Thai turkey salad and Red Electra Moscato

Thai turkey salad with Red Electra Moscato

Day 28 of #flatteningthecurve

The day started early, the sun had returned and I woke early.  After giving Loki some attention I made some coffee to Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”.  A friend had recommended making coffee to this music as being a wonderful way to start a day and I concur!

Next up was using up the bananas that had gone mushy.  I have to admit to liking my bananas just a tad on the green side and these were decidedly not that!  So banana bread to the rescue!  Half the loaf is in the freezer, while the other half we will munch on.

Fresh baked banana bread
Fresh baked banana bread

There was writing to be done and the treadmill was calling my name.  Luckily I had the perfect podcast to keep me entertained “Wine for Normal People” had a 41 minute pod cast on Mazuela or Carignan or Bovale Grande or Cariñena or Carinyena or Samsó or Carignane or Carignano…this grape has so many names and such a great story!  Go check out the pod cast.

The flyover

The big event for the day was scheduled for 2:30.  The Thunderbirds were doing a Las Vegas flyover in honor of the medical workers and first responders.  We are blessed with a rooftop deck and headed up to watch.  We waved to neighbors on their deck and one by one watched rooftops all around us fill with people looking to the sky.  The Thunderbirds flew right over us!  My footage was a bit patchy.  They move fast!  It was amazing.  I grew up in Southern California with a father in the Navy and we were big Blue Angels fans.  I now have a huge respect for the talents of those other flyers, the Thunderbirds.

Time to cook

After all that excitement, it was time to prep today’s late lunch, which was a Thai salad from Sun Basket.  Made of cabbage, ground turkey with lemongrass paste, radishes, cilantro, toasted coconut, cashews and a dressing of thai flavors with lime and a little hot sauce, it was beautiful and delicious. 

The pairing and a confession on wine snobbery

Michael had picked the pairing for this last week.  With the Thai and the spice, he chose a Moscato, to balance the spice.  The Moscato we had was an Electra Red from Quady that we picked up when we visited Quady North. 

Quady Red Electra Moscato
Quady Red Electra Moscato

This isn’t a fancy wine and quite honestly not a wine that if you read me the description, I would expected to enjoy.  Okay, calling myself out…this is wine snobbery and it is kind of unacceptable. When you get into wine, you find quickly that sweet wines tend to be looked down on. It’s unfair.

My choice of beverages, after morning coffee, lean toward water or naked tea.  I don’t drink sweet drinks.  No sugar in my coffee and soft drinks are rare, but upon occasion I crave a coke with lots of crushed ice. This wine hits me in the same way.  It is so enjoyable.  Moscato with fruit notes and sweetness and just a bit of effervescence.  It’s like the cherry coke of wine and I like it.  It is immensely enjoyable and sits at just 5.5% abv. It feels like a guilty pleasure.

Would I have chosen this pairing?  Probably not, but it did work well!  The sweetness went well with the heat of the Thai dish. Pairing the acid in the salad and the sweetness of the wine, also worked well.  I was concerned that the wine would be too heavy a red with the food, but it worked nicely with the turkey.

I loved the salad and I loved the wine.  To hell with guilty pleasures…this is a fine choice for a wine to enjoy.  It was joyful and we can all use a bit of joy these days.

Quady Red Electra

Red Electra Moscato from Quady on the roof
Red Electra Moscato from Quady

So…a bit on the wine and the winery.  We got this while visiting Quady North’s tasting room in Jacksonville, Oregon.  We had spent the morning with Herb Quady out at his vineyards.  Herb’s parents, Andrew and Laurel, started Quady in 1975 in a small town in the San Joaquin valley.  His father Andrew found an unused patch of Orange Muscat and from there, Quady became a winery focused on expertise with the Muscat grape.  In the ‘90’s they created the Electra Moscatos which they think of as picnic wines (that really puts it perfectly).  They make these in the Moscato d’asti style.

Red Electra Moscato is made with Orange and Black Muscat. Black Muscat is actually pretty rare.  All of their grapes are local.  They ferment them low and slow.  This wine would make a great sparkler or sangria, but it’s lovely on it’s own.  On their site they say “Red Electra tastes like a bowl full of cherries”, they couldn’t be more right. They do say that it makes a great sorbet also!  (I might need to find some more and try that!)  In their tasting room they have an entire cocktail card with recipes and suggestions!

The beautiful label art is by Ardison Phillips.

And…on their site this wine will set you back a whole $14.99.  They also sell this in a 4 pack of cans!  Environmentally friendly and perfect for picnics or hikes!

