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Posts Tagged ‘Thornton Winery’

Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Smoky Cherry BBQ Sauce and Red Cabbage Citrus Slaw

Friday, June 29th, 2018

This looks like an amazing dish to serve for your 4th of July BBQ! Fresh cherries round out the smoky heat of a feisty barbecue sauce that glazes tender pork ribs as they crisp on the grill. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

Sauce:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound fresh California cherries, pitted, chopped
2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chili pepper (or smoked Hungarian paprika)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Rub:
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 racks baby back ribs, each about 2 pounds, membranes removed

Slaw:
1/2 medium head red cabbage, finely shredded, about 4 cups
2 large carrots, coarsely grated
1/2 medium yellow onion, coarsely grated with juices, about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Make the sauce:
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the jalapeño and garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 to 2 minute. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the sauce to a food processor or blender, process until smooth and taste for seasoning.

Prepare the ribs:
In a small bowl, combine the rub ingredients. Evenly coat the ribs with the rub. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium-low heat (about 300°F). Grill the ribs, bone-side down over indirect heat, with the lid closed, until the meat is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. During the last 20 to 30 minutes of grilling time, baste the ribs with the glaze every 5 or 10 minutes. Remove the ribs from the grill and let rest 5 minutes, then cut into individual ribs for serving.

While the ribs are grilling, make the slaw:
Combine all of the slaw ingredients in a large bowl and toss to thoroughly coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to develop.
Serve the ribs with the remaining sauce for dipping and the slaw.

Suggested Pairings:

Baily Winery ~ 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon –  These grapes hail from the oldest vineyards in Temecula, planted in 1968. This wine offers warm, rich tones with subtle, herbaceous qualities and a hint of mint.

Doffo Winery ~2015 Zinfandel – Awarded 1st place at Temecula Valley People’s Choice Blind Tasting!

Leoness Cellars ~ 2015 Cellar Selection Zinfandel – This wine offers beautiful aromas and flavors of sweet blackberry and juicy plum, with hints of clove and black licorice framed by soft tannins and a long, silky finish.

Thornton Winery ~ 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon – Very classic berry and pepper aromas came forth while subtle herbaeceous notes meld with the warm toasty aromas from the oak.

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Wine Institute of California

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Crab Cakes with Fennel, Watercress, and Blood Orange-Chive Aioli

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

These crab cakes are fresh, delicate and lightly bound with baby shrimp, which amplify the crab’s natural sweetness. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley sparkling wine.

Makes about 12 cakes; serves 4 as a meal or 6 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

Crab Cakes:
1/2 pound cooked baby shrimp
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) plus 2 cups for dredging
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage
1 small red jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek-style whole milk yogurt
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh blood orange juice
2 teaspoons minced chives
1 teaspoon finely grated blood orange zest
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil for pan-frying

Salad:
1 large blood orange
1 medium fennel bulb, halved, very thinly sliced crosswise
1 bunch watercress, tough stems discarded
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

Directions:

In a food processor, pulse the shrimp to a coarse paste. Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl, add the 1/4 cup panko and the remaining crab cake ingredients. Gently mix to combine.

Pour 2 cups panko into a shallow bowl. With wet hands, gently form the crab into 2-inch patties, about 3/4-inch thick. Carefully turn the patties in the panko to lightly coat, place on a plate and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, whisk the aioli ingredients.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add about half of the crab cakes, without overcrowding the pan, and pan fry until golden brown on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining crab cakes. Keep warm while you assemble the salad.

Cut a slice off the tops and bottoms of the orange. Use a sharp knife to cut away the peel and white pith. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, slice out the orange segments from their membranes. Place the segments in a large bowl and squeeze as much juice as possible from the membranes into the bowl with the juices (there should be about 2 tablespoons).

Add the fennel and watercress to the oranges. Drizzle the juices and the olive oil over the salad, lightly season with salt and pepper, and gently toss. Mound the salad on 4 serving plates and garnish with the chopped chives. Arrange 3 crab cakes next to each salad and serve with lemon wedges and the aioli for dipping.

Suggested pairings: 

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa ~ Crisp acidity and delicate yeastiness are enveloped in a rich tropical fruit aroma.

Thornton Winery NV Brut ~ This Non-Vintage Brut is a blend of primarily Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, giving the wine exciting, crisp fruit characters.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Baked Pears with Coconut Chocolate Crumble

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Want to surprise that special someone with a yummy Valentine’s treat?  This recipe looks perfect for the occasion!

