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Our Top Temecula Valley Wine Picks for Summer

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Summer Sippin’

There’s something about Summertime sipping that just feels right. Maybe it’s the sensation of a breeze cooling our neck as the sun warms our face while enjoying a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio on our patio; maybe it’s the sun staying out just that little bit longer; or maybe it’s the amazing food that comes out during the warmer months – the smell of the grill, the sweet juices of peaches and watermelons running down our chins, fresh seafood, burgers, corn on the cob… Whatever it is, there’s just nothing like a great mid-summer glass of wine. But what to sip?

Here are some of our favorite go-to wines for the Summer months:

Sparkling

Not only does bubbly pair perfectly with just about any type of cuisine, it is a wonderful treat no matter the occasion. From milestone celebrations to simply feeling good on a Tuesday, it’s the ultimate refresher after a long day (or at the beginning of one – hello, brunch!).

Pair with: Literally anything. But bubbles and salty, fatty, fried, or crispy food is a match made in heaven. Think potato chips, calamari, tempura shrimp, truffled popcorn, cured meats and cheeses… we could go on… and on…

Some wines to try:

Thornton Winery NV Brut

Carter Estate Winery 2015 Blanc de Noir

Oak Mountain Winery NV Pinotage Sparkling

Leoness Cellars NV Brut

Crisp, Unoaked White

We all love a rich, buttery Chardonnay, but hot weather calls for something a bit more quaffable. Instead of those weightier whites like Viognier and Chardonnay, opt for something light and bright. Classic Italian and Spanish grapes like Arneis, Vermentino, Pinot Grigio, Albariño, and Verdelho are juicy and fresh, and act like a refreshing squeeze of lemon on your favorite Summer dishes.

Pair with: Seafood dishes prepared in a variety of styles, summer salads, and creamy pasta dishes.

Some wines to try:

Hart Winery 2019 Albariño

South Coast Winery 2019 Verdelho

Cougar Winery 2019 Estate Falanghina

Danza del Sol 2018 Vermentino

Rosé

There’s a reason “rosé all day” isn’t just a social media hashtag, it’s also a way of life: You can literally drink the stuff all day, every day. Rosé is a fantastic Summer sipper because it comes in so many different styles and hues, making it the whole package when it comes to food-friendly wine pairings. From pale pink and dripping with notes of watermelon and lime, to fuller-bodied and bursting with berry fruit, there’s a style to suit every palate, culinary creation, and occasion. And, it’s also pretty darn good on its own – unless you count your feet in the pool, a lazy swing in a hammock, or a sunset barbecue as part of your pairing.

Some wines to try:

Ponte Winery 2019 Pas Doux

Robert Renzoni Vineyards 2019 Lyric Rose

Doffo Winery 2019 Rosario

Akash Winery 2019 Parlez Vous Rosé

Light Red

Still craving that inky red wine, even in 100-degree weather? While Temecula Valley can be known for rich, full-bodied, luxurious wines, the region also produces quite a few lighter-bodied, fruity red wines, which are absolutely stunning on a warm summer day. Serve them with a slight chill to bring out the bright berry fruit. We promise you’ll thank us for the suggestion.

Pair with: Simple grilled meats and kabobs, tomato-based pastas, pizza

Some wines to try:

Fazeli Cellars 2015 Phel Phel

Baily Winery 2016 Cabernet Franc

Wiens Family Cellars 2018 Pinot Noir

Europa Village Bolero Cellars 2016 Garnacha

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Great Grilling Wines for Dad

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

Grillin’ with Wine

Barbecues are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate the day with Dad.  And all that grillin’ just screams for a good red wine.  But if you’re thinking it’s too warm for red, think again!  With these few tips, finding the perfect warm weather sip won’t have to put your love of red on hold.

  • Chill out!  Pop your bottle of red wine in the fridge for about 30 mins – or in an ice chest for about half that – and you’ll be amazed at how much more refreshing it will taste.
  • No or Low Oak wines are generally fresher and fruitier.
  • Low to Moderate Alcohol levels usually equate to lower tannin levels for a wine that won’t weigh you down.
  • Light to Medium bodied wines tend to be easy on the palate, bright and light.

