Posts Tagged ‘temecula wine tasting’

Celebrate California Wine Month, Temecula style!

Friday, August 19th, 2016

california_wine_month_300x250Throughout September, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country will be celebrating California Wine Month, as well as the people, personalities and passion that go into making the great wines our region produces year after year. California Wine Month was created by the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers and proclaimed by Governor Jerry Brown to highlight the state’s rich wine history and all that its vintners and growers add to the lifestyle and economy of the Golden State.  This year, we’re celebrating in a big way! Here’s a sampling of the exciting events and promotions taking place in September:

SIP Temecula Wine Tasting Passport
Monday-Friday throughout September
We’ve created this exclusive weekday passport to provide our guests the opportunity to taste award-winning wines produced in Temecula Valley Wine Country. On your self-guided tour, you will visit many family owned wineries throughout the rolling vineyards in our valley. You choose when, and which wineries to visit out of the 19 participating wineries listed on your passport. Visit during September’s wine month and receive a complimentary commemorative wine glass with your SIP Passport.

“Crush on Temecula Wines” Restaurant Month for Wine
Throughout September
Tom & Jerry, bread & butter, Barnes & Noble… Food & wine. Some matches are made in heaven. Whether you live here or are visiting, come get a crush on Temecula Valley wines at participating restaurants throughout September. This “restaurant month for wine” gives food and wine lovers the chance to explore Temecula Valley wines in special tasting flights being featured at the Temecula’s favorite restaurants. Revisit old favorites and discover new ones, all while enjoying the culinary creations of the region.

CRUSH ~ A Wine & Culinary Showcase 
Saturday, September 17 – 7:30-10:00p
The expansive lawn at Wiens Family Cellars provides the perfect venue for guests to meet and mingle with our winemakers, winery owners, chefs and other guests for an enchanted evening under the stars. THE Wine and Culinary showcase event of the year features 100 plus wines poured by over 30 Temecula Valley wineries. And they’re all in one place! Food samplings will be supplied by winery restaurants, local restaurants, and caterers.

People’s Choice Blind Tasting and Awards Celebration
Thursday, September 29 – 10:00a-10:00p
Come be part of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country history at the first annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting and Awards! Let your palate guide you through dozens of Temecula Valley’s best wines. Rate them and help crown the region’s favorites at an elegant wine dinner and celebration. Never been to a blind tasting? Rest assured you won’t be blindfolded. You will simply not know which wines you are tasting until they are revealed after the event, allowing for total objectivity in your tasting.

For more information or to join in on the celebration, please visit


It’s Never Too Late for a Life in Wine!

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016


It is often assumed that winery owners were born with dirt under their fingernails and raised among the vines by families who have been making wine for generations. While Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is certainly home to those with winemaking in their blood, a quick tour through the region also yields an entirely different crop of wine leadership – entrepreneurs who saw the promise of the region and left wildly different careers to build a life in wine.

One of the most iconic wineries in the region, Wilson Creek Winery, is home not only to great wines, but also to a diverse cross-section of skill sets. CEO Bill Wilson was a Series 7 financial planner specializing in tax-deferred annuities before answering the call of the vine, while Wilson Creek’s winemaker, Gus Vizgirda, was previously a self-described “cartoonist, weatherman, officiant, teacher and vineyard yoga guru.”

While owner & winemaker Robert Renzoni of Robert Renzoni Vineyards was actually born and raised in the wine business, he broke off early on to pursue music, touring with his alt-rock band “Absent” for 9 years before returning to his roots. The music never left him though, and today many of Renzoni’s wines are named for musical references, like the Pinot Grigio-Viognier blend, “Cantata” and the Super Tuscan-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, “Sonata.”

Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery owner and winemaker Nick Palumbo played in New York City post-grunge band “The Morning Glories” and was also a chef in both New York and San Diego, cooking for the likes of George W. Bush and Wesley Snipes, among others. His wife and winery co-owner, Cindy, was an insurance agent for 15 years prior to jumping into wine.

Wiens Family Cellars owner and general manager, Jeff Wiens, had to go through two previous careers before landing in wine, including a 10-year stint as professional drummer, as well as a Senior Industrial Engineer in the aerospace industry.

But Temecula Valley isn’t only made up of former rock stars. Careers in business before wine were also common. Briar Rose Winery owner Les Linkogle had a successful career in mortgage banking, while his wife, Dorian was an executive vice president at the Aetna Corporation for 25 years before the two followed their lifelong dream to produce wine.

Frangipani Estate Winery owner and winemaker, Don Frangipani was growing mushrooms for his wife, JoAnn’s family’s mushroom farm in Escondido, as well as for their own mushroom-growing business on Mt. Palomar, and cooking for one of her family’s restaurants, before launching his career in wine.


Summer Whites for Every Palate

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016


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.


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:

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

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.

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


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.


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

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

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

Thursday, March 31st, 2016


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.


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)


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 




Perfect Pairings: Pumpkin & Wine

Thursday, October 1st, 2015


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!


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Friday, August 28th, 2015


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.


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.

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

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.

  • Categories

  • Archives

View Our Winery Map