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It’s been a hectic (in a good way) week. I figured that rather than try to post several different articles, I would give you some of the week’s highlights. Last Sunday, Laura and I hopped into the new WINEormous-mobile (2010 Toyota Sienna) and headed to Santa Monica for the Rhone Rangers tasting event. Forty wineries from across California poured their finest Rhones: Syrahs, Viogniers, Mourvedres, Rousannes and Grenaches as well as some excellent blends. The Rhone Rangers hold annual tastings in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The events are a must for any serious lover of Rhone varietals.

Shelbi Wilson from Jada Vineyards was pouring their Mirror and XCV wines, and also offered SanTasti, a palate cleansing beverage that neutralizes your palate and removes tannins. I was amazed at how well it worked. There was also a nice assortment of antipasti.

Neil Roberts - Clavo


On Wednesday I accepted an invitation to have lunch at Thornton Winery with a group from IFWTWA, the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. This was an excellent opportunity for us to network with other writers and spend time with Executive Winemaker Don Reha, President Steve Thornton and Executive Chef Steve Pickell. We enjoyed lunch in the Champagne Caves, an excellent roasted tomato, artichoke and prosciutto tartine (recipe here) followed by a ginger and peach tartlet with Moscato Sabayon and blackberries. The food was accompanied by Thornton’s ’06 Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc and the ’08 Moscato.

After lunch we toured the Temecula Creek Inn with sales manager Laurie Miller. The Inn is nestled in the hills of South Temecula. The lobby has been extensively remodeled, with a magnificent fireplace, granite counters and computer workstations. The views are spectacular. We walked the grounds and looked at three rooms, including a Junior Suite. The rooms were all spacious with views, pillow top mattresses and iPod ready stereos and flat screen TVs. I will return soon to do a review of the Inn’s Temet Grill.

I spent yesterday at Keyways Winery for two tapings of “Catch The Spirit – Cooking With California Wine”. Look for a post very soon along with some recipes.

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