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Doffo Winery Takes Top Prize!

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Visit Temecula Valley (VTV), in coordination with Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association (TVWA), recently announced the winners of the second annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting. The event took place on Sunday, November 12, 2017, at Leoness Cellars, and featured a walk-around blind tasting, a wine seminar led by Master of Wine Roger Bohmrich and a 6-course awards dinner paired with last year’s winning wines.

Doffo Winery’s 2015 Zinfandel took first place in the competition, after taking second place to Wilson Creek’s Petite Sirah at last year’s inaugural event. The 2017 second place winner was Lorimar Winery’s 2014 Syrah, and third place was taken by Thornton Winery’s 2014 Estate Syrah.

“We are beyond thrilled with receiving 1st Place in the People’s Choice competition,” said Damian Doffo, CEO and Winemaker for Doffo Winery. “We work very hard in the vineyard to produce high quality fruit and make exceptional wine. We look forward to sharing our wine with the public in February.”

Over 200 guests tasted 29 wines (6 whites and 23 reds) without knowing any of the wines’ identities, and rated them on a scale of 1-5 during a walk-around wine tasting. The top 12-scoring wines from this portion of the event went on to be poured during a wine seminar led by Master of Wine Roger Bohmrich, where they were again tasted blind and rated on a scale of 1-5, including by Roger himself. Final scores were tallied to determine the top 3 “People’s Choice” wines. Wines could be any variety or a blend, at any price point, as long as they were from the Temecula Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA). Entries ranged from just $24 per bottle to well over $100, and represented a number of grape varieties, from Falanghina to Syrah to Cabernet Franc.

In addition to the walk-around tasting and seminar, the event featured a six-course dinner created by Chef Daragh Matheson from Leoness Cellars, paired with last year’s People’s Choice winners. A VIP reception offered hand-selected pours presented by local winemakers and winery owners. San Diego singer-songwriter Christian Taylor performed throughout the tasting. The evening’s dinner program was emceed by Lindsay Pomeroy, Master of Wine Candidate and owner of the “Wine Smarties” school in San Diego, and a brief keynote was delivered by Bohmrich. Local musician Brian Stodart performed throughout the dinner program.

Sponsors included Gosch Ford, 34° Crisps, Palpula Dips & Sauces, Temecula Lavender Co., Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants, Aall In Limo & Party Bus, Grapeline Wine Tours and American AgCredit. Carter Estate Winery & Resort was the official hotel partner for the event.

The top twelve scoring wines in alphabetical order were as follows:

Avensole Winery 2014 Malbec, $32.95
Baily Vineyard & Winery 2014 Malbec, $25.00
Doffo Winery 2015 Zinfandel, $72.00
Falkner Winery 2014 Rock Creek Syrah, $49.95
Fazeli Cellars 2014 Shiraz, $48.00
Hart Winery 2014 Volcanic Ridge Vineyard Syrah, $60.00
Leoness Cellars 2014 CS Cabernet Franc-Merlot, $38.00
Lorimar Winery 2014 Syrah, $48.00
Miramonte Winery 2014 Estate Syrah, $65.00
South Coast Winery 2016 Viognier, $25.00
Thornton Winery 2014 Estate Syrah, $49.00
Wiens Family Cellars 2015 Sangiovese, $44.00

Most wines can be purchased directly online through each winery’s website. The entire list of wines entered into the competition can be accessed HERE.

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Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

All the flavors of summer come together with this light and refreshing salad.   It is packed with some of our favorite savory flavors and tossed with a dazzling lemon vinaigrette. For the perfect pairing, be sure to pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Rosé.

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless, skinless half chicken breasts

extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves

½ teaspoon minced garlic

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 large avocados, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-size pieces

3 cups baby or regular arugula leaves

1 piece Parmesan cheese (for shaving)

Directions:

1. Preheat the grill to medium high.

2. Cut each half chicken breast in half crosswise.

3. Brush the chicken pieces on both sides with olive oil. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

4. Grill the chicken pieces for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

5. To make the vinaigrette, pour the lemon juice in a large bowl. Whisk in the measured olive oil, lemon zest, honey, rosemary, garlic, and measured salt and pepper.

