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Real Temecula Winemakers Drink Pink: Our Top Picks for Temecula Valley Rosé this Summer

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Rosé wine and the perfect pairing of cheese and fruit

Rosé all day. Yes way rosé. Stop and smell the rosé. You’ve probably heard them all, or seen them while scrolling through your Instagram feed, usually accompanied by gorgeous pics of glasses brimming with baby pink liquid being sipped by glamorous folks with designer shades and trendy outfits. The bottom line is that rosé is on the rise in a big, big way. 

“’Rosé All Day’ is not just a hashtag, it’s a cultural movement sparked by Instagram,” notes Alpana Singh, Master Sommelier in Business Insider. And the numbers don’t lie. In 2017 rosé sales were up 53% in the U.S., according to Nielsen, while wine sales overall increased by just 4%.

The pink stuff is here to stay, which is a good thing. Rosé is incredibly versatile, coming in a full spectrum of hues from barely-kissed blush to deep raspberry and everything in between, as well varying levels of dryness and a diverse range of flavor profiles from crisp and clean to luscious and mixed-berry-driven. It’s remarkably food friendly, a happy in-the-middle option with the ability to pair well with things that go with whites and reds. It’s also fun. While there seems to be a distinct rosé season – late Spring to early fall – the increased demand for drinking pink has opened up rosé for year-round drinking, with many retailers offering full sections dedicated to dozens of different selections.

We in Southern California feel right at home sipping rosé any day from January to December. It’s a drink that marries well with sunny days and a laid back SoCal spirit. Happily, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country produces some truly outstanding bottles and has been doing so for quite some time. In fact, in 2001, in an article about the importance of supporting local wineries, the Wall Street Journal described Temecula Valley’s Hart Winery, saying they “Make one of America’s best rosé.”

When we asked Jim Hart what makes Temecula Valley rosé so special, he explained that, “It’s because it’s not produced as an afterthought. It’s produced to be a rosé. That’s why it’s so good. It doesn’t actually make sense to make rosé in Temecula because our fruit is too expensive to not go toward making reds. So when we take that high quality fruit and intentionally make a rosé with it, the result is amazing.” Jim says they pick their fruit early and then treat and ferment the wine like a white, which results in deeply expressive, high quality wines.

Here are a few of our favorite Temecula Valley picks for this rosé season and beyond.

Hart Winery Rosé of Sangiovese

Sangiovese is one of Italy’s flagship wine grapes and shines just as brightly in Temecula Valley. It is also a delight when used to produce rosé. To make this award-winning wine, Hart used a cold pre-soak followed by pressing, and a low-temperature white wine fermentation. The result is a lightly pink, near-dry, delicately scented and flavored rosé, bursting with strawberry and watermelon notes on an elegant, floral backdrop. Excellent with a wide range of foods, and a great summer sipper.

South Coast Winery Rosé of Tempranillo

Multi-award-winning and the only American rosé to earn a Double Gold at this year’s 50 Best rosé tasting, this wine is made from a blend of two different Iberian Peninsula clonal selections of Tempranillo (one Spanish and one Portuguese). Some of the fruit was machine harvested and quickly drained and pressed, while a portion was hand-picked and whole cluster pressed. The two lots were then blended prior to fermentation. The result is a wine with beautiful extraction and color, youthful acidity and great structure, offering ripe strawberry, sweet blackberry and watermelon notes. It is a wine with focus, finesse and elegance, showing wonderful varietal characters while remaining fresh and enjoyable.

2018 Robert Renzoni Vineyards Lyric Rose, $29

This is one of those amazingly quaffable wines that you could drink for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ballet slipper pink and perfectly dry, this summer sipper is made from 100% Syrah. It boasts delicate notes of Ranier cherries, fleshy white peach and rose petals that give way to rich flavors of guava and melon. A delightful aperitif wine, meant for sipping by the pool or as you stroll Temecula Valley vineyards.

2018 Akash Winery Parlez Vous Rosé, $35

This intensely hued rosé, packaged in a stand-out, uniquely shaped bottle, is impossible to miss. Made from Temecula Valley newcomer, Akash Winery, this is a complex rosé that demands attention. A massive onslaught of aromas burst from the glass, displaying crushed raspberry, cranberry and strawberry notes, followed by watermelon Jolly Rancher and kaffir lime leaves. But don’t let the sweet, ripe bouquet fool you. On the palate, this rosé is completely dry, with a plush, almost grippy mouthfeel and an endless finish, making it a truly versatile food wine, capable of standing up to heartier fare and meat-based dishes. 

