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Temecula Spring Wines and Special Sparklers for Mother’s Day

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

May is a big month for wine and dine celebrations! Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, weddings and spring birthdays… So what Temecula Valley wines perform best in these lovely pre-summer months? And what’s the best seasonal fare to pair them with?

*Reminder tip! Get the most balanced flavor from your bottle by using the simple 15 minute rule for serving all wine: Pull whites and rosés out of the fridge 15 minutes before drinking; put reds in the fridge for 15 minutes before drinking.

 

Spring Whites: Crisp Vermentino and Floral Viognier-Rousanne Blend

Try some unique whites this spring and give your family something to talk about at the next picnic. How about…

Of Spanish-Mediterranean origin, Vermentino is often a grape used in white-wine blending. Relatively low in alcohol with crisp acids, Cougar Winery offers their 100% 2013 Vermentino for $17. Serve this white alongside grilled spring vegetables like asparagus, artichokes and charred green onions.

Palumbo Family Vineyards’ Brezza di Mare Viognier-Rousanne is a Rhone-style blend (meaning in the style of the Rhone wine region in the South of France) which sells for $19.95. Made up of 75% Viognier and 25% Rousanne, this food-friendly white blend has a minerality that goes nicely with fresh seafood (think chilled mussels and shrimp) or a charcuterie platter if you’re having a weekend get-together.

 

Spring Reds: Fruity Merlot and Spicy Tempranillo

Lighten up with some easy-drinking reds, perfect for a spring day or evening. We recommend…

Leoness Cellars focuses on sustainable practices in the vineyards and it shows in their wines. Try the fruit-forward 2010 Vineyard Selection Merlot, $55. This bottle is a great stand-alone drinker and has a high likelihood of being consumed before the food is finished cooking. But if you must pair it with your meal, serve with a medium-rare pork loin with cherry compote or a spring pasta tossed with early-season tomatoes, asparagus and caramelized spring onions.

Miramonte Winery offers an excellent quality 2010 Tempranillo for $38.95. Technically a blend (80% Tempranillo, 10% Grenache, 10% Cinsault), this Spanish red pairs well with cooked meats hot off the grill, like lamb chops and brats served with a side of grilled peppers and onions.

 

Special Wines for Mother’s Day: Sparklers and Spring Three-Packs

Think ahead and pop into one of these Temecula wineries for mom’s perfect brunch beverage. Our favorites…

For special toasts to mom, there’s nothing like a sparkler. But first, some background. What’s the difference between champagne and spumante? Well, it begins with the country of origin. For a sparkling wine to be officially designated as “Champagne” it must be made in the Champagne region of northeast France. Spumante (also known as Asti Spumante) is a sparkling white wine from the Piedmont region of Italy, made from Muscat Bianco grapes.

Champagne and spumante are crafted differently as well. Unlike Champagne, Asti is not made sparkling through the use of secondary fermentation in the bottle but rather through a single tank fermentation utilizing the Charmat method. While Champagne can land anywhere on the scale between sec (sweet) or brut (dry), Spumante tends to be on the sweeter side; another well-known version is Moscato d’Asti.

Ponte Estate offers two California bubblies: the popular Moscato and the beautiful Rose Spumante. Moscato – by itself or in a Mimosa with fresh OJ or tangerine juice – pairs perfectly with your Sunday Mother’s Day brunch (think Quiche Lorraine and fruit.) Its gentle bubbles will tickle your taste buds with mellow flavors of apricot and nectarine. Even better, pick up Ponte’s Sparkling Wine Trio for $92 (or $69 wine club sale.) You’ll get a bottle of Moscato 2012, Rose Spumante 2012 and Vernaccia Nera 2011.  This sparkling trio will certainly keep glasses filled throughout your Mother’s Day celebrations.

Another top winery choice for that special Mother’s Day bottle is South Coast Winery, which makes a variety of unique California sparkling wines like Pinot Noir Rosé, Pinot Grigio Sparkling and Spumante Diamonte. Pair these with your favorite brunch items – eggs benedict, french toast with strawberries and even a ham & cheese melt topped with powdered sugar (ala Monte Carlo.) And send mom home with a bottle, too.

Last but not least, Leoness Cellars has put together a hand-selected spring three pack for your Mother’s Day picnic: White Merlot, Grenache and Melange de Blanc. The White Merlot is a lovely pink hue, bursting with berry flavors. Melange de Blanc is a Rhone-style white wine blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne and pairs perfectly with seafood, soft french cheese and seasonal fruit like fresh strawberries. The Grenache is a soft and supple medium-bodied red (a warm-climate alternative to Pinot Noir) that matches the flavor of barbecued meats and light pasta salad. Remember to serve all three of these wines cool.

