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Fun Facts About Late Harvest Wine

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Remember those small, lovely bottles you’ve seen in the dessert wine section of your favorite tasting room or wine store?

Many wine-lovers have yet to discover how delicious a late harvest wine can taste – especially when paired with cheese and honey, chocolate or a fruit-based dessert.

The perfect sweet dessert wine for Valentine’s Day, late harvest wine is simple to understand and easy to find here in Temecula Valley!

Here are some fun facts about late harvest wine:

  1. “Late harvest” refers to wines made from grapes left on the vine longer than usual and picked later than normal. Late harvest grapes are often more similar to raisins, but have been naturally dehydrated while still on the vine.
  2. Late harvest wines are made around the world with almost every grape imaginable. Grapes like zinfandel and riesling are ideally suited to produce late harvest wine and are among the most popular.
  3. Grapes used for late harvest wines go through their full growth cycle and then some – becoming super sweet and losing acidity as they ripen.
  4. “Noble rot” is the term for the edible mold that causes grapes to lose nearly all of their water content. This natural process begins to take place in late September and can last until late October.
  5. Late harvest grapes are often hand-picked. Sometimes, the usable grapes from one vine may only produce enough juice for a single glass.

Suggested Late Harvest Wines:

Avensole Vineyard & Winery ~ 2015 Late Harvest Muscat Canelli
Doffo Winery ~ Lucca – Late Harvest Malbec
Wiens Family Cellars ~ 2016 Late Harvest Primitivo
Wilson Creek Winery ~ Late Harvest Malbec-Merlot

Facts courtesy of Snooth and Wikipedia

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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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Wine Country Recipe ~ Mulled Wine

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Spiced mulled wine is a winter favorite — warm, flavorful, and always so comforting!  And, it’s incredibly easy to make.  We’re definitely going to give this recipe a try over the holidays.

Ingredients:

1 (750 ml) bottle of dry Temecula Valley red wine
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1/4 cup brandy (optional)
1/4 cup honey or sugar
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
optional garnishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan, and bring to a simmer (not a boil — you don’t want to boil the alcohol out!) over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Strain, and serve warm with your desired garnishes.

*You can also place the oranges, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise in a cheesecloth. Then simply strain and pull out the bundle when ready to serve.

Recipe courtesy of www.gimmesomeoven.com 

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White Wine and Cider Brined Roasted Turkey with Swiss Chard, Sausage, Apple, and Dried Plum Stuffing

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

A fruity cider and white wine steeped brine is key to this moist and flavorful turkey. Begin the brining process 2 days before roasting. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Chardonnay or Merlot.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

A fruity cider and white wine steeped brine is key to this moist and flavorful turkey. Begin the brining process 2 days before roasting. Pair with California Chardonnay or Merlot.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Brine:
8 cups water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 small yellow onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 cups apple cider
1 bottle white wine

1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed
1 small yellow onion, quartered
1/2 lemon, halved
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch sage
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Brine and air-dry the turkey:
Bring the water, salt, sugar, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns to boil in a large pot, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat, add the cider and wine, and cool to room temperature. Place the turkey, breast-side up in a large container. Pour the brine over the turkey, adding more cold water, as needed, to cover. Refrigerate the turkey for 24 hours, turning the turkey once or twice in the brine.

Remove the turkey from the brine, discard the brine, and pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours or overnight to allow the skin to thoroughly dry out. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting.

Roast the turkey:
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Loosely stuff the turkey cavity with the onion, lemon, thyme, and sage. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Roast the turkey in the oven, about 15 minutes per pound, or until the juices run clear when pierced at the thickest part of the thigh. Baste the turkey with the melted butter at first, and then the pan juices every 20 to 30 minutes. If the breast browns before the turkey is fully cooked, loosely cover with foil.

Remove the turkey from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Loosely cover with foil and let rest 30 minutes before carving. Serve with Swiss Chard Stuffing (see below).

Swiss Chard, Sausage, Apple, and Dried Plum Stuffing:
12 ounces pitted dried California plums, about 20, halved
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (1-pound) loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8 green Swiss chard leaves, about 12 ounces, ends trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock

Directions:

Combine the pitted dried plums and wine in a small bowl. Let stand while you prepare the stuffing.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
Toss the bread with 1/4 cup oil and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the oven until light golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and cool.

Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F. Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Do not discard the fat from the skillet.

To the same skillet, add the apples and onion and sauté over medium heat until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the chard and cook until the leaves wilt, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the dried plums and wine, the butter, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add to the sausage, then add the bread and chicken stock; stir to thoroughly combine.