So, whether you’re in the backyard or on the beach – serving burgers and brats, or steak and grilled veggies – there’s tons of options for pairing your favorite Temecula Valley wine with whatever you’re serving up.

If the mainstay is red meat, a spicy Zinfandel or Syrah would be perfect.  If you’re looking for a more mellow choice, a fruit forward Merlot always works; it’s also great with chicken, pork chops or fish.  If your fave is a Cabernet, go ahead and drink what  you like.  But try not to shortchange your options.  Go for a nice red blend for the best of all worlds.  And don’t forget about a blush wine; there’s nothing a nice dry rosé can’t do for spicy ribs and coleslaw – or a plate of spicy hot wings!

A  few Temecula Valley wine suggestions for your next barbecue:

Danza del Sol Winery ~ 2014 Grenache – Black cherry, black pepper, dried herbs, and sweet spice.

Miramonte Winery ~ 2016 Four Torch GSM – Shows best at about 65 degrees. That’s roughly 15 minutes in your refrigerator before serving.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ 2015 Big Fred’s Red – Aromas of blackberry, cherry and allspice with flavors of dark fruit, tobacco and caramel on the finish.

Oak Mountain Winery ~ 2014 Merlot – Offers flavors of chocolate, plums, licorice, black cherries, blueberries and blackberries as well as jam, with aromas of black fruits such as black cherry, blackberry and cassis. الإباحية العربية من الدرجة الأولى بمشاركة نجوم إباحيين عرب ممتازين متوفرة بأفضل جودة على موقع xnxxarabsex.com سكس هو مؤشر مثالي على أنه حتى لو كانت الفتيات العربيات متواضعات المظهر ، إلا أنهن ما زلن ساحرات في نفوسهن ، ومستعدات لأي شيء لنشوة جنسية مذهلة نحن نجمع فقط الإباحية العربية الممتازة ، ونفتقد الباقي. إذا كنت على استعداد للاستمتاع بما تخبئه لك أشهر الممثلات الإباحية العربيات ، فتوقف قليلاً ولن تنسى هذا المشهد أبدًا يخلعون كل ما يخفي أشكالهم التي يسيل لها اللعاب ، ويستعدون لممارسة الجنس الذي لا ينسى مع أصدقائهم الرائعين.

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Fun Facts About….Late Harvest Wine

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Late Harvest Wine Grapes

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 five fun facts about late harvest wine!
Facts courtesy of Snooth and Wikipedia

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.

Looking for a great bottle of Temecula Valley Late Harvest Wine? Check these wines out!

Late Harvest Viognier, Danza del Sol Winery; $38
Late Harvest Malbec, Doffo Winery; $69
Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, Europa Village; $24
Late Harvest Grenache, Lorenzi Estate Vineyards & Winery; $36

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Holiday Wine Guide

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

Cheers to the holidays!

Your Holiday Wine Guide, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country Style

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for a very good reason: the holiday season is filled with deliciousness. From epic family meals, to festive office parties, to coworkers bringing in all sorts of home-baked treats, to endless cocktails and tipples – there is plenty to indulge in. There are also so many occasions that call for wine!

In Temecula Valley, we enjoy a warm, Mediterranean climate that offers long, sunny days followed by afternoon breezes and cool, crisp nights; these conditions are ideal for ripening grapes while retaining balance and acidity. As a result, we are able to produce a wide range of wines from dozens of different grape varieties – plenty of which are absolutely perfect for holiday sipping and entertaining. Here are a few of our favorites this season.

When it’s time to celebrate:

Temecula Valley produces some truly wonderful sparkling wines in a range of styles from sweet to bone dry. Many Temecula Valley sparklers are even made in the painstaking “méthode traditionnelle” or Champagne method, where the wine undergoes secondary fermentation (the one that gives the wine its bubbles) in the bottle, and spends a long time on its “lees” – the little yeasty cells that give traditional method sparkling wines those unmistakable and delicious toasty, brioche-like aromas.