6. Cut chicken pieces crosswise into strips.

7. Add the chicken, avocado, and arugula to the vinaigrette. Toss gently to combine.

8. Divide the salad among the serving plates.

9. Top with shavings of Parmesan, cut with a vegetable peeler.

Suggested Pairings: 

Baily Winery 2015 Rosé of Sangiovese – Fun, fruity and full of character!

Doffo Winery 2016 Rosario –  A delightful fragrance of fresh strawberries, white rose, and hibiscus are mirrored on the palate.

Hart Winery 2016 Rosé of Sangiovese  – Lightly pink, near-dry, delicately scented and flavored Rose′.

Maurice Car’rie/Van Roekel Winery 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé – Wonderful notes of strawberry short cake, Asian pear, and springtime wildflowers.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Temecula Wine Pairings For Your Thanksgiving Table

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Autumn table setting with pumpkins. Thanksgiving dinner and autumn decoration.

In just a few weeks, your tummy will be rumbling and your mouth salivating with the promise of the once-a-year feast that is Thanksgiving. America’s biggest food holiday serves up the chance to do some serious (and seriously fun) wine and food pairing. Here in Temecula Valley, Southern California’s Wine Country, we’ve got the perfect wine pairings to go with each Thanksgiving course. No matter what your budget, this simple guide will have your friends and family giving thanks to you for making their holiday meal extra special.

Light Appetizers + Mellow Whites

These bright yet mellow whites pair well with lighter dishes to kick off your Thanksgiving meal. The floral notes of light white wine complement a fall salad of pears, blue cheese and walnuts; a selection of fruit and cheeses match nicely with a Chardonnay; and light Pinot Grigio will sing next to your pumpkin soup.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery 2012 Special Selection Chardonnay; $25.00

Danza Del Sol Winery 2015 Pinot Grigio; $28.00 (1st Annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting Award Winner)

Monte De Oro Winery 2015 Nostimo; $23.00 (1st Annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting Award Winner)

Herbacious Side Dishes + Spicy Reds

The spicy notes derived from these unique wine grapes pair especially well with stuffings and gravies seasoned with holiday herbs like sage, thyme and rosemary. Having a vegetarian Thanksgiving? These wines work well with earthy mushroom and winter squash dishes too!

Mount Palomar Shorty’s Bistro Red; $20.00

Avensole 2012 Second Block Zinfandel; $60.95  (1st Annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting Award Winner)

Doffo Winery 2013 Syrah; $58.00

Poultry & Meats + Bold Reds

Whether it’s wine or food, everyone looks forward to the main course. The dark fruit flavors in these big reds will enhance similar flavors in your herb-rubbed turkey or peppered roasts. Whether you’re serving poultry, lamb or beef, all three are bold enough to stand up to a rich meat course.

Baily Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon; $30.00

Fazeli Cellars 2012 Khayyam; $58.00

Wiens Family Cellars 2014 Bare Knuckle Petite Sirah; $48.00

Dessert + Sweet Wines

Your Thanksgiving meal isn’t complete without dessert, and no dessert is complete without wine – at least that’s how we feel! Apple pies and pear tarts are practically made to pair with Ponte’s sweet moscato, where red delicious apples, kiwi , pears, and apricots come together nicely with honeysuckle and jasmine undertones. Or try the People’s Choice Blind Tasting award winner, Briar Rose’s Estate Riesling with your fruit tarts or pies.  And for a special treat, buy a bottle of Renzoni port to pair with a fudgy chocolate cake.

Briar Rose 2013 Estate Riesling; $25.00 (1st Annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting Award Winner)

Ponte Winery 2015 Moscato; $28.00

Robert Renzoni Paradiso Port; $49.00

One Meal, One Wine

Looking to simplify your evening by serving one wine from start to finish? Any of these four, well-priced wines fit the bill. Each is lighter on the palate, with only subtle hints of sweetness making them suitable to drink from appetizers all the way to dessert. Bon appetit!