 

Happy Spring & Happy Mother’s Day from Temecula Valley Wine Country!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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Winery Spotlight: Get To Know… Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

The Story

Located off the beaten path on Barksdale Circle, Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery is committed to producing handcrafted wines from estate-grown grapes that proprietor Nick Palumbo believes are ideally suited to Temecula Valley. The 13-acre family-run winery is often described as “boutique,” but Nick favors the term “artisanal” to describe the involvement and passion that goes into their daily operations, from the vineyards to the tasting room.

 

The Wines

For Nick – a grape grower and winemaker who is both an artist and a cultivator – it’s all about the wine… beginning with the vineyards. The family’s 13 acres are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Sangiovese; they recently planted a block of Viognier and Syrah on a neighboring property to expand their wine portfolio.

Specializing in full-bodied reds, Palumbo winery offers both single-varietal bottlings as well as a few special blends, like the popular Meritage, “Tre Fratelli” and the Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon, which help round out the wine list and showcase the versatility and depth of quality for which Palumbo wines are known.  “I believe there are only two basic ingredients in making fine wines: the fruit itself and the barrel it’s aged in,” Nick is fond of saying.

Nick and his wife-and-partner-in-crime, Cindy, live on the winery property, which makes their vineyards as much a part of the family as their four children. This intimacy with their vineyards has given the pair a “sixth sense” that enables them to intuit what the vines need, how the fruit is developing, and what will ultimately be required in the cellar to produce stellar wines. The family is also invested in their estate for the long haul, practicing sustainable farming as a member of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, which they believe will protect the viability of their vineyards for generations to come.

Click here for the tasting room wine line-up!

 

The Tasting Room

Tasting Room Hours: Open daily from 11am – 5pm

Tasting Options: Standard Tasting $10 | Includes 5 wines

Mini-Tour and Tasting $25
Get out of the tasting room and into the cellar to learn what makes Palumbo winery so special. A member of the Palumbo family will guide you through the “Dirt to Bottle” process touching on all aspects of production, from their sustainable farming practices to the art of hands-on winemaking. Standard tasting and logo glass included. Tours available by appointment.

Barrel Tasting, Tour and Lunch with the Winemaker $125
This VIP tasting experience is the ultimate way to discover the stylistic influence of winemaker, Nick Palumbo, as well as the natural influence of Temecula Valley terroir. Guests will be taken on a tour of the estate vineyards followed by a private barrel tasting. To top off the experience, guests will enjoy a special wine pairing and gourmet picnic lunch with Nick on the Palumbo patio overlooking the vineyard. Four-person minimum with 48-hours advance reservation required.

 
Palumbo Family Vineyards address and contact information:
40150 Barksdale Circle Temecula, CA 92591 | 951.676.7900
info@palumbowines.com | wineclub@palumbowines.com

 

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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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Winemaker’s Roundtable: 5 Facts About… Syrah

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Que Syrah Syrah… one of the wine world’s most beloved and least understood grapes! Known in Australia as Shiraz and in France by the names of the various Rhone villages in which it features prominently in the local wines, Syrah is a versatile winegrape capable of standing alone or enhancing blends.

1. Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape! Known as Syrah in France (its country of origin) as well as in the rest of Europe and most of the United States, it is referred to as Shiraz in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada. The name “Shiraz” may have originated from ancient Persia.

2. Syrah should not be confused with Petite Sirah, which is an entirely different grape (and not just a smaller version of Syrah grapes, as the name suggests); Petite Sirah is actually a hybrid grape variety created in 1880, which crossed Syrah with another grape variety called Peloursin.

3. Syrah wines typically yield flavors of blackberry, black or white pepper, espresso and, occasionally, olives or bacon.

4. Due to their concentrated flavors and high tannin content, many premium Syrah wines are at their best after some considerable bottle aging.

5. Popular in both single varietal or blended reds, Syrah appears in four major incarnations:

  • Single varietal Syrah or Shiraz.
  • Syrah blended with a small amount of Viognier (an aromatic white wine); this is the traditional style of Côte-Rôtie in France’s northern Rhône valley.
  • Syrah as a roughly equal blending component for Cabernet Sauvignon. This blend originated in Australia, so it is often known as Shiraz-Cabernet.
  • Syrah as a minor blending component for Grenache and Mourvèdre. This is the traditional style of Châteauneuf-du-Pape of southern Rhône, and in Australia this blend is often referred to as GSM (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre).

 

Explore this versatile grape yourself by trying one of the following Temecula Valley Syrahs!  Wine pairing suggestions include: grilled flank steak or lamb chops, antipasto or tapenade.

 

 

 

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