A few to try:

Carter Estate Winery 2015 Brut Sparkling, $35

South Coast Winery Ruby Cuvée Sparkling Syrah NV, $24

Thornton Winery Brut Rosé NV, $52

When you need to please a crowd:

When hosting a party or even just entertaining your family who doesn’t agree on anything – especially wine – finding a few crowd-pleasing sippers is essential. You will want to pick a versatile white and an easy-drinking red that pair with a variety of different cuisines and aren’t overly heavy or rich. Save the heady stuff for sipping solo after the last dish has been washed and put away, and you finally have a few minutes to yourself to lounge by the fire.

A few to try:

Danza del Sol Winery 2018 Vermentino, $28

Oak Mountain Winery 2018 Chardonnay, $24

Peltzer Family Cellars 2017 Sangiovese, $42

Fazeli Cellars 2014 Phel Phel Cinsault, $38

When it’s time to pop something special:

This is perhaps the wine that is saved for the main dinner. You may even opt to decant it tableside for a bit of added drama. Regardless of what you are serving, you will want a couple of bottles of something truly extraordinary to mark the special occasion.

A few to try:

Lorenzi Estate 2017 Dijon Clone Estate Chardonnay, $45

Leoness Cellars 2016 Signature Selection Syrah, $100

Robert Renzoni Vineyards 2014 Fiore di Fano, $75

Wilson Creek 2017 Family Meritage, $65

When you’re ready for something sweet:

Who needs dessert when you can pour yourself a small glass of dessert wine? There are many wineries in Temecula Valley that are producing some truly impressive dessert wines. Serve these alongside something simple like a tray of Italian cantucci or a winter cheese course with all the fixings, like nuts, candied fruits, honeys and sweet breads. Or, just pour a taste of the sweet nectar and move to the living room for those long and spirited post-meal conversations with loved ones.

A few to try:

Hart Family Winery 2012 Ancient Vines Angelica, $75

Wiens Family Cellars 2016 Late Harvest Primitivo, $26

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Temecula Wine Pairings for Your Thanksgiving Table

Friday, November 1st, 2019

In just a few weeks, your tummy will be rumbling and your mouth salivating with the promise of the once-a-year feast that is Thanksgiving. America’s biggest food holiday serves up the chance to do some serious (and seriously fun) fun wine and food pairing. Here in Temecula Valley, Southern California’s Wine Country, we’ve got the perfect wine pairings to go with each Thanksgiving course. No matter what your budget, this simple guide will have your friends and family giving thanks to you for making their holiday meal extra special.

Light Appetizers + Mellow Whites
These bright yet mellow whites pair well with lighter dishes to kick off your Thanksgiving meal. The floral notes of a viognier complement a fall salad of pears, blue cheese and walnuts; a selection of fruit and cheeses match nicely with a chardonnay; and light pinot grigio will sing next to your pumpkin soup.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery 2016 Special Selection Chardonnay; $25.00

Danza Del Sol Winery, 2017 Pinot Grigio; $30.00

Briar Rose Winery 2017 Estate Viognier; $28.00

Herbacious Side Dishes + Spicy Reds
The spicy notes derived from these unique wine grapes pair especially well with stuffings and gravies seasoned with holiday herbs like sage, thyme and rosemary. Having a vegetarian Thanksgiving? These wines work well with earthy mushroom and winter squash dishes too!

Mount Palomar 2014 Castelleto Sangiovese; $40.00

Leoness Cellars 2016 Cellar Selection Zinfandel; $42.00

Doffo Vineyards 2016 Syrah; $62.00

Poultry & Meats + Bold Reds
Whether it’s wine or food, everyone looks forward to the main course. The dark fruit flavors in these big reds will enhance similar flavors in your herb-rubbed turkey or peppered roasts. Whether you’re serving poultry, lamb or beef, all three are bold enough to stand up to a rich meat course.

Baily Winery, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon; $40.00

Monte De Oro Winery 2015 Merlot; $32.00

Wiens 2017 Reserve Tempranillo; $65.00

Dessert + Sweet Wines
Your Thanksgiving meal isn’t complete without dessert, and no dessert is complete without wine – at least that’s how we feel! Apple pies and pear tarts are practically made to pair with a sweet moscato, where red delicious apples, kiwi , pears, and apricots come together nicely with honeysuckle and jasmine undertones.

