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POTATO FOCACCIA WITH OLIVES AND ROSEMARY

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Potato Focassia with Olives & Rosemary

Welcome guests to your home for dinner with a glass of your favorite Temecula Valley rosé and a slice of warm olive focaccia. If you’ve baked the focaccia hours before, you can reheat it quickly in a hot oven, although it’s plenty tasty at room temperature, too. Pack it on a picnic or a hike with your favorite salami and cheeses. Or adapt the topping to showcase a seasonal fresh vegetable like halved cherry tomatoes or strips of roasted sweet pepper. Adding cooked potato to the dough produces an especially moist and tasty result.

Ingredients

  • 1⁄2 pound (250 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 3⁄4 cups (465 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 2 1⁄2 teaspoons (8 g) kosher or sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating and brushing
  • 24 California olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary or dried oregano, finely crumbled

Directions

Put the potatoes in a small saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Do not add salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced, 15 minutes or more, depending on size.

Remove from the heat, set aside 1 1∕3 cups (330 ml) of the potato water, and then drain the potatoes. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and pass them through a ricer or food mill fitted with a fine disk into a bowl. If you don’t have a ricer or food mill, mash the potatoes well with a potato masher.

Refrigerate the potato water until it cools to 105° to 115°F (40° to 46°C). Put 1∕3 cup (80 ml) of the cooled potato water in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Let soften for about 3 minutes, then whisk with a fork to dissolve and let stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt and whisk to blend.

Add the olive oil, riced potato, and the remaining 1 cup (250 ml) potato water to the proofed yeast. Stir to combine, then add the flour gradually, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Keeping the dough in the bowl, knead it gently by hand until smooth, adding just enough additional flour to keep it from sticking to your hand. You should not need more than 1 to 2 tablespoons. Shape the dough into a ball and coat lightly with olive oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 1∕2 to 2 hours.

Punch the dough down. Using 1 tablespoon olive oil, grease the bottom and sides of an 11-by-17-inch (28-by-43 cm) rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. With well-oiled fingers, poke and prod the dough into a rectangle that fits the pan. The dough is elastic and will want to spring back. If it resists your attempts to flatten it enough to cover the pan, let it rest for 5 minutes and try again. If it still springs back from the edges, let it rest for 5 minutes longer and try once more. You should be able to flatten it sufficiently after a couple of rests, but don’t worry if the dough doesn’t completely fill the pan. Let rise, uncovered, until puffy, about 1 1∕2 hours.

While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). If you have a pizza stone (or baking tiles), put it in the oven on the middle rack to preheat—ideally for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Arrange the olives, evenly spaced, on the surface of the focaccia, then gently press them into place. Brush the surface of the dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then scatter the rosemary and a little salt on top. Place the pan on the baking stone, if using, and bake until the focaccia is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet back to front halfway through.

Immediately slide a long metal offset spatula under the focaccia to make sure it is not sticking to the baking sheet, then slide the focaccia onto a rack to cool. Slice into desired portions with a bread knife and serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes one 11-by-17-inch (28 by-43 cm) focaccia

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Plan Your Mid-Week Visit

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Whether you can get away overnight, or just want to take a day trip, a mid-week visit to Temecula Valley Wine Country should prove to be a relaxing and enjoyable break.

There are many advantages to visiting wine country during the week. Much less busy weekdays are the perfect opportunity to allow yourself time to enjoy our 35+ member wineries’ offerings. At a slower pace, you’ll be able to enjoy more one-on-one time with the knowledgeable wine servers (or even the winemakers and/or winery owners themselves if you’re lucky) at each of your stops.

For a less expensive wine tasting experience, take advantage of the weekday SIP Passport. This passport allows you to visit any five wineries (of the 30 participating wineries) of your choice for $45. Visit our website at www.temeculawines.org to purchase your passport.

And, if we haven’t convinced you yet….there’s no waiting in line to dine at our wonderful wine country restaurants that are very busy on the weekends. If you’d like to spend the night you’ll be pleased with the selection of hotels and their reduced mid-week rates. Hotels in the area are generally booked months in advance on the weekends.

