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Posts Tagged ‘South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’

Get Chilled in Temecula Valley Wine Country!

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

christmas-wine-photo-featured-520x400

Everyone knows that the holidays can be particularly busy, stressful and rushed.  Why not come and join us in Temecula Valley Wine Country on December 15th to “chill” with us!  Several of our wineries are keeping their doors open late so that you can participate in the Temecula Chilled Holiday Shopping Night from 5:00p-7:00p.

Just one trip to your local wine country will get you all the gifts you need to give. Plus, you can sip while you shop! Our winery gift shops offer unique and charming wine-themed gifts, specialty food items, home decor – and of course, delicious wine.

During the Holiday Shopping Night, shop at select tasting rooms and enjoy holiday refreshments, carolers, carriage rides at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and more!  Participating wineries include: Bel Vino, Callaway, Danza del Sol, Foot Path, Monte De Oro, Mount Palomar, Ponte, South Coast and Wilson Creek.

To learn more about Temecula Chilled and all of the activities planned, please click here.

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It’s a Foodie Paradise!

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

leoness

Most guests who are new to our wine country don’t realize just how unique the Temecula Valley Wine Country really is. Although, there are several aspects that make us unique, our thriving culinary scene certainly stands out at the top of the list!  In fact, there are over 15 of our wineries that have restaurants or eateries on their property.  Top chefs from all over Southern California are taking up roots in Temecula Valley Wine Country and several Temecula winery restaurants have received national acclaim.

One such restaurant, The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars, was recently rated #1 Winery Restaurant by USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice.  Also voted Best Restaurant of the IE (Inland Empire) for 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, The Restaurant at Leoness features a variety of appetizers, colorful salads, unique flatbreads, and seasonal Chef Selections.

Additionally, The Restaurant at Ponte Winery was rated by OpenTable as one of the top 100 restaurants in the US for outdoor dining.  Their al fresco dining area is surrounded by vineyards and beautifully manicured gardens.

At Ponte Vineyard Inn, Bouquet Restaurant was recently awarded the TripAdvisor 2015 Certificate of Excellence! Dine indoors or out in the fine dining setting located at the luxurious AAA Four Diamond Inn, surrounded by manicured Italian gardens with stunning views of the vineyard and our 1-acre pond. Or, if you’re just looking for a quick bite, the alluring and elegant underground Cellar Lounge is located on the basement level of the Inn and features signature cocktails, craft beer, gourmet entrées and small plates.

No stranger to winning awards, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Vineyard Rose Restaurant has been the winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the past five years.  They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, pairing their seasonal menu expertly with their award-winning wines.

Be sure to visit one of our winery restaurants on your next visit to Temecula Valley, Southern California’s Wine Country.  You’ll be glad you did!

Additional award-winning Temecula Valley Winery Restaurants:

Avensole Restaurant & Marketplace –  As Temecula’s newest Wine Country restaurant, Avensole offers a charming place to savor eclectic foods and delicious wines in a lively atmosphere.

Breezeway Grill at Lumiere Winery – Enjoy beautiful vineyard and mountain views from the patio of the Breezeway Grill.  Try the new peaches and ice cream dessert made with Lumiere’s Sauvignon Blanc.

Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Winery – Walking into Carol’s is somewhat like walking into a medieval or European castle. The menu features a variety of beautiful entrée salads, appetizers, sandwiches, fresh fish, steak, and pasta dishes.

Bel Vino Bistro -Bistro diners enjoy an upscale American menu with plates such as the seared albacore sandwich, delicious signature flatbreads, and fresh seasonal salads inspired by Chef Nathaniel Philips.

Meritage at Callaway Winery – Sitting high atop Temecula’s breathtaking wine country, Meritage at Callaway offers guests incredible panoramic views of the rolling hills and vineyards. Guests can enjoy a delightful array of fresh, farm-to-table meals, made from scratch.

Sangio’s Deli at Cougar Vineyard & Winery – Want a quick meal in the midst of wine tasting?  Look no further than Sangio’s Deli.  All Salads and Sandwiches are made to order with Boar’s Head quality products. Sliced meats and cheeses are also available.

