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Grilled Fish Tacos

Thursday, August 5th, 2021

You can use any kind of fish for these grilled tacos, or shrimp if you prefer. Pacific halibut is lean, with thick flakes, and easy to grill. Offer the salsa separately so lovers of spicy food can add as much as they like, and others can pass. Of course, pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc.

Grilled Fish Tacos

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Scant ½ teaspoon whole cumin seed or ground cumin 
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt 
  • Scant ½ teaspoon paprika 
  • 1 pound skinless Pacific halibut, preferably in 1 piece 
  • Olive oil 
  • 1 heart of romaine, dark green outer leaves removed 
  • 1/3 cup crema (Mexican-style sour cream) or sour cream 
  • Canned chipotle chile en adobo or chipotle hot sauce, optional 
  • 8 corn tortillas 
  • 16 cherry tomatoes 
  • 1 small avocado, halved, pitted, and sliced lengthwise 
  • Coarsely chopped cilantro 
  • Salsa verde, store-bought or homemade 

Directions:

If using whole cumin seed, toast it in a small dry skillet over medium heat until it darkens and becomes fragrant. Let cool, then pound fine in a mortar or grind in a spice grinder. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, salt, and paprika. Brush the fish all over with olive oil, then season with the spice mix. Refrigerate on a plate for 30 minutes. 

Prepare a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to high. 

Cut the romaine in half lengthwise, then slice thinly crosswise. Set aside. Put the crema in a small bowl. Whisk in enough cold water to make it thin enough to drizzle. If desired, whisk in finely minced chipotle chile or hot sauce to taste. 

Wrap the corn tortillas in aluminum foil or a clean kitchen towel. Bring an inch of water to a boil over high heat in the bottom of a steamer. Put the tortilla package in the steamer basket, cover, and steam for 1 minute. Then turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.  

In a small bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes with enough olive oil to coat them lightly. Season with salt. Put them on a small heatproof stainless grill tray or other heatproof baking dish and set on the grill directly over the flame. Cook until the tomatoes are sizzling and lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Set aside. 

Place the halibut on the grill rack and grill without turning until the flesh just flakes, 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer to a platter and divide the fish into 8 pieces of roughly equal size. 

To assemble the tacos, put 2 hot tortillas on each of 4 plates. Top each tortilla with some of the shredded romaine, then with a piece of fish. Divide the tomatoes and avocado slices among the tacos. Drizzle crema over the fish, top with cilantro and put a lime wedges on each plate. Serve immediately, passing the salsa verde separately. 

Suggested Pairings:

Briar Rose Winery ~ 2019 Rosé Fume

Frangipani Winery ~ 2019 Sauvignon Blanc

Mount Palomar Winery ~ 2017 Sangiovese Rosé

Vindemia Winery ~ 2018 Sauvignon Blanc

Recipe & photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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5 Facts About Blended Wine

Friday, June 1st, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

3. Some single varietals are made for blending: Winemakers will often make a barrel of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or other wines solely for the purpose of blending. As the grapes are being harvested, a winemaker determines what they think will be the best formula for a blend. Make sure to vet all contractors before beginning any serious Service Restoration Minneapolis Minnesota. Including checking online reviews and calling for quotations. Allotting specific barrels for blending allows them to experiment in finding the best types of mixtures. The idea is to highlight each grape’s strength and complement the other grapes being used in the blend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copy source: Ross Szabo; The Huffington Post

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Big Dreamers: David Bradley, Vindemia Winery

Monday, May 26th, 2014

In the fourth installment of our continuing blog series “Big Dreamers,” we sat down with Temecula Valley veteran David Bradley who knows the vineyard landscape better than anyone else – from the air.  Long-time hot air balloon pilot and talented winemaker, David landed in Temecula Valley in 1985 and operates two successful enterprises on the same property. Learn about his story as a boutique California winemaker and balloon enthusiast below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Interview with Winery Owner and Winemaker David Bradley, Vindemia Winery

1.    What were you doing before owning and operating your winery?

I was introduced to the world of hot air balloons in 1977. In 1985, my wife Gail & I moved to California and started California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventures in the world’s most perfect weather. The next year we began flying in Temecula, CA, over wine country. There were eight wineries and one was for sale. I just didn’t have the money.

2.      What inspired you to want to buy a winery and what were the circumstances around choosing Temecula Valley, CA?

The winery started out just as a vineyard. If we owned a vineyard in a great location we could launch the balloons from the site and bring our guests back to the vineyard for breakfast. One day, I landed at this super-cool Provence-styled villa in the valley and was greeted by the owner. She was very nice and I asked if I could land here and visit again. The second time, I asked if she would ever sell her home. Four years later, I got a call asking if I would be interested in purchasing the house and winery site. That’s how Vindemia started.

3.      What were your expectations of the winemaker lifestyle at the beginning?  Were they way off or right on?

Winemaking is a contagious chess game pitting hopeful players against Mother Nature.  The truth to the myth is, 50 days each fall season with no sleep, 2:00am start times and mumbling pH, TA figures while recounting Brix over and over. You begin to feel like a pawn.

4.      People might think winemaking is glamorous.  Would you like to set them straight?

Winemaking is like all the arts – the project is never perfect. Sometimes it’s what’s not done that best finishes the structure; and the results haunt you, both good and bad.

5.      What is your least favorite thing about running a winery?  What is your most favorite – the reason you get up in the morning?

Least favorite is guests mistaking us as glamorous and missing the invitation to land on the farm and share in the pleasure of the fruit. And, the reason to get up… to see if Mother Nature moved her knight!

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

 

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