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Temecula Valley Winery Owners Tell All! Their “Family Favorites.”

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

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Have you ever wondered which wine is a “family favorite” at your favorite Temecula Valley winery?  We have too…so, we decided to ask a few of our winery owners which of their wines is their favorite….and, why.  Of course, we knew that asking them this question would be much like asking parents of multiple children which is their favorite, but we thought we’d give it a whirl!

Nick Palumbo, owner of Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery says that he and wife Cindy’s fave is the “Tre Fratelli” Meritage blend.  As Nick tells it, not only is this wine consistently very good, but it’s got sentimental value for the Palumbo Family as well.  It is one of the first blended wines they produced in 2002 when Palumbo Winery opened and takes its name “three brothers” from the 3 boys of the Palumbo Family. The current release 2012, is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.

The Lin Family, owners of Callaway Vineyard & Winery, have a brand new favorite wine. They challenged their winemaker, Craig Larson, to pull out all the stops and “do whatever it took, with no cost restrictions” to create a Cabernet Sauvignon that reflects their dedication and passion to bring the best quality wine in all of Temecula Valley and California.  What came of this challenge is the OPR, the Owner’s Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which the Lins believe has captured the very essence of everything they envisioned.

Over at Oak Mountain Winery, owners Steve and Valerie Andrews’ favorite is their Tenacious.  This wine is a Syrah-heavy Rhone blend named after Valerie’s mother who passed away over 25 years ago.  Val says “my mother, Arlene was tenacious in everything she did, and she did plenty.  Her license plate on her car was Ten8shs.  Whether she was working in the family liquor store, volunteering at the hospital, battling cancer or just being a great mom and friend, she was tenacious.  My parents introduced the wine industry to Steve and I, and look what happened!  Sorry to say, the wine is so good we drank it all…but a new vintage is coming soon.”

Monte De Oro Winery’s Ken Zignorski is passionate about their Syrah.  For him, it’s all about how well it pairs with food. Ken says “I like pairing the Syrah with a nice ribeye steak or tri-tip on the grill.  It’s got a full-bodied, mellow and a nice, lasting finish for me.  And, I think that Syrah is one of those grapes that really demonstrates Temecula Valley’s capabilities as a wine region.”

Rick & Jennifer Buffington, owners of Cougar Vineyard & Winery, lists Aglianico as their family favorite.  A black grape grown in the southern regions of Italy, it originated in Greece and was brought to the south of Italy by Greek settlers. Although it’s not a popular wine amongst the Temecula wineries, it is one that the Buffington family is proud to offer since it isn’t widely available and is very unique.  They appreciate the wine’s complexity, high acidity, firm tannins, rich flavor and its ability to pair well with food.  Plus….it only gets better with age!

At Briar Rose Winery, owners Les & Dorian Linkogle didn’t hesitate when it came to their favorite wine.  Sacrament is a rare and historic Mission Wine.  The Mission Wine is made from the Mission Grape planted by Father Junipero Serra to use for the Sacrament of Communion as he established 9 California missions from 1769-1782.  These Mission Grapes, also known as the Heritage Grape of the State of California, were planted along the El Camino Real by the Founder of California Missions.

Well, it’s safe to say that our owners love their Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends!  So, what is your favorite Temecula Valley wine….and why??

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Herb and Pistachio Crusted Rack of Lamb with Caramelized Cauliflower, Shallots and Carrots

Monday, January 12th, 2015

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Fresh herbs, crunchy pistachio nuts and the slight sweetness of caramelized cauliflower complement this dramatic, crusted rack of lamb. Serve with your favorite Temecula Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or red blend.

Ingredients:

3 slices white sandwich style bread, torn into small pieces
1/3 cup shelled, roasted pistachios
¼ cup finely chopped parsley leaves
½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
¼ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon salt
6 ounces carrots
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups cauliflower florets
½ cup thinly sliced shallots
1 rack of lamb with 8 rib bones, Frenched
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard or other brown mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Put the bread, pistachios, parsley, rosemary, thyme and the 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is finely ground. Scrape the mixture on a baking sheet, and set aside.

Slice the carrots at an angle, into ½ -inch pieces, and cut each piece in half lengthwise.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter, cauliflower, carrots and shallots. Stir to coat the vegetables, and then cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. Stir and turn the vegetables and cook them undisturbed for another 3 minutes. Stir and turn one more time. Remove from the heat and cover the pan.