Pinnacle at Falkner Winery – The Pinnacle offers great panoramic views, outstanding Mediterranean style food, and high quality service. Critics have consistently praised the food quality, customer service, and great ambiance at Pinnacle.

Baba Joon’s Kitchen at Fazeli Cellars – Baba Joon’s Kitchen provides a unique – and extensive – Mediterranean Persian fusion menu that results in a perfect wine pairing experience.

Flower Hill Bistro at Miramonte Winery – The bistro offers a variety of craft food items from the Fromage + Tomato, to the amazing Roasted Veggie flatbread, to the glorious Piri Piri Half Chicken.

Monte De Oro Bistro at Monte De Oro Winery – Offering casual lunch fare – seasonal salads, Panini’s, and pasta dishes along with delectable appetizers including meat & cheese plates, hummus, and seasonal snacks.

Annata Bistro at Mount Palomar Winery – Annata Bistro/Bar has a full service bar, handcrafted signature cocktail menu, beer on tap, all of the Mount Palomar Wines you know and love, and a Mediterranean inspired menu.

Cave Café at Oak Mountain Winery – With a focus on small plates of fresh, locally sourced ingredients, with creative flavor and presentation, head chef Eric Celaya offers a menu with the variety necessary to create snack plates, tapas, light meals, full Mediterranean-style dining, or even just an intimate dessert.

Mama Rosa’s Trattoria at Robert Renzoni Vineyards – Pizzas, gourmet sandwiches and pasta rule the menu here.  Guest favorites include tortellini stuffed with braised short ribs, Gorgonzola cream sauce, garlic and Prosecco, and a meatball sandwich layered with sauce, salami, chili oil and Provolone, baked and finished with basil and Parmigiano.

Café Champagne at Thornton Winery – A breathtaking entrance to the Temecula Valley Wine Country, Café Champagne’s elegance combines with “Contemporary Fusion Cuisine” to create a well-rounded flair for the total gourmet experience.

Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek Winery – Dine al fresco among the vines and enjoy casual, yet tasteful items fill the menu with delicious appetizers, gorgeous salads, scrumptious sandwiches, and of course Creekside seasonally inspired specials.

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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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Late-Summer Salads with Wine Pairings

Friday, August 19th, 2016

LPL5U4N1TJ (1)Cool and refreshing late-summer salads make dining in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country another great reason to visit during the month of August. Temecula Valley wine country chefs use garden fresh ingredients to make irresistible entrée salads with some surprising pairings of Temecula Valley’s finest wines. (Hint: Not all salads pair best with white wines.)

1. The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars favors the sensational figs now in season with their Fig & Goat Cheese Summer Salad. Dive into delight with this seasonal selection of mixed baby greens, julienne of carrot and cucumber, sliced red onion, baby tomatoes, house made candied nuts, with white balsamic dressing and fried prosciutto garnish. This salad pairs wonderfully with Leoness Cellars’ 2015 Viognier.

2. Meritage at Callaway Vineyard & Winery offers a unique twist on the traditional California fruit with their Beer-Battered Avocado Salad. This summer salad includes locally-grown wild arugula, Gorgonzola, and whole cloves of roasted garlic. These ingredients are tossed with a crisp house made vinaigrette dressing and are then plated with large pieces of beer battered avocado. A surprising wine to pair with this plate is Callaway’s 2012 Special Selection Mourvedre.

3. Vineyard Rose at South Coast Winery has created a juicy and refreshing selection of locally-grown ingredients for their Heirloom Tomato and Harry’s Berries Salad. The new menu feature includes a perfect balance of makes this salad paradise on a plate. South Coast Winery’s 2011 Grenache is an ideal pair for this lovely salad.

4. Annata Bistro at Mount Palomar Winery welcomes a warm afternoon with a strikingly colorful display of refreshing produce in the perfect seasonal Citrus Salad. This exquisite summer selection contains fresh and creamy Burrata cheese, blood orange, naval orange, grapefruit, purple and green kale, striped beets, extra virgin olive oil, and a white balsamic reduction. This particular summer creation is only available on the weekday menu (Monday-Thursday). This salad pairs incredibly with the slightly sweet 2013 Cinsaut Blush.

5. Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek Winery serves a light and imaginative Cucumber, Melon, and Heirloom Tomato Salad. The leaf crown lettuce head is topped with local, organic cucumber, melon, tomato, sweet onion, and feta cheese with a homemade raspberry vinaigrette. Wilson Creek’s Sparkling Rose is the predictable yet sensational recommended pairing.

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Summer Whites for Every Palate

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

people-summer-garden-sitting

There are few better ways to cool off on a sunny summer day than with a cold, crisp glass of white wine. This season, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country invites wine lovers to sip their way through the region’s stunning whites. With so many delectable selections—from those made from lesser-known varieties to unique blends—Temecula Valley vintners offers a refreshing bottle to suit every palate.

Viognier: This darling of the wine world is widely produced in the region, and is a great alternative to Chardonnay because of its traditionally rich, luscious mouth-feel.

South Coast Winery Viognier 2015, $20: An aromatic peach and nectarine bouquet with a rich, velvety finish, from the winery that just was just named the 2016 California Golden State Winery of the Year for the fourth time. No other winery has received the coveted “Golden Bear” four times in the history of the competition.

Van Roekel Estate Viognier 2014 (Maurice Car’rie Winery), $22: This award-winning, estate-grown Viognier boasts notes of apricot and Asian pear, with hints of citrus blossom.

Sauvignon Blanc: Always a warm-weather favorite, this aromatic varietal grows well in Temecula Valley terroir. Many local wineries offer bright, fruit-forward bottlings perfect for picnics and outdoor dining.

Monte De Oro Sauvignon Blanc 2015, $19: Made from 100% estate-grown fruit, this wine was selected as the white dinner wine for the 2016 Daytime Emmy Awards. Citrus and tropical fruits round out this well-balanced summer sipper.

Oak Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2015, $21: Succulent melon and grapefruit mingle together in this medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc. A light influence of French Oak adds unexpected complexity.

And now, for something completely different: Temecula Valley has a huge selection of lesser-known French, Italian, Spanish and even Portuguese varieties. Summer is the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone and discover a new favorite.

Palumbo Grenache Blanc 2014, $28: Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave it 91 points, describing it as “texturally grippy and tense, with flavors of yellow pear, lemon rinds and ever-so slight stone fruit, with tongue-tingling acidity deep into the finish.”

Ponte Vineyards Vermentino 2015, $31: This native Italian grape finds great expression in Temecula Valley. Notes of passion fruit, pink grapefruit and apricot give way to a crisp, refreshing, food-friendly finish.

A little from column A, a little from column B: Temecula Valley offers not only stellar red blends, but some fantastic proprietary white blends as well.

Mount Palomar Shorty’s Bistro White NV, $19: This unusual, award-winning blend of Palomino (a grape commonly used in making sherry), Cinsaut (a red grape) and Viognier is bright and easy-drinking, with notes of pineapple, peach and honeysuckle.

Robert Renzoni Cantata 2015, $22: This blend of 60% Pinot Grigio and 40% Viognier offers a crisp bouquet of apple and pear on the nose with a hint of pineapple on the finish.

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Summer Wine Pairing Guide

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Wine glasses on picnic table --- Image by © Laura Doss/Corbis

Ah, the sizzle of summer is upon us. Whether you’re spending your hot summer days and long summer nights relaxing at the beach, chowing down at a backyard barbecue, or picnicking in the park under a shady oak tree, these cool and crisp whites, rosés and sparkling wines will please every palate. All of these wines can be purchased online or in the tasting rooms, so choose your favorites this week! Here’s our guide to beating the heat in the most delicious way:

Whites
Lorimar Winery 2014 Chardonnay – Crisp, tart green apple, Bartlett pears and honey suckle with a medium length finish.
Monte de Oro 2014 Pinot Gris –Wine opens up with peach and apricot flavors couples with pears, lemon/lime, guava and kiwi accents.
Briar Rose Winery Citronier– Aromas of exotic fruit with a brilliant lemon flavor. Sure to bring a smile to every summer celebration

