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

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Rosé wine and the perfect pairing of cheese and fruit

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hart Winery Rosé of Sangiovese

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

South Coast Winery Rosé of Tempranillo

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

2018 Robert Renzoni Vineyards Lyric Rose, $29

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

2018 Akash Winery Parlez Vous Rosé, $35

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

2018 Ponte Pas Doux, $28

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

2018 Wiens Family Cellars Rosé of Barbera, $26

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

2018 South Coast Winery Vineyard Rosé Sparkling Wine

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

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

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GRILLED SAUSAGES WITH FIG AND ONION JAM

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Grilled Sausages with Fig & Onion Jam

This recipe couldn’t be more perfect for a Father’s Day or summer BBQ. And chances are, you’ll find many other uses for this fragrant sweet-tart jam. Enjoy it on a grilled-cheese or ham sandwich or serve it with a cheese or charcuterie board. It’s the perfect complement for fresh goat cheese or a tangy Cheddar. Serve it with grilled sausages and pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.

Ingredients
¼ pound (125 g) dried Calimyrna figs, stems removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, about 10 ounces (315 g), halved and thinly sliced from root to stem
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, or more to taste
4 fresh Italian sausages, hot or sweet, 5 to 6 ounces (155 g to 185 g) each

Directions
Put the figs in a small saucepan with 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, thyme, and fennel seed. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, golden-brown, and sweet, about 30 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to prevent burning.

While the onions cook, prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

Lift the figs out of the liquid with a slotted spoon and slice thinly. Add the figs to the onions, along with the sherry vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the fig-cooking liquid. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid has been absorbed and the flavors have merged, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste for seasoning. The jam should be moist with a balanced sweet-tart flavor.

Grill the sausages until they are nicely browned all over and feel firm when probed, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately with the warm jam.

Suggested Pairings:

Akash Winery ~ 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – Bright aromas of pomegranate & fresh raspberry with hints of vanilla bean. Tart and round on the palate with tastes of cranberry, dark pepper, vanilla and cherry.

Chapin Family Vineyards ~ 2015 Syrah – Full-bodied taste, flavors of chocolate, blueberry and caramel with a hint of vanilla and finishes with a hint of spicy peppers.

Falkner Winery ~ 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – This delicious Cabernet has wonderful flavors of blueberry, blackberry, coco, and licorice on the finish. This is an easy to drink Cabernet without heavy tannins on the finish.

Leoness Cellars ~ 2015 Cellar Selection Syrah – This Syrah offers sweet blackberry and black cherry flavors complemented by hints of tobacco, black licorice and vanilla.

Photo and recipe courtesy of the Wine Institute of California.

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April Winery Events

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Spring has officially arrived and we’ve got bud break in the vineyards! We invite you to come out to wine country and enjoy Easter Brunch, take in a concert or food & wine pairing, or simply wind down with a glass of wine and live music.

Avensole Winery
Sommelier for a Day! / April 17 / 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm / Price per person: $42; $33 Wine Club / Sip, Swirl and Savor your wine like a Pro! Let our fabulous Sommelier Jesse Alvarez guide you through the 5 S’s, along with other Sommelier secrets and expert tips! / Tickets must be purchased in advance through our website: http://www.avensolewinery.com/res-391738/Wine-Wednesdays-Sommelier-For-A-Day.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
Doggie Easter Egg Hunt at Carol’s Restaurant / April 21 / 1:00pm / Regular Menu plus Easter Specials. All dogs must be on leashes. Plastic eggs are filled with turkey hotdogs. Owner’s responsible to make sure dogs don’t eat plastic eggs / This is a popular event…Reservations Highly Recommended! Please call in advance at 951-676-9243.

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 sourced.

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

Cougar Vineyard & Winery
Cougar Craft Night / April 24 / 4:00pm-6:00pm / Wine club $35pp, Non-wine club $40pp / We’re making a Derby Hat, Fascinator or Tie. Why? We’ll be having a Kentucky Derby Party May 4th with best dressed prizes!! All materials needed to create your item will be provided plus expert help from our Event Team! Craft, sip and nibble the afternoon away! Reserve your spot by calling the winery 951.491.0825 or visiting the tasting room.

