Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

Non traditional Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

So we did a non-traditional Thanksgiving this year. We bagged the turkey and instead did a stuffed flatiron steak, and instead of potatoes for a starchy side, we went with a pumpkin lasagna. We of course tied in some traditional sides with cranberries in red Belgian ale, green beans almandine and a bright arugula salad with flavors of the season with apples, pecans, maple syrup and bacon. So what to pair with our eclectic Thanksgiving? We dug into the cellar and here’s what we decided.

Start with a sparkler!

It’s a celebration and I was ready to celebrate when we finally had dinner complete and ready to eat. We looked in the wine fridge and Michael pulled out a sparkling wine from a very (I mean VERY) small winery called Lumiére in Temecula, California. We did a blog post on them awhile ago which you can read here. Lumiére is only open on weekends and only once have we been able to stop by. The owner and winemaker’s mother, Martha was there pouring. They have a charming tasting room on a hill off of Calle Contento Road on the North side.(more on the winery here). One of the final things we tasted was their Voulez Vous Brut sparkling wine.

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This is a Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc and it was lovely with the salad of arugula, pink lady apples, pecans, maple brown sugar bacon and the dressing of maple syrup and yogurt.

Chardonnay with Pumpkin Lasagna

So an Oaked Chard with a rich cheesy pumpkin lasagna seemed the right choice and allowed us to relish some great memories at the same time. We pulled a bottle of 2011 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay. This Santa Barbara County Chardonnay comes from the Los Alamos Vineyard and was a gift when we stayed at the Clendenen Ranch in the spring. This vineyard is beautiful, take a look at the photo on our homepage. That was the view we were privileged to enjoy. The home is warm and obviously meant for relaxing and entertaining friends & family. There is history here also. The first Au Bon Climat Winery was in a small barn that you can see from the house. The story, as Marissa told us is, after long days of harvest the folks that owned the house on the hill and had the olive orchards would invite the entire gang up for dinner. When the owner was looking to sell the property,s Jim Clendenen quickly bought it up, as it was filled with so many fond memories. The previous owner still makes olive oil from the olives on the trees, which you can find in her olive oil tasting room in Los Alamos called Global Gardens.

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This Chardonnay is one of their Historic Vineyard Collection Wines. They harvest by hand, gently press and then ferment in 75% new French Oak and leave them in these barrels to age surlee for another year.  The amazing thing about this wine is that you get the richness of the oak and a full nose and then it is beautiful and bright on the palate. If you ever want to explain to someone what French Oak is…pour a glass of this and stick their nose in it.  Au Bon Climat has a tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara and a history that is as rich and exciting as their wines.

So as a pairing the richness of the nose of the Chardonnay, went beautifully with the lasagna and then the brightness of the wine on the palate kept you from getting bogged down in all of that glorious cheese! One sip had your palate reinvigorated for another decadent bite.  The Lasagna was more than just pumpkin too. We did 3 different types of puree, pumpkin, queensland blue and sweetmeat. Each got a layer in the lasagna between layers of ricotta, parmesan and fontina.

Stuffed Flatiron Steak Screams for a Red

This recipe called for a dry red wine. While it suggested a not too fruity Syrah or Zin…Michael found a beautiful 2008 Ferrari-Carano Merlot. We opened this way early to start cooking with it and give the wine time to open up. We have a history here too. While working on Smokey Joe’s Café in Reno we were at the El Dorado Casino, which is owned by the Ferrari-Carano’s and got hooked on their wines there. We have since made a couple of trips to their Northern Sonoma Vineyard and Winery.

So these steaks are flatiron steaks which are a shoulder cut. They are pounded out and filled with a stuffing of toasted bread in olive oil, prunes rehydrated with the red wine, rosemary, roasted chestnuts, pancetta, pecorino, salt, pepper & cayenne. The Merlot went beautifully with this.

So there you have it. A feast to be thankful for with beautiful pairings that brought back great memories of visits to 3 different areas of California Wine country.   Now that’s a perfect Thanksgiving.