Rosés
Oak Mountain Winery 2015 White Merlot – Sweet cherry and raspberry aromas characterize this wine. Soft, round, juicy cherry and berry flavors form structure and a full, rich texture.
Robert Renzoni Vineyards 2014 La Rosa (Rosé of Sangiovese) –Light strawberry citrus flavors are layered with hints of cranberry, passion & tropical fruit, and a hint of pink grapefruit.
Falkner Winery 2014 Irresistible Rosato –This semi-dry white wine tastes of ripe pear, cinnamon, apple pie, and spice.

Sparklers
Wilson Creek Grand Cuvee Sparkling Wine –Light and refreshing, and very fun. Great in Mimosas! A fun party sparkling wine.
Maurice Car’rie & Van Roekel Winery Pomegranate Sparkling Wine– This lively refreshing California Sparkling Wine is bursting with refreshing flavors of pomegranate – a perfect accompaniment to your summer picnic basket.
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa Pinot Grigio Sparkling – Finished as a “Brut” this is a Pinot Grigio with wonderful nuances of pears and apples, a touch of tropical fruitiness and crisp acidity.

Image by © Laura Doss/Corbis

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Temecula Valley Winery named California Winery of the Year!

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

winery-of-the-yearWe were so excited to learn that our very own, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, has once again been named California Winery of the Year for an unprecedented 4th time!

Sacramento has just released the results from the nation’s oldest and most prestigious wine competition, and Southern California Temecula Valley’s South Coast Winery Resort & Spa has been named the 2016 California Golden State Winery of the Year.

Records were broken this year at the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition as South Coast Winery was the first and only winery in the competition’s history to be presented with a four-time championship, naming it the 2016 California Golden State Winery of the Year. South Coast Winery brought home the first California State Winery of the Year award to its Southern California Temecula Valley home in 2008 and then followed it up with a back-to-back win in 2009. It earned the top title in the California State competition again in 2013 and now celebrates its fourth win for 2016.
South Coast Winery Winery of The Year 2016

Dating back to 1854, the California State Wine Competition premieres only wines made with fruit grown in California; and there were 2,854 wines judged from 750 of the state’s top wineries during this year’s competition.

“South Coast Winery is truly honored to be bringing this recognition to Temecula Valley Wine Country, especially with only 13 years of wine production. This award is a reflection of the dedication and the collaboration between our soil and vines, the vineyard team and our talented winemakers. I’m humbled to be a part of it,” states Jim Carter, the owner/vintner for the Southern California winery resort.

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Carter and the entire South Coast Winery team!

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The Art of Wine Labels

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

RenzoniWineLabelYou can’t judge a wine by its label—but a beautiful “cover” certainly can’t hurt. Temecula Valley wineries are putting just as much creativity and originality into their label designs as they are in their wines. And the results are inspiring.

Wine labels are the first thing that attracts a consumer when contemplating which wine to choose. Some first-time shoppers even choose a wine by the label–after all, the label builds the anticipation of what’s inside the bottle. It’s the quality of the wine itself that makes customers loyal fans.

Temecula Valley vintners are adorning their bottles with art that is not only beautiful, sometimes even fun, but often tells a sentimental story. The label of Lorimar Winery’s 2014 Chardonnay bears scenic photographs of the vineyard from which it came, in each of the four seasons. The images were taken by Temecula-based photographer Bodhi Smith, and the four-image work, called “Seasons of Del Oro,” is for sale on coasters and as an art piece at the winery.

Oak Mountain Winery’s Double Trouble 2013 Riesling has a bright blue label depicting Buddy and Bandit, the two beloved Queensland Heelers of vintners Valerie and Steve Andrews. The label is a watercolor painting by local artist Tamra Gerard. The artwork also can be found in “Winery Dogs of USA” book #3.

Robert Renzoni Winery’s 2013 Fiore di Fano, a Super Tuscan blend of estate-grown Cabernet, Sauvignon, Brunello Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, has special meaning to owner and winemaker Robert Renzoni. The classically styled painting that adorns the label was a gift from a special friend he met on a journey to his family’s hometown, Fano, Italy.