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

Europa Village
Easter Lunch / April 21 / 12pm-3pm / Adult Tickets: $54.99 / Société $49.49, Children Tickets, $19 / Société $17.10 / Join us Easter Sunday for a delicious lunch by Chef Dean, Egg Hunt with the Easter Bunny, Face Painting, a kids Jolly Jumper and live music by Jimmy Patton! / Please visit us at www.europavillage.com for reservations.

Festa! Featuring Mrs. Jones Revenge / April 19 / 5:30pm -8:30pm / Free Admission; Food Tickets: $19 / Enjoy wine, food and live music by Mrs. Jones Revenge, benefiting Fine Arts Network!
Please visit us at www.europavillage.com for additional information.

Falkner Winery
Wine Appreciation Class / April 20 / 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

Easter Champagne Brunch in the Pinnacle Restaurant / April 21 / 10:00am-3:00pm / For a full menu please visit our website at www.falknerwinery.com. Entertainment provided by Harmony Road Duo / Price: $59.95+/person (Wine Club $54.95+/person) Children (3-10) $26.00+/child (Wine Club $21.00+/child) / Reservations required 951-676-8231 option 4

Fazeli Cellars
Salsa Night! / April 20 / 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-391042/Salsa-Night-42019.html

Leoness Cellars
Afternoon Tea At Leoness / Begins April 1st Monday through Thursday / 2pm-5pm / $55pp for Tea; $75pp for Tea & Sparkling Wine; $5pp additional for Terrace seating (upon availability) / Chef Daragh has selected only the finest loose leaf, hand picked first flush teas from around the world. Matching that with his experience, his staff has crafted all of the freshly baked pastries and scones in-house and chosen only the finest condiments from Europe and clotted creams from Devon in Cornwall. With unparalleled views of the Temecula wine country and traditional silver service, Leoness will immerse you in a true Afternoon Tea Experience paralleled to that of the finest teas served in London hotels / By reservations only 951.302.7601 ext. 1. Please allow 24 hour notice upon booking.

Lorimar Vineyard & Winery
Winemaker’s Dinner / April 19 / 6pm – 9pm / $85 per person/$76.50 Wine Club / Enjoy 5 courses paired with Award-Winning Lorimar wines, and an opportunity to engage with Winemaker, Marshall Stuart, and knowledgeable Sommelier’s from the Lorimar team in our Lorimar Winery Barrel Room! / To purchase tickets please visit https://shop.lorimarwinery.com/res409376/Winemakers-Dinner.html / Space is limited so get your tickets early! (event is 21+, tax is not included)

Easter Brunch / April 21 / Two seating’s: 11:00am and 1:30pm / Join us for a special Easter Brunch Buffet on the Sunset Patio. Live Music, Wine, Amazing Food, Easter Egg Hunt & more! / $45 pp / $40.50 Wine Club / $22.50 (ages 4-12) / Adult Ticket (21+) includes one mimosa or beer! To purchase your tickets please visit https://shop.lorimarwinery.com/res-409410/Easter-Brunch.html / * Limit of 2 hr. dining time, cancellations must be made at least 48 hrs. in advance

Laugh Your Glass Off / April 25 / Show starts at 7 pm / $20 pp / $18 Wine Club Members / Doors & Pairings Food Truck opens at 6 pm. Join us for a night of good wine, good comedy and good times! Featuring 3 Talented Comedians! / For tickets please visit https://shop.lorimarwinery.com/res-409411/Laugh-Your-Glass-Off.html MATURE AUDIENCE ONLY (21+)

Mount Palomar Winery
Rocky’s Comedy Live at Mount Palomar Winery / April 6 / 6:00pm (early show) 8:00pm (late show) / Tickets $15 in advance and $20 at the door / Catch your favorite “A-List” and celebrity comics live, on-stage, inside Annata Bistro/Bar. Presenting John Caponera with Special Guest Scott Wood. Last dinner reservations for the bistro will be at 4 PM, snacks and drinks will be available during the show / Please purchase your ticket through https://rockyscomedylive.com/

Rocky’s Comedy Live at Mount Palomar Winery / April 20 / 6:00pm (early show) 8:00pm (late show) / Tickets $15 in advance and $20 at the door / Catch your favorite “A-List” and celebrity comics live, on-stage, inside Annata Bistro/Bar. Presenting Karen Rontwoski with Special Johnny Herrera / Last dinner reservations for the bistro will be at 4 PM, snacks and drinks will be available during the show / Please purchase your ticket through https://rockyscomedylive.com/

