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California Wine Round-Up: Unusual Wines for Spring

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Spring has sprung and Temecula Valley is celebrating with some unexpected wines! For the seasoned wine-lover, these unusual varietals offer a new and surprising twist to the classic wine tasting experience.

Check out our recommendations for some exciting wines coming out of Temecula Valley wine country. Now that’s something worth toasting – cheers!

 

Temecula Sparkling Wines for Spring

California sparkling wine is primarily made with chardonnay and pinot noir – but here are a few surprising sparklers to liven up your spring table!

South Coast Winery grows a large variety of fascinating grapes in Temecula Valley. This winery estate currently offers Sparkling Gewurztraminer (a popular German grape) and Sparkling Pinot Grigio (Italian white grape), both at $18. Their famous Ruby Cuvée* ($22) is bright red in color and made from syrah, which is a key grape from the Rhone region of France. The stylish bottle makes a favorite host gift for bridal showers, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day and other girlie special occasions.

Thornton Winery offers a similar sparkler: their syrah/grenache blend – N.V.** Cuvée Rouge – retails for $24.

Counoise Blanc de Noir Sparkling ($24), produced by Oak Mountain Winery, offers an unusual sparkling wine – fruit-forward with a blush color and an earthy finish.

Food Pairing Tip: What should I eat with these wines?

Pair these spring sparklers with some seasonal fruit (oranges, cherries and strawberries) and locally-sourced cheese. We recommend a visit to Temecula Valley Cheese Company (951-693-9500.) Or top off with some OJ and you’ve got yourself one classy mimosa to serve with a simple spring frittata.

 

Temecula White Wines for Spring

Commonly found in Spain and Portugal, Albariño is a lesser-known white grape which does very well in Temecula Valley. Keyways Vineyards & Winery produces this bottle for $23, along with the French grape Roussane ($29) which is similar in taste to Viognier.

Bright, zesty and crisp, French fave Sémillon makes an appearance at the micro-boutique winery, Doffo Vineyards.

Wilson Creek Winery’s Spring White ($18.99) is a light and refreshing choice, and an obvious selection given the season.

Food Pairing Tip: What should I eat with these wines?

Sip these rare white wines alongside citrus-marinated salmon or a light asparagus & pea pasta dish topped with Parmesan. Might we also suggest a spring-vegetable paella?

 

Temecula Red Wines for Spring

Robert Renzoni grows an unusual Italian grape called Lagrein, which he then combines with Merlot to create an unexpected blend called Vecchio Frate – translation “Old Friar” – resulting in a perfectly light and fruity red to sip during these spring months. ($38)

Heard of Primitivo, Vermentino or Arneis?  Don’t worry, most of us haven’t!  But Cougar Vineyard & Winery boasts these virtually unknown Italian red grapes, happily introducing them to Southern California wine enthusiasts. (prices vary)

Food Pairing Tip: What should I eat with these?

Quick crab stew in tomato-fennel broth or Mediterranean grilled chicken salad not only pair well, but are simple weekday supper options when you want to keep things light and easy.

 

*cuvée means blend

**non-vintage meaning grapes from different years blended together

 

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”  ~William Shakespeare

www.ronaldpratt.com

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