Category: Wine 101
Spring has Sprung!
William Carlos Williams coined the phrase “In the summer, the song sings itself”. We couldn’t have said it better. Spring may be in full bloom, but the Summertime is a season full of picnic barbecues, vacations, and beach days. Typically, the summertime gears up for a flavorful abundance of fresh vegetables, cold salads, seafood, poultry, and barbecue worthy meat cuts.
Spring is officially in full swing, and we couldn’t be more excited. Springtime in Southern California is a wonderful time of year, the weather is warmer, the air is fresh, the birds are chirping, and the sun stays out to play for a little while longer. For us, that means it’s the perfect time to soak in the gorgeous weather and enjoy some delicious, light, and refreshing spring wines. If you love springtime just like us, then you’ll love what we have in store for you today!
Wilson Creek Winery’s Top 5 Must-Enjoy While Spring is in Bloom into Summer with these popular wines.
First up on our list is a true “white” wine, our variant series white cabernet sauvignon. Yes, you heard that right! A white cabernet sauvignon. While you may be surprised that white wine can be made from a red grape, you’ll be even more surprised at its taste. Packed with aromas of strawberry, melon, and peach this deliciously light and refreshing wine is soft, subtle, and sweet making it the perfect companion to any springtime picnic in the park or summer backyard barbecue dinner with your friends and family, our white cabernet sauvignon is sure to take your festivity to the next level of enjoyment. Pair with spicy Thai dishes or a fruit vinaigrette salad with goat cheese.
Next up on our list is a favorite, not only in the taste but in the name itself. Yes, Dear! A phrase all women like to hear. Not only does the name itself elicit pleasantry, but your taste buds will also be in for a pleasant surprise when you take your first sip of this silky, buttery wine. Packed with flavors of honey crisp apples, hints of warm vanilla, and spice, this fantastic cocktail wine is a perfect wine to enjoy now throughout the summer months with a wide variety of cocktail foods including shrimp, cheeses, and vegetables with dip, or pair with classic roasted chicken.
What’s a top spring wine list without a Wilson Creek favorite?! If you haven’t yet tried our almond sparkling wine, you’ll want to this spring. This gold-medal winning wine is our most popular varietal, and after one sip, you’ll understand why. It’s hard to imagine a sparkling wine being packed with almond notes, but we’ve found the perfect combination of sweet almond marzipan, aromatic bouquets, and notes of caramelized sugar. This sparkling wine is not only popular for weddings, but you will find it pairs well with a perfect picnic spread of brie cheese and petite desserts. You’ll want to bring a bottle of this to your next spring picnic to dazzle your friends. Just be prepared that everyone will love it so much that it’ll quickly become a spring staple
Once spring weather arrives, many wine enthusiasts immediately swap out their reds for lighter Rosés. Unlike other Rosés you may be used to, this sparkling Rosé surprises your taste buds with bursts of strawberry and melon notes. But just like with the other rose wine you know and love, our varietal is refreshing and clean, while only being semi-sweet. While some may say a Rosé compliment any spring or summer meal, try pairing it with a spicy Asian dish or fresh strawberry poundcake to bring out the flavors even more
Just because the warmer weather is slowly arriving, doesn’t mean you can only drink white wines or Rosé. Even in the warmer months, Syrah wines are still able to keep their flavors and pair well with all your staple barbecue foods to enhance the flavors of your food. If you prefer a fruit-forward, earthy red varietal, you’ll love our last pick for a spring and summer wine. Wilson Creek’s Syrah has the attributes of a classic Syrah. You’ll uncover aromas of tobacco, leather, and blackberry and a touch of oak spice flavors with your first sip. Some of us may not be a sommelier or world-renowned chef but have been around long enough to know that certain wine varietals like our Syrah can enhance your foodie experience better than others. Try this wine with charred Tri-tip steak, roasted chicken, tomato-based pasta dishes, and smoked gouda cheese.
Spring is officially in full swing and it’s a wonderful time to start planning into the summer for life’s occasions. The next time you’re charged with grabbing a bottle for your next gathering, try one of these five to wow your friends and family. Each of our wines are packed with unique flavors, so you can’t ever choose a wrong one! We are true believers, the best wine to savor your favorite appetizer, main dish or dessert is the one YOU like.
Shop our wine selection today and grab a bottle or two to enjoy while spring lasts and throughout the summer!
Did you know that there are over 4,700 wineries in California and over 11,000 in the United States? One of the best parts is within every region at every winery, you can have a different wine tasting experience. Your mood, your attitude about what you are looking for and the people you are with can all change that experience.