Maurice Car’rie 2015 Chenin Blanc; $20.95

Miramonte Winery 2014 Grenache Blanc; $28.95

Falkner Winery 2015 Sauvignon Blanc; $24.95

South Coast Winery Ruby Cuvee; $22.00

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Roots Run Deep in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country

Friday, August 19th, 2016

IMG_7797_Family-1024x683In Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, the family that wines together, stays together. At least that’s what it seems like given the number of family owned and operated wineries that populate the region.

What started out as Marcelo Doffo’s retirement project slowly evolved into a full-fledged, family-owned and operated winery, Doffo Winery, known for producing small-lot, hand-crafted reds. Upon his official retirement on January 1, 2016, Marcello turned the business over to his three children to run it. Son Damian serves as acting CEO and winemaker, and daughters Samantha and Brigitte serve as event coordinator and tasting room manager respectively.

“Our family bond has never been stronger, and we all share the same vision and goal, and the direction in which we are heading with our winery,” said Damian. “In all honesty, I wouldn’t have it any other way and I think we all share that same sentiment.”

The Doffo family shares many things, but most importantly, they are unified in their belief that quality winemaking starts in the vineyard. To this end, they hand-plant vines, meticulously prune and even play classical music for their vineyards to “soothe the grapes.” They also share a love of motorcycles. The Winery is home to MotoDoffo, the family’s private collection of over 100 racing and vintage bikes.

The Wilson Family opened Wilson Creek Winery because they all wanted to be together after parents Gerry and Rosie Wilson retired. Originally from Minnesota, the Wilsons had no experience as vintners other than making dandelion and rhubarb wine in their basement in the 1960s. Today, Wilson Creek is one of largest and most widely recognized wineries in Temecula Valley, and still run by family. Bill Wilson is CEO; Mick Wilson is COO; Deanna Wilson works in sales and distribution and Jennifer Wilson works in merchandising. The family can regularly be found on the grounds, meeting customers and working closely with winery staff. All would say Gerry and Rosie are the glue that holds everything together.

Some wineries are a union of not one but two families. Gary Winder started Stage Ranch Farm Management Inc. (parent company of Temecula Valley Winery Management) in the early 1970s. He was joined by Mike Rennie in the 1990s and together they focused on growing their vineyard operations, ultimately founding Leoness Cellars in 2002. Leoness is largely run by their families, including Rebaux and Jesse Steyn, Gary’s daughter and son-in-law. The staff describe the team as “more of a family group” than a traditional collection of employees, which they attribute to their unique family dynamic.

Lorimar Winery is owned by brothers-in-law Lawrie Lipton and Mark Manfield– the name is actually a hybrid of Mark and Lawrie. Lawrie’s daughter and son-in-law couldn’t escape the family business, both working there as well. And, one can’t visit Wiens Family Cellars without running into one of the Wiens– a whopping 19 family members are involved with the winery and brewery. “We are a tight-knit family and have always done things as a group,” said Jeff Wiens, owner and general manager. “So having a family business seemed a natural fit.”

Be sure to visit these and other Temecula Valley Southern California wineries this September, during California Wine Month. For more information, visit www.winemonth.org.

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Wine & The Super Bowl? You Bet!

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

real-football-fans-drink-wine-550x641

Sure, wine may not be the first image that comes to mind when planning your Super Bowl celebration, but we’d bet that we can convince you that it should be!  Of course, when it comes to wine, we sure have a hard time imagining any celebration without it.

Here are some game day staples and some of our wine pairing recommendations:

Hot Wings ~ Riesling makes a good choice here….it will temper some of the heat of the wings!
We’d suggest: Baily Winery 2011 Riesling,  Danza del Sol Winery 2014 Riesling or Mount Palomar Winery’s 2013 Riesling

Pizza ~ Mmmm….pizza!  How about trying a Barbera with that?
We’d suggest: Europa Village 2013 Estate BarberaHart Winery 2012 Barbera or Ponte Family Estate Winery’s 2013 Barbera.

7 Layer Dip ~ Our favorite pairing for foods with Mexican flavors?  Malbec!
We’d suggest: Carter Estate 2011 MalbecDoffo Winery 2013 Malbec or Foot Path Winery’s 2012 Malbec,

Burgers ~ Those of us in Southern California are lucky enough to be able to grill on most Super Bowl Sundays.  If you get that lucky, why not grill up a burger and enjoy with a hearty glass of Chardonnay?
We’d suggest: Oak Mountain Winery 2014 Chardonnay, Thornton Winery 2013 Chardonnay or Wilson Creek Winery’s  2014 “Yes Dear” Chardonnay

So, as you can see, wine and Super Bowl fare really are a match made in football heaven!