Pour the dressing into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until brown and crisp on top, about 30 more minutes.

 

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Wine Institute of California 

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Holiday Wine Pairing Guide

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Mom’s stuffing, Aunt Nancy’s cranberry sauce and your sister’s sweet potatoes.  Menu: done!  But what about the wine?  Choosing a bottle (or two!) of wine to bring to the holiday table can be tricky.  Appealing to not only your menu, but to a cross-section of practiced palates and novice wine drinkers may seem challenging.  But don’t stress out over one of the simplest tasks of the holiday season. Make it simple.  Any wine you enjoy is a good wine!

One certainly doesn’t need to look to others to rate, score or direct you to make a particular wine choice. Bring a wine you’re familiar with to the table.  Chances are it’ll be just fine – and maybe even sublime!

First and foremost, don’t worry about pairing with the herbaceous, the tart or the sweet accompaniments to your turkey, ham or prime rib.  It’s much simpler to match the wine to the main protein dish.  Here’s a few tried and true varietal selections for some classic holiday main dishes:

Wines to Serve with Ham
Ham just begs for a something lightly sweet.  Look for wines with a touch of residual sugar like a Baily Vineyard & Winery Riesling or a Maurice Car’rie Winery Gewurztraminer.  Both are lighter in style, a bit lower in alcohol and still offer plenty of food-friendly acidity and crowd-pleasing palate appeal.  If you’re looking for an easy to pair red, go for a lighter style like Tempranillo.  Great examples can be found at both Robert Renzoni Vineyard & Winery and at Danza del Sol Winery.

Wines to Serve with Turkey
Although an array of whites work perfectly well, Sauvignon Blanc is an all-time, hands-down favorite pick that holds up well to turkey – and all it’s side dishes. Temecula Valley provides the perfect playground for growing this varietal, so you’ll find many great examples of it here.  Beautifully aromatic offerings from the musqué clone can be found at Hart Winery and at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Soft red varietals like Syrah also make suitable partners; you can find some fabulous ones at Falkner Winery and Leoness Cellars.

Wines to Serve with Prime Rib
White wines will have a hard time keeping up with the likes of Prime Rib, but there are so many reds to choose from that make impressive cohorts, you’re sure to find one you’ll all enjoy.  Choose an affable Cabernet Sauvignon from Callaway Vineyard & Winery, a food friendly Italian varietal like Montepulciano or Sangiovese from Cougar Vineyard & Winery or an amazing Super Tuscan blend, Due Rossi, from Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery.

Happy Holidays!

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Strawberry and Pear Phyllo Tarts

Monday, September 25th, 2017

There is just something so delicious about the correlation between food, wine and the seasons. Specifically speaking, a sweet Strawberry and Pear Phyllo tart, a glass of late harvest wine and a crisp autumn day. Savor the last few weeks of the strawberry and pear season by preparing this easy dessert. It pairs perfectly with Ponte Winery’s popular 2015 Late Harvest.

Ingredients:
12 sheets phyllo dough (14 inches x 9 inches)
3 T butter, melted
2 T brown sugar
½ T raw honey
1 tsp lemon zest

Filling:
¼ cup muddled strawberries
2 cup ripe pear slices
2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 T brown sugar
2 teaspoon lemon juice
Powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:
Roll up phyllo dough and cut into 1/4-in.-wide strips. Place strips in a large bowl; toss with butter, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and honey until coated. Divide strips into six portions; shape into bowl shapes by placing strips criss-cross in a muffin pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 5-7 minutes or until golden.

In a small saucepan, heat muddled strawberries, sliced strawberries, pear slices and 1 tablespoon brown sugar until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Just before serving, spoon onto phyllo. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serve with Ponte Winery’s 2015 Late Harvest.

Yield: 6 servings.

Recipe & photo courtesy of Ponte Winery

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Grilled Shrimp Tostadas with Tomato-Corn Salsa, Guacamole, and Lime

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Eating with your hands was never so delicious with these tostadas layered with a bright salsa, creamy guacamole, and spiced shrimp. Arrange the fixings family-style and let everyone assemble their own tostadas. Pair with Temecula Valley Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.

Makes 8 tostadas; serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

Salsa:
1 cup fresh corn kernels cut from a cob or defrosted frozen corn
1 cup chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 green jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Guacamole:
2 ripe avocados
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon Mexican hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt

Shrimp:
24 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
8 corn tostada shells
8 butter lettuce leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
Fresh cilantro sprigs
Mexican hot sauce
Lime wedges

Directions:

Combine the salsa ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

Combine all of the guacamole ingredients in a bowl and mash with a fork to blend.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (about 350°F). Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and place in a bowl. Add the oil, cumin, cayenne, and salt and toss the shrimp to coat.