Delicate and fragrant, these baked pears have a sweet crunchy topping laced with coconut and chocolate. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Sparkling Rosé or Dessert Wine.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

6 Bosc pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, quartered, cored and cut lengthwise into ½ inch slices

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ cup water

1½ cups sweetened flaked (dried) coconut

1 cup all purpose flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted cold butter, cut into small cubes

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate pieces

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F

Mix the 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Toss the pears with the lemon juice in a large bowl.

Add the cinnamon mixture and toss again.

Spread pear slices evenly into a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish and drizzle with the water.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or until pears are tender.

While the pears are baking, make the crumble.

Mix the coconut, 1 cup flour, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl.

Using your fingers, pinch the butter into the coconut mixture to form a slightly damp coarse mix with pea-size crumbles.

Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. (Can be baked in the oven with the pears).

Remove the crumble from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate evenly over the crumble and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, divide pear slices among 6 dessert plates and top each serving with a spoonful of crumble.

Top with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.

Suggested Pairings:

Callaway Vineyard & Winery ~ 2015 Rosé of Sangiovese

Carter Estate Winery ~ 2014 Brut Sparkling

Hart Family Winery ~ 2017 Rosé of Sangiovese – Platinum Medal Winner; 2018 Winemaker’s Challenge Wine Competition

Thornton Winery ~ Non-Vintage Blanc De Noir

 

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Doffo Winery Takes Top Prize!

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Visit Temecula Valley (VTV), in coordination with Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association (TVWA), recently announced the winners of the second annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting. The event took place on Sunday, November 12, 2017, at Leoness Cellars, and featured a walk-around blind tasting, a wine seminar led by Master of Wine Roger Bohmrich and a 6-course awards dinner paired with last year’s winning wines.

Doffo Winery’s 2015 Zinfandel took first place in the competition, after taking second place to Wilson Creek’s Petite Sirah at last year’s inaugural event. The 2017 second place winner was Lorimar Winery’s 2014 Syrah, and third place was taken by Thornton Winery’s 2014 Estate Syrah.

“We are beyond thrilled with receiving 1st Place in the People’s Choice competition,” said Damian Doffo, CEO and Winemaker for Doffo Winery. “We work very hard in the vineyard to produce high quality fruit and make exceptional wine. We look forward to sharing our wine with the public in February.”

Over 200 guests tasted 29 wines (6 whites and 23 reds) without knowing any of the wines’ identities, and rated them on a scale of 1-5 during a walk-around wine tasting. The top 12-scoring wines from this portion of the event went on to be poured during a wine seminar led by Master of Wine Roger Bohmrich, where they were again tasted blind and rated on a scale of 1-5, including by Roger himself. Final scores were tallied to determine the top 3 “People’s Choice” wines. Wines could be any variety or a blend, at any price point, as long as they were from the Temecula Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA). Entries ranged from just $24 per bottle to well over $100, and represented a number of grape varieties, from Falanghina to Syrah to Cabernet Franc.

In addition to the walk-around tasting and seminar, the event featured a six-course dinner created by Chef Daragh Matheson from Leoness Cellars, paired with last year’s People’s Choice winners. A VIP reception offered hand-selected pours presented by local winemakers and winery owners. San Diego singer-songwriter Christian Taylor performed throughout the tasting. The evening’s dinner program was emceed by Lindsay Pomeroy, Master of Wine Candidate and owner of the “Wine Smarties” school in San Diego, and a brief keynote was delivered by Bohmrich. Local musician Brian Stodart performed throughout the dinner program.

Sponsors included Gosch Ford, 34° Crisps, Palpula Dips & Sauces, Temecula Lavender Co., Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants, Aall In Limo & Party Bus, Grapeline Wine Tours and American AgCredit. Carter Estate Winery & Resort was the official hotel partner for the event.

