Category: Wine Musings
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.
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!!
Due to the amount of time we have all been spending at home, do you find yourself binge watching movies or a TV series? Sometimes you need just a bit more help deciding these days. Below are some movie pairing suggestions directly from our winemaker expert, Gus.
Viognier has a light straw color with fresh fruit aromas of apricot, peach, honeydew melon and guava, with a floral background.
MOVIE: ROMANTIC COMEDY. The lighthearted nature with a background of fruitiness makes this wine the perfect pairing to a romantic comedy. The movie and wine should be paired in the early evening with light movie snacks.
2018 TANK 15 ZINFANDEL
This supple Zinfandel reveals aromatic notes of sweet red fruit, oak and spice. Layers of cherry, blackberry, and raspberry cascade over well incorporated oak and fine tannins on the finish.
MOVIE: PIRATE MOVIE. Pair this wine with your favorite pirate movie like “Pirates of the Caribbean”. This wine is a treasure chest of flavor with layers of fruit, spice and oak. Think of Blackbeard when aromas of blackberry cascade like the surf in your palate.
Malbec possesses a clean, clear delicate fruit reminiscent of blackberries. Tannins are soft but controlled adding to the wines structure. Subtle light tones of American and French Oak-vanilla.
MOVIE: AMERICAN HISTORICAL. This wine is aged in both American and French oak barrels making this wine well suited for movies featuring the American or French revolutions.
2018 DOUBLE DOG
Named after the Wilson Creek dogs seen at the winery as well as the two distinct grapes that were used in making this wine Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. A balance of fruit and spicy notes with a long silky finish.
MOVIE: DOG MOVIE. It goes without saying but this wine is a natural pairing with dog movies, Lassie Come Home, Ol’Yeller, etc.
2017 PETITE SIRAH
Petite Sirah presents supple aromas and flavors of blackberry, herbal and ripe plum with undertones of black pepper. It is dry and soft with supple tannins and well-integrated American Oak.
MOVIE: HORROR MOVIE. This wine is deep and very red perfect for your favorite horror movie. Serve it slightly chilled at midnight while watching a chilling horror movie.
2017 CABERNET FRANC
A full-flavored Cabernet Franc with a long and lingering finish. This wine distinct aromas of oak marked perfume and spice under-notes on the nose. The palate has pronounced layers of blackberry, spice, oak, and nutmeg.
MOVIE: FOREIGN LANGUAGE MOVIE. Pair this wine with foreign movies that have subtitles. Enjoy a few sips then read the back label on the bottle. Repeat this step throughout the movie. This pairing will help you understand a foreign language.
- People, people, people! Goldens light up and smile when they see people. A day wine tasting is about the connections with friends and family, not just good wine. So, like a golden, love others unconditionally and, if need be, quickly forgive a friend if they get mad at you (a wet kiss is optional).
- Sniff, lick and move on: Drink the kind of wines you like. Be alright with that. If someone wants you to drink something totally different, maybe give it a lick/taste and then kindly decline. To give our retriever some medicine we put a small pill in her dinner. She would eat everything and leave just the pill in the bowl. Now THAT is a good palate.
- Take short sniffs. Why do dogs do this? We humans take big, long sniffs. Dog’s noses have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses. We have about 6 million. Try taking 2-3 quick sniffs of a glass of wine and see if you can detect more aromas. You’d be surprised.
- Take a nap. Could this be the secret of contentment for dogs? After a busy day of wine tasting, a nap can recharge your batteries. A recent study says a 20-30-minute nap is the perfect length.
- Drink water: Dogs seem to lap up a lot of water. When you drink wine, the rule of thumb is to drink a 12-ounce bottle of water for every glass of wine. You will enjoy the day (and the next morning) much more when you are hydrated.
- Lie down in the shade when you can. There’s something about finding a spot of grass in the cool shade. Don’t rush from place to place. Maybe just chill out at one location for a bit.
- Wear your dog tags. Bring your I.D. to each place. Don’t leave your wallet or purse in the car (break-ins happen). And if you drank too much and get lost, someone can check your “tags” and call someone for you.
- Let someone feed you. When wine tasting, enjoy a lunch at a nearby restaurant. Let someone do the cooking and serve you!
- Don’t drive. Dogs love to be a passenger. If you have been drinking, get an Uber or have a designated driver. This way you don’t end up in the dog pound. If you are the passenger, maybe stick your head out the window a little bit. Why not?
- Leave your worries at home for the day: Dogs aren’t anxious about tomorrow, or what they will eat, or where they will sleep. Dogs exist in the now.
- Don’t just go to the inside of tasting rooms. Walk through a vineyard and look at the vines, the soil, the birds. Take it all in. Breathe. Chasing rabbits or digging for gophers is optional.
– Mick Wilson
Believe it or not there is a right and wrong way of storing your wine! Wine is a very delicate thing that can easily be turned into vinegar… ew no thank you!
So you want to save your wine for a special occasion or a rainy day, here are the do’s and don’ts of storing wine at home.
Temperature control is super important. At the correct temp between 50 – 58 degrees your wines will be happily resting for as long as you’d like. If you don’t have a cool and dark wine nook or wine fridge, you can always keep them in your closet. Attics, garages, and above the washing machine are all off limits. Don’t keep your wine in the kitchen unless you have a wine fridge (away from the dishwasher). We say this because too much temperature fluctuation can cause your wine to become cooked and also speed up the aging process.
You always want to store bottles on their sides. If they are screw cap then you don’t have to worry about that, because the purpose is to keep the cork from drying out. If the cork gets dried out, too much air can get into the bottle and lead to oxidization. Once wine oxidizes there’s nothing you can really do to save it.
Follow these tips and you’ll never have to worry about your wine going bad, whether you’re opening a bottle for tonight’s dinner, next week, or a few years down the line.