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Wine For The Holidays

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

holiday table
Grandma’s stuffing, Aunt Susie’s cranberry sauce and your sister’s sweet potatoes.  Menu: done!  But what about the wine?  Choosing a bottle (or two!) of wine to bring to the holiday table can be tricky.  Appealing to not only your menu, but to a cross-section of practiced palates and novice wine drinkers may seem challenging.  But don’t stress out over one of the simplest tasks of the holiday season. Make it simple.  Any wine you enjoy is a good wine!

One certainly doesn’t need to look to others to rate, score or direct you to make a particular wine choice.  Bring a wine you’re familiar with to the table.  Chances are it’ll be just fine – and maybe even sublime!

First and foremost, don’t worry about pairing with the herbaceous, the tart or the sweet accompaniments to your turkey, ham or prime rib.  It’s much simpler to match the wine to the main protein dish.  Here’s a few tried and true varietal selections for some classic holiday main dishes:

Wines to Serve with Ham
Ham just begs for a something lightly sweet.  Look for wines with a touch of residual sugar like a Baily Vineyard & Winery Riesling or a Maurice Car’rie Winery Gewurztraminer.  Both are lighter in style, a bit lower in alcohol and still offer plenty of food-friendly acidity and crowd-pleasing palate appeal.  If you’re looking for an easy to pair red, go for a lighter style like Tempranillo.  Great examples can be found at both Miramonte Winery and at Danza del Sol Winery.

Wines to Serve with Turkey
Although an array of whites work perfectly well, Sauvignon Blanc is an all-time, hands-down favorite pick that holds up well to turkey – and all it’s side dishes. Temecula Valley provides the perfect playground for growing this varietal, so you’ll find many great examples of it here.  Beautifully aromatic offerings from the musqué clone can be found at Hart Winery and at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Soft red varietals like Syrah also make suitable partners; you can find some fabulous ones at Falkner Winery and Leoness Cellars.

Wines to Serve with Prime Rib
White wines will have a hard time keeping up with the likes of Prime Rib, but there are so many reds to choose from that make impressive cohorts, you’re sure to find one you’ll all enjoy.  Choose an affable Cabernet Sauvignon from Callaway Vineyard & Winery, a food friendly Italian varietal like Montepulciano or Sangiovese from Cougar Vineyard & Winery or an amazing Super Tuscan blend, Due Rossi, from Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery.

Happy Holidays!

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Wine Country Recipe: Roasted Duck Leg with Black Currant Sauce and Roasted Turnips

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Roasted Duck Leg

A tart, slightly sweet currant sauce complements and adds bright flavors to these crispy duck legs and roasted turnips.  Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 (8-ounce) duck legs, skin on, excess fat removed
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
2 medium turnips (about 10 ounces), peeled and each cut into ten wedges
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup black currant preserves
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the upper and lower third.  Sprinkle both sides of the duck legs generously with salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon of the thyme leaves.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking.  Add the duck legs, skin side down, and sear for 4 minutes.  Turn the legs and sear 1 minute.

Transfer the duck to a medium roasting pan, skin side up.  (Reserve the duck fat in the skillet for later use.)  Cover the pan and roast the duck for 1 hour on the upper rack.  Uncover and roast for an additional 15 minutes.  While the duck is roasting, spread the turnips in a single layer, in another roasting pan. Drizzle the turnips with 2 tablespoons of the reserved duck fat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the remaining teaspoon of thyme leaves.

About 35 minutes before the duck is done, put the turnips in the oven, on the lower rack, so that the duck and the turnips will be ready at the same time.  When the duck is ready, let it rest while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce, remove all but 1 tablespoon of duck fat from the skillet used for searing. (If there is less than 1 tablespoon left, just use what is left.)  Heat the skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots and cook and stir for 30 seconds.  Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer for 1 minute.  Add the black currant preserves and water and simmer for 30 seconds.  Turn off heat and whisk in the butter.  To serve, spoon the desired amount of sauce on 2 plates and top with 2 duck legs.  Arrange the turnips next to the duck.

Pairing Suggestions:

Chapin Family Vineyards ~ 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon ~ Rich, concentrated layers of vanilla, chocolate, roasted coffee and clover.

Doffo Winery ~ 2012 Zinfandel ~ A heartfelt wine which embodies all of the Doffo family’s passion and experience.

Lorimar Vineyards & Winery ~ 2011 Solo-Cabernet Sauvignon ~ Solo can save any occasion with its super powerful dark cherry and green bell pepper and captivating ruby color.

Maurice Car’rie Vineyard & Winery ~ 2011 Zinfandel ~ Rich fruit aromas of blackberry and plum coupled with a slight spiciness of black pepper.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Wine Institute of California.

 

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Temecula Valley Wines on the Road

Monday, August 11th, 2014

ToM-Logo-300x284

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014, you’ll find Temecula Valley wines at the 25th Annual Taste of Mainstreet in downtown Encinitas. Representing the Temecula Valley at various storefront “Sip Stops”, Baily, Callaway, Danza del Sol, Europa Village, Falkner, Hart, Leoness, Monte De Oro, Vindemia and Wiens wineries will be pouring their award winning wines. Advance tickets are just $35, including food, wine and beer (for those 21+). Same day tickets (if available), will be $45. Click here for ticket information.

uncorked

And on Saturday, August 23, 2014, from 4-7pm, you’ll find us at the Uncorked Wine Walk at Westfield UTC. Here you’ll savor wines from 12 Temecula Valley wineries including Bel Vino, Callaway, Falkner, Hart, Leoness, Lorimar, Maurice Car’rie, Oak Mountain, Palumbo, South Coast, Vindemia and Wilson Creek while tasting bites from UTC’s newest restaurants. Tickets are still available; purchase them here.

We hope to see you there!

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