KAY'S WINE BLOG
Several varietals of wine ready to taste with their wine bottles in the background
Varietals - the Spice of Life
Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Been there, done that.  Yawn.  Same old same old.  When navigating wine preferences, these are the middle-of-the-road crowd’s easy answers.  And, yes, they are my own glass-fillers on most evenings when I want to be soothed, not challenged.  But there are times when one must liven up one’s life.  Titillate one’s taste buds.  Provoke one’s palate. Do you love the tannic bomb that is Cabernet Sauvignon?  Yep, so do I.  The bold “King of Grapes” is known for ripe black and red fruits and herbaceous notes, and pairs easily with hearty, rich dishes.    But if ... Continue reading...
Low angle looking up at rows of vineyards with blue skies
Temecula Valley's 25th Annual Harvest Celebration
Wine, Food, Wine, Food, Repeat.  That's my plan for November 8 when Temecula wineries celebrate the completion of harvest with a cornucopia of tastiness.   The Celebration turns 25 years old this year, and marks its quadranscentennial with three "you've never seen this before" experiences.  The three trailblazing happenings? Sampling in subterranean style at Oak Mountain Winery, tasting like the rich and famous at Carter Estate Winery, and venturing off the beaten winery path to the appointment-only production facility of Baily Winery.    Caves are cool, literally.  Sequestering wine barrels ... Continue reading...
Food truck parked in vineyards at Lorimar Winery in Temecula Valley Wine Country
Food and Wine Love Affair
(Part One of Many... chronicling Temecula Valley's unique bounty of vineyard dining) "If you fall in love with something, put everything into it." That's what Chef Oscar Escatel tells me when I run into him at Pairings, the gourmet food truck parked among the vines at Lorimar Winery in Temecula.   A bit later, he proudly presents his Goat and Fig Flatbread. Crumbled goat cheese, shaved prosciutto, caramelized onions and dried figs finished with creme fraiche and a generous sprinkle of fresh arugula. I take a greedy bite. Delish! Lorimar's 2012 Chardonnay pairs perfectly, just as Chef Oscar ... Continue reading...
dramatic angle from below of Pinot Noir Red Wine Grapes in Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara Pinot-Palooza
Feeling good about your grape coaxing skills?  If not, don't bother trying to make a noteworthy Pinot Noir.   “Pinot needs constant care and attention... it can only grow in these really specific, little tucked-away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only someone who really takes the time to understand pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression.” That’s how Miles explained to Maya his appreciation of Pinot Noir’s unique challenges – and its sublime incarnations – in the 2004 movie Sideways. Bam!!! Central Coast sales ... Continue reading...
Tablet set for wine tasting in the winery cave of Eberly Winery in Paso Robles, CA
Beneath Paso Robles Wine Country
Wine caves.  If I hear about one, I want to explore it.  Is it a caveman thing?  Once down below, I imagine myself secure from roving saber-toothed tigers, sipping a jammy Paso Zin, careful not to spill on my Woolly Mammoth accent rug.   Whatever the cause, my fascination with wine caves is undeniable and enduring.  I will always remember my first (Kunde in Sonoma Valley).  I fondly recall my most recent (Oak Mountain in Temecula Valley).  And I eagerly anticipate my next (where? when? dunno).   In Paso Robles Wine Country, I have gone subterranean at three wineries:  Eberle, Robert Hall, and ... Continue reading...
Perfect rows of vineyards on a spring day in Sonoma Valley Wine Country
Sonoma Valley and the Heritage of California Wine
Located just 45 minutes north of San Francisco, Sonoma Valley is a picturesque wine region combining world-renowned wines with inviting country charm.  But it rarely receives the credit it deserves for its role in in establishing Northern California as a world class wine region - in large part because neighboring Napa Valley stepped into the international spotlight after besting French wines in the famous 1976 “Judgement of Paris.” But a glimpse at the history of California wine reveals that Sonoma Valley is unmatched in its role as California’s pioneering region for premium winemaking.  ... Continue reading...
newly planted vineyards at first light in Temecula Valley
Three Temecula Wineries You've Never Heard Of (but you should have)
Sure, you've probably heard of venerable Callaway Winery, whose wines first gained national attention when served to the Queen of England at a White House Dinner. Maybe you've toasted a new bride and groom with Wilson Creek's ubiquitous Almond Champagne. And surely you know something about all-encompassing South Coast Winery Resort and Spa, a three-time California Winery of the Year.  But few know the full diversity of Temecula Valley Wine Country. It's difficult to keep up. During the past decade, the number of Temecula wineries has increased by an average of two per year, and now you can ... Continue reading...