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September Winery Events

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

It’s September – and you know what that means? California Wine Month – and it’s time to celebrate, Temecula Style! From CRUSH to grape stomps and harvest celebrations, it’s always a busy time in Temecula Valley Wine Country!

Grape Stomp Fun!

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 Vines presents Comedy of Errors / September 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21 / Doors open at 6:30pm. Show starts 7:30 (ends around 10p) /Outdoor stage at Baily Winery / Tickets: $22 / To purchase your tickets please visit http://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. Please note that library tasting will not be available on these specific dates only June 6 or 7.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Sip, Stomp & Play / October 5 / 6pm to 9pm / $72 pp, $64.80 wine club, $32 for kids ages 4-11; price does not include tax / Grab a bunch of your family and friends and join us for this fun-for-the-entire-family grape stomp and harvest festival! Bring the kids! We’ll have face painting, live music, dinner, dancing, a Lucy look-alike contest, and of course, grape stomping contests! Channel your inner Lucy and dress up for a chance to win prizes! We are serving up some hearty cuisine that’s perfect for keeping your energy up while you stomp and dance the night away! Get your tickets while you can, you won’t want to miss this! Tickets include: Admission to the event, one glass of Callaway wine, dinner, dancing, wine specials and grape stomping! Purchase your tickets online at www.callawaywinery.com or at the winery.

Prix Fixe Friday & Sunday at Meritage / 5pm to 8pm / For $40 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 $30 / 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 2pm / 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
Wine & Chocolate Pairing / Every Friday of the month / 3:00pm / $45 Per Person ($40 Wine Club) / Your guided pairing experience includes a specially selected flight of five of our Carter Estate wines paired with 5 custom chocolates from local chocolate shoppe, SugarPlum Farm. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how our award-winning wines are made and learn how Carter Estate wines compliment and bring out the unique flavors of chocolate. Our Wine & Chocolate Pairing is approximately 90 minutes & has limited availability to provide a more intimate experience for our guests. Make your reservation today! Must be 21 or older. Reservation Information: Book a pairing on CarterEstateWinery.com

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

Churon Inn Winery
Variety Act – Live Music, Comedy, Magician / September 14 / 6:00-10:00pm / Guests $28; Wine Club $25; meal included alcohol available for purchase / For all our events please visit our website www.innatchuronwinery.com / To purchase tickets at http://shop.innatchuronwinery.com/reservation-events

Ruben V. & The Latin Sounds Havana Night / September 28 / 6:00-10:00pm / Guests $10 / Live band, Brazilian dancers and salsa dance Lessons / Guest musician, wood dance floor, food and alcohol available for purchase / For all our events please visit our website www.innatchuronwinery.com / To purchase tickets at http://shop.innatchuronwinery.com/reservation-events

Cougar Vineyards
Cougar Craft Night / September 22 / 3:30-5:30p / Wine club $45pp, Non-wine club $50pp / We’re making Reversible Blocks or Scarecrow crafts.  Samples displayed at the winery. All materials needed to create your Blocks or scarecrow will be provided plus expert help from the Craft Barrel Ladies! Craft and sip the afternoon away! / For reservations please call the winery 951.491.0825 or visit www.cougarvineyards.com

Wine and Dogs / September 12 / 3:00-6:00pm / Come and join in on the fun picnic area at Cougar winery!  Dog sitters, doggy day care, dog boarding, groomers, pet nutrition, specialty pet treats, pet safe toys, dog trainers, dog friendly dining, local rescues, specialists in care and health of your dog and so much more…no cost to attend. Those in attendance can purchase two-for-one tastings during the event / For more information please visit www.cougarvineyards.com

Europa Village
Festa! Big Truth / September 20 / 5:30p-8:30p / Free admission; Food tickets $19 / Enjoy wine, food and live music by Big Truth, benefiting Jacob’s House! / For reservations and information please visit www.europavillage.com

Falkner Winery
Vertical Meritage Tasting Class with George Myer / September 14 / 10:30am -12:30pm / $45 per person, $40 Wine Club Members per person / Rated 90+ points by Wine Enthusiast and all Gold Medal winners! Designed for all levels of wine knowledge; RSVP’s required 951-676-8231 x. 109 or wineclub@falknerwinery.com

Fazeli Cellars
Salsa Night Black and White Party! / September 7 / 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! / Tickets sold at front door ONLY!