2018 Ponte Pas Doux, $28

“Pas Doux” translates to “not sweet,” a descriptor that lets the drinker know this wine, made from old vine Sangiovese, was intentionally made in a classic, dry, Provençal style. The grapes were harvested at sunrise rather than in the dawn twilight in order to select the lightest clusters.  The light juice was then full-cluster pressed directly to tank, and briefly cold-stored in stainless steel to retain and develop the structure and brightness. The Rhône yeast used for fermentation achieved warmer temperatures than expected, resulting in a rich, round palate and ultra-tropical ripeness.  In the bottle, this juicy rosé is a dynamic, rich, dry and complex yet focused wine.  The crisp acidity makes it a match for light fare, poultry, seafood and salad, but it can also stand up to hard, robust cheese and dried fruits.

2018 Wiens Family Cellars Rosé of Barbera, $26

We can’t get enough of the soft peach color of this elegant rosé, made from 100% Barbera, a grape that truly lends itself to rosé -making thanks to its ability to retain bright acidity. At only 11.5% alcohol it’s a great poolside or picnic sipper, but equally at home paired with an elegantly prepared dinner. Notes of ripe pink grapefruit, wet river stones, key lime and rose petal give way to mouthwatering peach and nectarine and a dry, lingering finish. 

2018 South Coast Winery Vineyard Rosé Sparkling Wine

It’s tough to talk about Temecula Valley rosé without mentioning bubbly. This wine, a blend of 52% Zinfandel 38% Tempranillo and 10% Merlot, captures the seductive fruit aromas and flavors from the three red varietals used in its creation. The estate grown grapes were specifically selected for their inherent red berry fruit character and their ability to work together in a blend. Each lot of fruit was whole cluster pressed and fermented separately prior to blending and secondary fermentation. Strawberry, raspberry and cherry rise out of the glass with each tiny bubble, making this wine a real “Jolly Rancher” treat. Finished as a Brut style, this wine has a very clean, bright acidity which makes it balanced, refreshing and inherently drinkable. 

Find all of these selections online or get them straight from the winery. With plenty to do, from wine tastings to concerts, festivals, hot air ballooning and more, you are sure to find enough to fill several days in Southern California Wine Country this Summer. Find out more about what’s going on all season long in the region Wine Enthusiast Magazine named one of the world’s Top Ten Wine Travel Destinations HERE.

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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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Temecula Wine Pairings For Your Thanksgiving Table

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Autumn table setting with pumpkins. Thanksgiving dinner and autumn decoration.

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) 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 light white wine 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 2012 Special Selection Chardonnay; $25.00

Danza Del Sol Winery 2015 Pinot Grigio; $28.00 (1st Annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting Award Winner)

Monte De Oro Winery 2015 Nostimo; $23.00 (1st Annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting Award Winner)

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 Shorty’s Bistro Red; $20.00

Avensole 2012 Second Block Zinfandel; $60.95  (1st Annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting Award Winner)

Doffo Winery 2013 Syrah; $58.00

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 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon; $30.00

Fazeli Cellars 2012 Khayyam; $58.00

Wiens Family Cellars 2014 Bare Knuckle Petite Sirah; $48.00

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 Ponte’s sweet moscato, where red delicious apples, kiwi , pears, and apricots come together nicely with honeysuckle and jasmine undertones. Or try the People’s Choice Blind Tasting award winner, Briar Rose’s Estate Riesling with your fruit tarts or pies.  And for a special treat, buy a bottle of Renzoni port to pair with a fudgy chocolate cake.

Briar Rose 2013 Estate Riesling; $25.00 (1st Annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting Award Winner)

Ponte Winery 2015 Moscato; $28.00

Robert Renzoni Paradiso Port; $49.00

One Meal, One Wine

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 2015 Chenin Blanc; $20.95

Miramonte Winery 2014 Grenache Blanc; $28.95

Falkner Winery 2015 Sauvignon Blanc; $24.95

South Coast Winery Ruby Cuvee; $22.00

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It’s Never Too Late for a Life in Wine!