Somerset Winery 2018 Muscat; $23.00

South Coast Winery Black Jack Port; 18.00

Robert Renzoni Vineyards 2017 Moscato; $22

One Meal, One Wine
On a wine-buying budget? Or just looking to simplify your evening by serving one wine from start to finish? Any of these four, well-priced wines fit the bill. Each is lighter on the palate, with only subtle hints of sweetness making them suitable to drink from appetizers all the way to dessert. Bon appetit!

Maurice Car’rie 2017 Chenin Blanc; $20.95

Miramonte Winery 2018 Rosé; $28.00

Falkner Winery 2018 Sauvignon Blanc; $27.95

Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery 2014 “50/50” Blend; 45.00

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Our Favorite Temecula Valley Grapes for Fall Sipping

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Beautiful Fall Vineyards

As summer winds to an end, and pumpkin spice starts creeping into what seems like literally everything, it’s about that time to turn our palates to Fall flavors, especially when it comes to wine. Harvest is under way and this year’s grape crop is getting picked and processed into a new vintage. As we welcome this change in weather and celebrate the next phase in the life cycle of the grape, we thought we would put together a list of some of our favorite wine grapes for fall. Whether you love the classics or are itching to try something new and unique, you’re bound to find something you like in this lineup.

Grape: Chardonnay

What it’s like: If you’re part of the “Anything but Chardonnay” crowd, you need to think again. Chardonnay is a wonderfully versatile grape that comes in so many different styles, from crisp and clean with notes of green apple and citrus, to rich and buttery, dripping with tropical fruit and caramel, and everything in between.

Why we love it: Although classically linked to the Burgundy region of France, Chardonnay is actually the most-planted white grape in the world, growing in every region wine grapes are planted, including Temecula Valley. Chardonnay is the perfect departure from the light and zingy whites of Summer. It’s got a little more body, and takes on a wide range of dishes depending on the style of the wine.

Some to try:

2017 Robert Renzoni “Barile” Chardonnay, $28

A complex and elegant wine, boasting hints of baked apple, buttered toast and hazelnut.  Aged for 10 months in 40% new French Oak.

2018 Oak Mountain Chardonnay, $24

This Chardonnay is only slightly oaked, imparting delicate flavors of vanilla, butterscotch and caramel, mingled with apple, pineapple, honey and vanilla. A dream paired with roast chicken.

2018 South Coast Winery Chardonnay “Sans Chêne,” $16

Translating to “without oak,” this Chardonnay is bright and clean, with notes of Honeycrisp apple, citrus zest, and jasmine blossom and a long, mouth-watering finish.

Grape: Viognier

What it’s like: Viognier is a red-wine drinker’s white. It’s rich, luscious and full-bodied, with powerful and unmistakable floral aromatics.

Why we love it: Viognier originated in Southern France and the Rhône Valley, and thrives equally well in the soils and climate of Temecula Valley. Like Chardonnay, it tends to have more weight than other whites so can stand up to some of the richer flavors of Fall.

Some to try:

2018 Doffo Winery Concrete Fermented Viognier, $32

This vibrant wine’s aromatics explode with bright floral notes on the nose, delighting the senses as it hits the palate. An elegant backbone of acidity balances out the soft tones of honeysuckle and apricot.

2018 Monte de Oro Viognier, $23

Ripe stone fruit meets tropical aromas and notes of apple blossom in this rich bottling. The luscious and layered palate of this wine makes it a great match for exotic cuisines like spicy Thai and Indian dishes.

2018 Europa Village Viognier, $35

While Viognier is sometimes fermented in oak, this bottling was done in stainless steel in order to let the pure, rich fruit character prevail. Aromas of ripe nectarines, orange blossoms and a hint of fresh herbs flow into a soft and balanced palate with long-lasting, tingling acidity. This wine is perfect for sushi night with family and friends.