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

Somerset Vineyards & Winery
First Annual Grape Stomp / September 21 / 4:30-7:00pm; music until 9pm / $35 per person and includes a glass of wine, or $130 for a team of 4 and includes a bottle of your choice / Come participate in our first Grape Stomp Competition! Come as a team of 4, or as an individual and become part of a team. All participants get to stomp. Teams are encouraged to dress – best team costume wins a prize! / Please visit the following site to reserve your spot https://shop.somersetvineyard.com/res-424601/1st-Annual-Grape-Stomp.html

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Jazz Series – Michael Paulo, Blake Aaron, Tateng Katindig & Vocalist Lynne Fiddmont
/ September 1 / 6:00pm – 9:00pm / Join us at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa as Rhythm on the Vine® returns with the third of a six-concert jazz series! Featuring Saxophonist Michael Paulo and friends! / Reservation Information: Purchase tickets at SouthCoastWinery.com. Please email marketing@wineresort.com or call (833)366-3112

Jazz Series – Marc Antoine & Brian Simpson Concert / September 29 / 6:00pm – 9:00pm / Join us at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa as Rhythm on the Vine® returns with the fourth of a six-concert jazz series! Featuring Guitarist Marc Antoine and Pianist Brian Simpson / Reservation Information: Purchase tickets at SouthCoastWinery.com. Please email marketing@wineresort.com or call (833)366-3112

Grape Stomp 2019 / September 15 / 5:00-9:00pm / It’s that time of the year again! Time to get your stompin’ on! Grab your friends and join us on Sunday, September 15th for South Coast Winery’s annual Grape Stomp. Your ticket includes a glass of wine, live music, sparkling wine toast, harvest blessing, dinner buffet, and of course, grape stomping! Reservation Information: Tickets on sale at SouthCoastWinery.com/stomp

Behind the Scene Wine Tour / Available daily / 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

JAZZ CONCERT SERIES
KEIKO MATSUI & SAX TO THE MAX / September 7 / 7:00pm
Cost: General Admission: $85, Gourmet Supper Package: $170

DAVE KOZ & FRIENDS SUMMER HORNS / September 14 / 7:00pm
Cost: General Admission: $95, Gourmet Supper Package: $180 (sold out)

DAVE KOZ & FRIENDS SUMMER HORNS / September 15 / 5:00pm
Cost: General Admission: $90, Gourmet Supper Package: $175

NORMAN BROWN SUMMER STORM / September 21 / 7:00pm
Cost: General Admission: $85, Gourmet Supper Package: $170

JONATHAN BUTLER & KIRK WHALUM SUMMER GROOVE / September 28 7:00pm
Cost: General Admission: $85, Gourmet Supper Package: $170

To order your jazz tickets, please visit our website: www.thorntonwine.com or Call (951) 699-0099 EXT. 3127 to make reservations.

Friday Live Music – Featuring Killer Dueling Pianos / September 13 / 6:00-9:00pm / Cost: $15 cover fee / Dinner tables available. Please call (951) 699-0099 to make reservations. *All guests at table must order dinner!

Friday Live Music – Rolling Stone Tribute / September 27 / 6:00-9:00pm / Cost: General Admission – $15 in advance.  $20 at the door. VIP $30 / Must order tickets on our website: www.thorntonwine.com

Dinner tables available. Call (951) 699-0099 to make table reservations. *All guests at table must order dinner!

Wilson Creek Winery
Symphony in the Vines Pop Concert / September 15 / 7:00pm – Gates open at 6pm / $35 / Temecula Symphony presents vocalist Jonathan Hawkins & Guest and John Mario, conductor / Music from John Williams, Game of Thrones, Ed Sheeran, The Greatest Showman, Andrea Bocelli, Broadway, Freddy Mercury, Beethoven and more… / Food and beverage available to purchase at the event / For tickets www.wilsoncreekwinery.com

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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GRASS-FED BURGER WITH AVOCADO AND CHIPOTLE MAYONNAISE

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Buttery avocados make any sandwich better, and they put this burger over the top. Grass-fed beef can be lean, but the sliced avocado and spicy chipotle mayonnaise ensure that this burger is a luscious, moist, flavor-packed experience. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Burgers:

