Your Complete Temecula Valley Wine Shopping List for Cool Weather and Holiday Sipping
Anyone who’s ever visited Temecula Valley in the fall and winter months knows that, while those afternoons are usually gorgeously sunny and warm, those evenings can get downright chilly. Not only is this good news for our favorite fashions, not to mention our electric bills after all those summer months of running the AC, it’s also good news for our grapevines.
Cool-weather months are an important part of the life cycle of the vine. Those vines may look barren compared to the months leading up to and during harvest when they are lush with grapes and green foliage, but there’s a lot going on underground that tells us they are actually full of life. All the energy they normally put toward producing fruit or canopy growth is now being directed toward the vine’s root systems. Roots are digging deep into the ground searching for nutrients and storing carbohydrates in the trunks of the plant to keep the vine healthy during the winter months and provide essential energy to produce new leaves and shoots during spring budburst.
Fall and winter months also give us so many great opportunities to sip our favorite Temecula Valley wines. From never-ending holiday celebrations to lots of cooking and gathering with friends and family, to that constant urge to just curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and a movie, cold weather calls for delicious wines.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorites from Temecula Valley for Thanksgiving, the holiday season, or just sipping throughout the cooler months.
This robust and versatile Chardonnay has heady aromas of apple, pear, and lemon meringue pie, and a luscious flavor profile. It’s an excellent choice for Thanksgiving dinner, paired with turkey, a honey ham, or mashed potatoes.
With a rich and lush mouthfeel, hints of brioche, pineapple, and citrus, and bright acidity, this wine is a crisp, quaffable selection that pairs with the whole fall flavors and holiday dishes. We especially love Pinot Blanc paired with more exotic flavors like curries, and spicy noodle dishes.
Blanc de Noir is a classic style of sparkling wine that uses a black (noir) grape to make a white (blanc) wine. This is a rich and complex sparkling wine that demonstrates Pinot Noir character and richness, with a very fine mousse, and a delicate pink color. Tantalizing strawberry, raspberry, and cotton candy aromas are married with a lightly toasted brioche and hazelnut bouquet that rounds out the fruit tones. It’s the perfect sparkling wine for just about any cuisine or occasion, especially a Thanksgiving toast to all that there is to be thankful for.
This is, hands-down, one of our favorite wines to pair with food over the holidays. South Coast’s Ruby Cuvée is all about bringing out the berry-fruit character of Syrah. It’s got a delicate sweet-tart finish, with hints of raspberry, cranberry, and lavender, with supple tannins and a clean, lightly sweet finish. This magenta-hued sparkler could easily replace the dish of cranberry sauce at your table as the perfect turkey accompaniment.
Why pair Thanksgiving turkey with one of the usuals when you can create a match made in food and wine heaven with something fun and offbeat like Pinotage? A cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, Pinotage is a medium-bodied, easy-drinking red, with flavors of field strawberries, raspberry, and plum. It also has a pleasantly earthy kiss hidden beneath the layers of fruit that pairs beautifully with the savory but subtle turkey flavors. Bonus points if you smoke your turkey!
This traditional Spanish grape grows very well in Temecula Valley. For a mouthwatering pairing, try Danza del Sol’s Tempranillo with a generous serving of curried butternut squash bisque with a slice of grilled Manchego & ham quesadilla. The wine has generous acidity and spice that loves mingling with the richness of the soup, and the saltiness of the meat and cheese combination.
Garnacha – or Grenache – is one of those soft, juicy, warming wines that is a favorite at any holiday table, especially for Thanksgiving. This one is an excellent choice for roast turkey but is also a great match for roasted salmon or vegetarian lasagna.
Wiens Family Cellars 2021 Merrytage, $75 (1.5 Liter Magnum)
This wine was produced with the sole purpose of creating something easygoing while at the same time full-bodied and cold-weather-ready. According to winemaker Joseph Wiens, “If wines could be articles of clothing, this one is the fuzzy sweater.” Merrytage is a festive play on “Meritage,” using Bordeaux grape varieties to create a blend that is youthful and fruit-forward, but with weight and structure as well. Pair this wine with the traditional holiday spread. It’s a crowd-pleaser that works particularly well with roast beef and turkey with gravy.
The Thanksgiving table has a bunch of different and bold flavors, so a wine that pairs with a range of dishes is important. With a kiss of fruit, some spice, and gentle acidity, Cinsault is an easy classic that always delivers. The acidity works with the richness of the meal. Light, fruity, and fresh, it works with all of the flavors at the table.
Nothing says cold weather wine like Bottaia’s plush Montepulciano. It’s deeply hued and rich, yet also offers balanced flavors of boysenberry, black cherry, and cola. It’s the perfect wine for a cool afternoon or evening, cozied up by the fire pit. It’s also a dream paired with hearty ragu. No matter how you choose to sip it, it will warm the soul as you enjoy the fall holiday season.
This estate-grown wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. It’s full-bodied with rich flavors of cherry compote, raspberry, and leather, making it the perfect pairing for hearty winter comfort foods like smoked ham or a holiday prime rib roast. It’s also delicious on its own as “contemplation” wine for sipping by a roaring fire.
This estate-grown blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautifully balanced, medium-bodied red that won’t overwhelm but rather complement all of the dishes on your Thanksgiving or holiday table. We love it with sourdough stuffing laced with sausage and cherries. The blend of the two wines will enhance the flavors of cherry, clove, and allspice that make this dish a holiday favorite. It’s also elegant enough to keep on the table for dessert, accentuating any cocoa flavor that make be on the menu.
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