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Carrots and Fresh Herbs

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Tuscan_Pork_hero-e07906d4-82d8-424e-aab5-b74cae86a3b4-0-472x310This flavorful roast can be served hot with roasted carrots and savory pan drippings or cold, thinly sliced for sandwiches. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder roast, tied, trimmed of excess fat and seasoned well with salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, minced
1 (2-inch) sprig of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
6 fresh large sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
12 whole baby carrots, cleaned with stems removed
1/3 cup Temecula Valley Zinfandel

Directions:

Preheat oven to 275 F (135 C).

Mix the herbs and garlic in a small bowl. Rub the herb mixture evenly over the pork and into the crevices. Put the pork in a roasting pan. Roast uncovered for 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss olive oil, carrots and shallots in a large bowl.

After 90 minutes, add the carrots and shallots to the pan and pour the Zinfandel over the pork. Cook for an additional 90 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice the pork and serve with carrots and drizzle with the pan juices.

Serves 4

Recipe Courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

Suggested Pairings:

Baily Winery ~ 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon –  Warm, rich tones with subtle, herbaceous qualities and a hint of mint.

Doffo Winery ~ 2013 Zinfandel – Full of black cherry jam, raspberry, black berry and allspice aromas, with luscious notes of boysenberry, ripe plums and toasted oak.

Lorenzi Estate Vineyards & Winery ~ 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon – Aged in New French oak for 18 months and expresses itself with a depth and complexity you should expect from a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Maurice Car’rie Vineyard & Winery ~ 2012 Van Roekel Estate Zinfandel –  Aromas of raspberry jam, Red Delicious apples and finishes off with toasted black pepper.

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Thanksgiving Wine Pairing Guide

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

thanksgiving-wine-horizWho’s as obsessed with Thanksgiving as we are?  The turkey, the trimmings, the pumpkin pie and the WINE!

This is the time of year we get the most questions about wine pairings.  While there is no “right” or “wrong” wine to pair with your feast, there are a few varietals that, if paired with your favorite dishes, will send your taste buds into sensory overload.  We’re reprising this “oldie but goodie” Thanksgiving wine guide and have updated it with some suggested pairings to try this year.

Light Appetizers + Mellow Whites

These mellow whites pair well with lighter dishes to kick off your Thanksgiving meal. The floral notes of a Viognier complement a fall salad of pears, blue cheese and walnuts; a selection of fruit and cheeses match nicely with a Chardonnay; and a light Pinot Grigio will pair well with your pumpkin soup.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery – 2011 Chardonnay; $30.00

Danza Del Sol Winery – 2014 Pinot Grigio; $28.00

Briar Rose Winery – 2014 Estate Viognier; $25.00

Herbacious Side Dishes + Spicy Reds

The spicy notes derived from these unique wine grapes pair especially well with stuffing and gravies seasoned with holiday herbs like sage, thyme and rosemary. Having a vegetarian Thanksgiving? These wines work well with earthy mushroom and winter squash dishes too!

Cougar Vineyard & Winery – 2012 Sangiovese; $31.00

Leoness Cellars – 2012 Zinfandel; $39.00

Doffo Winery – 2010 Syrah; $52.00

Poultry & Meats + Bold Reds

Whether it’s wine or food, everyone looks forward to the main course. The dark fruit flavors in these big reds will enhance similar flavors in your herb-rubbed turkey or peppered roasts. Whether you’re serving poultry, lamb or beef, all three are bold enough to stand up to a rich meat course.

Baily Vineyard & Winery – 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon; $30.00

Monte De Oro Winery – 2010 Merlot; $32.00

Wiens Family Cellars – 2013 Tempranillo; $42.00

Dessert + Sweet Wines

Your Thanksgiving meal isn’t complete without dessert, and no dessert is complete without wine – at least that’s how we feel! Apple pies and pear tarts are practically made to pair with a sweet Moscato, where red delicious apples, kiwi, pears, and apricots come together nicely with honeysuckle and jasmine undertones. Oak Mountain’s Port has a nutty honeyed flavor to perfectly complement the nutmeg and allspice flavors of pumpkin pie.