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

wilson-creek-winery-vineyard-family-sf13

It is often assumed that winery owners were born with dirt under their fingernails and raised among the vines by families who have been making wine for generations. While Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is certainly home to those with winemaking in their blood, a quick tour through the region also yields an entirely different crop of wine leadership – entrepreneurs who saw the promise of the region and left wildly different careers to build a life in wine.

One of the most iconic wineries in the region, Wilson Creek Winery, is home not only to great wines, but also to a diverse cross-section of skill sets. CEO Bill Wilson was a Series 7 financial planner specializing in tax-deferred annuities before answering the call of the vine, while Wilson Creek’s winemaker, Gus Vizgirda, was previously a self-described “cartoonist, weatherman, officiant, teacher and vineyard yoga guru.”

While owner & winemaker Robert Renzoni of Robert Renzoni Vineyards was actually born and raised in the wine business, he broke off early on to pursue music, touring with his alt-rock band “Absent” for 9 years before returning to his roots. The music never left him though, and today many of Renzoni’s wines are named for musical references, like the Pinot Grigio-Viognier blend, “Cantata” and the Super Tuscan-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, “Sonata.”

Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery owner and winemaker Nick Palumbo played in New York City post-grunge band “The Morning Glories” and was also a chef in both New York and San Diego, cooking for the likes of George W. Bush and Wesley Snipes, among others. His wife and winery co-owner, Cindy, was an insurance agent for 15 years prior to jumping into wine.

Wiens Family Cellars owner and general manager, Jeff Wiens, had to go through two previous careers before landing in wine, including a 10-year stint as professional drummer, as well as a Senior Industrial Engineer in the aerospace industry.

But Temecula Valley isn’t only made up of former rock stars. Careers in business before wine were also common. Briar Rose Winery owner Les Linkogle had a successful career in mortgage banking, while his wife, Dorian was an executive vice president at the Aetna Corporation for 25 years before the two followed their lifelong dream to produce wine.

Frangipani Estate Winery owner and winemaker, Don Frangipani was growing mushrooms for his wife, JoAnn’s family’s mushroom farm in Escondido, as well as for their own mushroom-growing business on Mt. Palomar, and cooking for one of her family’s restaurants, before launching his career in wine.

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Summer Wine Pairing Guide

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Wine glasses on picnic table --- Image by © Laura Doss/Corbis

Ah, the sizzle of summer is upon us. Whether you’re spending your hot summer days and long summer nights relaxing at the beach, chowing down at a backyard barbecue, or picnicking in the park under a shady oak tree, these cool and crisp whites, rosés and sparkling wines will please every palate. All of these wines can be purchased online or in the tasting rooms, so choose your favorites this week! Here’s our guide to beating the heat in the most delicious way:

Whites
Lorimar Winery 2014 Chardonnay – Crisp, tart green apple, Bartlett pears and honey suckle with a medium length finish.
Monte de Oro 2014 Pinot Gris –Wine opens up with peach and apricot flavors couples with pears, lemon/lime, guava and kiwi accents.
Briar Rose Winery Citronier– Aromas of exotic fruit with a brilliant lemon flavor. Sure to bring a smile to every summer celebration

Rosés
Oak Mountain Winery 2015 White Merlot – Sweet cherry and raspberry aromas characterize this wine. Soft, round, juicy cherry and berry flavors form structure and a full, rich texture.
Robert Renzoni Vineyards 2014 La Rosa (Rosé of Sangiovese) –Light strawberry citrus flavors are layered with hints of cranberry, passion & tropical fruit, and a hint of pink grapefruit.
Falkner Winery 2014 Irresistible Rosato –This semi-dry white wine tastes of ripe pear, cinnamon, apple pie, and spice.

Sparklers
Wilson Creek Grand Cuvee Sparkling Wine –Light and refreshing, and very fun. Great in Mimosas! A fun party sparkling wine.
Maurice Car’rie & Van Roekel Winery Pomegranate Sparkling Wine– This lively refreshing California Sparkling Wine is bursting with refreshing flavors of pomegranate – a perfect accompaniment to your summer picnic basket.
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa Pinot Grigio Sparkling – Finished as a “Brut” this is a Pinot Grigio with wonderful nuances of pears and apples, a touch of tropical fruitiness and crisp acidity.

