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5 Facts About Blended Wine

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Blended wines are some of our favorites because they are the most complex and interesting types of wine.  Here are the 5 facts you need to know about blends:

1. Difference between varietals and blends: A standard varietal like Malbec, Chardonnay etc., is made from the same type of grape. Sometimes winemakers will use grapes from different plots of a vineyard or different regions for a varietal, but they are all the same type of grapes. In the U.S. a varietal needs to be 75 percent of one type of grape, while in Europe it’s generally 80 percent and in Argentina it’s 85 percent. It’s possible for wineries to add other grapes to a varietal to enhance the elements and still call it a single varietal wine.

Blends are what their name suggests. They typically consist of at least 40-50 percent of one type of grape and a smaller mix of two or more other grapes.

2. Blending makes wines more complex: Blending is used to maximize the expression of a wine. It can enhance aromas, color, texture, body and finish, making it a more well-rounded and complex wine. If a wine doesn’t have a strong scent, for example, a winemaker can add five percent of a more potent smelling grape and can experiment with different types of varietals coming from other vineyards. They could have been aged in oak barrels, fermented in various kinds of vessels or just harvested in different phases of ripeness.

In Argentina, the heart of most blends is Malbec. Merlot can be used to give the wine a better aroma and make it seem fresher or smoother. Cabernet Franc or Sauvignon are often added for structure or tannin concentration to make a more powerful wine. Creating the perfect blend also depends on the characteristics of the year and the expression of each grape. The possibility for combinations that result in a quality blend are endless.

3. Some single varietals are made for blending: Winemakers will often make a barrel of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or other wines solely for the purpose of blending. As the grapes are being harvested, a winemaker determines what they think will be the best formula for a blend. Allotting specific barrels for blending allows them to experiment in finding the best types of mixtures. The idea is to highlight each grape’s strength and complement the other grapes being used in the blend.

4. The timeline for mixing wines varies: Winemakers mix blends in a steel tank. Lower cost blends are rarely aged in oak and higher cost blends are generally aged in oak. Some winemakers put blended wines into an oak barrel half way through the aging process, while others put the wines together one to two weeks before bottling. Some try letting the wines ferment together from start to finish. Again, the goal is to develop the best of everything in the wines and each winery determines what approach works best for them.

5. Some grapes aren’t used for blending: White wines tend to be pure varietals. However, there are some exceptions, particularly in certain regions in Europe where two or more white grapes are used. Pinot Noir is a type of grape that is rarely blended. That is why when you are having a Burgundy it will likely be a 100 percent Pinot Noir.

Here are some great Temecula Valley blends you won’t want to miss!

Callaway Winery ~ Calliope Red – Blend of Mourvedre, Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache and Petite Sirah

Lorenzi Estate Wines ~ 2013 Rated R Red Blend – Blend of Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel and Petite Syrah

Lorimar Winery ~ 2016 Vineyard Blend –  Blend of Grenache, Viognier and Roussanne

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa ~ 2015 Cabernet Rosé – Blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon

Vindemia Winery ~ 2015 Commonwealth – Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Petite Syrah

Copy source: Ross Szabo; The Huffington Post

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April is Down to Earth Month

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

April is California Wines: Down to Earth Month and an ideal time to check out earth-friendly California wines made with sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices.

Wineries around the state are celebrating Down to Earth Month throughout April with hands-on workshops, eco-tours, green-themed events, special offers and tastings of eco-friendly wines. Explore Temecula Valley Down to Earth Month events below and plan a visit just as our valley’s vineyards are coming alive with spring. Can’t make the trip? Open a bottle of your favorite Temecula wine and toast our commitment to green from grapes to glass.

Down to Earth Events:

Ponte Winery Vineyard Estate Tour
April 1-30, 2017
Time: Varies
Cost: $32-$85
Ponte Winery, Temecula, Riverside County
951/694-8855, info@pontewinery.com
Tour a sustainable, working winery by electric bus.

South Coast Winery Behind the Scenes Tour
April 1-30, 2017
Time: 1 pm and 3 pm
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, Temecula, Riverside County
Cost: $45
951/587-9463
Our Behind the Scenes tour takes guests on a 60-minute walking tour from our Certified
California Sustainable vineyards to crush pad. Enjoy a 30-minute food and wine pairing.

South Coast Winery Blessing of the Vines
April 8, 2018
Time: 5-8 pm
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, Temecula, Riverside County
Cost: Contact the winery, 951/587-9463
This fun event includes great wines, a buffet of farm-to-table locally-sourced food,
unlimited games with vine-based prizes and tours through the sustainable vineyards.

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Crab Cakes with Fennel, Watercress, and Blood Orange-Chive Aioli

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

These crab cakes are fresh, delicate and lightly bound with baby shrimp, which amplify the crab’s natural sweetness. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley sparkling wine.

Makes about 12 cakes; serves 4 as a meal or 6 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

Crab Cakes:
1/2 pound cooked baby shrimp
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) plus 2 cups for dredging
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage
1 small red jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek-style whole milk yogurt
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh blood orange juice
2 teaspoons minced chives
1 teaspoon finely grated blood orange zest
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil for pan-frying

Salad:
1 large blood orange
1 medium fennel bulb, halved, very thinly sliced crosswise
1 bunch watercress, tough stems discarded
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

Directions:

In a food processor, pulse the shrimp to a coarse paste. Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl, add the 1/4 cup panko and the remaining crab cake ingredients. Gently mix to combine.

