Tag Archives: Thanksgiving Wine Guide
Posted on May 26, 2021 in Wine 101
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.
Posted on May 13, 2021 in Wine & Food, Wine 101, Wine Musings
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!!
Posted on May 11, 2021 in Recipes
Wilson Creek is well known for our selection of Sparkling Wines, our most popular being our Almond Sparkling Wine! Our Sparkling Wines now consist of Watermelon, Limoncello, Peach Bellini, Coconut, Sangria, Rosé, and Orange Mimosa! All these flavors have become very popular over the years with more and more guests coming to the winery and requesting their favorite mix or even making them at home!
Here are a few ideas on how to make your favorite Sparkling Wine recipes come to life at home!
RECIPES TO MAKE WITH OUR ORANGE MIMOSA SPARKLING WINE
Orange Mimosa with pomegranate liquor, garnish with orange slice
Orange Mimosa with chocolate liquor
Orange Mimosa with pomegranate liquor and raspberry
Orange Mimosa and lemonade
Orange Mimosa and ginger liquor
Acai berry liquor and top with Orange Mimosa
Orange Mimosa with curacao and add lemon juice
Orange Mimosa and cherry brandy with a dash of Bitters
MOON over MIMOSA (Beermosa)
Orange Mimosa with Blue Moon or Shock Top (Belgium White Ale)
RECIPES TO MAKE WITH OUR ALMOND SPARKLING WINE
Almond Sparkling Wine, chocolate liquor and add coconut rum
CHAMPAGNE SHERBET PUNCH
Almond Sparkling Wine, mix with raspberry and Midori, top with whipped cream
Almond Sparkling Wine and strawberry liquor
Almond Sparkling Wine and raspberry liquor
Almond Sparkling Wine and Crème de Cassis
PIMM’S ALMOND ROYALE
Almond Sparkling Wine with Pimm’s # 1, garnish with a lemon peel
CHANEL No 6
Almond Sparkling Wine, raspberry liquor, vodka and add pineapple juice
Almond Sparkling Wine with strawberry Liquor and add aged rum
Almond Sparkling Wine and an Imperial Porter
RECIPES WITH OUR PEACH BELLINI
Acai Berry liquor and top with Peach Bellini
Stella Artois with Peach Bellini
RECIPES WITH OUR COCONUT SPARKLING WINE
A LOTA COLADA
Coconut Sparkling Wine and pineapple juice
Posted on April 21, 2021 in Uncategorized, Wine 101
One year ago, on earth Day 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 shut down, I stood in the vineyard under clear skies, a complete lack of smog with the snow-covered mountains in the background so clear as to almost seem like I was looking at them through binoculars. I mentioned that events like this allow us to give pause and think about the potential quality of life for ourselves and all beings if we learn to make better decisions through a better perspective.
The cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, as a young man, auditioned for the first time in front of Pablo Casals, perhaps the most famous cellist of all time. After he audition Pablo Casals told the young Yo-Yo Ma his playing was good and then offered some advice. He said that he sees himself first and foremost as a human, secondly as a musician, and finally as a cellist. He then he added but don’t forget to make time for baseball.
Earth Day is not necessarily about the earth but rather, what does it mean to be human? The word “human” comes from the Latin “humus” referring to the earth or soil. We still use the term humus to describe the living organic fraction of the soil. The Greeks knew that we are not from this earth we are of this earth. Modern life often leaves us separated from the natural world, separated from our origins.
Change your perspective, change the outcome.
One year ago, I asked why are we so willing to settle for this lower quality of life? What we do to the earth, we do to ourselves, our children and all our fellow creatures large and small. If we have the perspective that we either can have a high quality of life or a robust economy that is the choice we will have. If we have the perspective that we can have a robust economy because of our demand for a high quality of life that is the choice we will have.
As we return to the “new normal” I hope we return a little more human, a little more empathetic, a little more true to who we are, where we came from and where we are going.
I look forward to a future of regenerating ecosystems, economies, and communities where we can enjoy a baseball game under crystal clear blue skies with a glass of regenerative wine.
All the best for Earth Day 2021,
– Greg and the Vineyard Team
Posted on February 17, 2021 in Recipes
Skip the store-bought and make strawberry shortcake from scratch! This mouthwatering Strawberry Shortcake is such a fun, easy dessert and so delicious. Layer your biscuits with juicy strawberries and fresh whipped cream for a new spring favorite dessert!
Pairs well with our 2019 Spring White
- 6–7 cups quartered strawberries
- 1/4 cup & 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or buttermilk
- Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
Place the strawberries and the sugar in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Make the biscuits: Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the cubed butter and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter. Pour buttermilk on top. Fold everything together with a rubber spatula. Pour the dough onto a floured surface and bring together with floured hands. Flatten into a thick rectangle with floured hands or rolling pin. Cut into 3-inch circles with a biscuit cutter.
Arrange on a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Brush the tops with 2 tablespoons heavy cream or buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before assembling.
