Blog

Posts Tagged ‘temecula wine tasting’

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

Share

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.

Share

Welcome New Temecula Wineries!

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

We’re excited to announce the opening of three new Temecula Valley Wine Country wineries!  We’ve been out to visit all three and can say that we were both impressed and enamored with them.  Here’s a brief introduction:

avensole4Avensole Winery:

Situated on the hilltop above Rancho California Road, Avensole is Temecula’s newest winery. Formerly Van Roekel Winery, this hilltop estate has long been known for its old-growth vines producing some of Temecula’s finest grapes. The property was purchased by the Lytton family in 2014 and has been extensively remodeled, includes a new restaurant, a marketplace with both wine and craft beer bars, a tasting room, a new indoor-outdoor wedding venue, and park-like setting with pond.  The Lytton Family is committed to using the property’s premium fruit to produce some of Temecula’s finest, premium wines. Their grand opening is on Saturday, April 9th…be sure to stop by!
34567 Rancho California Rd. Temecula, CA 92591

Fazeli Profile OrigFazeli Cellars:

Back in 2001,the Fazeli family decided to visit the Temecula Valley. It was just a relaxing day trip to explore the local wine country and at the time, no one realized that this was the beginning of what was to become a life changing adventure. The Fazeli’s fell in love with the Valley and purchased land to grow some grapes and maybe make a little wine. But BJ Fazeli doesn’t know how to do little! What started out as a hobby soon became the passion that resulted in the creation of Fazeli Cellars. They started with a small tasting room in Old Town Temecula and soon broke ground on their new winery on the De Portola Trail in Temecula Valley Wine Country.
37320 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592

i-f3rq2cV-X3
Masia de la Vinya:
Located in the beautiful valley of Temecula, California. This picturesque property is owned and operated by Bob Olson, who also owns Danza del Sol Winery. Masia de la Vinya, (roughly translated ‘manor house of the vineyard’) has a heavy Spanish influence in the wines and a Southern California ambiance, beautiful panoramic views and a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Formerly Masia de Yabar, Masia de la Vinya offers quality wine with a Spanish influence, affordable pricing , stunning views, and a casual wine tasting experience like no other in the valley.
39788 Camino Arroyo Seco, Temecula, CA 92592
Share

Wine Country Recipe ~ Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

AUGUST_GRILLED_CHICKEN_2_FINAL_p_c-California-Wine-Institute

This month, we’re featuring rosé wine, as there’s truly nothing more refreshing for spring celebrations and dining!  And truth be told, America has fallen in love with rosé wines; it’s one of the fastest growing segments in the US wine market.

Here’s a perfect recipe to pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Rosé. Tender grilled chicken is enhanced with a dazzling lemon vinaigrette.

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 salt¼ 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: 

Callaway Vineyard & Winery ~ 2012 Special Selection Rosé of Sangiovese – A summery bouquet of rosy red fruit and flowers: strawberry, cherry, raspberry, rose petal and cherry blossom fill the nose and palate of this perfect warm weather wine.

Hart Winery ~ 2014 Rosé of Tempranillo –  Delightfully fruity, bursting with strawberry, watermelon and spice notes.

Miramonte Winery ~ 2014 Rosé – Racy strawberry and candied watermelon notes, beautiful melon and peach mid-palate, and long finish of rose petals, sugar-dusted citrus.

Oak Mountain Winery ~2013 River Rhodes Rosé of Syrah –  Blast of strawberries and tropical nuances in the nose with a smooth wild berry character on the palate.

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Wine Institute of California 

 

 

Share

Perfect Pairings: Pumpkin & Wine

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

382-zucca-zucche-arancioni-autunno

October….it’s the time of year we’re dragging the kids to the neighborhood pumpkin patch, decorating the house for fall and for some of us, already thinking about all of the yummy pumpkin recipes we want to make.  From pumpkin soup, to pumpkin pie and everything in between, we’ve got a wine that will pair with it!  Here are some tips for pairing wines with your favorite pumpkin dishes.

When the cold weather returns, there’s nothing better than a nice, big, bowl of soup.  This time of year, pumpkin soup is a good choice.  We’d most likely pair our soup with Chardonnay, Viognier and even Gewürztraminer. For you red lovers, try a Cabernet or Merlot.  Try these: South Coast Winery 2011 Chardonnay Sans Chêne, Thornton Winery 2013 Viognier, Maurice Car’rie 2013 Gewürztraminer, Frangipani Estate Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lorimar Winery 2012 Allegro Merlot.