  • 1 1⁄2 pounds (750 g) grass-fed ground beef chuck
  • Scant 1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Chipotle Mayonnaise

  • 1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 ml) mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, if using store-bought mayonnaise
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated with a rasp grater or very finely minced
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons very finely minced chipotle chile in adobo, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • 1 ripe but firm small avocado
  • 1⁄2 lime
  • About 1⁄2 cup (20 g) loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 large, soft lettuce leaves


Directions:

Make the burgers: Put the beef in a bowl and add the salt, garlic powder, and several grinds of black pepper. Mix quickly with your hands; try not to overwork the mixture. Divide into four equal portions, each 6 ounces (185 g), and shape into balls. Flatten each ball into a round patty about 3∕4 inch (2 cm) thick. Make the patties a little thinner in the center. They shrink a bit when cooked, and this step ensures they will be of even thickness after cooking. Place them on a tray and refrigerate.

Make the mayonnaise: Put the mayonnaise in a small bowl. If it is store-bought, whisk in the olive oil to improve the flavor. Whisk in the garlic and chile. Taste and add more chile if you like. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Preheat the broiler. Heat a large cast-iron frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the patties and fry until nicely browned and done to your taste, flipping them with a spatula two or three times and adjusting the heat to keep them from getting too crusty on either side. For medium doneness, the total cooking time will be about 10 minutes.

Set the burgers aside on a platter to rest for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the buns, cut side up, under the broiler. Halve, pit, and peel the avocado and slice thinly.

Spread chipotle mayonnaise on both halves of the toasted buns. Top the bottom half of each bun with a burger. Divide the avocado slices evenly among the burgers. Sprinkle the avocado lightly with salt and a squeeze of lime. Top with a tuft of cilantro leaves, then with a lettuce leaf, and finally the top half of the bun. Cut in half with a serrated knife and serve immediately.

Suggested Pairings:

Baily Winery ~ 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – It offers warm, rich tones with subtle, herbaceous qualities and a hint of mint.
Miramonte Winery ~ 2015 Estate Syrah – Dusty boysenberry, wild cherry, fresh violet, sweet french oak, spiced mocha and a long graceful finish.
Oak Mountain Winery ~ 2013 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – Bold fruit flavors and subtle nuances of toffee, espresso and dark chocolate
Wilson Creek Winery ~ 2015 Family Reserve Syrah -Cedar and spice are prominent in the aroma of the wine whereas cherry and sour plums are revealed on the palate.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California.

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Temecula Valley Wine Country Lands in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice as Best Wine Region

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country has been named by USA Today as a 10Best Readers’ Choice for “Best Wine Region.” Out of 20 nominees across the United States, Temecula Valley Wine Country ranked number three in the country by an expert panel and the public.

“This recognition is a testament to the hard work and passion of our winegrowers and winemakers. Our wine region is beginning to get the recognition it deserves for its award wining wines, dining, and experiences,” says Kimberly Adams, President and CEO, Visit Temecula Valley.

“From our talented winemakers to chefs to tasting room staff and everyone in between, Temecula Valley is filled with passionate people who work tirelessly to make the region so special,” said Krista Chaich, Executive Director of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association. “We are delighted to be counted among so many other great wine regions in this 10Best list, and that visitors everywhere have fallen in love with our community and our world class wines, just as we have.”

Temecula Valley Wine Country is located in the center of Southern California, just 60 minutes from San Diego, Orange Country, and Palm Springs, and 90 minutes south of Los Angeles. There are now nearly 50 wineries in the significant and diverse Temecula Valley AVA, a major AVA in Southern California. The wine region continues to gain recognition for its award-winning, premium varietal and proprietary blended wines.

More than three million travelers visit Temecula Valley to enjoy the region’s welcoming wineries, learning experiences, concerts and signature events, outdoor activities, and exceptional dining. Less-busy weekdays provide potential opportunities to converse with talented winemakers and friendly winery owners. Hotels, resorts, bed and breakfast inns are available among the vineyards, in and near Old Town Temecula, within the canyon, and along hotel row in Uptown.

For more information about Temecula Valley Southern California or to start planning your trip, go to VisitTemeculaValley.com.