While we’d love to see you at any time here in Temecula Valley Wine Country, give us a try on a Wednesday sometime….we think you’ll be glad you did!

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Riesling-Poached Pear with Caramel Sauce

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Share a silky, wine-poached pear with friends on a hot summer night. Both the pear and the luscious caramel-yogurt sauce can be prepared ahead, so dessert will be ready when you are. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Ingredients
1 cup (250 ml) Riesling
1 cup (250 ml) water
6 tablespoons (3 oz/90 g) granulated sugar
½-inch piece of vanilla bean
1 ripe but firm Bartlett or Anjou pear

Caramel Sauce:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup (2 oz/60 g) plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, at room temperature
Small chunk of bittersweet chocolate, optional

Directions
In a small saucepan, combine the wine, water, sugar, and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Peel the pear with a vegetable peeler, leaving the stem intact. Place the pear on its side in the simmering liquid. Spoon some of the liquid over the exposed pear. Cut a parchment round a little larger in diameter than the saucepan and place it over the pear, tucking the edges under the liquid to hold the parchment in place. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook 10 minutes.

Remove the parchment and use 2 large spoons to gently turn the pear over without damaging the flesh. Recover with parchment, tucking the edges under as before, and continue simmering until the flesh is just tender when pierced, about 10 minutes longer. The pear will continue to cook as it cools. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pear carefully to a lidded container. Remove the vanilla bean from the poaching liquid. Simmer the poaching liquid until reduced to ½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml). Cool completely, then pour it over the pear.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day, turning the pear every few hours in the syrup.

Make the caramel sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the sugars and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer until reduced to 2-1/2 to 3 tablespoons, about 4 minutes. Do not reduce further or the caramel will be too sticky. Pour into a measuring cup and let cool 2 minutes. Put the yogurt in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the caramel. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

To serve, cut the pear in half lengthwise. Core both halves with a melon baller. Put the halves, cut side down, on a work surface and thinly slice lengthwise, leaving the slices attached at the stem end. Using a spatula, transfer each pear half to an individual plate, maintaining the shape of the pear half. Press lightly on the slices to fan them. Spoon the caramel sauce alongside and drizzle about 1 teaspoon of the pear poaching syrup over the pear. If desired, use a rasp grater or other fine grater to grate a little bittersweet chocolate over all. Serve immediately.

Pairing Suggestions:

Baily Winery ~ 2017 Riesling – This cool and crisp white wine is perfect on a summer day, enjoy it poolside with friends and family!

Danza Del Sol Winery ~ 2017 Sauvignon Blanc – A mouthwatering balance of fresh fruit and acidity. Opens with aromas of white blossoms that lead to white peach, melon, and ripe citrus. Flavors include crisp apple and lime.

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

Mount Palomar Winery ~ NV Riesling – The wine is fragrant with pear, guava, gardenia, and banana.  The taste is full with apricot, peach, tangerine, lychee, star fruit and guava.  

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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March Winery Events

Friday, March 1st, 2019

Spring has sprung in Temecula Valley Wine Country! We’ve seen bud break in many of our vineyards, signaling the end of winter and the beginning of a new season. From St. Patrick’s Day to cooking classes and everything in between, the wineries have something for everyone!

Avensole Winery
Hosted Tour & Wine Tasting /Available on Sunday of each the month / 2pm-3:30pm / For every adventure, there is discovery, for every unique place, there is a story. Take a guided journey through our lush vineyards and experience our rich heritage and handcrafted Avensole wines / Cost. $35 / Reservations required. Please call 951.252.2003 x312 to reserve.