Pumpkin Risotto would pair well with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chenin Blanc.  You may want to eat the whole bowl of risotto by itself (and we wouldn’t blame you), but it makes for a great side dish with roasted chicken too.  Try these: Hart Winery 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Ponte Family Estate Winery 2014 Pinot Grigio, Maurice Car’rie Winery 2012 Chenin Blanc.

And, for our personal favorite….Pumpkin Pie.  There are endless possibilities here.  A Riesling or Muscat would be amazing.  Better yet, get in the holiday celebrating mood and pop open a bottle of bubbly to enjoy with your pie. Try these: Miramonte Winery 2014 Riesling, Europa Village 2014 Bolero Estate Muscat Canelli, Wilson Creek Winery Grand Cuvee Sparkling Wine.

As you can see, although pumpkin dishes seem hard to pair wine with, there really are a lot of possibilities.  Enjoy pumpkin season, all!

Share

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Edited

Harvest season….it’s the hustle and bustle, the night time glow of the lights in the vineyards and the bins full of fruit.

Although winemaking happens all year long, the harvesting of the grapes is one of the most crucial parts of the winemaking process.  To ensure quality wine, one of the most important decisions a winemaker must make is when to pick the grapes. Determining when to harvest requires a bit of science; the grapes’ acidity and sweetness should be in perfect balance. Of course, Mother Nature also plays a vital role in the ripening of grapes; a mid-summer rain can slow the ripening process and leave the vines susceptible to fungus.

In Temecula Valley, because of our warm weather, our harvest crews mostly pick the fruit at night or in the cool hours of the very early morning.  Thus, images of winemakers growing beards and sleeping during the day start appearing on our Facebook feed.

While there’s a lot more to harvest season than just harvesting the grapes, this signals the beginning of what truly is the most wonderful time of the year!  Be sure to follow us on Facebook for a glimpse into harvest happenings.

Share

Wine Country Recipe: California Style Clam Bake

Friday, August 21st, 2015

2013-06-05-20130526_RanasCapeCodParty_0349 (1)

Here in the Temecula Valley, we’re lucky enough to be just 20 miles (as the crow flies) from the Pacific Ocean and some of the most beautiful beaches in California. But, no matter where you are in the world, this garlic-infused California-style clambake recipe will bring the California beach to you. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup Temecula Valley Sauvignon Blanc or other crisp white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 pounds mussels
2 pounds clams
1 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

Directions:
In a large stockpot, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, shallots and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute or until the vegetables are slightly browned.

Add the wine and chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the mussels and clams and steam for 7 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, shake the pot several times. Remove from heat and pour mussels and clams into a large serving dish.

Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately, accompanied by a fresh, rustic-style bread.

Recipe courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

Suggested Pairings:
Briar Rose Winery ~ 2014 Sauvignon Blanc – Aromas of white peach, nectarine, white flowers and vanilla pave the way to the palate laced with ripe stone fruits, and a creamy toast.
Falkner Winery ~ 2013 Irresistable Rosato – Rosé Table Wine – This vibrant bright pink wine is bursting with sensual notes of strawberry and cranberry flavors.
Hart Winery ~ 2014 Sauvingnon Blanc – With citrus notes of guava and tangerine, a subtle herbal undertone and a clean peach finish.
Miramonte Winery ~ 2014 Rosé – Racy strawberry and candied watermelon notes, beautiful melon and peach mid-palate, and long finish of rose petals, sugar-dusted citrus.

Share

Mid-Week Wine Tasting Guide

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

For many, summer vacation is quickly coming to an end.  But, how about squeezing in one more little get-a-way before the dog days of summer are over?

Whether you can get away overnight, or just want to take a day trip, a mid-week visit to Temecula Valley Wine Country should prove to be a relaxing and enjoyable break.

There are many advantages to visiting wine country during the week.  Much less busy weekdays are the perfect opportunity to allow yourself time to enjoy our 30+ member wineries’ offerings.  At a slower pace, you’ll be able to enjoy more one-on-one time with the knowledgeable wine servers (or even the winemakers and/or winery owners themselves if you’re lucky) at each of your stops.