For more information on these wine regions:

http://www.temeculawines.org

Santa Barbara Vintners

Sonoma.com

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You can find more great Farm to Table recipes on our sister site  4Farm2Mrkt

Lorimar Winery, Wine and Art Inspiration.

Lorimar Temecula California

Lorimar Winery is located in Temecula California. Lormiar created a tasting room inspired by Music and Art. Our Video Homage uses Art & music to showcase their new tasting room.

Miramonte Winery, a backstage tour

Miramonte WInery

Join us for a tour of Miramonte Winery in the Temecula Valley of Southern California!

Miramonte is a boutique winery in the Temecula Valley in Southern California.  They provide a wide variety of music on the weekends on their patio.  As well as amazing cheese and charcuterie boards. This eclectic and artistically minded winery creates an incredible atmosphere for enjoying wines.

Temecula Wine Country Video

The Temecula Valley in Southern California is a wine area that is finding it’s own way.  With 35,000 acres of rolling hills and vineyards it is a quick drive from San Diego and allows you to visit almost 40 wineries within a 20 minute drive.

If you enjoy live music, this is the wine country for you.  Many of the wineries have music on the weekends. Really this area is a festival of wine and entertainment.

You can also find small family run wineries that might be a bit less fancy, but that are making wines from the heart, and some like Palumbo, with a style and grace that is truly exceptional.

The variety of wines here is pretty amazing.  There are plenty of wineries that are sticking with the traditional Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc & Merlot, but more and more wineries are finding their own path with the varieties that they grow.  Rhone varieties grow well here and you find some wonderful Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Viognier all over the valley. Italian varieties are finding their way into the Valley with Cougar bringing in more obscure Italian grapes, so you ready to explore some new wines  this is the place to go.  Several wineries offer Sangria on the weekends also.

There are also amazing restaurants at several of the wineries where you can enjoy gourmet lunches or dinners.  Other wineries have small plates or lunch services on the weekends and many have delis where you can pick up a snack if you need to.

While you’re here take a morning hot air balloon ride over the vineyards or go horseback riding.  They also have limo or horseback tours to the vineyards.

There are great places to stay also.  The Europa Village Inn has an amazing view, beautiful rooms and a gourmet breakfast by Chef Dean that will knock your socks off!  Ponte and South Coast have resort style rooms on their properties.

Then there is Old Town, with shopping, olive oil tasting, wine tasting rooms, plenty of dining and night life and lots of additional hotel rooms from national chains.

Really there is so much to do in the growing Temecula Wine Country, from a quiet romantic weekend escape to a busy weekend filled with great food wine and entertainment, Temecula  has something to fit your every style and mood. Explore our site to find out more about Temecula Wine Country

http://youtu.be/ozQW5sMUpqQ

Crushed Grape Chronicles YouTube Channel

CGC logo

Introducing our New YouTube channel.  Join us as we explore these stories through AVA’s and vineyards and the eyes of the winemakers.

Wine it’s simply crushed and fermented grapes.  The variations and the stories are what make it so fascinating.

The variations in wine are beyond comprehension.  The stories behind the wines are as lush and beautiful as the wines themselves.

Our goal at Crushed Grape Chronicles is to explore and chronicle the grape it’s many stories and it’s journey from dirt to glass.

Visit our YouTube Channel at CrushedGrapeChron or click on the link

http://youtu.be/9hlsW7W7vGU

Our Next video will be on Temecula Valley Wine Country,  followed by video’s on the individual wineries that makeup Temecula AVA

Field Blend Thursday

Field Blend Thursday from Crushed Grape Chronicles on Vimeo.

Mount Charleston is a great Spring Getaway, pair this with Bel Vino/Stuart Cellars Field Blend you have the Perfect Day Off.

