The setting this time was idyllic. We met at the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, perched upon a hill east of Temecula. This time is was just four of us: Linda, Sue, Todd and me. Having just returned from Idaho, I brought some tasty alderwood smoked rainbow trout from Clear Springs Farms and prepared a beef bruschetta using a recipe from the Live – Eat – Local cookbook from the Idaho Department of Agriculture. Sue brought my favorite cheese, Le Delice de Bourgogne from Trader Joe’s, Todd prepared beef meatballs in Marsala sauce and Linda brought a tasty pumpkin chocolate chip bread.
We began our tasting with Pepi‘s 2012 California Pinot Grigio. I loved its expressive nose, bright acids, balance and mouth-feel. Its finish lingered and it paired beautifully with the Le Delice as well as the trout. It’s a very food friendly wine and a great bargain at $10.
Next up was the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from Tin Roof. I picked up a lot of citrus on the nose. I enjoyed the round mouth-feel and it was a wonderful match with the Le Delice (again!), the bruschetta and the meatballs. Surprising for a white. Another exceptional value at $10.
Moving on to the reds, we tried another offering from Tin Roof, their 2010 Merlot. The nose reminded me of cranberries, so I think this would be an ideal Thanksgiving wine. I got tart cherry and Jolly Rancher on the palate and loved how it paired with the meatballs, bruschetta and again, the Le Delice. Expect to pay about $11.
Shannon Ridge Winery is in Lake County and we tasted their 2009 Wrangler Red, a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Barbera, Mourvedre and Tempranillo. This fruit forward wine had plums on the nose, was light bodied and had an average finish. It paired well with the meatballs, but I honestly felt it was better on its own. It’s priced at $18.
The next offering was from Napa County, 2010 Stags Leap Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon. This was a massive wine and it clearly needed time in the glass to open up. After some swirling, it presented a true Cabernet nose. It’s drinking beautifully now and it paired very well with beef, but I would recommend buying this and holding on to it for a year or two before opening it. Your patience will be rewarded. It sells for about $49.
Finally, Linda offered us a real treat – Buena Vista’s 1999 Tokaji Aszu. The Tokaji Aszu grape hails from Hungary and this is a botrytis wine. Its amber color is enticing and the nose is so complex, clearly exhibiting the noble rot. Sweet and rich, I knew it was a perfect match for Le Delice and it was. Linda’s pumpkin chocolate chip bread also paired extremely well with this stunning wine. Suggested retail is $75.
You can buy many of the wine selections featured here at http://www.winechateau.com/