Make the whipped cream: Beat the heavy cream, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until peaks form, about 3 minutes. Slice the biscuits in half and layer with strawberries and whipped cream. Serve immediately.
Posted on January 7, 2021 in Wine Musings
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.
Posted on December 22, 2020 in About
Shushi Shiraga, the Founder & CEO of a wine e-commerce startup SoCalization Inc (Tokyo, Japan |www.socalization.com ), was a regular customer at Wilson Creek during his 7 years of life in San Diego, working as an expat, then studying as a grad-student. He became interested in wine because of Wilson Creek’s signature Almond Sparkling.
SoCalization Shushi at Wilson Creek
In 2019, as he graduates from Sports MBA program at San Diego State University, he went back to Japan to work as a consultant to projects at Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
However, something was missing for him. It just felt wrong. Living a happy, stress-free life in a SoCal city changed his perspective so much. A workaholic, who was on international conference calls regularly until midnight, questioned “Why are people in Japan working so late?”, “Why are people here not enjoying their personal life?”, “Why are people not having a quality time with their family?”. He was culture-shocked to his own country.
That feeling just got stronger and stronger, every time he recalled receiving unconditional love and support from his American “family”, a Christian family in San Diego who had been accepting international students to live together at their home.
Shushi was intrinsically entrepreneurial as he built his career at start-ups prior to MBA degree. However, if he was to build a company, he wanted to do something impactful to the society. So, he founded SoCalization, to promote relaxed and loving SoCal people’s value to Japan through SoCal food culture.
“I need an ‘Ace’ product…” Shushi thought. Something that is unique and has potential to become nationally popular but also represents SoCal value. Wilson Creek Almond Sparkling wine, he thought. He flew back to San Diego and drove to Temecula without an appointment with us (Wilson Creek), January 2020. We welcomed his passion and agreed to do business once he incorporates and receives necessary licenses.
He came back with them, but the pandemic hits the US. With both of us patiently and carefully checking off the boxes, Almond Sparkling Wine landed to Japan for the first time in October 2020!
Almond Sparkling is gradually gaining awareness and served at wine bars in Tokyo. Shushi and SoCalization promote family-first value to Japan through the taste of Almond Sparkling – like the “stick” of cuttings clones and shares Wilson Creek’s founding values through their branches and vines.
For former SoCal-residents in Japan, below is the direct link to purchase our Almond Sparkling wine in Japan from SoCalization! (English check out process available from link below.)
For those of you moving to Japan, now you know where to get us! 😉
Celebrating his brother’s birthday at the first restaurant in Tokyo to serve Almond Sparkling
Posted on December 1, 2020 in Giving Back
Wilson Creek Winery’s chosen charity for the holiday season is Oak Grove Center.
The Holidays are a time for family and friends, a time when many people think of Joy and Hope. Yet, for a child living in foster care, the Holidays can be heartbreaking with constant reminders of broken homes and families lost. Oak Grove Center is asking for your consideration to help provide gifts for the 76 Residential Youth. Your support can help bring the youth joy and hope, and reminds them that they are valued.
Here is how you can help:
Bring in an item from the list below and be entered into a drawing to receive an amazing gift from Wilson Creek!
Gifts accepted from December 1st-December 18th.
Posted on November 17, 2020 in Recipes
Gather your ingredients and learn how to prepare Kurobuta Pork Shank Colcannon with Chef Steve. Ryan McCormick pairs this delicious recipe with our Bourbon Barrel Zinfandel and Bill Wilson joins the cooking fun as the official taste tester!
You can view Chef Steve’s Cooking Demo on YouTube here:
KUROBUTA PORK SHANK COLCANNON (3-4 servings)
Pair with Bourbon Barrel Zinfandel
2 Kurobuta pork shank
Kosher salt & white pepper, or your favorite bbq rub
1 Tablespoon canola oil
½ cup Sliced leeks
1 cup green cabbage, cooked al dente and cut into 1” pieces(can be done 1 day ahead)
3 cups of mashed potato
2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
For the pork, season liberally with salt & pepper or bbq rub. Smoke in a smoker or roast in an oven slow and low until the meat can be shred. Shred the meat from the bone. This can be done 1-2 days ahead. If pork shanks are not available, you can substitute por shoulder.
For the Colcannon, heat the oil in a pan. Add leeks and cook until tender. Add cabbage and pork and cook until both are heated through. Add whole grain mustard and mashed potato. Mix to evenly combine. Check seasoning.
Posted on November 11, 2020 in Wine & Food
Thanksgiving is already here! With so much to be thankful for, we wanted to take time to thank all of our Wine Club Members and Guests who enhance our lives everyday! You are the reason we love bringing you fine wine, delicious cuisine, and good times!
To celebrate you all and all the things we have to be thankful for, Wilson Creek put together a few wine pairings to go with your favorite Thanksgiving Pies! Because nothing says celebration like sweet treats and bubbly!