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Our Favorite Temecula Valley Grapes for Fall Sipping

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Beautiful Fall Vineyards

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

Grape: Chardonnay

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

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

Some to try:

2017 Robert Renzoni “Barile” Chardonnay, $28

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

2018 Oak Mountain Chardonnay, $24

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

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

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

Grape: Viognier

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

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

Some to try:

2018 Doffo Winery Concrete Fermented Viognier, $32

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

2018 Monte de Oro Viognier, $23

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

2018 Europa Village Viognier, $35

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

Grape: Cinsault (also Cinsaut)

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

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

Some to try:

2014 Fazeli Cellars “Phel Phel” Cinsault, $38

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

2016 Wilson Creek Winemaker’s Select Cinsault, $60

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

2016 Leoness Cellars Cellar Selection Cinsaut, $28

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

The Grape: Cabernet Franc

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

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

Some to try:

2016 Baily Winery Cabernet Franc, $35

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

2015 Thornton Cabernet Franc, $41

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

2016 Hart Winery Cabernet Franc, $28

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

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

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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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July Winery Events

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Ahhh….summer! 4th of July events, outdoor concerts and wine and food pairings are just a few of the summertime offerings in Temecula Valley’s wine country. Whatever day you choose to visit, you’ll be sure to find something fun to do!

Avensole Winery
Dueling Pianos / July 26 / 7:00pm – 10:00pm / $32 / $25 Wine Club / Avensole Winery invites you to a lively evening of Dueling Pianos. Q’s Tacos Food Truck – available for purchase / For reservations please visit http://www.avensolewinery.com/res-391859/Dueling-Pianos.html

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 Vines presents Measure for Measure / July 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27 / Doors open at 6:30pm. Show starts 7:30 (ends around 9:30) /Outdoor stage at Baily Winery / Tickets: $22 / To purchase your tickets please visit http://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
Guns N’ Roses Tribute / July 19 / 7:00-10:00pm / General Public $28.00 – Wine Club $25.20 / Appetite 4 Destruction has become, on a consistent basis, the highest audience drawing tribute to Guns N’ Roses on the entire west coast of the United States. Authenticity is everything and Appetite 4 Destruction does not disappoint. Tickets are non-refundable. Tickets are not mailed. There will be a check-in table at the event. Doors open at 6:30pm. Seating is provided but feel free to bring your own. Wine, beer and food available for purchase. No outside food or alcohol allowed. Food provided by Devilicious Food Truck / Purchase tickets at www.callawaywinery.com  

Prix Fixe Friday & Sunday at Meritage / 5pm to 8pm / For $40 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 $30 / 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 2pm / 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
Wine & Chocolate Pairing / Every Friday of the month / 3:00pm / $45 Per Person ($40 Wine Club) / Your guided pairing experience includes a specially selected flight of five of our Carter Estate wines paired with 5 custom chocolates from local chocolate shoppe, SugarPlum Farm. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how our award-winning wines are made and learn how Carter Estate wines compliment and bring out the unique flavors of chocolate. Our Wine & Chocolate Pairing is approximately 90 minutes & has limited availability to provide a more intimate experience for our guests. Make your reservation today! Must be 21 or older. Reservation Information: Book a pairing on CarterEstateWinery.com

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

Churon Inn Winery
Latin Music Series / July 20 / 6:00-10:00pm / Cost $25; $20 for Wine Club / Join us on our upper Tuscany patio for live music by Ruben V & the Latin Sounds, dinner, wine and dancing / For tickets and additional information, please our website http://shop.innatchuronwinery.com/reservation-events

Europa Village
Murder Mystery Dinner- Café Murder / July 27 / 6:00pm / Tickets: $80; Société $72 / Join us for an evening of mystery and intrigue. You will need to keep your eyes and ears open, because someone will be ruthlessly murdered by the end of the play, and it’s up to you to guess who-done-it! Performance will take place during a gourmet dinner prepared by Europa’s Executive Chef, Dean Thomas. For reservations please visit https://shop.europavillage.com/event/Murder-Mystery-Dinner—Cafe-Murder-July27