Visitors often ask: what is better, a sit-down tasting or a stand at the bar type of tasting? We asked our resident Sommelier and Owner, Mick Wilson to give us some insight.
I enjoy vineyard wine tasting. No that is an understatement; I absolutely love vineyard wine tasting. I enjoy it all: bellying up to a wine bar, sitting on a couch outside the winery, or enjoying a tour. The experience I love the most is the sit-down wine tasting experience, where I can taste high level wines with a trained server while I interact with my friends.
Throughout the years, my wife, Deanna, and I traveled a lot with Rosie and Gerry. Every time we visited another winery, we did a sit-down experience. I learned a lot about each region by asking questions. I grew closer to the wines simply by relaxing, tasting and learning about their philosophies and history. Conversely, we have had some fun experiences standing at the bar as well. We have had some darn good wines doing both!
I’ve noticed these differences between the sit-down experience and the stand-up one:
- You feel less rushed with a sit-down tasting: Usually you have around 75-90 minutes to take your time and enjoy the process. I like a timeframe, but a big one, where I don’t feel hurried.
- Interaction: Enjoying wine is all about community. I love the interaction and discussion in a wine tasting. You can get the synergy with both options, but I find it is so much easier than in a sit-down setting.
- Less people with the sit-down experience: I like tasting with up to six people in a small group (two or four is the best). This intimate environment is difficult standing at a bar. If you are feeling a more energetic vibe, I like tasting at a bar. I tend to prefer the smaller amount of people in a quitter setting.
- Engagement with the server: Every time I visit a winery, I want to learn something new. I love it when there is an knowledgeable server who can share with our group the backstory of the winery, the vineyard practices, how the wine is made, what restaurants to go to, and so on. A good server engages and answers questions, but they don’t hover. A good server discerns when to engage and when to let you enjoy your group alone. At a sit-down tasting, the server has more room to move about and visit another table, letting you enjoy your company whereas at the bar you may feel the need to constantly engage with the server and not so much with the person next to you.
- Experiencing the good stuff: Sit-down tastings showcase a winery’s best wines in their best stemware. There often are food pairings or a charcuterie board to use as a wine pairing experience. The server can answer any pairing questions you may have. For the most part, food is not an option at a stand-up bar.
- Reservations: Reservations are only accepted for the sit-down tastings. They work the same way as in a restaurant. I like knowing that there is a table or couch arrangement ready for my group at a particular time. When I arrive my spot is reserved, the glasses are buffed, the wine is ready, and the server is scheduled. Sweet. With a stand-up tasting, you do not have to arrive at a particular time, but you may have a wait.
- Value: I have learned that there is not a big difference from a sit-down tasting versus a stand-up but I do feel you get so much more for your money. You get the crystal stemware to taste out of, the reserve wines, the interaction with a trained server, a quieter room with a view, a place to unwind, and intimate time with your company.
Book Your Wine Tasting Experience
Wilson Creek is excited to be adding another tasting opportunity at our vineyard! Our new sit-down wine tasting experience in our Library Room takes place in an exclusive location on the second floor above the tasting room, tucked away behind our Wine Club Lounge. The view is beautiful! The balcony overlooks the Cabernet Vineyards and you truly feel like you are in a secluded location.
You can enjoy our high-end library wines, and our aged reserve wines that are only available in The Library. Come learn about what makes Temecula wines unique. Our winemaker (Gus), our Vineyard Manager (Greg), as well as myself (Mick), along with other owners and family members will even stop by and make some surprise visits.
To make your vineyard wine tasting reservations for the Library, visit: https://www.wilsoncreekwinery.com/winery/visit-us/
Why Temecula Wineries Like Wilson Creek Are Good For Creating Rose
Grenache Grapes Grown in Temecula
There are two main families of Grenache. There is the French-style Grenache and then the Tinto Grenache out of Spain. Both really like the heat, which makes them great for growing in Temecula. Currently, we have about 3-4 acres of the more traditional Grenache out of France and we just planted 5 acres of Tinto Grenache, which will provide a bit more color and richness and ultimately allow us to create a true varietal Grenache. Grenache is a very versatile grape that can be used as a great blending grape or varietal; it adds a nice essence to each wine it is blended with. It is also a very plentiful grape where we get a lot of yield and that makes it great for creating a lot of exciting wines.