Wiens Winery’s Red Crowded is a red-wine blend so-named for the “crowd” of varietals in each vintage, such as the Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Cabrenet Franc, Sangiovese and Syrah in the 2014. Red Crowded is one of a series, which also includes White Crowded and Pink Crowded (rosé) blends, fancifully designed featuring appropriately colored red, white and pink birds by local artist Kelly Vivanco. All three designs are available on posters and t-shirts.

Falkner Winery’s 2014 Risque Riesling is illustrated with a sleek black pump and tube of vibrant red lipstick in a classy nod to consumers, often women, according to owner Loretta  Falkner, who like a bit of sweetness in their white wine. Risque Riesling is part of Falkner’s sweet Seductive Series, which also includes a red blend and rosé.

South Coast Winery vintner Jim Carter commissioned artist Tamra Gerard to paint a portrait of his dear Aunt Ruby as she might have looked in the 1920s for his Ruby Cuvée. Both the label and the carefully crafted sparkling Syrah in the bottle are intended to capture the effervescent charm of Ruby Carter, who was always the belle of the ball. The art can be found on t-shirts, posters, coasters and magnets in South Coast’s gift shop.

Newly opened Fazeli Cellars pays homage to owner BJ Fazeli’s homeland with a series of wines named for acclaimed Persian poets. The 2012 Ferdowsi Cabernet Franc is named for Abu Ferdowsi, widely known as the most influential figure in Persian literature, and is designed by BJ’s daughter, Romy Fazeli. The artwork features a stylized grapevine symbolizing Fazeli’s “Our Roots Run Deep” motto.

These are just a few of the beautifully designed wine labels from Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. Not only are the wines carefully and passionately crafted, so are the labels.

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Red Curry Chicken

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

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This recipe, provided to us by Jason Rivas, Executive Chef at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, looks absolutely fabulous!  Chef Rivas says “To set the record straight, curry is not a dish.  It is a collaboration of spices and ingredients composed into one dish. Curries will vary from region to region, person to person, and family to family; but the best thing about a curry is it constantly evolves.”  You’ll want to pair this with South Coast Winery’s 2014 Riesling.

Ingredients:

Red Curry Paste:

2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp paprika
4 tsp New Mexico Chili Powder
1 tsp black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 6 oz can tomato paste
6 each garlic cloves crushed
1 large knob of ginger, finely grated

Directions:
Place cumin, coriander, mustard, paprika, chili powder, and black pepper in a sauté pan.  Toast spices over a medium heat for about 1-2 min, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Toasting the spices will help to release flavors and will give a different dynamic to the spice.

Place the toasted spices in a spice grinder and grind to a powder.

In a medium size bowl mix everything together.  It should form a paste.

Chicken:

2 whole chickens
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Directions:
Split each chicken into four pieces: Cut down the middle of the chicken, breast side first,  then continue all the way down through the back bone. Cutting through the back bone will require some force. Place one hand on the front of the blade to help set the blade into the bone; then grip the handle tight and push down hard to cut through the bone.

Cut in between the breast and the leg to separate the two. Repeat for both chickens.

Rub all the chicken parts liberally with the curry paste, let set for minimum 4 hours, up to 24 hours.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and preheat your oven to 350. Add a touch of olive oil to the skillet, season the chicken with salt and pepper, then place skin side down. Cook for about 4 mins then flip over. Once the chicken has been flipped over, place the skillet in the oven. Cook for about 20-30 mins. (or until chicken is done).

Photo courtesy of The Culinary Chronicles

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Rosés: A Rise in Popularity!

Friday, April 29th, 2016

glasses-of-rose-wineAmerica has fallen in love with rosé wines, one of the fastest growing segments of the US wine market. Popularized in the South of France, rosé is now made in every major wine region around the world, including Southern California’s premier wine region, the Temecula Valley. As a matter of fact, wineries here have been making rosés for decades – Hart Winery made its first blush wine, a Rosé of Grenache, in 1980, the year the winery opened!