Gourmet Cheese Artisanal Tour & Wine Tasting / Available on Friday of each month / 12pm / For the ultimate Wine Country experience, delight in an educational tour through our picturesque vineyard vistas and conclude this tour with a culinary treat of artisanal wine pairings featuring 7 Avensole wines / Cost: $75 / Reservations required online at link: http://www.avensolewinery.com/res-369934

Baily Winery
Shakespeare in the Vine Series – “The 39 Steps” / $22 per person / March 21 (Preview), 22, 23, 24, 28, 29 & 30 / 7:00pm (doors open at 6:00pm) / Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps. It’s surely a performance you don’t want to miss! / Showing Thursday-Sunday at Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Winery / For reservations and tickets, please visit www.ShakespeareInTheVines.org

Estate Library Tasting / Every Thursday-Sunday / Available 11am-4pm / Enjoy exclusive library tasting of 5 different vintages (varietal will vary monthly). Tasting will take place at Baily Estate Tasting Room located on Pauba Road / Tours are available upon request / For reservations and pricing information please call Lisa at 951-972-9768

Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Prix Fixe Friday & Sunday at Meritage / 5pm to 8pm / For $35 guests may enjoy a starter, an entrée and a dessert / Live Music offered on Friday nights Reservation is not necessary. For menu information call 951.587.8889

Brunch Specials every Sunday at Meritage / 11am / Cost is $25 / Includes a mimosa with fresh squeezed orange juice, entrée and dessert. All food from Meritage is farm-to-table, either grown on property in restaurant garden or locally outsourced.

Callaway Winery Tours offered daily / 11am and 1pm / Tour only, $10 per person. Tour with tasting, $25 – tour includes 1 tank sample, 1-barrel sample and 4 additional tastes at the Tasting Bar / Reservations not necessary, but for 10 or more highly recommended / For more information call 951.676.4001

Carter Estate Winery and Resort
Elegant Food & Wine Pairing / $45pp; $40pp Wine Club Member / 1pm & 3pm Monday-Sunday / Your guided experience includes a specially selected flight of five of our Carter Estate wines paired with perfectly matched culinary bites from our Chef. Learn about the history of our beautiful Temecula Valley & get a behind-the-scenes look at how our award-winning Sparkling wines are made. Our Wine & Food Pairings are approximately 90 minutes & limited to eight guests. Make your reservation today! Must be 21 or older / Reservation Information: Reservations recommended – Book a pairing on CarterEstateWinery.com

Falkner Winery
Wine Appreciation Class / March 16 / 10:00-12:30pm / Designated for all levels of wine knowledge / $45/person /$40 Connoisseur/ $20 VIP; $80/person with lunch option / RSVP required 951-676-8231 x. 109 or wineclub@falknerwinery.com

Europa Village
Comedy Show / March 8 / 6:00pm / Tickets: $55; Société $49.50 / Come out to Europa Village for a fun night of wine, food and laugh-out-loud comedy featuring Mark Christopher Lawrence and Andrew Tarr / For tickets please visit www.europavillage.com

Bolero Night / March 22 / 6pm-10pm / Ticket: $3; Société $35.10 / Enjoy Bolero music by Ruben V and The Latin Sounds, salsa music and dancing! Executive Chef Dean Thomas will be preparing a traditional Spanish Paella to enjoy with a glass of sangria! / For tickets please visit www.europavillage.com

Fazeli Winery
Salsa Night! / March 23 / No partner or experience needed! Doors Open at 6:30 with 45-minute Salsa Lesson / Admission fee is $20 for non-members (+ tax) and $15 (+ tax) for wine club members – Includes a glass of Sangria. Special Food Menu Items! Wine, Beer, Sangria available for purchase! Purchase Tickets Here: http://shop.fazelicellars.com/res-390971/Salsa-Night-2819.html

Lorimar Vineyard & Winery
Smoke & Vine: An Evening of Cigars and Wine / March 8 / 7pm-9pm / Tickets are $85 per person/$76.50 per Wine Club Member / Join us at the Winery for a relaxing evening of cigars & wine! Includes a four-course dinner from Chef Jorge, paired with three Casa Lovo cigars and Lorimar’s award-winning wines. Space is limited so get your tickets early! / Purchase tickets at www.lorimarwinery.com. Event is 21+, tax is not included)

The Killer Dueling Pianos / March 21 / 6 pm / $20 Admission; $18 Wine Club (Ticket includes a glass of sangria) / Join us at the Winery for a night of wine, live music and dancing! / Purchase Tickets at www.lorimarwinery.com / Pairings Food Truck will open at 5 pm (event is 21+, tax is not included)

