in Temecula Valley, California.

Here are five fun facts about Merlot!

Sourced from Snooth/Wikipedia
  1. Did you know the word “merlot” translates to “young blackbird” in French? The name was thought to have been given either because of the grape’s beautiful blue-black color, or blackbird’s fondness for grapes.
  2. Merlot’s flavor profile fluctuates within the sweetness spectrum. Cooler climates bring out hints of berries, plum, and even tobacco. Merlot grown in hotter climates might mimic flavors found in fruitcake or chocolate.
  3. A bit about Merlot blends: When Merlot first arrived in California, it mostly sold as single varietal bottlings (100% Merlot) until winemakers began blending it with other red grapes in the French Bordeaux tradition. Now, California’s Meritage wines are a signature of the state and always include Merlot as one of the essential blending grapes.
  4. Merlot is so popular because of the grape’s ability to please all palates. Wines can range from very fruity simple wines to more serious, barrel-aged bottles.
  5. Merlot has a high sugar content and low acidity, which makes it a very food-friendly wine, able to be paired with a variety of dishes. For example, Cabernet-like Merlots pair well with grilled meats. Softer, fruitier Merlots go well with salmon, mushroom-based dishes and greens. Light-bodied Merlots pair well with shellfish like prawns or scallops, especially if wrapped in bacon or prosciutto.

 

Looking for a great bottle of Temecula Valley MerlotCheck these wines out!

 

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5 Fun Facts About… Riesling

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

You can taste the world in Riesling, from Germany to Australia, from New York State to Oregon to Southern California. “Riesling is a fascinating grape not only because it can provide such a broad range of wine styles to enjoy, but also because it allows wine-lovers to compare terroir and winemaking from around the globe.” – Gregory dal Piaz, wine writer.

Riesling grape cluster at Falkner Winery

 

Here are five facts about this beloved white wine: 

Facts courtesy of Wikipedia & Snooth
    1. A white grape originating in Germany’s Rhineland, Riesling’s origins date back to 1435, when a German count bought six wine vines – making it the first documented varietal sale.
    2. Considered one of the very best food-pairing wines, Riesling goes with a variety of dishes depending upon the level of sweetness and acidity.  It’s also famous for cooling off the palate during a spicy meal.
    3. Riesling is especially well-known for its ability to show a sense of place. Many areas in the old and new world have the climate and soil capable of producing complex Rieslings – like Austria, northern Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Finger Lakes, Washington State and Temecula, California.
    4. Seldom oaked, Riesling grapes can be used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines. Riesling makes excellent dessert wines and is typically thought of in the US as a sweeter white wine. But that there are many “dry Rieslings” that are in fact very crisp and food-friendly, similar in body and style to a light, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc.
    5. The characteristics of quality Riesling are reminiscent of peaches or, when young, apples. It has a unique acidity, minerality, and fruit flavor with aromas of wet stones, smoke or even petroleum (a highly prized note in aged Riesling).
    6. Bonus! Riesling has universally low alcohol content.

 

Check out these delicious Temecula Riesling selections for your holiday table!

“Everyone should have at least one thrilling… riesling in their festive wine rack… off-dry rieslings… are perfect festive food wines.” December 2011, Jane MacQuitty, Thetimes.co.uk (UK)

 

credit: flicker/curtiskastner

 

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5 Fun Facts About… Cabernet Sauvignon

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Cab is “king of the red wine grapes.  The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows.”  – Snooth.com

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most widely recognized red wine grape varieties and is grown in nearly every major wine producing country in the world. Most Temecula Valley wineries are proud to produce several Cabernet options from single varietals to limited reserve bottles to popular Cab blends.

Cabernet grapes, Renzoni Vineyards

Here are five facts about the world’s most popular red wine: 

Facts courtesy of Wikipedia & Snooth
    1. Despite its prominence in the industry, the grape is a relatively new variety. It’s the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France, most likely in the Bordeaux region.  These origins were a mystery until recent DNA testing.
    2. The 1976 “Judgment of Paris” was a famous blind wine tasting event where esteemed wine experts unknowingly chose a California Cabernet over several French producers, thus catapulting New World Cabs onto the international stage.
    3. For most of the 20th century, Cabernet was the world’s most widely planted premium red wine grape until it was surpassed by Merlot in the 1990s.
    4. Cabernet Sauvignon makes equal appearances as a single varietal and in blends such as Bordeaux (French), Meritage (American), and Super Tuscan (Italian.)
    5. France and California are the well known as ideal places to grow Cabernet Sauvignon. But the grape is grown around the world including Italy, South America, Australia, Washington and Oregon, as well as other regions.