Grape: Cinsault (also Cinsaut)

What it’s like: If you like lighter bodied wines like Pinot Noir and Gamay, you will love Cinsault. Hailing from Southern France as well, this grape is capable of producing elegant, complex wines with juicy red fruit and unique savory notes when handled well.

Why we love it: It’s not Winter yet, so if you’re not ready to move to the heavy Syrahs and Zinfandels we crave in cold weather, Cinsault is the perfect pick. It’s juicy, it’s easy-drinking and it’s great with all kinds of dishes. If you’re really not ready for Summer to be over, you can even serve it with a slight chill.

Some to try:

2014 Fazeli Cellars “Phel Phel” Cinsault, $38

A true cherry pie of a wine! Bright red stone fruit with subtle hints black pepper, cigar and spice. Medium bodied with soft but ample tannins.

2016 Wilson Creek Winemaker’s Select Cinsault, $60

This Temecula Valley Cinsault displays lively floral and ripe strawberry aromas on the nose, and a lush, warm palate balanced by an elegant structure. A perfect food wine, pair this with pizza, pasta, cheese and charcuterie.

2016 Leoness Cellars Cellar Selection Cinsaut, $28

This bottling is bursting with aromas of cherry and raspberry with hints of black licorice and spice. The wine is soft, elegant and approachable thanks to the addition of a light touch of Syrah & Grenache and 18 months spent in small French Oak barrels.

The Grape: Cabernet Franc

What it’s like: Cabernet Franc is actually one of Cabernet Sauvignon’s parents (the other being Sauvignon Blanc), and yet it is often overlooked in favor of its more famous offspring. Known for its role in Bordeaux blends, it stands alone quite well, offering savory notes of bell pepper, green herbs, graphite, berry fruit and cedar

Why we love it: Cabernet Franc has the benefit of being both age-worthy and drinkable now. Its medium-bodied structure makes it a great food wine, but it also holds up to serious oak treatment quite well, giving it a wide range of different possible styles depending on how it is handled. 

Some to try:

2016 Baily Winery Cabernet Franc, $35

Baily Winery is known for their traditional, Old World take on winemaking and this Cabernet Franc is no exception. Ripe berry and plum mingle with exotic spice and black pepper and a touch of forest floor. This is a wine to linger over now, or put away for several years to let it develop.

2015 Thornton Cabernet Franc, $41

Notes of crushed raspberries, black currants, violet and graphite are prominent on the nose, backed by a pleasant green bell pepper note. This Cabernet Franc is medium-bodied with well-integrated tannins and a smooth mouthfeel.

2016 Hart Winery Cabernet Franc, $28

A balanced wine with crisp acidity and bright fruit reminiscent of Cabernet Franc wines from France’s Loire Valley. Notes of green olive, clove, raspberry and violet on the nose are followed by tart berry fruit and licorice, backed by firm, elegant tannins on the palate.

Share your favorite Temecula Valley wine picks for Fall! Tag us @temeculawines using the hashtag #DrinkTemecula.

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Temecula Valley Sparkling Wines for the Holidays

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

As the holiday season approaches, wine lovers will be searching for wines that complement holiday dinners and can please a wide array of palates. Whether it’s a small gathering or a large soiree, Temecula Valley sparkling wines offer something for every wine personality. Sparkling wines are ideal for special occasions, and as the holidays approach, we’ve asked our winemakers which are their favorites that will work well for holiday entertaining and gift-giving.

Thornton Non-Vintage Brut

A blend of primarily Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which gives the wine an exciting, crisp fruit character while taking on a clean and straight forward yeast flavor from the lengthy tirage time of 28 months using the méthode champenoise process. The addition of a small amount of Pinot Noir helps to round out the wine, giving it complexity and uniting the white varietals. The Thornton NV Brut has a lot of finesse along with apple, pear and tropical aromas, which meld with toasty yeast flavors, while the finish is long and creamy. $33 Bottle

South Coast Winery Sparkling Pinot Grigio

This sparkling Pinot Grigio is worlds apart from what is normally expected with this style of dry white wine. Finished as a “Brut” this is a Pinot Grigio with wonderful nuances of pears and apples, a touch of tropical fruitiness and crisp acidity. “Whenever toasting a special occasion, serve this wonderful sparkler and let the good times roll!” says winemaker Jon McPherson. $24 Bottle