They have a video on their Instagram page that gives you some details on this wine!

National Pet Day – spoiling the Loki

Lastly…this was #NationalPetDay, so we have to do a little celebration of Loki.

How was your day?

We hope that you have found a little joy in your day!  Let us know how you made this #stayhome day bearable.  Did you enjoy a great wine? Did you pamper your pet? Did you cook something spectacular?  Or did you curl up with a simple comfort food? Let us know in the comments!

As always be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date on all of our posts.

Robin Renken CSW (photo credit RuBen Permel)

Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.

When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.

Pairings – Scallops w/ mango salsa and Sauvignon Blanc and more…..

On our recent trip to Santa Barbara we picked up a bottle of Carhartt’s 2012 Sauvignon Blanc.  On the tasting menu it suggested a pairing of scallops or  mango salsa, sooo last  Thursday night we combined both.

Carhartt Pairing W/Scallops

Carhartt Pairing W/Scallops

Carhartt 2012 Sav Blanc

Carhartt 2012 Sav Blanc

The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc is from the Santa Ynez Valley with 47% of the fruit coming from the Carhartt vineyard, 17% from the Faith Vineyard, 18% from La Pressa and 18% from Curtis. (This is the geeky stuff I love that Carhartt kindly puts on the back of their labels!  Ready to geek out some

more?) The wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, clone 1 on 101-14 rootstock grown on a vertical trellis system.  This was whole cluster pressed and fermented in 50% stainless steel and 50% neutral oak for 6 months.  Only 750 cases were produced.

The mango salsa I created was a simple recipe with mango, green onions, lime juice, cilantro and olive oil.  My mango was not fully ripe, so it had a little tartness to it.  Michael cooked the scallops in butter and olive oil with just salt and pepper.  We did a fresh herb salad from the garden with a sesame dressing, quinoa with herbs and some avocado/cucumber rolls from Whole Foods.

Michael remembered that we had 2 other whites open (we have a vacuum sealer and they had only been opened the day before!  Don’t worry!).  One was a Field Blend from Stuart Cellars.  This wine was 45% Chardonnay, 35% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Viognier and 5% Muscat.  The Muscat definitely adds a sweetness to this wine.  Stuart Cellars was a winery in Temecula California, they were bought out by a company an are now named Bel Vino.  We had a bottle of Bel Vino 2012 Viognier also open, so…we thought we would give them all a shot! The Viognier I had really enjoyed the day before and the Field Blend is Michael’s go to.

Tasting Notes:

Bel Vino Stuart Carhartt

Bel Vino Stuart Carhartt

Carhartt Savignion Blanc 2012-17% from the Faith Vineyard, 18% from La Pressa and 18% from Curtis.

  • This wine was lovely on it’s own.  When we opened it I got lots of tropical fruit on the nose.  A little citrus, not overly grapefruit.  Later on as it opened up I got more apple, and a softer apple like a Fuji apple or a macintosh.
  • Scallops/ Mango-The Sauvignon Blanc held up to the mango salsa, and slightly tempered the brightness of the flavors.  It would be interesting to see how it would taste with a riper mango.  The flavors were nice with the quinoa and salad (I think it played nicely off of the sesame dressing) but with the avocado/cucumber rolls it was really nice!
  • Avocado Cucumber Rolls– …by far the Sav Blanc was the best pairing here.  It enhanced the cucumber causing the flavor to burst in cool refreshment in the back of my palate!

Bel Vino Viognier 2012

  • Scallops/ Mango– With the scallops and mango salsa the Viognier was very nice bringing out the sweetness in the scallops, it held its own here.
  • Avocado Cucumber Rolls- the Viognier was better with the roll as it had a little less sweetness and held it’s own.

Stuart Cellars Field Blend-45% Chardonnay, 35% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Viognier and 5% Muscat.

  • Scallops/ Mango- The Field Blend was the overall winner with the scallops and mango.  It brightened the mango and pulled out the sweetness in the scallop and while not an over the top OMG pairing, it was very nice.
  • Avocado Cucumber Rolls-The Field Blend was just a little sweet with the roll.  It picked up on the rice wine vinegar but it was a little sweet and heavy to pair with the cucumber/avocado. Had this been a roll with a little crab, the Field Blend would have probably been better, pairing with the sweetness of the crab meat.

This could become a Thursday event!  Look forward to some Pizza pairings and then possibly a take off on “The Taste” with spoon full tastings to pair.  This promises to make Thursdays my favorite night of the week!