Wine Country Wiener Fest / April 14 / 11:00am – 4:00pm / The Temecula Valley Dachshund Club proudly presents the 10th Annual Wine Country Wiener Fest at Mount Palomar Winery in Temecula! Featuring family-friendly games, local vendors and services, food, beverages, wine tasting, and races and contests for dachshunds of all sizes, this is the doggy event of the year in Temecula! / For tickets please visit http://www.wienerfest.info/

Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery
Down 2 Earth BBQ / April 28 / 3pm / $25 per person / Sip some great wine, bite into tasty BBQ and hear about our involvement in the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program from our winemaker/viticulturist Nicholas Palumbo where he will delve deeper into the word “Sustainable” and what it means to our lives as well as our business. Also learn how you can support local 4H and FFA kids and fill your freezer with locally and ethically raised, healthy, safe meats / Contact Cindy@palumbowines.com for tickets.Very Limited Seating.

Peltzer Family Cellars
Spring Social / April 6 -11am-10pm / April 7 11am-7pm / Roundup the family and join us for Peltzer’s 2nd Annual Spring Social! On April 6th and 7th, break out your boots and kick some dust up at the Farm for a shindig y’all won’t want to miss. This Two-day event features fun for the whole family: pics with the Easter Bunny, egg hunts (for kids and adults), local food trucks, a local maker’s market, craft beer from Refuge Brewery, live music, train rides, face painting, and mini John Deere carts for the kiddos. We will be raising funds for our local charity partner, Kamali’i Foster Family Agency by selling $5 bar access wristbands for those looking to enjoy a nice beverage at the event / Bar access wristbands are $5 and can be pre-purchased on our Facebook event page or through www.peltzerwinery.com

Supercross Watch Party with Road 2 Recovery / April 13 / 5:30pm-9pm / Tickets for entry are $5 / Come watch the Denver Supercross with us on the big screen. We’re teaming up with the Road 2 Recovery Foundation to fundraise for local small business owner and motorcycle enthusiast, John Fonteyn, and his R2R campaign. The evening will include a DJ, raffles to be held during commercial breaks, two local food trucks, Peltzer wine, beer, motorcycles on display, raising money for a deserving individual, and supporting an awesome foundation / Tickets can be purchased online at www.peltzerwinery.com. All entry ticket and raffle ticket proceeds to straight to charity.

Oak Mountain Winery
Farm to Table Dinner / April 12 / 6pm-10pm / $115 Members; $125 Non-members. VIP Upgrade available / Menu will include ingredients from local artisans including the Salt Sisters, Oak Mountain Winery Avocado Oils, Regional honey & locally sourced cheeses. Each course will be introduced by our in-house Chef with a complimentary wine pairing presented by our Winemaker, Steven Andrews / Tickets available by calling 951.699.9102 or visit us online at www.oakmountainwinery.com/events

Ponte Winery
Ponte Earth Week Sustainability Tours / April 22nd – Friday, April 26th / All tours starting at 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. / Price: $5 per person / At Ponte, we don’t only talk the talk; we walk the walk! Starting on April 22nd (Earth Day!) and continuing through April 26th, take a tour through our working winery to see our sustainable practices in action. Join us for a splash of wine before boarding our 10-passenger tour bus and learn about the rigorous standards we uphold to maintain California Certified Winegrowing Certification for our 8th year in a row. To request a tour, please email tastingroom@pontewinery.com. Space is limited; request your tour today!

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
Blessing of the Vines / April 7 / 5:00pm to 8:00pm / $85 for General Admission; $75 for Wine Club Members / Join us in the Courtyard at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa as we bless and celebrate a fruitful growing season! Rev. Msgr. Thomas Burdick will lead blessings over the vines with a sparkling wine toast. Next, guests can partake in four (4) food and wine pairing stations, dinner + dessert buffets, dancing, and cash full bar. Musical entertainment will be provided by the band, Big Truth. All guests receive a bottle of Gold Medal red or white wine per pair of tickets, with additional bottles available for purchase at the event / For more information and to purchase: https://www.southcoastwinery.com/winery/blessing

Easter Brunch Buffet at The Vineyard Rose Restaurant / April 21 / 8:00am– 3:00pm / Buffet: Adults $65.00 | Children $25.00 (13 & under) / Our egg hunt will take place in our courtyard at 10:00am, 12:00pm, and 1:00pm. Special Appearance by the Easter Bunny / Reservation Information: Make your reservations today! | 866.643.8058

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
Easter Brunch / April 21 / 1030am-5:00pm / $64.95; $19.95 Children 12 & under plus tax and gratuity. Under 5yrs. is free / Enjoy an array of brunch menu items and kid station. Face painting, balloon art and the “Easter Bunny” will be handing out treats. For full menu information and reservations, please call 951.699-0099 or visit www.thorntonwine.com

Friday Live Music “B.I.G.” / April 5 / 6p-9p / Cost: $15 in advance ($20 at the door) / 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 for reservations.