Carter Estate 2014 Blanc de Blanc Sparkling

This product has been painstakingly nurtured to deliver a sparkling wine with the finesse, flavor and aroma of a fine méthode champenoise sparkling wine. The process included barrel fermentation and barrel aging of approximately 8% of the cuvee prior to the secondary fermentation. Once the Blanc de Blanc had been blended and undergone secondary fermentation, it was aged for an additional fifteen months on the yeast lees. This time on the yeast lees helped to develop the yeasty, toasty aromas, a very fine bubble bead, wonderfully full creamy textures and an extraordinary mousse. The bottle is brimming with fresh apple and delicate floral aromas; a hint of oak shows in the background with a nuance of vanilla, toasty cookie and a rich yeasty character. This wine has a very bright acidity and a refreshingly dry finish. “Definitely our finest sparkling release to date,” states winemaker Jon McPherson. $34 Bottle

Cougar Dolce

100% Estate Malvasia Bianca sparkling wine. Sweet, Muscat-like with notes of apricot, peaches and honey, for the taste buds that like more of a dessert flavor.

Oak Mountain Winery Raspberry Sparkling

This refreshing sparkling wine explodes with a slightly sweet raspberry candy touch.  Great for sipping by the pool or celebrating your special occasion.  Winner of a Silver medal – Orange County Fair Wine Competition.  Pairs well with ham, turkey, prime rib or most any main dish.  $25 Bottle

Though Temecula Valley wines can be ordered through the wineries’ online stores and shipped to most states, what better excuse to visit the destination and try the wines onsite. Temecula Valley is conveniently located in the center of Southern California, just an hour drive from San Diego, Palm Springs and Orange County and 90 minutes from Los Angeles. Many winery restaurants offer special holiday dining menus that pair wonderfully with their holiday wines. Resort, hotel, bed and breakfast inns and vacation rentals offer special packages and pricing for Sunday through Thursday stays.

 

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Summertime Sipping!

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Barbecues are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate the day with Dad. And all that grillin’ just screams for a good red wine. But if you’re thinking it’s too warm for red, think again! With these few tips, finding the perfect summer sip won’t have to put your love of red on hold.

  • Chill out! Pop your bottle of red wine in the fridge for about 30 mins – or in an ice chest for about half that – and you’ll be amazed at how much more refreshing it will taste.
  • No or Low Oak wines are generally fresher and fruitier.
  • Low to Moderate Alcohol levels usually equate to lower tannin levels for a wine that won’t weigh you down.
  • Light to Medium bodied wines tend to be easy on the palate, bright and light.

So, whether you’re in the backyard or on the beach – serving burgers and brats, or steak and grilled veggies – there’s tons of options for pairing your favorite Temecula Valley wine with whatever you’re serving up.

If the mainstay is red meat, a spicy Zinfandel or Syrah would be perfect. If you’re looking for a more mellow choice, a fruit forward Merlot always works; it’s also great with chicken, pork chops or fish. If your fave is a Cabernet, go ahead and drink what you like. But try not to shortchange your options. Go for a nice red blend for the best of all worlds. And don’t forget about a blush wine; there’s nothing a nice dry rosé can’t do for spicy ribs and coleslaw – or a plate of spicy hot wings!

A few Temecula Valley wine suggestions for your next barbecue:

Baily Winery ~ Rosé of Sangiovese: fun, fruity and full of character

Danza del Sol Winery ~ Grenache: the color is light, but the aromas are bright

Maurice Car’rie Winery ~ Cody’s Crush: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah blend

Oak Mountain Winery ~ Merlot: berry, raspberry, blackberry, plum, and abundant smokey oak

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ Big Fred’s Red: ripe blueberry and black cherry, hints of caramel

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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. New IDs are regularly released by fake ID websites. Montana fake ID was recently unveiled by Topfakeid.com in a bid to outreach customers from this state.

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:

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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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