Mount Palomar Winery
Paint Nite in the Barrel Room / March 3, 9 and 16 /1:00p – 3:00p / Use the coupon code CREATE30 to save $15! / Raise your glass to a NEW kind of night out! Paint Nite® invites you to create art over a glass of wine at a Mount Palomar Winery, guided by a professional artist and party host. Grab your friends and spend two hours drinking, laughing, and flexing your creative muscles. There’s no experience necessary and we’ll provide all the supplies, so you don’t have to worry about a thing (except having a great time!). For reservations, please visithttps://www.paintnite.com/venues/mt-palomar-winery-133232

Annual Wedding Showcase / March 2 / 11am-4pm / Enter into the “Old World Romance” of Mount Palomar Winery and you will find everything to make your wedding day extraordinary, including expert advice from the area’s top wedding professionals and *exclusive discounts and raffles from vendors of all kinds! / Admission is complimentary, but RSVP required. Reserve now at www.MountPalomarWinery.com /Wedding-Show *rules and restrictions apply


Peltzer Family Cellars
St. Patrick’s Day Shamrocks & Shenanigans / March 17 / 11am-6pm / Join us at the Crush House for Refuge Brewery craft brews, live music by Shoot 4 Tuesday, a special Irish menu by Mastiff Sausage Company, and Peltzer wine. Wanna REALLY get into the spirit? Break out your kilt because we’re havin’ a kilt contest! Warfighter Made, a local veteran’s charity, will be present and every penny that we earn from bar access wristband sales will go directly to their organization. Support local, y’all / Cost/ Reservation Info: Bar access wristbands are $5 and are considered a direct donation to Warfighter Made. They can be purchased on our events page on Facebook and on www.peltzerwinery.com

Ponte Winery
Happy Hour in The Cellar Lounge at Ponte Vineyard Inn / Every Monday-Thursday / 4pm-6pm / Free to attend / Head to Temecula Wine Country’s only cocktail bar, The Cellar Lounge at Ponte Vineyard Inn, for happy hour specials on craft beer, flatbreads, Ponte wine on tap and more! Menu items $6 and up / For more information please visit www.pontevineyardinn.com

Brunch at Bouquet Restaurant / Every Saturday & Sunday / 7:30am-3:00pm / Offering indoor & outdoor seating options, Bouquet is the perfect spot to gather for a gourmet brunch. Enjoy a relaxing ambiance with stunning fountain courtyard, pond & vineyards views / To view menu and for reservations please visit www.pontevineyardinn.com

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Bridal Show – Married to Mimosas! / March 24 / 10:00am– 1:00pm / South Coast Winery invites you to our 2019 Bridal Show “Married to Mimosas!”. Your $10 admission fee includes access to top industry vendors, wedding inspiration designs, tray passed appetizers, and mimosas, of course! Vendors from florists to DJ’s to planners will be in attendance to help jump start your wedding planning journey. South Coast Winery will also be offering a 10% day of booking discount and your chance to win our exclusive raffle give away! / Reservation Information: Space is limited. Advanced ticket purchase required, no tickets will be sold at the door. Please visit www.wineresort.com to reserve.

Behind the Scenes Wine Tours / Tours are held daily at 11 AM, 1 PM and 3PM, Monday through Sunday/ $45pp; $40pp Wine Club Member or Military. Learn more about our spectacular Southern California Temecula winery with a behind-the-scenes wine tour, from vineyards to crush pad. Each tour concludes with 5 wines paired with an individual plate of specially prepared lite-bite foods, designed to enhance your wine knowledge and experience / Reservation Information: Call 866-994-6379 Ext. 7217 to reserve your spot today / Due to the limited sizes of each tour, reservations are required with prepayment, and are non-refundable. Guests must be over 21 years of age to attend.