One of the unique aspects of Grenache is that it can be grown in all sorts of climates, but it only truly ripens and gets mature in warmer climates. So, when you see an expression of Grenache in Temecula it is outside of the usual expectation of places where Grenache is harvested. Much of the Grenache we know is from places like Provence where it is harvested when it is younger because many of the wine-growing regions in the world are much further North and it doesn’t have the climate to reach full maturity. This has a lot to do with old world and modern day refrigeration. Old world there were only so many places where you could actually store the wine by digging into the side of a hill and then storing your barrels essentially underground to keep them under the 62-degree threshold necessary to store wine. With modern refrigeration you are now able to grow and preserve wines in varying climates, which allow them to fully mature in growing regions like Temecula.
Why Chardonnay is a Great Grape To Grow in the Temecula Valley Wine Country
Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape in the world. It is adaptable from cool regions like Chablis in the northwestern region of Burgundy or even England to Mediterranean climates like Southern California and Australia. The name comes from the village of Chardonnay, Saône-et-Loire France, and is said to originate from the Latin word for the abundant Thistles in the region, carduus.
Wine Tasting: The Varying Tastes of Chardonnay by Climate
These two extremes in climate define the two major styles of Chardonnay you see in the tasting room. Cool climates have high acid low sugar, low alcohol, citrus fruit of green apple or pear due to the higher concentrations of malic acid. The wines are dry and often are defined by high levels of minerality. Cool region Chardonnays, including many sparkling wines, are essentially harvested underripe giving them high acid and minerality that need to be paired with food.
With warm climate Chardonnay, the malic acid is reduced; it can be either dry or slightly sweet with higher alcohol. The aromas and flavor tend towards citrus and tropical fruit, honey, butterscotch, buttery and nutty oily flavors with a viscous mouthfeel.
Warmer climate chardonnays are also sometimes oaked, a rarity with white wines. An additional process called malolactic fermentation(ML) is also common with oaked chardonnays. ML is a friendly bacteria that convert the naturally occurring grape acid Malic acid to Lactic acid, the same acid in butterfat, that in combination with vanilla from the oak barrels and you get the unique rich ‘creamy buttery quality of warm climate chardonnay
Warm climate Chardonnays are allowed to develop to full ripeness, which created the tropical fruit flavors. The challenge in the vineyard is to allow the fruit to fully ripen while retaining sufficient acid to avoid a “flabby” wine and to have enough malic acid to convert to lactic acid for that classic buttery Chardonnay. Our regenerative farming practices support a biologically active soil that delivers dense plant nutrients including trace minerals that allow the fruit to fully ripen and retain high levels of acid and minerals creating really good wines.
Wilson Creek Winery: Our Temecula Winery Chardonnays
Yes Dear, Chardonnay
100% estate-grown using regenerative farming practices. During the winemaking process, we blend old vine Chardonnay from behind Rosie Wilson’s house, which has a soft tropical fruit-driven flavor with younger blocks of chardonnay that have higher acid and minerality to get the best of both. Yes Dear is a classic California buttery (ML) style of Chardonnay with notes of tropical fruits, ripe melon and butterscotch.
Spring white is a blend of all of our estate Chardonnay, Viognier, and Muscat varietals. With a base of Chardonnay, Viognier adds structure and acid making this a refreshing palate-cleansing wine. Muscat gives roundness and a floral quality while Roussanne creates a long smooth finish. The combination of the very aromatic Muscat with the flavors of Chardonnay and bright refreshing acids and minerality of Viognier create a complex refreshing wine that pairs well with food or as a refreshing summer sipper.
Wilson Creek Winery Vineyard Update
Cab Sauv Block 1 Influresence – The Calyptra has popped off exposing the pistil and stamen, grapes are self-pollinating, which means we are right at the beginning of flowering season. We have injected 1000 gallons of crab meal, fish meal, etc as fertilizers to prepare for the growing season. We will need some supplemental watering as we didn’t get as much precipitation as needed and the cover crop didn’t quite take off, which usually preserves our moisture in the ground. From a temperature standpoint, it’s been pretty cool, which has been a good start so far. The USDA, NRCS & Metropolitan Water District is asking to partner with us because we are seeing a lot of success with low irrigation and high heat in our vineyards.
Wilson Creek Winery – Sparkling Rose
This is a classic french style rose. In France, most roses are from Provence, which is similar to Temecula and is primarily Chardonnay and Grenache, which is almost identical to how we have blended this wine. We added a touch of French Columbarde to the wine and overall we have created a very nice dry sparkling rose. Some wines are great for drinking in an environment, like a sunset and some are great for food. This wine is one of those great ones that is perfect for both.