Oak Mountain Winery – Port; $28.00

Miramonte Winery – 2014 Moscato; $25.95

Robert Renzoni – Paradiso Port; $49.00

One Meal, One Wine

On a wine-buying budget? Or just looking to simplify your evening by serving one wine from start to finish? Any of these three, well-priced wines fit the bill. Each is lighter on the palate, with only subtle hints of sweetness making them suitable to drink from appetizers all the way to dessert. Bon appetit!

Maurice Car’rie Vineyard & Winery – 2012 Chenin Blanc; $19.95

Falkner Winery – 2014 Sauvignon Blanc; $19.95

South Coast Winery – Ruby Cuvee; $22.00

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5 Fun Things to do in Temecula Valley wine country this weekend!

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

funIt’s Father’s Day weekend, so treat him right with a day in wine country.  There’s lots going on, from music to food, entertainment to education.  You pick!  The only rule is – you MUST have fun!

Crawfish Boil
When: Fri, June 19, 6p
Where: Wilson Creek Winery
It’s back! Join us for a traditional Louisiana-style Crawfish Boil. Savor some fabulous wines and feast on crawfish with all the fixin’s while enjoying the sounds of “Shades of J” rockin blues. / $49.95 per person / $39.95 per person, wine club

Wine Appreciation Class
When: Sat, June 20, 10a
Where: Falkner Winery
Designated for all levels of wine knowledge / $45 per person / $70 per person with lunch. / Reservations required by calling 951-676-8231 xt. 109

Moto Barrel Room Tours
When: Sun, June 21, 11a – 2p
Where: Doffo Winery
Showcasing over 100 vintage motorcycles and scooters from classic manufacturers like Ducati, Honda, CZ, Vespa and more, the Moto Barrel Room is open for free tours on Thursdays and Sundays

Father’s Day “Bacon and Syrah” Dinner
When: Sun, June 21, 6p
Where: Wiens Family Cellars
$85 per person / $68 per person, wine club / Celebrate Father’s day in style with a vertical tasting of four past Syrahs along with perfectly paired bacon dishes.

Champagne Jazz Concert Series ~ Spyro Gyra & Acoustic Alchemy
When: Sun, June 21, 4p
Where: Thornton Winery
General Admission tickets – $65 / Gourmet Supper tickets – $140 (3 course meal, concert ticket & assigned table

 

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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!

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Wine Country Recipe: Strawberry-Blueberry Compote in Red Wine Syrup

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Panna-Cotta-with-fresh-berries-and-berry-sauce

Infusing red wine with warm spices and herbs creates a fragrant syrup for the distinctive ruby-hued compote. Serve over ice cream, pound cake, or with almond biscotti, and garnish with mint.

Ingredients:

1 cup of your favorite Temecula Valley dry red wine *
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 (2 1/2-inch) orange rind strips
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
4 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries

Preparation:

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small non-aluminum saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Drain wine mixture in a colander over a large bowl; discard solids. Add berries; toss to coat. Serve warm or chill up to 2 hours.

* Wine Suggestions:

Doffo Winery ~ 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – A dark rich garnet color entices the senses.  The pallet boasts dark red cherries and cassis.  The lingering finish on the this silky Cabernet Sauvignon shows a hint of smoke and cacao.

Falkner Winery ~ 2012 Syrah – This wonderfully rich wine has deep flavors of ripe plum and black cherry and is very true to the varietal. Enjoy the delicious depth of flavors, and smooth, round, lingering finish.

Hart Winery ~ 2012 Syrah –  Grown in the granitic soils with the abundant sunshine and caressing cool ocean breezes of the region, our old-vine Syrah displays rich fruit, great depth and color, and a long, lingering finish.

Lorimar Winery ~ 2012 Allegro – Merlot – Rich and full bodied, with black cherry, plum and blackberry flavors with hints of rose petals.

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