Cut the lamb rack in half between the fourth and fifth ribs. Sprinkle the pieces generously with salt and pepper on all three surfaces.

Heat a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the lamb, fat side down, and sear for 3 minutes. Turn both pieces and sear for 1 minute on each of the other two surfaces. Place the lamb on a roasting pan, fat side down, and roast for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and transfer the lamb to a plate. Brush all three surfaces of each piece with the mustard and coat generously with the pistachio mixture. Keep the leftover pistachio mixture on the baking sheet.

Return the lamb to the roasting pan, fat side up, and roast it for 3 minutes or until the coating is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Put the pan with the remaining pistachio mixture in the oven for 3 minutes to toast. Transfer the nuts to a small serving bowl.

Reheat the cauliflower and add salt and pepper to taste.

Using a very sharp knife, cut between the ribs to make 8 lamb chops.

To serve, arrange 2 chops on each plate with a serving of the cauliflower. Pass the toasted nuts for sprinkling.

Suggested Pairings:

Foot Path Winery ~ 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon – An inviting wine with rich red berries and subtle tannins on the palate.

Leoness Cellars ~ 2011 VS Cabernet Sauvignon – Soft tannins along with layers of spice and cocoa continue into a rich, velvety finish.

Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery ~ 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Sophia’s Vineyard – Bright dark fruit with black currant, raspberry and pepper nose and lingering black cherry.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ 2011 Sonata – Bouquet of toasted oak, vanilla, and dried cherries, amid layers of cherry, cranberry and spice with a hint of coffee on the finish.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

 

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Big Dreamers: Nick & Cindy Palumbo, Palumbo Family Vineyard & Winery

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Welcome to our new blog series: “Big Dreamers.”

Here you’ll read about the inspiring true stories of our Temecula Valley winemakers and winery owners. You’ll learn where they’ve come from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous art (and science) of making good wine.

Nick & Cindy Palumbo have owned and operated Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery since 1998.

1.  What were you doing before owning and operating your winery?

NICK:  I have done A LOT! I was an ocean lifeguard, a rock star in NYC, a chef and now – winemaker.

CINDY:  I was an insurance agent for 15 years prior to the winery.

2.  What inspired you to want to buy a winery and what were the circumstances around choosing Temecula Valley, CA?

NICK: I was just coming back to SoCal after time in NY and lucked into this emerging Valley.  I saw potential for better wine and vineyard quality than what was here before, so I took charge.

CINDY:  I was already living in Temecula Valley and met Nick after he purchased the vineyards. A few years later I encouraged him to turn the garage into a winery, to quit selling his fruit to other winemakers and to open up his own shop.

3.  What were your expectations of the winemaker lifestyle at the beginning?  Were they way off or right on?

NICK:  I only expected to have to work really hard.  I wanted to prove it could be done through hard work and sacrifice. I certainly didn’t expect to make any money at it. I was right! I knew what I wanted – and the rewards for making quality wine would come if I just kept my head down and proved it though doing it.

CINDY:  I had zero expectations of the lifestyle – and that’s probably a good thing. It’s not nearly as glamorous as most people think – but I wouldn’t change it!

4.  People might think winemaking is glamorous.  Would you like to set them straight?

NICK:  If you’re an authentic winemaker, the glamorous parts come when no one is looking. It’s a lifestyle that you can’t pretend to live. Working hard, raising children and farming for quality is the reward… not what people see in the magazines.

CINDY:  There are definitely some glamorous sides to the wine industry. Nick is so down-to-earth and he takes winemaking so seriously that we don’t really experience that side of it in our lives. A true winemaker is focused on just that – making good wine.

5.  What is your least favorite thing about running a winery?  What is your most favorite – the reason you get up in the morning?

NICK: There really is no part of what I do that is worse or better. If you love what you do for a living, then it’s all good!

CINDY:   Least favorite thing about owning a winery is probably the fact that we can never get away from it. We live there, we sleep there, we work there, we are raising our family there; it’s always our focus. Sometimes I think it would be nice to just be able to work 9 to 5 and leave the office at the office. My favorite part about it is the lifestyle. We live in the middle of a vineyard, we raise our own animals, our (four) kids get to grow up see what we make with our hands. Winemaking in Temecula is truly a labor of love that we are allowed to include our whole family in.