In addition, the tasting prices tend to be lower during the week than on the weekends and some wineries even offer two-for-one wine tasting coupons and additional discounts if you’re tasting during the week.  And, if we haven’t convinced you yet….there’s no waiting in line to dine at our wonderful wine country restaurants that are very busy on the weekends. If you’d like to spend the night you’ll be pleased with the selection of hotels and their reduced mid-week rates.  Hotels in the area are generally booked months in advance on the weekends.

You may want to visit in September, as we’re celebrating California Wine Month with a special weekday SIP Passport.  This passport allows you to visit any four wineries of your choice for $40.  Visit our website at www.temeculawines.org to purchase your passport.

While we’d love to see you at any time here in Temecula Valley Wine Country, give us a try on a Wednesday sometime….we think you’ll be glad you did!

Share

Behind the Vine: Harvest Predictions

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

TVWGA--123

During a recent conversation with one of our winemakers we had to laugh when he said “there are only three things certain in life: death, taxes and Harvest!”  That’s true…Harvest IS looming.  For months, we’ve been hearing predictions, and even some friendly wagers among our winemakers, on just when we should expect for harvest season to start.

Generally, wine harvest season takes place for about 2 months because wine grapes ripen at different times. We normally see harvest August through October.  But, in recent years, harvest has come early for most varietals due to mild winter and spring seasons and dry, hot summer months.

So, are we on track for another early Harvest?  The season definitely started with an early bud break, but we did have a longer, cooler spring than expected, so things did slow down a bit. And, following tradition the past few summers, we’ve experienced some monsoonal-type thunderstorms in the afternoons bringing much needed rain.  So what does all this mean for the start of harvest?  It’s really anyone’s guess.

But, one thing’s for sure….”Squeezin’ Season” as we lovingly refer to it around here, is just around the corner.  It’s a perfect time to visit wine country; not only are the vineyards beautiful with all that ripening fruit, but there’s a lot of activity going on in the vineyards and in the winery cellars.  And, if you’re lucky, you may get to experience part of what wine grape harvesting is all about!

Share

Red Wine Marinated Flank Steak Filled with Prosciutto, Fontina and Basil with Cabernet-Shallot Reduction

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Flank Steak

There’s nothing better than grilling in the summer….well actually, there IS something better.  Summer grilling with wine!  This recipe perfectly pairs the two.  You may want to try it with your favorite Temecula Valley Cabernet for your 4th of July BBQ.

Ingredients:

4 shallots, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds flank steak, butterflied
Salt and pepper
1/4 -pound thinly sliced prosciutto
1/4 -pound thinly sliced fontina cheese
14 fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
Cabernet-Shallot Reduction, recipe follows

Directions:

Whisk together shallots, wine and olive oil in a large baking dish. Add the steak and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Heat grill to high.

Remove the steak from the marinade and blot with paper towels. Lay on a flat surface, cut side up, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the surface with the prosciutto slices, then top with the cheese and a layer of basil leaves. Starting with the side facing you, tightly roll up the steak around the filling. Using kitchen string, tie the roll in 4 or 5 places.

Brush the outside of the steak with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the steak over high heat until browned all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the steak 4 times as it cooks. Move the meat away from the direct heat and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 125 degrees F for medium-rare. Remove from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Slice against the grain into ½-inch thick slices and drizzle with the Cabernet-Shallot Reduction.

Cabernet-Shallot Reduction Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 bottle Cabernet wine
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Salt
1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan on the grates of the grill over high heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft. Add the wine and peppercorns, bring to a boil and cook until thickened and reduced to 1 cup. Strain the mixture into a bowl and season with salt, to taste, and honey.

Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay and FoodNetwork.com

Suggested Wine Pairings:

Danza del Sol Winery ~ 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon – Aromas of cherry and vanilla compliment a very bright and fruity flavor profile with a hint of black currant.

Foot Path Winery ~ 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon – Medium bodied, Best Served With: Cheeses/ Pizza, Red Meat & Chicken

Frangipani Estate Winery ~ 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – Bright cherry, sage, and licorice.

Miramonte Winery ~ 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – Bright cherry and blackberry notes, accented with sweet, toasted cedar nuances, and a thin line of fresh mocha.

Share
View Our Winery Map