Image by © Laura Doss/Corbis

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The Art of Wine Labels

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

RenzoniWineLabelYou can’t judge a wine by its label—but a beautiful “cover” certainly can’t hurt. Temecula Valley wineries are putting just as much creativity and originality into their label designs as they are in their wines. And the results are inspiring.

Wine labels are the first thing that attracts a consumer when contemplating which wine to choose. Some first-time shoppers even choose a wine by the label–after all, the label builds the anticipation of what’s inside the bottle. It’s the quality of the wine itself that makes customers loyal fans.

Temecula Valley vintners are adorning their bottles with art that is not only beautiful, sometimes even fun, but often tells a sentimental story. The label of Lorimar Winery’s 2014 Chardonnay bears scenic photographs of the vineyard from which it came, in each of the four seasons. The images were taken by Temecula-based photographer Bodhi Smith, and the four-image work, called “Seasons of Del Oro,” is for sale on coasters and as an art piece at the winery.

Oak Mountain Winery’s Double Trouble 2013 Riesling has a bright blue label depicting Buddy and Bandit, the two beloved Queensland Heelers of vintners Valerie and Steve Andrews. The label is a watercolor painting by local artist Tamra Gerard. The artwork also can be found in “Winery Dogs of USA” book #3.

Robert Renzoni Winery’s 2013 Fiore di Fano, a Super Tuscan blend of estate-grown Cabernet, Sauvignon, Brunello Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, has special meaning to owner and winemaker Robert Renzoni. The classically styled painting that adorns the label was a gift from a special friend he met on a journey to his family’s hometown, Fano, Italy.

Wiens Winery’s Red Crowded is a red-wine blend so-named for the “crowd” of varietals in each vintage, such as the Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Cabrenet Franc, Sangiovese and Syrah in the 2014. Red Crowded is one of a series, which also includes White Crowded and Pink Crowded (rosé) blends, fancifully designed featuring appropriately colored red, white and pink birds by local artist Kelly Vivanco. All three designs are available on posters and t-shirts.

Falkner Winery’s 2014 Risque Riesling is illustrated with a sleek black pump and tube of vibrant red lipstick in a classy nod to consumers, often women, according to owner Loretta  Falkner, who like a bit of sweetness in their white wine. Risque Riesling is part of Falkner’s sweet Seductive Series, which also includes a red blend and rosé.

South Coast Winery vintner Jim Carter commissioned artist Tamra Gerard to paint a portrait of his dear Aunt Ruby as she might have looked in the 1920s for his Ruby Cuvée. Both the label and the carefully crafted sparkling Syrah in the bottle are intended to capture the effervescent charm of Ruby Carter, who was always the belle of the ball. The art can be found on t-shirts, posters, coasters and magnets in South Coast’s gift shop.

Newly opened Fazeli Cellars pays homage to owner BJ Fazeli’s homeland with a series of wines named for acclaimed Persian poets. The 2012 Ferdowsi Cabernet Franc is named for Abu Ferdowsi, widely known as the most influential figure in Persian literature, and is designed by BJ’s daughter, Romy Fazeli. The artwork features a stylized grapevine symbolizing Fazeli’s “Our Roots Run Deep” motto.

These are just a few of the beautifully designed wine labels from Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. Not only are the wines carefully and passionately crafted, so are the labels.

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Cavatelli with Spicy Winter Squash

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

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This pasta dish looks delish!  Utilize winter squash such as butternut, hubbard or pumpkin squash for this healthy, hearty vegetarian quick dish.  Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Sangiovese.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

2 pounds butternut squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 pounds cavatelli or small shells

3/4 cup freshly grated caciocavallo, pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion and crushed red pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and onion are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and thyme, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the cavatelli to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the cavatelli to the squash mixture in the skillet, then stir in 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and toss gently to combine. Add the 3/4 cup of caciocavallo, season with salt and pepper and stir gently; add a little more pasta water if necessary. Serve the pasta right away, passing more cheese at the table.  Pairs well with Sangiovese.

Suggested Pairings:

Danza Del Sol Winery ~ 2011 Sangiovese – Wild berry and tart cherry aromas have a hint of sweet pipe tobacco. Flavors of plum and mulberry are deepened with a note of black tea.

Frangipani Estate Winery ~ 2012 Estate Sangiovese – A 100% Sangiovese with aromas and tastes of black cherry, black currant, mulberry, plum fruit.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ 2012 Sangiovese – Subtle aromas of toffee and fresh berries with distinctive notes of cherry and raspberry. A hint of vanilla adds a lingering soft finish.