Oak Mountain Wine, Music and a view

Oak Mountain Winery

Oak Mountain Winery sits high on the North side of the De Portola Wine Trail with great views of Oak Mountain. You can’t miss the entrance with it’s buckboard wagon emblazoned with the winery name.  This winery houses both Oak Mountain and Temecula Hill Wineries.  Temecula hills is way down De Portola and does not have a tasting room.

Oak Mountain patio Ent

Oak Mountain patio Ent

Every weekend they have live music in their Pavilion next to the tasting room.

Oak Mountain patio

Oak Mountain patio

Oak Mountain pizza

Oak Mountain pizza

We stopped by and the Pavilion was busy and enticed us in with the sign out front advertising gourmet pizza inside.

There was a duo playing and lots of 8 top round tables filling the space.  The band was at the front corner, backed by the great view.  We headed straight for the pizza which was made to order.  They also had a table set up with jewelry and crafts for sale.  Michael took a seat and I went to the tasting bar at the back.  The line was long and they had wines by the glass and wine margaritas in addition to the tastings.  All the wines here were reasonably priced.  We tasted through the 2011 Muscat, 2011 Zinfandel Blanc Noir, 2011 Savignon Blanc,  2008 Grenache Noir, 2009 Merlot, 2009 Tempranillo and a Durif.   We enjoyed our pizza, the music and the view.

In addition to their weekend music they have monthly events that include cooking classes or blending classes.




Wilson Creek, so much more than Almond champagne

Wilson Creek Sign Art in Oil

I will admit to a bit of snobbery.  I really had no desire to go to Wilson Creek in Temecula. I mean you find bottles of their Almond champagne in Long’s Drug Stores (well you did when they were around).  I figured how could they be creating wine I would like to drink?  Well… there is a lot more to them then the Almond champagne.

Wilson Creek is located at the far east end of Rancho California Road and it is rare that you will get there and find the parking lot not full.  While the grounds are huge and beautiful, a favorite for weddings and the buildings and event center large and impressive, this is still a family affair at heart.

Wilson Creek View

Wilson Creek View

Gerry and Rosie Wilson acquired the 20 acre vineyard in 1996 with the simple intent of running a fun family business and making great wine. With the entire family, children and grand children as well as 5 golden retrievers who can be seen often on property, they have succeeded in making this a family affair.

The Lower Garden is open to parties of 10 or less for picnicing. They just ask that you don’t come to camp!  No tents or shade covers, ice chests or animals and no outside alcoholic beverages.

The Creekside Restaurant offers a menu for lunch that can be enjoyed around the grounds.  You place your order at the Concert Stage and it will be delivered to you in the upper garden.  You can enjoy this in the lower garden also, but you will need to pick up your order.  The menu includes a variety of lunch items as well as a full wine list, beer and other beverages.

With their Event Center Wilson Creek stays busy with Corporate Events and private parties.  The Event Center includes 3 spaces that can accommodate 50-300 people each with a dance floor.  In addition they have two stages that can accommodate up to 400 guests.  Really this place can be party central for 6 or 7 large parties at time!

Bill Wilson is the son and owner.  He works with his Mom & Dad, Brother & Sister, Wife, brother in law & sister in law.  (Did I mention that this was a family affair?) Bill’s Mom and Dad can often be seen on the grounds with their two golden retrievers. They have 92 acres and grow 12 varieties on the estate and then source some grapes.  The varieties used in their wines include: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Muscat, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah and Zinfandel.  They also . When you listen to Bill you know that you are not dealing with a corporation, this is a joyful family affair.  They incorporated what they loved about the wineries they visited when they created Wilson Creek.  And it’s not just about their winery, they want to promote Temecula and encourage people to come and taste, enjoy and learn.  Listen to the great interview with him at and see exactly what I mean.

I didn’t think it was possible that Wilson Creek used Methode Champenois for their almond champagne, and I was right. There is no way they could do that and sell it at that price!  What I was surprised by, was that they do use the Charmat method which is fermenting the wine in bulk in stainless steel tanks!  The final method they actually refer to as “cheating” on their site.  In this method CO2 is injected into the wine.  Typically this method causes very large bubble that can cause Huge headaches!  They do not cheat at Wilson Creek.  They do, by the way have a wonderful section of their website on wine education called Wine 101 that Mick Wilson put together with fascinating information on Barrels, Port, Champagne, Wine Varietals and much more.

Wilson Creek Picnic View

Wilson Creek Picnic View

The next time you are in Temecula, drive all the way out Rancho California to Wilson Creek, taste some wine, stroll the grounds and say hello to the Wilson’s.  You will know them by the golden retrievers at their sides!