Pour 2 cups panko into a shallow bowl. With wet hands, gently form the crab into 2-inch patties, about 3/4-inch thick. Carefully turn the patties in the panko to lightly coat, place on a plate and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, whisk the aioli ingredients.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add about half of the crab cakes, without overcrowding the pan, and pan fry until golden brown on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining crab cakes. Keep warm while you assemble the salad.

Cut a slice off the tops and bottoms of the orange. Use a sharp knife to cut away the peel and white pith. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, slice out the orange segments from their membranes. Place the segments in a large bowl and squeeze as much juice as possible from the membranes into the bowl with the juices (there should be about 2 tablespoons).

Add the fennel and watercress to the oranges. Drizzle the juices and the olive oil over the salad, lightly season with salt and pepper, and gently toss. Mound the salad on 4 serving plates and garnish with the chopped chives. Arrange 3 crab cakes next to each salad and serve with lemon wedges and the aioli for dipping.

Suggested pairings: 

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa ~ Crisp acidity and delicate yeastiness are enveloped in a rich tropical fruit aroma.

Thornton Winery NV Brut ~ This Non-Vintage Brut is a blend of primarily Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, giving the wine exciting, crisp fruit characters.

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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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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Wine for St. Patrick’s Day!?

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

So, if you’re a wine lover, how do you survive a holiday that is clearly for beer drinkers?  Many of our winemakers tell us that wine drinkers are the best beer drinkers because it takes a lot of good beer to make a good wine.

But, today’s your lucky day!  When good ole’ St. Paddy’s day rolls around, you can wear that cheesy green hat, be forced to eat corned beef and cabbage AND have your wine….yes, wine.

Here are some of our favorite picks to raise a glass and cheer Saint Patrick.

If you’re looking for that “Pot of Gold”, why not stick with bubbly?  Try Monte De Oro’s 2015 Bolle De Oro which took home a Double Gold at the 2016 American Wine Society National Commercial Wine Competition.

If you’re serving corned beef and cabbage, how about trying South Coast Winery’s 2013 Wild Horse Peak Zinfandel, or if you really want to get creative, serve Hart Winery’s 2015 Rosé of Sangiovese.

Or, if you feel like standing in solidarity with your beer drinking friends, drink Wiens Family Cellars’ bold 2014 Bare Knuckle Petite Sirah in a beer mug!

Whatever wine you choose to drink on St. Patrick’s Day, have the confidence of a lepercaun!  Those beer drinkers just might start to wonder what they’re missing out on.

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Get Chilled in Temecula Valley Wine Country!

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

christmas-wine-photo-featured-520x400

Everyone knows that the holidays can be particularly busy, stressful and rushed.  Why not come and join us in Temecula Valley Wine Country on December 15th to “chill” with us!  Several of our wineries are keeping their doors open late so that you can participate in the Temecula Chilled Holiday Shopping Night from 5:00p-7:00p.

Just one trip to your local wine country will get you all the gifts you need to give. Plus, you can sip while you shop! Our winery gift shops offer unique and charming wine-themed gifts, specialty food items, home decor – and of course, delicious wine.

During the Holiday Shopping Night, shop at select tasting rooms and enjoy holiday refreshments, carolers, carriage rides at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and more!  Participating wineries include: Bel Vino, Callaway, Danza del Sol, Foot Path, Monte De Oro, Mount Palomar, Ponte, South Coast and Wilson Creek.

To learn more about Temecula Chilled and all of the activities planned, please click 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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Late-Summer Salads with Wine Pairings

Friday, August 19th, 2016

LPL5U4N1TJ (1)Cool and refreshing late-summer salads make dining in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country another great reason to visit during the month of August. Temecula Valley wine country chefs use garden fresh ingredients to make irresistible entrée salads with some surprising pairings of Temecula Valley’s finest wines. (Hint: Not all salads pair best with white wines.)

1. The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars favors the sensational figs now in season with their Fig & Goat Cheese Summer Salad. Dive into delight with this seasonal selection of mixed baby greens, julienne of carrot and cucumber, sliced red onion, baby tomatoes, house made candied nuts, with white balsamic dressing and fried prosciutto garnish. This salad pairs wonderfully with Leoness Cellars’ 2015 Viognier.

2. Meritage at Callaway Vineyard & Winery offers a unique twist on the traditional California fruit with their Beer-Battered Avocado Salad. This summer salad includes locally-grown wild arugula, Gorgonzola, and whole cloves of roasted garlic. These ingredients are tossed with a crisp house made vinaigrette dressing and are then plated with large pieces of beer battered avocado. A surprising wine to pair with this plate is Callaway’s 2012 Special Selection Mourvedre.

3. Vineyard Rose at South Coast Winery has created a juicy and refreshing selection of locally-grown ingredients for their Heirloom Tomato and Harry’s Berries Salad. The new menu feature includes a perfect balance of makes this salad paradise on a plate. South Coast Winery’s 2011 Grenache is an ideal pair for this lovely salad.

4. Annata Bistro at Mount Palomar Winery welcomes a warm afternoon with a strikingly colorful display of refreshing produce in the perfect seasonal Citrus Salad. This exquisite summer selection contains fresh and creamy Burrata cheese, blood orange, naval orange, grapefruit, purple and green kale, striped beets, extra virgin olive oil, and a white balsamic reduction. This particular summer creation is only available on the weekday menu (Monday-Thursday). This salad pairs incredibly with the slightly sweet 2013 Cinsaut Blush.

5. Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek Winery serves a light and imaginative Cucumber, Melon, and Heirloom Tomato Salad. The leaf crown lettuce head is topped with local, organic cucumber, melon, tomato, sweet onion, and feta cheese with a homemade raspberry vinaigrette. Wilson Creek’s Sparkling Rose is the predictable yet sensational recommended pairing.

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