 

Flavor notes:

Each stage in this ubiquitous grape’s aging process differs wildly from the next. While young Cabernet notes can include black cherries and plums, a mature one might embody the flavors of cedar, cigar boxes, and pencil shavings. An unripe Cabernet Sauvignon tastes herblike – think green bell peppers, with hints of mint and eucalyptus – while an overripe version tastes like jam.  Best pairings include roast lamb, short ribs, a cheeseburger and other rich meaty dishes.

 

Eager to buy a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon in Temecula Valley?  Check out these delicious selections for fall!

 

Temecula cabernet & vineyards, courtesy of TheModChik

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5 Fun Facts About…Grenache

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Grenache (pronounced gren-aash) is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world!  Primarily featured in Rhone-style blends, it’s a star in the famous trio of GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre.)  The reason why Grenache is so valued in wine blends is because it brings body and fruitiness without the added tannins.

Grenache grapes

The characteristic notes of Grenache are berry fruit such as raspberries and strawberries.  Grenache-based wines can develop complex and intense notes flavors including  black currants, black cherries, black olives, coffee, gingerbread, honey, leather, black pepper, tar, spices, and roasted nuts.

 

 

Here are five fabulous facts about this blending master! 

Facts courtesy of Wikipedia.
    1. France and Spain are Grenache’s largest principal wine regions, followed by Australia and the United States.
    2. Rosé grenaches are often characterized by their strawberry and cream notes, like this South Coast Winery award-winner; $14.
    3. Grenache vines bud early and require a long growing season in order to fully ripen. This grape is often one of the last to be harvested, often ripening weeks after Cabernet Sauvignon.  It thrives in warm, dry conditions – like Temecula Valley!
    4. The long ripening process = high levels of sugar, which means Grenache-based wines are capable of substantial alcohol levels, often at least 15%.
    5. Grenache blanc is the light-skinned cousin to Grenache – and a very important white grape variety in France, planted fourth after Chardonnay, Semillion, and Ugni blanc.

 

Interested in tasting Grenache in action?  Check these Temecula Valley wineries off your list for fall – and order your holiday wines early.  Grenache is a classic light red that pairs perfectly with your Thanksgiving turkey.

 

In the chorus of Rhone varieties, Grenache rarely gets to perform solo… The grape often appeals to winegrowers because of it’s workhorse-like productivity in early years of the life of the vine.  But it may appeal to consumers, particularly as the vine ages, because of wines light in tannin that can have a faint sweetness and high degree of alcohol. Even though the day of our tasting was still warm, it strikes me now as an excellent transitional red as the weather has cooled.” – Dr. Vino.com

Grenache vineyards in Temecula Valley.
Photo courtesy of Who, What, Where, Wine.

 

 

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5 Facts About… Chardonnay

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

This month it’s all about Chardonnay! Most would agree that Chardonnay is the world’s favorite wine – due both to its deliciousness and its versatility. Chardonnay can pair with a wide array of foods depending on the style (oaked/unoaked) and the region (old world/new world), and is equally enjoyable on its own. Great pairings to try include oysters with unoaked styles and oaked or earthy styles with trout, turkey or creamy seafood dishes like lobster mac and cheese.

The grape became a global phenomenon in the 1980′s.  Because of its exploding popularity, many vineyards started planting Chardonnay vines for a guaranteed profit, especially in California.  Thus solidifying it’s permanent place in wine history.

Check out these Five Fact About Chardonnay to learn more about how it became one of the most popular wines of all time!

  1. The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral.  Many of the flavors commonly associated with the wine are actually derived from its terrior and oak influence.

 

  1. Chardonnay is an important component of many sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne.

 

  1. Chardonnay fruit is easy to cultivate, adaptable to different conditions, and ripens early.

 

  1. Main regions that grow this widespread grape: France, Italy, California, New York, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa.

 

  1. Contrary to the cheap, boxed versions we’ve seen, Chablis is actually a renowned sub-region in Burgundy, France that produces crisp, unoaked wines made from… you guessed it! Chardonnay.

 

Almost every Temecula Winery offers a great Chardonnay, of course!  Here’s what we’re drinking for summer:

 

 

 

 

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