Temecula Wine Review Council and WINEormousOn an April afternoon in Temecula, it felt more like a summer day than early spring. The temperature hovered near 90 degrees, the sun was shining brightly and we gathered for another get-together of the Temecula Wine Review Council.

Linda Kissam, president of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association unearthed a treasure to share with us; a magnum of 2004 Filsinger Brut Champagne. Filsinger shuttered its doors more than five years ago. We all wondered how this bottle had stood the test of time. I was assigned the task of removing the cork. Much to my surprise the cork came out intact without a lot of coaxing. Poured into our glasses, the color was deep golden. I smelled it. Hmmm, pretty nice. When I took a sip it was clear it wasn’t going to get any better, but it had held up surprisingly well after 14 years.

WINEormous wine review councilWe poured the next wine, 2016 Rosé from VieVité Côtes de Provence. I love a good rosé and this was superb. A beautiful copper, salmon color in the glass, this wine has a soft nose of cherries and strawberries. This wine is very food friendly and a perfect accompaniment to triple crème Brie, fresh berries and the smoked salmon and the lemon crème fraîche finger sandwiches Sue and Todd brought. It sells for a surprisingly low $20. The bottle itself is a work of art.

Our wine journey brought us to the Basque region of Spain and the 2016 Zuri Getariako Txakolina. It’s a bright, crisp wine with lots of green apple on the nose. Another food friendly wine, it played nicely with pistachios and dark cherries on goat cheese and with the Thai green curry I brought. It’s another budget-friendly wine that you should be able to find for about $20.

WINEormous Thai green curryWe tasted two Sangrias from JOYA. The white Sangria is made in Spain from the Airen grape. At 12% alcohol, its slogan is made for grown-ups. It’s not overly sweet, but you can definitely taste the fruit in it. The red Sangria is a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Bobal grapes. If you add a splash to the white you get a rosé. All three are ideal for a warm afternoon. I was pleased to see how well the Thai green curry paired with the Sangria. This refreshing beverage sells for about $12.

Our international journey took us to Chile for the 2014 Montes Classic Series Cabernet Sauvignon. With cherries on the nose, this wine was a little tannic for my palate, but I think in will smooth out in a year or so. It paired very well with dark chocolate. At about $12 or less, this is a bottle you might want to consider stocking up on.

WINEormous wine review councilWe ended with a bottle of Sweetgrass Winery Apple Cranberry wine from Maine. Linda and I visited this charming winery several years ago with a group of writers from the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. I was pleasantly surprised by how nicely tart this wine was and loved how well it went with the Thai green curry. It sells for $12.

Tom Plant launched WINEormous, a food, wine and travel blog in 2009 and is a long-time member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Based in Temecula, California, he offers intimate winery tours for no more than seven people. He is a three-time recipient of the best tour award from the Luxury Travel Guide in Birmingham, England. Tour details and pricing are available at www.temecula-tours.com. Call now to book your Temecula Winery Tour at (951) 907-9701! Ask about special discounts.