Right off the nose the aromatics of this wine really bounce out of the glass with a floral bouquet and the hints of strawberry from the Grenache, which is indicative of the way we make this wine. We use a base Chardonnay that is pressed, which is a beautiful grape for Temecula. We then infuse Grenache grapes that we have left the skin on and press that in, which is what gives us the wonderful taste and color. This is very similar to our Brut in that it is a traditional dry French-style wine. The subtle hint of fruit and aromatics on this makes it a great wine to introduce people who normally don’t like dry wines and they will love it. This will pair well with a fruit salad: honeydew melons, strawberries, cantaloupe, etc.
Wilson Creek Winery – 2019 Viognier
A Rhone Varietal that is grown in the north of rhone. In Temecula, it truly matures, very floral with a hint of white flowers and fruit-driven with subtle tastes of apricot, pitted fruit, peach, honeydew melon with a great balance. This would pair well with seafood and food with spice to it, it neutralizes and works well with Capsaicin. As a varietal, it doesn’t have high tannins because we harvest it sooner.
Viognier is tough to get to maturity, but when it’s ripe it’s beautiful. The Viognier is the last of our whites that we harvest because it does take so much to get it to maturity. This year’s Viognier is really a perfect balance of the past few years in terms of dry and sweet. It pairs really well with sweet peppers, paprika, and mustard flavoring. This is not good to pair with spicy food, because it does have a higher alcohol content.
Wine Fun Fact: In the Rhone Valley, there is an area called the Condrieu, which is the only appellation in France where you are able to produce 100% Viognier or Viognier blends.
How long would you store this: The reason to store a wine typically is to allow the tannins to break down and drive additional characteristics to the wine. With grapes the longer it stays on the vine the more the skin (tannin) of the grape develops. Since it does not develop particularly thick skins this is not a wine that we would suggest typically holding. Max is 2 years. It will develop a more “round” characteristic to it with a bit of storage. Heat, Light, and Movement are the biggest factors that will age your wines faster and to the detriment of the wine. Don’t put your wine above the Fridge!!!! Underneath a staircase in a long deep dark closet is perfect.
Q – This wine tastes sweet, but you have described it as dry – why is that?
A – The Residual Sugar on this is less than .05% – however, it does have a lot of fruit characteristics which make it appear sweet.
Wilson Creek Winery – 2019 Roussanne
A meaty and beefy, white wine. More dense ripe fruit, rich, melons, mandarin oranges, and even a hint of spice – cumin and coriander. If you like Chardonnay then this might make a nice transition into a different wine. Thials – Thick mouth feels – makes for interesting aging.
It’s problematic and needs lots of attention. We are typically ½ done with reds and then come back and get the Roussanne. We actually spray down the Roussanne with catlinite clay in the vineyard to ensure that it can stand the 105-degree temperatures later in the growing season.
Really wants to be paired with Food: White Pepper or Indian Food – Not heat spicy, but more of an aromatic food. Really treads the line of Palate Cleanser and Complimentary Wine to go well with a dish like an herbed chicken, black pepper in a white sauce.
Wilson Creek Winery – Non-Vintage Ecclesia-Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Named after a group of greek politicians – that would get together and share knowledge and have a good time together.
- Cab Sav – 51%
- Petite Syrah- 19%
- Malbec – 14%
- Tannat – 6%
It’s a beautiful mix of young and new fruit It’s incredibly thoughtful, so we would recommend opening it up earlier than you plan on drinking it to allow it to breathe.
Blends are like groups of friends and cultures, the more the better and this wine is no different. The non-vintage blend allows us to really have a wonderful mix of young and old fruit, which creates this very interesting variation of a wine that smells different than it tastes. It’s incredibly thoughtful, so we would recommend opening it up earlier than you plan on drinking it to allow it to breathe. Chocked full of dark fruit and earthy flavors: cooked strawberries, cherry, jam, tar, pencil shavings, with a bit of petrichor the smell after the rain.
This is a wine that will need to open up a bit, decanting may even be a good idea for this. At the very least try and open the bottle about 10-15 minutes before drinking.
Food Pairings: Beef Bourguignon, Mushroom Burgers,
This is very comparable to Double Dog and at a lower price point. – Like Greg’s Perineese that he is training to bring sheep in the vineyard.
More about Tannat: Tannat is the last grape we harvest every summer and is historically grown in South West France in the Madiran AOC, which is very close to Bordeaux. There are two very different types of Tannat grapes: Clones 1-4 are the old school blenders very bitter, very tannic, very colorful. We have a few blocks of these currently. Clones 5-8 is the new world style that is more likely to deliver a full varietal. We just planted 5 blocks of this and in 5 years we will have something very special to look forward to.
Wine Club BBQ is in August – 3 day event!!