From sensuously sweet to classically dry to splendidly sparkling, Temecula Valley wineries deliver a myriad of styles to suit every palate and occasion.

Rosés are created by limiting the amount of time the skins of the grapes are left to sit with the colorless juice, often for only a few hours. This minimal skin contact creates a wide a range of shades, from pale salmon pink, to raspberry through to deeper strawberry hues. The grape variety will also influence the final tone. Thicker skinned varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Cinsault, lend a slightly deeper berry red to the finished wine, while those crafted from more delicate grapes, like Grenache, may have a paler, rose-petal tinge.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that lighter means leaner when it comes to aroma and taste! Paler wines may explode with just as many notes of strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, cranberry, ripe peach and deep citrus as their bolder-colored cousins.

According to Nielsen, sales of rosé wines priced over $11 are up a staggering 60%, accounting for .2% of all table wine, about the same size as the entire US market for the wines of Portugal or South Africa. One reason for the popularity of rosé, besides its easy-drinking, laid-back, relaxed vibe, is its versatility. It’s easy to sip on its own, at the beach or poolside, and it can be the perfect foil for food. No matter the occasion, you’ll find a Temecula Valley rosé that will prove the perfect compliment.

Sparkling rosé is always a wonderful way to start a gathering of any kind. Award-winning South Coast Winery produces four fabulous blush sparklers including their NV Blanc de Noir, a classic dry style, and the popular Ruby Cuveé with a touch of berry-filled sweetness. Not to be outdone, Thornton Winery has been creating sparkling wines for many years and features several sparkling rosés on its extensive list, as do Oak Mountain Winery, Wiens and Wilson Creek wineries. These high-quality blushing bubblies fall in the $19 to $38 price range.

The region of Provence, in the south of France, is the benchmark for traditional, dry, food-friendly rosé. That tradition is alive and well in Temecula, with many of the wineries emulating this classic style, priced at an average of $22.

Hart Winery has a delightful Rosé of Tempranillo, or venture next door and try Callaway Vineyard & Winery’s Rosé of Sangiovese – it’s won a bevy of awards since its initial 2008 vintage. Travel down Rancho California Road and sample Miramonte Winery’s Rosé, made from a blend of typical Mediterranean grape varieties: Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. Oak Mountain Winery, on the DePortola Trail, produces several variations on the Rosé theme, including their multiple-award-winning 2013 River Rhodes Rosé made with 100% Syrah. Or enjoy a bottle of Vindemia Winery’s Vermeille Grenache 2013, a lovely single-varietal blush wine.

If you crave something sweet or off-dry, you will find yourself spoilt for choice. Why not seek out Pink Crowded rosé at Wiens Famiy Cellars, an off-dry blend of Grenache, Zinfandel and Malbec. Or reach for White Zinfandel or White Merlot at Bel Vino, or relax in the gardens of Europa Village while sipping on a cool, refreshing glass of Garnacha Rosa?

Any of these choices would be stellar matches to a wide range of foods. Dry rosé is fantastic with flavorful appetizers such as tapenade, flatbreads, charcuterie platters, hummus, and soft cheeses like chèvre and brie. When it comes to main courses, pop the cork on another bottle of rosé and enjoy it with pizza, a variety of fish or poultry dishes, salads, light meats like pork or ham, or a good, juicy burger!

Off-dry styles are wonderful with firmer cheeses such as Parmesan and aged gouda. Or sample a sip with a strawberry and spinach salad!

And, of course, there’s always room for dessert, with a glass of sweet style rosé! Pair anything featuring berries, peaches, nectarines or spicy ginger with Irresistable Rosato from Falkner Winery (crafted from Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon) or Sara Bella White Cabernet Sauvignon from Maurice Car’rie Winery.

Temecula Valley vintners are bottling their rosé wines from the fantastic 2015 vintage now, in early 2016. These wines are made to be consumed fresh, upon release. So grab your beach blanket, fire up the grill or unfurl your finest white tablecloth and get ready for a superb sampling of refreshing, scintillating rosé’s from the wineries of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country.

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