Friday Live Music “KILLER DUELING PIANOS” / April 19 / 6p-9p / Cost: $15 in advance ($20 at the door) / 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 for reservations.

Friday Live Music “LED ZEPAGAIN” / April 26 / 6p-9p / General Admission $25 in advance. VIP tickets – $40 (First 6 rows) / Call Thornton winery @ (951) 699-0099 to reserve a table. Table reservations require each person to order dinner. Advance ticket purchase required online only through our website at www.thorntonwine.com

Wilson Creek Winery
Jazz & Dinner Concert with Paulo & Karukas / April 6 / 5 – 7:30 pm / Price: $95 per person / Wine Club $85.50 / Join us for an evening of Jazz featuring the amazing Michael Paulo & Gregg Karukas! 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-416642/Jazz-Dinner-Concert-With-Paulo-And-Karukas.html

Easter Brunch / April 21 / 10-3 pm / Price: $75.95 (with Bubbly) / $65.95 (without Bubbly) / What do Easter & Brunch have in common? Both happen on Sundays! Come enjoy both at Wilson Creek Winery with your loved ones on April 21st! Make Reservations Here: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/res-416684/Easter-Brunch.html

Dead Man’s Party (Oingo Boingo Tribute) / April 26 / 6-9 pm / Price: $60 per person / Wine Club $54 / Join us for the “Halfway to Halloween” Costume Party with Dead Man’s Party Oingo Boingo Tribute Band! Buffet Dinner included. Purchase tickets: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/res-416694/Dead-Mans-Party-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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CHICKEN-CHIPOTLE POSOLE WITH AVOCADO AND LIME

Friday, March 1st, 2019

A rich broth, moist hand-shredded chicken and smoky chipotle make this posole a standout. And you’ll have some extra poached chicken to enjoy in a salad the following day. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Barbera or Zinfandel.

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 pounds (1 kg) chicken legs and thighs
2 quarts (2 l) water
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1 dozen black peppercorns
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smacked
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole cumin seed or ground cumin
1/3 pound (155 g) Mexican-style chorizo
Vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced
½ green bell pepper, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large plum tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup (10 g) chopped cilantro, plus some for garnish
1 can (15 oz/470 g) whole hominy, drained and rinsed
Canned chipotle chile en adobo, to taste
Kosher or sea salt.
1 small avocado, halved and pitted, then sliced crosswise
1 lime, quartered

Directions
Put the chicken and water in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Skim any foam that collects on the surface. When the chicken stops producing foam, add the onion, peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaves. Adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer and cook 1 hour. Cool, then strain. Remove the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the skin. Refrigerate half the meat for another use. Shred the remaining meat by hand. Set aside 5 cups (1.25 l) of chicken broth and refrigerate or freeze any remaining broth for another use.

Put the whole cumin seed in a small dry skillet and toast over medium heat, shaking the skillet often, until the cumin darkens and becomes fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool, then pound fine in a mortar or grind in a spice grinder.

Remove the chorizo from its skin and put it in a large pot over medium-low heat. Cook, crumbling it with a wooden spoon, until it has rendered its fat and is fully cooked. Transfer it to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving any fat behind. Add enough vegetable oil to the pot to make 2 tablespoons fat.

Add the minced onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato, oregano, and cumin and cook about 3 minutes longer to soften the tomato. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the 5 cups (1.25 l) chicken broth and bring to a simmer, stirring. Add the cilantro, hominy, shredded chicken, and chorizo and return to a simmer. Whisk in some of the thick adobo sauce from the canned chipotle chiles, adding as much as you like. Season posole to taste with salt.

Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Top each portion with a few avocado slices and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Pairing Suggestions:

Avensole Winery ~ 2015 Barbera – Dark cherry, strawberry, lavender, vanilla.