After an afternoon hike at Mount Charleston, it was time for a simple but delicious dinner.  I had discovered beets in the garden this morning (I thought it was chard before!) so I planned to pull those up and roast them for a salad, on the way home I looked online to see what best compliments a beet salad and came up with….Riesling, pinot noir, pinot blanc, rose, and French Chablis.

We headed to Whole foods to be inspired by a protein.  Michael picked up 2 macadamia nut encrusted Mahi Mahi fillets and then some Thai quinoa salad.

In looking up pairings for the Mahi Mahi, I found some sort of matches…a pistachio crusted Mahi Mahi suggested a Pinot Noir other suggestions for Mahi Mahi included Gewurztraminer, Sav Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Malbec and Merlot…  And the Alton Brown recipe for Mac crusted Mahi suggested a buttery Chard!  What’s a girl to do?

Michael was definitely in a mood for white wine, so we settled on a Bel Vino Stuart Cellars Field Blend.  It is a blend of Viognier, Riesling and Muscat, so on the sweeter side.  We will pull it out of the wine cooler about 20 minutes before we plan to eat.

The Mahi Mahi will not have any sort of sweet glaze or fruit with it so the sweeter wine should pair nicely.  The beet salad will have Gorgonzola, herb greens and roasted salted pecans with a balsamic dressing, again not on the sweet side so the wine should be good with it.  Sweet wines should be sweeter than the dish they are paired.  I look for the saltiness in the salad and the fish to pair well with the wine.  The Thai spiced Quinoa should again be toned down by the wine and pair nicely.  Now I guess we wait and see what we get!

Overall the wine went fine with everything.  The quinoa turned out to be pretty bland, the salad with the beets, roasted salted pecans and Gorgonzola went nicely (especially the gorgonzola).  The fish smelled delicious and buttery and the initial taste was savory.  When paired with the wine it brought out a sweetness in the coating of the fish.

 

This was a perfect evening to enjoy dinner outside.  Who knows perhaps the gods will be kind and we will get another week or so of nice weather that we can enjoy before the heat takes over and we long for fall.  We will take advantage and enjoy it while we can!

Keyways Winery

Keyways Sign

We had stopped by Keyways in December and found it full and busy in the midst of their Victorian Christmas Faire.  We enjoyed walking into the tasting room decorated for the holidays with Santa reciting “The Night Before Christmas” before the fireplace.  It was truly enchanting…. and full.  So we didn’t stop to taste, we soaked in the ambience and went on our way with plans to return to taste on our next trip.

Keyways Onyx Bar

Keyways Onyx Bar

And so we did.  I was fascinated reading about their Brazilian Onyx bar, which is really beautiful.  Founded in 1989 by Carl Key, Keyways was one of the original wineries in the Temecula Valley.  The winery used to be known as the only woman-owned winery in Temecula. Terri Delayer, the female owner, sold the winery to Silverton Partners in late 2011.

The grounds here are beautiful and the tasting room feels like a wonderful small hotel lobby, with a seating area with a fireplace and the beautiful bar.

Keyways Lounge and Fireplace

Keyways Lounge and Fireplace

Our Wine Tasting started with  the 2012 Fume Blanc, which had grapefruit of course on the nose there was a little mineral and chalk on the back of this with spice on the finish and a little heat.  The 2010 Riesling was very nice with citrus on the nose and green apple on the palate. This wine was clear, minimally sweet, and really tasty in an unexpected way.  The 2010 Valley Cuvee Du Sud was my favorite.  It is a Rhone Blend with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre as well as Petite Sirah, Cinsault and Viognier.  It had a wonderful cigar box nose with lovely tannins and warmth.  Think red berries with earth and spice.  There was a little peppery heat on the end.  Really beautiful.  The 2010 Valley Cuvee Du Nord is in a Northern Rhone style and is Syrah based with the same varietals as the Du Sud but in different proportions.  You get more fruit on this one and it is darker and chewier.  The 2008 Charbono had a sweet nose.  On the first taste it was sweet on the palate and then mellowed with additional tastes.  The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve had a sweet nose with dark chocolate.  The tannins here were more aggressive and the wine had a medium to long finish.