The top twelve scoring wines in alphabetical order were as follows:

Avensole Winery 2014 Malbec, $32.95
Baily Vineyard & Winery 2014 Malbec, $25.00
Doffo Winery 2015 Zinfandel, $72.00
Falkner Winery 2014 Rock Creek Syrah, $49.95
Fazeli Cellars 2014 Shiraz, $48.00
Hart Winery 2014 Volcanic Ridge Vineyard Syrah, $60.00
Leoness Cellars 2014 CS Cabernet Franc-Merlot, $38.00
Lorimar Winery 2014 Syrah, $48.00
Miramonte Winery 2014 Estate Syrah, $65.00
South Coast Winery 2016 Viognier, $25.00
Thornton Winery 2014 Estate Syrah, $49.00
Wiens Family Cellars 2015 Sangiovese, $44.00

Most wines can be purchased directly online through each winery’s website. The entire list of wines entered into the competition can be accessed HERE.

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May’s Official Wine Days

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

As if we needed a day to drink wine, May 25th is the unofficial, official National Wine Day (not to be confused with National Drink Wine Day held in February each year).  And, if that’s not enough, we also celebrate International Sauvignon Blanc Day, World Moscato Day and National Chardonnay Day in May!

Wondering how did these days come to be? Actually, official wine days are pretty unofficial. They are usually a movement started by a variety of individuals or organizations with a passion for juice. Based on our research, National Wine Day started in 2009 and, since then, a variety of wine appreciation days have popped up in the calendar. So, now you know how easy it is to make an official wine day!

First up on the calendar, #SauvBlancDay is on May 5th. Originating in the Bordeaux region of France, the grape is also widely planted throughout New Zealand – and grows with ease here in the Temecula Valley. An acidic wine that displays a citrus-y, grapefruit-like quality, it’s a pleasing choice for a warm summer day. A very versatile vino, Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with shell fish, grilled vegetables (even asparagus!) and cheeses. It’s the perfect picnic wine!

Some Temecula Valley stand-outs are from Hart Winery, Danza del Sol Winery and Peltzer Winery.

May 9th is #MoscatoDay.  The day was introduced here in the US by Gallo Family Vineyards back in 2012 to celebrate the rising popularity and sky-rocketing sales of the varietal. If you know nothing about Moscato (or Muscat/Muscat Canelli), it originated in the Piedmont region of Italy where it’s a favorite due to its sweetness, lightness and affordability – and is popular as a sparkling wine. You’ll find Moscato table wines in white, red or rosé styles, and they make an especially delicious dessert wine. With it’s bouquet of peach, honey and citrus, a delicate sweetness and fresh acidity, it’s perfect served with a plate of fresh cheeses.

Try the Muscat Canelli from Callaway WineryCarter Estate or Oak Mountain Winery.

And then there’s the day to pay homage to the old standby, Chardonnay. #ChardonnayDay is sharing it’s special day with National Wine Day this year on May 25th.  The world’s most planted white wine grape varietal is enjoyed by fans all over the world. Generally dry to medium-dry with pear, apple, tropical or citrus fruit flavors, Chardonnay is grown in virtually every wine-producing region. Crisp and fresh with little to no oak aging, or creamy and buttery with extensive oak aging, there’s a Chardonnay out there that will make just about anyone smile!

Enjoy the Chardonnay from Masia de la Vinya Winery, Thornton Winery or Wiens Family Cellars

But, who needs a National Day to enjoy a glass of wine or two?  That’s certainly not how we roll here in Temecula Valley, Southern California’s beautiful wine country.

#drinktemecula

Reference: Wine Folly

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Mother’s Day in Temecula Wine Country!

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Spending the day in Temecula Valley’s Wine Country……well, we can’t think of a better gift for Mom this Mother’s Day!  We’ve got you covered with brunches and lunches and everything in between. Here’s a list of wineries celebrating all of the Mom’s out there:

Baily Winery
Mother’s Day lunch at Carol’s Restaurant /
May 14 / 3-course lunch from 11:00-3:00 / Menu and prices will be posted on our website on May 1st.  It will be reservation only, credit card necessary for reservation / For reservations call 951.676.9243 or visit www.Bailywinery.com

Bel Vino Winery
Mother’s Day Brunch / May 14 / Two seating’s: 9:30 to 11:30 and 12:30 to 2:30 / Set up on top of Bel Vino’s Hilltop Terrace, we will be hosting a bottomless mimosa brunch, to include an Egg Bar, Bagel Bar, Carving Station. Spring Salad, Chicken and Waffles, Assorted Desserts, Crab Cakes, Yogurt Parfaits, Fruit Varieties, Live Music and more! Wine and Beer Extra. Children 3 and under are free / $83.99 for non-members, $71.06 for Wine Club Members, $29.67 for children / Call 951-676-6414 to make reservation.