Hart Winery ~ 2015 Zinfandel – This fruity, classic Zin has been aged 12 months in premium American oak and blend with a kiss of Petite Sirah.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ 2015 Barbera – Ripened cherry aromas and flavors, this wine is bursting with berries and bright acidity,along with tart blackberry jam and tobacco on the finish.

Wiens Family Cellars ~ 2015 Reserve Zinfandel – Dried fruit, toasted oak, refined tannins.

Photo and recipe courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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Fun Facts About Merlot

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Considered one of the most food-friendly and approachable wines on the planet, Merlot surged to popularity in the United States in the 1990s. Now wine-lovers can find great Merlot and delicious Merlot blends from all over the world – from South America to France to Italy to right here in Temecula Valley, California.

Here are five fun facts about Merlot!*

1) Did you know the word “merlot” translates to “young blackbird” in French? The name was thought to have been given either because of the grape’s beautiful blue-black color, or blackbird’s fondness for grapes.

2) Merlot’s flavor profile fluctuates within the sweetness spectrum. Cooler climates bring out hints of berries, plum, and even tobacco. Merlot grown in hotter climates might mimic flavors found in fruitcake or chocolate.

3) A bit about Merlot blends: When Merlot first arrived in California, it mostly sold as single varietal bottlings (100% Merlot) until winemakers began blending it with other red grapes in the French Bordeaux tradition. Now, California’s Meritage wines are a signature of the state and always include Merlot as one of the essential blending grapes.

4) Merlot is so popular because of the grape’s ability to please all palates. Wines can range from very fruity simple wines to more serious, barrel-aged bottles.

5) Merlot has a high sugar content and low acidity, which makes it a very food-friendly wine, able to be paired with a variety of dishes. For example, Cabernet-like Merlots pair well with grilled meats. Softer, fruitier Merlots go well with salmon, mushroom-based dishes and greens. Light-bodied Merlots pair well with shellfish like prawns or scallops, especially if wrapped in bacon or prosciutto.

Looking for a great bottle of Temecula Valley Merlot? Check these wines out!

Falkner Winery 2015 Merlot ~ This wonderful Merlot is deep in color and abundant in flavor. Enjoy the dark cherry, blueberry, and herbaceous notes with an elegant and smooth finish. 

Leoness Cellars 2012 Vineyard Selection Merlot ~ Concentrated layers of black currant and black cherry complemented by earthy aromas typical of this vineyard. Subtle nuances of tobacco and vanilla develop through a long, velvety finish. 

Mount Palomar Winery 2012 BOV (Best of Vintage) Merlot ~ The scents are of Cherry, plum, and cola. The tastes are of sour cherry, lavender, and dark chocolate, with a touch of black pepper.

*Sourced from Snooth/Wikipedia 

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Temecula Wine Pairings for Your Thanksgiving Table

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Temecula Wine Pairings For Your Thanksgiving Table

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) fun wine and food pairing. Here in Temecula Valley, California 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 a viognier compliment 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 2010 Special Selection Chardonnay; $18.00

Danza Del Sol Winery, 2011 Pinot Grigio; $21.56

Briar Rose Winery 2011 Estate Viognier; $21.00

 

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 2006 Sangiovese; $25.00

Leoness Cellars 2010 Zinfandel; $38.95

Doffo Vineyards 2011 Syrah; $49.00

 

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, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon; $20.00

Monte De Oro Winery 2007 Merlot; $27.00

Wiens 2008 Reserve Tempranillo-Petite Sirah; $49.00

 

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 a sweet moscato, where red delicious apples, kiwi , pears, and apricots come together nicely with honeysuckle and jasmine undertones. Oak Mountain’s port has a nutty honeyed flavor to perfectly compliment the nutmeg and allspice flavors of pumpkin pie. And for a special treat, buy a bottle of Renzoni port to pair with a fudgy chocolate cake.

Keyways Vineyard Winery 2012 Moscato; $19.00

Oak Mountain Winery Port; $29.00

Robert Renzoni Paradiso Port; $49

 

One Meal, One Wine

On a wine-buying budget? Or just 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 2010 Chenin Blanc; $12.95

Miramonte Winery 2010 Grenache Rose; $17.50

Falkner Winery 2012 Sauvignon Blanc; $18.95

South Coast Winery Ruby Cuvee; $22.00

Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery 2010 “80/20” Cabernet/Shiraz Blend; $35.00 | 15% discount for a case

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