Keyways Bar

Keyways Bar

If you have a chance I definitely recommend getting here around the holidays with time to spend at the Victorian Christmas Faire.  There are vendors set up in the grassy area out front, Carriage rides in horse drawn carriages and the whole atmosphere is just amazing.  And don’t miss sidling up to that beautiful Brazilian Onyx bar and grab a glass of The Du Sud to enjoy while listening to Santa in front of the fire.

For more Pictures check out our Keyways Photo Page.

 

C’est la Vie – A Moulin Rouge themed evening of amazing food and wine

Europa Village, Moulin Rouge Themed Food & Wine Dinner from Crushed Grape Chronicles on Vimeo.

We had relaxed at the Inn at Europa Village with white sangria on the balcony overlooking the Winery and Vineyards, then had a nap and now were dressed (to the nines) and heading down the to Musical Wine Pairing Dinner at Europa Village.  All afternoon the scent of smoked pork wafted up to our room from the smoker outside that Chef Dean was using.

We strolled into the courtyard with some other guests, commenting on the red windmill lit up and tacked to the end of the winery.  There was some confusion as to why it was there.  This dinner was Moulin Rouge themed!

Europa Village has 3 labels for their wines Vienza is their Italian varieties and blends, Bolero for the Spanish and C’est la Vie for their French wines. Tonight was to be a celebration of their French Style wines with hors d’oeuvres, dinner as well as a musical performance with singers and Can Can girls!

We headed into the tasting room and checked in.  The first pour of the night was their 2011 Viognier.  We grabbed a glass and headed back out to the courtyard to enjoy the beautiful early evening.  We had a seat at one of the café tables outside the tasting room and enjoyed the view of the gardens and the Inn.  You could see the fire pit going on the patio up at the Inn.  The Passé course came by to pair with the Viognier.  It was a Tarte Flambée with Crème Fraiche, Onion & Lardons.  A perfect bite to start the evening.  People gathered, many here were “Societe” Members (members of the wine club) and knew each other.  We met a few people and were introduced to a few more, and then we were all directed to “The Cave” for dinner.

This is a simulated Italian Wine Cave built next to the tasting room where they hold events.  Tables were set for 8 and the Cave was dim and candlelit.  We found a table and met some more new people.  Dinner began with a word or two from the presenters followed by Chef Dean Thomas coming to explain each of the courses we would be enjoying.  The sommelier then spoke about the wines and we finished things off with a song, “Come What May” from Baz Lurman’s film “Moulin Rouge” along with the Debut course of Mushroom Bisque with a Chevre Gourgere and chive oil, paired with the C’est La Vie 2011 Chardonnay.  Michael hates mushrooms, so I snuck a look at him out of the corner of my eye as he tested the soup.  I felt sure that he would take a taste and then politely put it to the side.  Nope, after one taste, he went back for a second and third and finished the cup.  Chef Dean you have converted him!

The third course was our “Prima” and finally I got to taste that smoked pork!  This was smoked pork tenderloin & roast belly, duck confit “Kronenbourg” choucroute, De Puy lentils and legumes paired with the C’est La Vie En Vie.  This is a Rhone Style blend of Grenache, Syrah Counoise, Cinsault and Mourvedre.  En Vie means “In Life”.  This dish was delicious and aromatic and rich.

The next course was the Fromage Amuse.  A little cheese course (we are dong the French thing here!) to round up the savory flavors of dinner

The Finale Course our dessert was a Grand Marnier Soufflé Glace (frozen) with Raspberry Coulis & Citrus Supremes paired with the Vienza Grenache Rose.  We stepped away from France with this wine and this Rose was definitely on the sweet side.  It made a unique pairing with the Glace.

Throughout the evening we had been entertained by Can Can girls and vocals some from the movie and others from other Moulin Rouge and French inspired movies and musicals.