Wiens Family Cellars ~ 2013 Sangiovese – Bright notes of mineral and red licorice transition into a concentrated core of spiced plum and chocolate cake riding over soft, yet substantial tannins.

Recipe courtesy of Mario Batali / Food & Wine

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Giving Thanks

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Thanksgiving1

Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to reflect and give thanks to all who make our lives better by just being in them!  To all of our supportive member wineries and their staff, all of our growers, our affiliate members and our entire family of partners – and to You – our treasured guests (without whom we wouldn’t exist!), please accept our humble thanks.

If there are any out there who would give thanks to NOT have to cook, you can thank both South Coast Winery and Thornton Winery for doing it for you.  Both are accepting reservations for turkey day dinner now.  Trust me, they’re better at this than most of us!  And if you need a good nights rest after all the over-indulging, Wilson Creek Manor is offering some fantastic rates for which you’ll be truly thankful.

The day after Thanksgiving, aka, Black Friday, bring your family and friends out for a day in wine country.  All of our wineries will be open for the entire weekend – and many are offering once a year discounts on some fabulous wine for the holidays.  Special Black Friday sales events are going on at Cougar, Danza del Sol, Europa Village, Leoness, Lorimar, Oak Mountain, Ponte and Robert Renzoni wineries.  I mean, really!  Where else can you taste before you buy, but at a winery?

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Dream Big: Robert Renzoni, Robert Renzoni Vineyards

Friday, June 13th, 2014

What began as a hobby 129 years ago for his wine making great-grandfather has evolved into a life-long dream of a family business.  Robert is a 4th generation winemaker.  How many of us can say that?

Fano-Vineyards

Check in every month where we feature a new interview with our Temecula Valley winemakers and winery owners. You’ll learn where they came from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous art (and science) of making good wine in California.

Interview with Winery Owner and Winemaker Robert Renzoni, Robert Renzoni Vineyards

Dream Big :  Robert Renzoni, Robert Renzoni Vineyards 1.  Robert…  we know what got you into the business, but what got you to Temecula? My family has purchased fruit from the Rancho Cucamonga area for over 75 years.  The first time my Dad visited the area he was just 9 years old!  We used to buy juice and ship it back to New York by rail in railcars that usually carried milk.  At that time, the area was among the largest winegrape growing regions in the United States. My family became very familiar with the area.  Ultimately, my parents moved from Buffalo, NY to Carlsbad.  At the time, I was living in LA.  My Dad was really excited about having a wine country so close to home.  We used to meet up in Temecula Valley wine country on Sunday afternoons. It struck us all almost immediately that ‘something’ was going on here!  2.  Tell us what it’s really like to own a winery: Well, it’s certainly not all glitz and glamour like people think.  It truly is a way of life.  And it’s a tremendous amount of work; people have no idea how dirty I actually get.  You really have to make a commitment of your time – and ALL of your resources.   3.  So what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?  What’s the best part? I absolutely love creating.  Every bottle of wine to me is like a song. I used to write and sing music as a creative outlet.  Now I make wine. Each vintage and varietal are new and different and I’m thoroughly convinced that I will NEVER get bored doing this.  And that’s the really fun part of what I get to do.   4.  What’s the worst part? Definitely the 5am alarm each day.  Ask me again in a year or so; after the effects of the construction project have worn off.  It’s been a tough year trying to get this project completed.   5.  So… if you could do it again, would you? Gosh, we just opened up our new Tasting Room Villa.  It’s been a lot of work for someone like me who tends to be a perfectionist.  But yeah, I guess I would.  I’m just waiting for the fun to start!

To learn more about California’s Big Dreamers, click here!

 #dreambig http://visitcalifornia.com/dream365

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Summertime! And the livin’ is easy…

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014


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
Miramonte Winery ~ GSM Rosé: gently honeyed melon, tropical fruits, delicate berries

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ Big Fred’s Red: ripe blueberry and black cherry, hints of caramel
Maurice Car’rie Winery ~ Cody’s Crush: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah blend

Danza del Sol Winery ~ Grenache:  the color is light, but the aromas are bright
Oak Mountain Winery ~ Merlot: berry, raspberry, blackberry, plum, and abundant smokey oak

 

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