Cougar Vineyard & Winery
Mother’s Day Special Treat
/ May 14 / 11am-6pm / Join us for a Special Treat…Bubbly Peach Sangria Flute Floats! / $8 each; Logo flute INCLUDED. $4 each for Wine Club Members!  The first 25 guests to pre-pay will also receive a long stem rose for Mom!  Come by…call 951.767.8398…or email events@cougarvineyards.com to pre-pay.

Danza del Sol Winery
Mother May I GET SAUCED?!! / May 14 / 1:00p -4p / Treat Mom to a fun filled afternoon of food, wine, and culinary entertainment for Mother May I GET SAUCED?! / Price: $58.50 – $65.00 / Please check our website www.danzadelsolwinery.com for additional information and reservations.

Europa Village
Mother’s Day Lunch / May 14 / 12pm-3pm / Gourmet three-course champagne lunch prepared by Executive Chef Dean Thomas. Live music by Jimmy Patton / Tickets $54 per person, children 10 & under $17. Tickets available via website www.europavillage.com or calling Event Department (951) 695-7175.

Falkner Winery
Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch in the Pinnacle Restaurant
/ May 14 / 10am-3pm / For a full menu please visit www.falknerwinery.com. Live Entertainment will be provided / Cost: $69.95+/person (Wine Club $59.95+/person) Children (3-10) $29.50+/child (Wine Club $24.95+/child) / Reservations required please call 951-676-8231 option 4.

Lorimar Vineyard & Winery
Treat Mom to a Special Champagne Brunch / May 14 / 10am or 12:30pm / Located on our Vineyard Lawn / $60 regular, $55 WC / Tickets available through www.lorimarwinery.com

Mount Palomar Winery
Mother’s Day at Annata Bistro/Bar / May 13 and May 14 / 11:00am – 7:00pm / Celebrate Mother’s Day all weekend at Annata Bistro/Bar! All Moms receive one complimentary classic Mimosa on Mother’s Day weekend, plus we’re running a limited time Mother’s Day menu / For reservations and information please visit https://www.mountpalomarwinery.com/MothersDay

Oak Mountain Winery
Mother’s Day Brunch in The Cave / May 14 / 11am-4pm / For a complete brunch menu please visit our Events page at www.oakmountainwinery.com / $39 pp., Members $30 plus tax, includes 1 glass new Release Wine. Children, ages 6-12 are $15 +tax – 5 years and under are free. Gratuity not included; no refunds within 24 hours / Reservations 951 699-9102, events@oakmountainwinery.com

Thornton Winery
Mother’s Day Buffet / May 14 / 11am-4pm / Cost: $62.95 plus tax & gratuity (Adults). $22.95 plus tax & gratuity. Child 12- 6 yrs. old $19.95 plus tax & gratuity. (5 years and under – FREE). Call for Reservations: (951) 699-0099

Wilson Creek Winery
Mother’s Day Brunch / May 14 / 10am – 3pm /Enjoy live entertainment, our annual Petting Zoo, and a special bottle of wine to go home with mom! / Buffet + unlimited Sparkling Wine $64.95. Buffet Only $58.95. Children $14.95 / Reservations are required, online at www.wilsoncreekwinery.com or by calling 951-699-9463.

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Moscato ~ The Perfect Spring Wine

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Moscato, Muscatel, Muscat… what’s the difference between them? Just the names, actually. Rather than just being one grape, Muscat includes a family of grapes in a range of colors (from white to brown, or to near black.) For instance, Moscato is the Italian name and Muscatel the Spanish.

Here in the U.S., Moscato is making its mark and has become the hot wine of the moment. Some would say sweet versions of Moscato are ideal for the American sweet tooth; it’s also an easy wine for the new wine drinker to love.

For a perfect spring day, pack a picnic with a chilled bottle of Temecula Valley Moscato and pair it with good cheese, buttery crackers and seasonal fruit.

Here are five fun facts about Moscato:

1. Muscat is the only fine wine grape that doubles as a table grape.

2. Twitter buzzes with an average of 250 tweets an hour about people drinking their Moscato.

3. In addition to Moscato, Muscatel and Muscat, this common white variety is also known as Muscadel, Muscat Blanc and Muscat Canelli.