We strolled out very full into the moonlight through the gardens and then back to our Inn on the hill.  The fire pit on the patio was enticing, but we were sated and sleepy so we collapsed into the comfortable bed and waited to be awoken by the sounds of hot air balloons.

The Amazing and Relaxing Inn at Europa Village

Europa Inn Temecula

On our last trip to Temecula Wine Country, we spoiled ourselves a little and spent one night at The INN at Europa Village.  I highly recommend doing this.  We were in town to taste and go to a wine dinner at Europa Village and figured it would be a convenient time to treat ourselves to a stay at the Inn.  It was an amazing experience.

Europa Inn Temecula

Europa Inn Temecula

The Inn was built in the 80’s by Dick and Betty Ryan and at that time was called Loma Vista Bed and Breakfast.  The Inn offered 10 guest rooms, a 10 person Jacuzzi tub and full gourmet breakfast.  In 2006 Karl and Connie Sweigart bought the Inn and decorated each of the room with a wine theme.  Now owned by the Rancon Group who owns Europa Village it has been beautifully redecorated and is now run by Innkeepers Chef Dean and Nicole.

Europa inn Patio Drink

Europa inn Patio Drink

Chef Dean has an extensive culinary resume and has taught at several culinary institutes.  When we drove up to the Inn, which is situated, on a hill overlooking Europa Village and it’s vineyards, we were greeted by the aromas of a smoker that was cooking up dinner for the evening’s event at Europa Village.  I am very glad we were attending or I would not have been able to keep myself from going downstairs and begging for a bite!  It smelled fantastic.  We entered the Inn and Nicole greeted us and took us on a brief tour of the Inn and then to our room.  We were staying in the Viognier room, which has a balcony and unobstructed views of winery and vineyards.  She started to ask if we would like a white sangria to enjoy on the balcony, when Chef Dean walked in with two for us!  We took their advice to just relax and unwind and sat on the balcony to enjoy the view the sangria and the smell of dinner cooking.

The idea here is peace and serenity. There is a TV in the Main sitting room that is typically turned to a music station.  The rooms themselves are TV free.  The rooms, still named after wine grape varieties range from the Cabernet Sauvignon which is spacious with a private entrance a brick fireplace, Jacuzzi tub for 2 and French doors that open up onto the patio to the Sangiovese which is cozy with a window view of the front courtyard.  Treat yourself to a room with a view here and you can wake up to the sounds of hot air balloons landing behind nearby Callaway.  The rooms are beautiful and serene with beautiful artwork and clean lines all with a European feel.  You will find comfy robes in the closet, which will come in handy for a trip to the 8-person hot tub on the patio.  They also have a fire pit to gather around and watch sunset with a glass of wine.

Morning Coffee with Balloons

Morning Coffee with Balloons

After an amazing dinner at Europa Village prepared by Chef Dean we had a restful night of sleep and awoke in the morning in time to see several balloons landing nearby.  We got up and headed down for breakfast.  There is a community table in the dinning room as well as places set out on the patio.  We grabbed a cup of tea and coffee and found a table with a view on the patio.  As we sipped our beverages and started to wake up, two more hot air balloons flew into view and landed over the hill.

Europe Inn Fruit Salad Plate

Europe Inn Fruit Salad Plate

Chef Dean arrived with our first course of breakfast, which included a bruleed banana over a citrus custard with melon with bee pollen and strawberries in a mojito sugar glaze.  The citrus came from the citrus orchards right on the property.  The rest of the ingredients are sourced locally.  Chef Dean frequents the local family farms.

Europa Inn Breakfast Crepe

Europa Inn Breakfast Crepe

The main course was a Briton style crepe with mushrooms & Gruyere a sunny side up egg with chive oil, a fresh salad arugula and crisp green apples.  There was also a crème sauce for the crepe with fennel pollen.  I’m sure I’m leaving something out.  It was really delicious.  We stayed loitering not wanting to leave.  The roses were in bloom the morning was beautiful…I really could have stayed forever.