Murder Mystery Dinner – Café Murder / July 28 / 6:00pm / Tickets: $75; Société $67.50 / Join us for an evening of mystery and intrigue. You will need to keep your eyes and ears open, because someone will be ruthlessly murdered by the end of the play, and it’s up to you to guess who-done-it! Performance will take place during a gourmet dinner prepared by Europa’s Executive Chef, Dean Thomas. For reservations please visit https://shop.europavillage.com/event/Murder-Mystery-Dinner—Cafe-Murder-July28

Falkner Winery
19th Anniversary Weekend Celebration / July 4-7 / 12pm-5pm / BBQ and yard games, live music by Northstar on Saturday, July 6th. Wine raffles every hour from 12pm-4pm on all days! Huge gift shop sales, 50%-30% off wine by the case sales. Restaurant lunch special for two at $69. Wine, Sangria, beer and cocktails available.

Vertical Amante Tasting Class with George Myers / July 13 / 10:30am-12:00pm / Only $40 per person; Wine club members $35 / Includes 5 years of our amazing Amante! Rated 90+ points by Wine Enthusiast and all Gold Medal winners! / Space is limited, and reservations are required. Please call 951.676.9231 ext. 109 or email wineclub@falknerwinery.com

Havana Nights White Party Salsa Dancing & Live Entertainment / July 19 / 6:30pm-10:30pm / Wear your best dressed whites! Open to the public. Cover charge $25; Wine club members $15 / Includes a glass of Sangria upon arrival. Beer and Sangria, wine & appetizers available for purchase. Free lesson from 7p-8pm and open dancing from 8p-10pm / RSVP is required. Book a table of 8 by emailing rmurgo@falknerwinery.com / Purchase individual tickets online at www.Falknerwinery.com

Fazeli Cellars
Salsa Night! / July 13 / 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! / Tickets sold at front door ONLY!

Foot Path Winery

Food, Wine and Music / July 20 / 6:30-9:00pm / The cost is $30.00 Per person, which includes food and a glass of wine / An evening of food wine and music with Jason Weber playing his Sax. Call the winery at 951-265-9951 for reservations and information.

Mount Palomar Winery
Paint Nite in the Barrel Room
/ July 7 & 14 / 1:00-4:00pm / $45 (Use 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!) To reserve please visit this link https://www.paintnite.com/venues/mt-palomar-winery-133232   

Hella 90’s Tribute Fest Music & Fashion Festival / July 26 / 5:00-10:00pm / Tickets $28 General Admission, VIP Table $324. Club members – contact the winery for an exclusive coupon code! / 90’s Tribute Fest with: Faux Fighters (Foo Fighters Tribute), Infinite Sadness (Smashing Pumpkins), Robert Rankin Walker, Caden Levi! / Purchase your tickets at https://www.heyday.com/events-1/90s-tribute-fest-with-green-today-faux-fighters-and-more-tba

Ponte Winery
Ponte Family Fest 2019 / July 18 / 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. / $5 Guests (guests ages 4+) | $4 Members 100% of ticket sales go directly to charity! / Grab your loved ones (& little ones!) and let the good times roll at the Winery for our first-ever Ponte Family Fest! Join us on Thursday, July 18th from 5-9 p.m. for delicious eats from local food trucks, live entertainment, fun-filled activities for the kiddos and of course, plenty of wine for Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa… you get the gist! The best part? All proceeds from admission ticket sales and the Ponte Wine Bar (& a portion of proceeds from our vendors!) at Ponte Family Fest will benefit Rancho Damacitas nonprofit organization, located right here in Temecula Wine Country. So, mark your calendars, get excited and stay tuned for more details to come! / Purchase Tickets: https://shop.pontewinery.com/res-409655/Ponte-Family-Fest-2019.html

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
4th of July Concert & Drone Light Show
/ July 4 / 6:00p-9:00p / Tickets from $15 to $80 per person / Celebrate the Fourth of July with South Coast WineryResort & Spa! We’re bringing back the Rhythm on the Vine® concert series with a spectacular Independence Day showcase. Country-pop duo Brown & Gray, known for their hit single “Top Down”, will headline the show, with local favorite Kanan Road opening. Then, at 9pm, we’re taking fireworks to a new level with Temecula Wine Country’s first ever Independence Day DRONE LIGHT SHOW!!! This show is in partnership with Visit Temecula Valley, and benefits Boys & Girls Club of Southwest County. This is an immersive experience you won’t want to miss / Purchase tickets at https://www.southcoastwinery.com/july4th.