To learn more about California’s Big Dreamers, click here!

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http://visitcalifornia.com/dream365

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Wine Country Recipe: Hearty Lamb Stew

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Former chef turned Temecula winemaker Nick Palumbo offers up one of his secret family recipes: a hearty fall stew using lamb and a zest of orange and clove. Warm flavors for chilly nights. Remember, stew is even better the second day!

See below for this simple winery recipe and visit Palumbo Family Vineyards for your bottle of Estate Syrah.

 

Ingredients:

2lbs. boneless lamb shoulder, cubed

Salt and pepper

Flour for dredging

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. butter

1 large onion, large dice

2 carrots, rough chopped

3 celery stalks, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 orange, halved

1/4 bunch fresh thyme

1 clove

2 quarts stock or as needed

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375˚ F

Season lamb with salt and pepper then dredge in flour

Brown in a large lidded skillet and remove

Drain fat and add butter to skillet and then add onions, carrots, garlic and celery over medium heat till just brown

Squeeze orange juice into pan and deglaze then add meat, thyme, clove and entire half of squeezed orange and just enough stock to cover

Bring to a boil, then put into oven for an hour or until meat is tender; lower oven heat if boiling after 10 minutes

Serve over a bowl of mashed potatoes and a bottle of Palumbo Family Vineyard & Winery’s 2009 Estate Syrah.

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“Uncorked” Event at La Jolla Westfield Event, June 29th

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 29 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Join us for Westfield UTC’s first annual event – Uncorked – taking place on Saturday, June 29th. Temecula Valley is the official sponsor of the wine walk. Taste dozens of popular wines from 12 different Temecula Valley wineries paired with tasty bites from Westfield UTC’s finest restaurants: Seasons 52, Eureka Gourmet Burger & Craft Beer, Tender Greens and Fixtures Living’s own, Sam the Cooking Guy. The wine tasting stations will be operating from 4-7pm and concluding with a live sunset concert in Palm Plaza at 7pm featuring Michelle Branch and the music of Brandon & Leah.

Tickets are only $10 advance/$15 at the door.  All proceeds go to the San Diego Botanic Garden.

Buy your tickets here!

 

Participating Temecula Valley Wineries and the wines that will be poured include —

  1. Lorimar Winery: Estate Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Granache Sparkling Wine
  2. Europa Village: Viognier, Grenache Rose, Syrah, En Vie Blanc
  3. Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery: ’12 Viognier, ’10 Sangiovese
  4. Keyways Winery: Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Tempranillo, Mataro, Valley Cuvee Du Nord
  5. Falkner Winery: 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Rosato-Rose; 2008 Amante-Super Tuscan; and 2008 Meritage-Bordeaux Blend
  6. Monte De Oro Winery: 2007 Syrah, 2009 Zinfandel, 2012 Nostimo White Wine
  7. Callaway Vineyard & Winery: 2010 Chardonnay WR, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon SS, 2011 Gewurztraminer SS and Belle Rose Sparkling
  8. Vindemia Estate Winery:  2006 Commonwealth Bordeaux Blend
  9. Miramonte Winery: Estate Syrah; Bin 380 (Rhone Blend); Chardonnay
  10. Maurice Car’rie/Van Roekel: Maurice Carrie Sauvignon Blanc, Maurice Carrie Tempranillo, Van Roekel Grenache Rose
  11. Thornton Winery:  Thornton Non-Vintage Brut Champagne, 2012 Chardonnay, and the 2010 Thorny’s Coat Red
  12. Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyard: Almond Champagne, Decadencia, Roussanne, Double Dog
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4545 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite E-25, San Diego, CA 92122 | (858) 546-8858

 

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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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So Cal Wine TV – Tour Palumbo Family Winery

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Take a ride with Nick Palumbo as he shows you around his family-run winery in our latest episode of So Cal Wine TV.  Visit www.palumbowines.com for more info on the winery & stop in for a tasting today!

Tasting Room Hours

Friday 12:00pm-5:00pm
Saturday 11:00am-5:00pm
Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm
Weekdays by appointment 951.676.7900

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