As we left, they said to come back.  We will…  I have this tucked away now as my rejuvenation center.  Thanks Nicole and Chef Dean for an amazing stay.

Lumiere – a truly beautiful small winery

Lumiere Winery

Continuing on with our Wine country adventures, About a year ago a co-worker came back from a trip to Temecula Wine Country and told me that they had tasted at Lumiere Winery.

Lumiere Banner

Lumiere Banner

The friend he was traveling with knew the winemaker.  I, being a Temecula wine  junkie, researched the winery to find that they are very small, family run and the tasting room is only open on weekends.  Our last trip allowed us to be in Temecula on a Friday, so we took a chance and drove up to the tasting room, which is on the North side of Calle Contento Road.  There is a banner for Lumiere posted at the end of their drive.  It’s a beautiful drive up to the ridge that the tasting room and winery sit on.  The tasting room is a beautifully renovated 3-car garage.

Lumiere View from Tasting room

Lumiere View from Tasting room

It has windows on both sides looking out onto the vineyards.  We didn’t see anyone and stepped around outside to see the view outback, when a back door opened and a woman asked if we needed some help.  This woman is the owner, Martha Kleiner.  She and her husband bought the vineyard in 1987 from the Barlin Family who planted Sauvignon Blanc here in 1980.  Her son Andrew grew up coming out to the vineyard every weekend and is now the winemaker.  He and his mother run the entire place.

They are doing landscaping and putting in a small deli so people can grab something to eat on the weekends.

The tasting room view as you stand at the bar is through the eucalyptus trees and out onto the vineyard.  It’s really peaceful and beautiful. They have picnic tables on the patio, so it’s perfect for bringing a picnic and buying a bottle of wine.

Lumiere Cork Art on Wall

Lumiere Cork Art on Wall

The tasting room itself it beautiful with clean lines and beautiful woods and a lovely piece of cork art created by a local artist, that they submitted in the cork competition for the annual WOW (World of Wine) weekend.

Lumiere Winery Patio

Lumiere Winery Patio

We began wine tasting and Martha told us a little about the vineyard and the plans they have for it.  Being small, growth is slow.  As she told us about purchasing and working the vineyards back in the early 80’s I mentioned that I had just picked up a book on Temecula wine country.  She remembered writing and essay and giving pictures to the author.  Michael ran out to the car and brought the book back in for her to see.  At the time they started the vineyard, the valley was much smaller in a community sense and everyone knew everyone.  She knows Vincent and Audrey Cirluzo as well as Bud and Maurice Van Roekel.  They were all starting out at the same time.  Soooo much history here.  It was truly an honor to speak with her.

The wines are unique.  They have a Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc as well as a late harvest Sav Blanc.  Their “Bail out Blanc” was made in 2007 and has 1% residual sugar.  We also tasted their 2006 Merlot.  In making this wine they did punch downs by hand then it was 2 years in the barrel.  This is free run juice; the skins and seeds are not pressed.  They use barrels with French and American oak staves.  Their 2006 “Romantic Fantasy” is 90% Merlot and 10% Cab Franc.  It is hard pressed with the skins and seeds.  Their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is done in new American 70 Gallon Barrels.  It was the top choice in a blind tasting at a local vineyard meeting.

The 2006 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc was picked at 27 Brix and has 4.5% residual sugar.  It was fermented in steel at 29 degrees for 6 months and it has a lovely brightness.  The “Voulez Vous” their sparkling Sav Blanc has a nice tartness.

This is really a wonderful peaceful stop.  If you are in Temecula on a wine travel weekend, don’t miss it.  And tell Martha that we say hello!