Thornton Winery
Friday Live Music “JOURNEY CAPTURED” / March 29 / 6p-9p / Cost: $15 / A tribute to the band Journey / Call Thornton winery @ (951) 699-0099 to reserve a table. Table reservations require each person to order dinner! Please visit us at www.thorntonwine.com or call 951.699.0099

“Taste of Ireland” Cooking Class / March 10 / 1pm – 3pm / Cost: $75 inclusive / For reservations and class menu, please visit www.thorntonwine.com or call 951.699.0099

Wiens Family Cellars
World of Wine / March 23 / 7pm-10pm / $75 Regular Pricing; $60 Wine Club Pricing / Globetrotters can mix and mingle during a fun tasting event of wine and food pairings. Each guest will be given a passport to travel through wine regions around the globe where we will be pouring 6 wines paired with internationally inspired foods. Instead of a seated dinner, guests will explore the different food/wine stations inside and mingle with other guests outside while serenaded by a Flamenco guitar artist / For reservations please visit http://www.wienscellars.com/res-413232/World-Of-Wine-2019.html

Wilson Creek Winery
JAZZ LOUNGE WITH JULIAN VAUGHN / March 2 / 5 – 7:30 pm / Price: $95 per person / Wine Club $85.50 / Join us for an evening of Jazz featuring the amazing Julian Vaughn! Enjoy sweet music paired with a delicious buffet dinner. Drinks will be available for purchase all night as well.
Purchase tickets: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/res-416641/Jazz-Lounge-With-Julian-Vaughn.html

Bubble Brunch Buffet / Every Sunday 10am-3pm / $51.95, Buffet only: $41.95, Children: $16.95 / Enjoy all your breakfast favorites, omelet stations, waffle stations, seafood stations, carving stations and dessert stations with beautiful vineyard views / Buffet (+ unlimited sparkling). Now serving Bloody Mary’s! / Reservations can be made at www.wilsoncreekwinery.com or call 951.699.9463 for additional information.

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The Merry, Merry Month of May!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

May 25 _Natl Wine DayMay has so many national “wine days”, we can eat, drink and be merry all month long!  Along with Chardonnay, a familiar favorite, it’s a great excuse for you to try a couple of the lesser-known varietals like Muscat Canelli and Sauvignon Blanc – all of which grow well here in the Temecula Valley.

First up on the calendar is #MoscatoDay, which falls on May 9th.  The day was introduced here in the US by Gallo Family Vineyards back in 2012 to celebrate the rising popularity and sky-rocketing sales of the varietal.  If you know nothing about Moscato (or Muscat/Muscat Canelli), it originated in the Piedmont region of Italy where it’s a favorite due to its sweetness, lightness and affordability – and is popular as a sparkling wine. You’ll find Moscato table wines in white, red or rosé styles, and they make an especially delicious dessert wine.  With it’s bouquet of peach, honey and citrus, a delicate sweetness and fresh acidity, it’s perfect served with a plate of fresh cheeses.

Try the Muscat Canelli from Leoness Cellars or Lorimar Winery; or the Moscato from Ponte Family Estate Winery.

May 15th is #InternationalSauvignonBlancDay.  Originating in the Bordeaux region of France, the grape is also widely planted throughout New Zealand – and grows with ease here in the Temecula Valley.  An acidic wine that displays a citrus-y, grapefruit-like quality, it’s a pleasing choice for a warm summer day. A very versatile vino, Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with shell fish, grilled vegetables (even asparagus!) and cheeses.  It’s the perfect picnic wine!

A few faves include those from:  Europa Village , Maurice Car’rie Winery or Monte de Oro Winery.

And then there’s the day to pay homage to the old standby, Chardonnay, on #ChardonnayDay, May 21st.  The world’s most planted white wine grape varietal is enjoyed by fans all over the world.  Generally dry to medium-dry with pear, apple, tropical or citrus fruit flavors, Chardonnay is grown in virtually every wine-producing region.  Crisp and fresh with little to no oak aging, or creamy and buttery with extensive oak aging, there’s a Chardonnay out there that will make just about anyone smile!

Can’t live without Chardonnay’s are available at: Callaway Vineyard & Winery, Oak Mountain Winery and Thornton Winery.

Finishing out the month is #NationalWineDay, which is celebrated on May 25.  Not to be confused with National Drink Wine Day which is held in February, National Wine Day is actually just another lame excuse for us wine lovers to drink wine.  Because for wine lovers, everyday is wine day, right?  Cheers!

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