Behind the Scene Wine Tour / Available daily / 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
Mediterranean Cooking Class / July 14 / 1:00-3:00pm / $75pp inclusive / For additional information and reservations please call 951-699-0099 or log on to www.thorntonwine.com          

SANTANA Tribute / July 26 / 6:00-9:00 pm / General Admission – $15 in advance. $20 at the door. Wine & Food available to purchase! Must order tickets on our website: www.thorntonwine.com / Dinner tables available. Call (951) 699-0099 to make reservations. *All guests at table must order dinner!

Thornton Jazz Concert Series – The Brian McKnight 4 / July 20 / 7:00pm / General Admission: $95, Gourmet Supper Package: $180 / Please visit our web site for additional Jazz schedule and information www.thorntonwine.com

Wiens Family Cellars
The Alarm with Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel and Modern English / July 26 / 6pm-10pm / Wiens 2019 Summer Concert Series benefits MSJC Foundation / Tickets are available for general admission, VIP admission, VIP tables of 4 and VIP tables of 10. VIP extras include: VIP Menu • Private wine bar • Reserved Section • Access to V.I.P. area • Additional entertainment in V.I.P. area / General Admission: $65.00; VIP: $99.00; VIP Table of 4: $395.00; VIP Table of 10: $950.00 / For reservations please visit https://harbourproductions.live/index.php/events/alarm

Wilson Creek Winery
Rodney Atkins Concert / July 12 / Doors Open at 6:00 pm / Join us under the stars in the heart of wine country for an amazing up close and personal show with Rodney Atkins! Purchase Here: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/res-416687/Rodney-Atkins-Country-Concert.html

Scotty McCreery Concert / July 18 / Doors Open at 6:00 pm / Join us under the stars in the heart of wine country for an amazing up close and personal show with Scotty McCreery! Purchase Here: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/res-416727/Scotty-Mccreery-Country-Concert.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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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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Father’s Day in Wine Country

Friday, May 31st, 2019

Summertime kicks off with a number of exciting events to celebrate Dad at your favorite Temecula wineries! From Father’s Day BBQs to unique wine tastings, special events and brunches – you’ll find a handsome way to say “thank you” to that special father in your life. Here are some Father’s Day events to choose from!

Baily Winery
Shakespeare in the Vines presents Sense and Sensibility / June 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22 / Doors open at 6:30pm. Show starts 7:30 (ends around 9:30) /Outdoor stage at Baily Winery / Tickets: $22 / To purchase your tickets please visit http://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. Please note that library tasting will not be available on these specific dates only June 6 or 7.

Cougar Vineyard & Winery
Father’s Day Fun! / June 16 / 11:00am-3:00pm / $35pp for Wine Club Member, $40pp Non- Wine Club Member, $25pp Children under 12 / We’ve got Dad’s Day covered. Join us in our picnic area for brats, wine, mac-n-cheese (and bacon!), beer, cigars, sundaes and corn Hole / Reserve your spot today. First 25 Dads that reserved will receive a cigar upon check-in. Please email Events@cougarvineyards.com or call 951.491.0825. Entire menu and more details available at our Events page located at www.cougarvineyards

Falkner Winery
Dinner Luau in the Yard Garden / June 15 / 6:00-10:00pm / Members and their guests $49, all other $59 / Perfect gift for Father’s Day! Open to the public! 21+ over only. Wear your favorite Hawaiian outfit!  Includes 2 drink tickets and Hawaiian Dinner. Cocktails, Beer, and wine will be available for purchase.  Live Hawaiian music and Hula Dancing by Heyday productions / Reservations required 951-676-8231 ext. 109 or by email wineclub@falknerwinery.com.

Fazeli Cellars
Father’s Day BBQ / June 16 / Open Seating on the Patio 11am – 4pm / $49.95 $42.95 for members / Includes BBQ lunch & dessert (menu to come) and a glass of House White or Red (beer available for purchase) / Tickets can be purchased online at www.fazelicellars.com or upon arrival

Wilson Creek Winery
Father’s Day Brunch / June 16 / 10:00am-3:00pm / Come celebrate dad with all of his brunch favorites! /Price: $65.95 (with Bubbly) / $55.95 (without Bubbly) / Make Reservations Here: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/res-416730/Fathers-Day-Brunch.html


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It’s Finally Summer! What Wines are YOU Drinking?