Chapin Family Vineyards – Incredible service with a smile and a story

Chapin barrels on Porch

 

It’s always a joy to walk into a tasting room, for a wine tasting, be warmly welcomed and find that you have someone pouring for you that loves to talk about his or her winery and obviously loves the wines.  Such was the case when we arrived early on a Friday morning to the Chapin Family Vineyards tasting room.  We were the first to arrive that morning and as we walked in Leroy greeted us and offered us a spot at the tasting bar.

The Chapin Family Vineyard is the furthest Winery and Vineyard on Rancho California Road.  Located next to Doffo, the winery property is filled with palm trees, the owner Steve’s first love.

While they do not grow grapes for white wines here at this point, they do work with a winery in Marche, Italy where they import their Passerina white wine.  This wine has a golden color and is dry with mineral notes as well as floral notes, apricot and peach with a small hint of spice.

As we tasted the 2009 Syrah, Leroy filled us in on the history of the winery.  The Chapin Family (Steve’s parents) bough the property here and the property across the street where Doffo now stands in 1980.  It was 15 years later as they watched vineyards pop up all over the valley when they decided to plant some grapes.  They now grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Montepulciano, Petite Verdot and Viognier.  (Yes I know Viognier is a white wine and I said they didn’t grow those.  They only grow enough Viognier to add to their red blends). The Montepulciano is scattered throughout the vineyard.  You will notice blue tags on vines indicating that is it is this variety.  The Syrah borders the vineyards.

As we tasted the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is delicious with fruit and chocolate, decidedly low tannins and very approachable, Leroy filled us in on vineyard techniques.  They use a single cordon method here to intensify the flavors.  Leroy asked us to think of the vine as the trunk, as it grows it sends out a branch, which in double cordon growing would spread out to the opposite side of the original trunk.  Here they clip that branch working only with the trunk itself.  They do all hand picking here and carefully destem all fruit.

The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon was 75% Cabernet, 10% Petite Verdot for some color (inking they call this) and 15% Zin for zing. This is lighter and leaner than the 2009 and slightly less complex.  2008 was a wet year with less sun on the grapes and the grapes were juicier and less intense.  They think of this wine as a more Bordeaux style wine.

The 2010 Merlot had just been release a month before and was still young but you can see the potential.  This is only the 2nd Merlot they have done.  It is spicy with red fruit and cedar, medium tannins and a little mocha.  This wine was made from sourced fruit, as they do not yet grow Merlot.

Their 2010 Zinfandel is medium bodied with bright spice and light tannins.  You get big fruit up front, no heat (which is great for a Zin) and it has a shorter finish.

The 2009 Chapin Family Summit is a Cabernet based blend with Montepulciano and Merlot.  There is a lovely little bit of barnyard on the nose and a slight herbal quality.  The tannins are deeper and the wine has tartness.

While we were there, two wine club members arrived and Leroy set them up with a glass of wine out on the patio.  They carry Boars Head products in their deli and they picked something out and he plated it for them and took it to them on the patio.  Now that is service!  So many places have a deli and you end up eating out of a plastic container.  Leroy wants you to enjoy your experience, so he takes great care of the people who come in.  They offer to do your tasting on the patio if you prefer.

We next tasted the Marche Rosso, which they bring in from Marche Italy.  A blend of 80% Montepulciano and 20% Syrah, is an example of the style of Montepulciano that they hope to produce.  It  had spice and leather and wet earth on the nose and quite and a bit of depth.  The tannins were tangy and the wine leaves your mouth watering for more.  There was also good tartness on the sides of my tongue.

The last wine we tasted was a Late Harvest Zin Tawny Port, put in port barrels in the sun and do them in a solera style.  You get caramel, but it is not too sweet.  With deep fragrances of hazelnut and brown sugar this was hot on my nose as it is fortified,  but was not hot on the palate.  This is one of the more approachable ports I have had.

Chapin Family Vineyards  a great place for a tasting or just a glass of wine.  Leroy makes you feel pampered making sure that you are comfortable and having a great experience.   The afternoon before the entire patio was filled, so word must be out.  If you are in Temecula Wine Country, don’t miss stopping here.