Arrange the shrimp on the grill grates over direct heat and grill until opaque through the centers, turning once or twice, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove and transfer to a plate.

To assemble the tostadas, spread a generous spoonful of guacamole on a corn tostada. Top with the lettuce, salsa, and shrimp. Garnish with cilantro and serve with hot sauce and lime wedges.

Suggested Pairings:

Callaway Vineyard & Winery ~ 2015 Special Selection Pinot Gris – Sun-ripened peaches, nectarine and honeydew melon aromas with hazelnut and a twist of lemon pie on the finish.

Hart Winery ~ 2016 Sauvignon Blanc –  Citrus notes of guava and tangerine, a subtle herbal undertone and a clean peach finish.

Lorimar Winery ~ 2015 Sauvignon Blanc – Let the crisp, cool guava quench your thirst as fresh melon and lemongrass awaken your senses.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ 2016 Pinot Grigio “Julia’s Vineyard” – Fragrant and mildly floral with subtle notes of green apple, lemon and pear, with a crisp refreshing finish.

 

Recipe & photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Fresh California Chopped Salad with Marinated Grilled Steak

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

When the temps are rising, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven in the kitchen. For a great entree salad, try this crunchy summer salad topped with grilled steak—marinated in Temecula Valley Zinfandel.  It gets its zing from a spicy-mustard vinaigrette. For the ultimate pairing, be sure to serve it with your favorite Temecula Valley Zinfandel!

Ingredients:

1 cup Temecula Valley Zinfandel

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon ground cayenne

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

1 New York strip steak (about 14-ounces), 1-inch thick, trimmed of fat

2 large tomatoes, preferably different colors

3 cups chopped, romaine lettuce

1 cup sugar snap peas, stemmed and cut into three pieces

1 cup cooked corn kernels, cut off the cob and cooled

1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, plus more for serving

Directions:

Bring the wine and garlic to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Let cool.

Pour the mixture into a medium glass bowl and mix in the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, black peppercorns, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of the dry mustard.

Add the steak and turn it to coat. Cover the steak and marinate it in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours, turning it once.

Preheat the grill to high heat.

Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry.

Grill the steak for 6 minutes on each side for rare to medium rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes.

Cut each tomato into eight wedges, and set aside.

Put the lettuce, snap peas and corn in a large bowl.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk the spicy mustard in a small bowl with the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper, and the remaining teaspoon of dry mustard.

Toss the lettuce mixture with the desired amount of vinaigrette.

Slice the steak across the grain into ½ inch strips.

Divide the salad among four plates, and top with tomato and steak slices.

Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 4

Suggested Pairings: 

Maurice Car’rie Vineyard & Winery ~ Van Roekel 2013 Zinfandel

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa ~ 2013 Wild Horse Peak Zinfandel

Wiens Family Cellars ~ 2014 Reserve Zinfandel 

Wilson Creek Winery ~ 2012 Wilson Creek Family Reserve Zinfandel


Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California.

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Ginger-Cinnamon Honey Poached Citrus and Vanilla Ice Cream

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Summer is not the time to spend hours in the kitchen; not when sun, surf and sand call upon our heartstrings!  This sweet treat looks like just the perfect dessert to keep the kitchen cool on those hot summer days.  Be sure to pair with Ponte Winery’s 2015 Beverino Bianco!

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

Segments of 2 grapefruit and 3 oranges
1 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
Fresh ginger, medium diced (from a 1” x ½” piece)
Chopped, toasted pistachios
Vanilla ice cream of your choosing

Directions:

Pour honey into a saucepan. Segment the citrus fruit over the saucepan so that the juices run into it and place fruit segments in saucepan. Heat honey and citrus over medium heat just until it comes to a boil. Remove pan from heat and let cool for a couple of minutes. Carefully remove the poached citrus segments and set aside in refrigerator until cold.

Place cinnamon sticks and chopped fresh ginger into honey. Return to heat and slow boil until reduced by half. Remove from heat, strain out the sticks and ginger and let honey syrup cool. To serve, place 3 scoops of your favorite vanilla ice cream in a bowl. Place some of the cold citrus segments on top. Drizzle with ginger-cinnamon honey and top with chopped pistachios. Enjoy immediately!


Recipe and photo courtesy of Ponte Winery

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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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