Friday, May 31st, 2019

Summertime Sipping!

While the weather this year has taken a little bit longer than usual to get its act together, and brought lots of rain along with it, the sun is finally starting to heat things up, shorts are moving from the back of the dresser drawer to the front, and grape vines are looking green and full. You know what this means? It’s officially summer wine time.

Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is certainly known for its rich, full-bodied red wines. However, it’s also home to some pretty incredible whites, rosés, sparkling wines and lighter-style reds. Here’s a few of our favorites for sipping out on the patio on a warm summer afternoon, or while backyard grilling with your friends… or for any occasion, really.

Sparkling:

Carter Estate 2014 Blanc de Blanc Brut, $40

Why we love it: This crisp, clean, bone-dry bubbly is made in the méthode Champenoise, AKA how they do it in the most famous sparkling wine region of the world, Champagne. Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, it’s light but remarkably complex, with golden delicious apple, apple blossom and toasted brioche on the nose, teensy little bubbles, and a tight, persistent finish. Ring in the 4th of July with this beautiful bottle, or simply pop it while you celebrate your own heartbeat all summer long.

Oak Mountain Brut NV, $25

Why we love it: Oak Mountain has taken Temecula Valley Roussanne – one of the Rhône Valley’s signature white grapes – and made it sparkle. The result is a pleasantly floral, fresh wine that is delightful as an aperitif or paired with a wide range of cuisines. The beauty of bubbles is they go with just about everything… including nothing at all but the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair.

White:

Danza del Sol 2017 Vermentino, $28

Why we love it: Close your eyes and you are in Italy with this bright, juicy Vermentino, a grape that is equally at home in Temecula as it is in Sardinia, Liguria and Tuscany. Notes of ripe, fleshy stone fruit, lime zest and white flowers give way to a clean, oyster shell finish. The very definition of “quaffable.”

Doffo Winery 2018 Viognier, $32

Why we love it: Viognier shines in Temecula Valley and this bottling is no exception. While Viognier can at times be heavy, luscious and slightly oily, Doffo Winery has captured all of the floral aromatics of the grape variety while maintaining citrusy freshness and a delicate minerality thanks to fermentation in concrete tanks. The result is a light, clean, elegant wine that belongs on your summer dinner table. 

Rosé

Akash Parlez Vous Rosé, $33

Why we love it: Don’t let the deep, almost magenta color fool you – this rosé, made from 100% estate Zinfandel, is light on its feet and bursting with juicy strawberry, red currant, and watermelon Jolly Rancher notes giving way to a totally dry, lime zest finish. Pair this with cedar planked salmon and a sunset.

Hart Winery 2018 Rosé of Sangiovese, $22

Why we love it: Sipping this wine, you could be strolling through Provençal lavender fields with a straw hat and a picnic. We would argue Temecula Valley is just as pretty, and this wine just as perfect as any rosé we’ve tried from Provence. Pale, baby pink in color, with notes of warm, ripe strawberries and raspberries, violet petals and an elegant, wet river stone finish. This is one we could drink all day and well into the night.

Red:

Europa Village 2016 Vienza Montepulciano, $35

Why we love it: Another example of how well Italian grape varieties thrive in Temecula Valley. This Montepulciano is surprisingly light-bodied, with bright red fruit, a touch of baking spice and a soft, warm finish, like the lingering sunshine as you recline in a hammock with a good book at the end of a mid-summer day. A wine made that practically begs for food, you could even try serving this with a very slight chill on it.

Baily Winery 2014 Meritage, $65

Why we love it: If you simply must have a rich, complex red, even during the hottest summer months, then Baily Winery is your go-to for highly structured, elegant red wines. Meritage is their flagship bottling, and they have a library selection that dates back over a decade. A stunning blend of classic Bordeaux grape varieties, this wine is lean but powerful, with ripe berry fruit, plum, sweet baking spices and an intriguing tobacco note.

While all of these wines can be purchased online or direct from the winery, the summer months are a fantastic time to visit Temecula. 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. Find out more about what’s going on all summer long in the region Wine Enthusiast Magazine named one of the world’s Top Ten Wine Travel Destinations HERE.

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