4. Virtually all pink Moscatos gain their hue from a splash of red wine, not skin contact.

5. The breadth and number of varieties of Muscat suggest that it is perhaps the oldest domesticated grape variety, and there are theories that most families within the Vitis vinifera grape variety are descended from the Muscat variety.

Some Temecula Valley Moscatos and Muscat Canelli’s to try:

Avensole Winery – 2014 Muscat Canelli
Callaway Vineyard & Winery – 2016 Special Selection Muscat Canelli
Europa Village – 2015 Estate Muscat Canelli
Leoness Cellars – 2015 Muscat Canelli
Maurice Car’rie Vineyards & Winery – 2015 Moscato
Monte De Oro Winery – 2015 Muscat Canelli
Oak Mountain Winery – 2016 Muscat Canelli
Ponte Winery – 2016 Moscato
Robert Renzoni Vineyards – 2015 Moscato
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa – 2015 Muscat Canelli
Thornton Winery – 2015 Muscat Canelli
Wilson Creek Winery – 2016 Muscat Canelli

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Top Wines Paired with Top Aphrodisiac Foods

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country gets into the Valentine’s Day spirit by going one step beyond the chocolate and wine pairings so prevalent this time of year – aphrodisiac pairings. The popular wine destination shows the diversity and versatility of the region’s wines through suggested pairings with certain foods believed to be libido-enhancing.

“One of the things that makes Temecula Valley so special is the number of different grape varieties we can grow successfully here, thanks to our Mediterranean-like climate, as well as the broad spectrum of wine styles we produce. This makes experimenting with food pairings – even the most challenging ones – really exciting,” said Devin Parr, Wine Country Marketing Director for Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. “We thought it would be fun to throw around some ideas about which Temecula Valley wines might go with foods rumored to be natural aphrodisiacs, given that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Jury is still out on whether or not the foods actually work, but we had a lot of fun coming up with the list of pairings.”

Oysters + 2016 Hart Winery Arneis

Although the science behind this mollusk’s libido-boosting properties is murky at best, Oysters are one of the foods most commonly thought to have aphrodisiac effects. This is thought to be because they contain zinc, which is necessary to produce testosterone, as well as amino acids and serotonin, which enhance the body’s response to pleasure. Pair these briny bivalves with a crisp, mineral driven white, like Hart Winery’s 2016 Arneis.

Avocado + Thornton Winery Brut Reserve Natural NV

Avocado’s reputation for being an aphrodisiac dates back to the Aztecs, who believed in it so much that they prohibited virginal women from leaving the house while they were being harvested. Avocados are also rich in vitamin E, which boosts the immune system and helps give skin a youthful appearance, perhaps making us look more attractive to the objects of our affection. Pair a bowl of rich, creamy guacamole with something bright, bubbly and capable of cutting through the fattiness of the avocado, like Thornton Winery’s zero dosage Brut Reserve Natural Methode Champenoise sparkling wine. For extra oomph, sprinkle on some maca powder, whose libido-driving powers have been more firmly established in science.

Chili Peppers + 2015 Baily Rosé of Sangiovese

Chili peppers are known to stimulate endorphins, speed up heart rate and increase sweat production, all similar to what we undergo when we are getting in the mood. Spicy dishes can be tough to pair with wine. Stick to a wine with some acid, which can soften extremes in richness, fat or spice, as well as some fruitiness or residual sugar, which can help temper spicy heat. Try Baily’s easy-drinking, slightly off-dry Rosé of Sangiovese.

Coffee + 2012 Fazeli Cellars Shiraz

Much like chili peppers, coffee is a stimulant that increases heart rate and blood flow, contributing to feelings of an enhanced libido. Since an actual cup of coffee is one of wine’s worst enemies, try something like coffee-rubbed brisket paired with a complex, juicy red like Fazeli Cellars’ 2012 Shiraz, which also just received 92 points in the Wine Enthusiast.

Chocolate + 2008 Leoness Cellars Cinsaut Dessert Wine

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without chocolate, and probably for good reason. Chocolate is thought to boost passion levels through phenethylamine, the stimulant that is released in the brain when we fall in love, and tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin, a brain chemical associated with elevated moods and arousal. Choose a dopamine-spiking dark chocolate and pair it with something sweet and luscious, like Leoness Cellars’ 2008 port-style dessert wine of Cinsaut grapes.

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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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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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