Taste of Wine

Bill Wilson new wine country president

Congratulations and break out the Wilson Creek Almond Champagne as Bill Wilson of that popular family winery in Temecula was elected the new Winegrowers Association President for 2009. The association represents some 65 wineries and growers in the appellation.
One thing is for sure, Bill will ramp up the marketing and events for this often underrated wine country. I recently interviewed him and as he put it “we are right in the middle of Southern California, just a short drive from the ocean, mountains, desert and about 20 million people to draw from. I want to put Temecula on the map as a major wine country.” If he puts as much energy and wine-sense into the association as he’s done with his family at Wilson Creek, great things will pop from the collective corks in Temecula.
In fact it’s already being notched up to a new level. The 2009 San Francisco Chronicle competition saw 4,700 wine entries and Temecula wines took five gold medals. The next Temecula event will be “World of Wine” weekend March 14 and March 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with all wineries pouring their best. Old world varietals with a new world style are promised, as well as international food pairings.
The cost is $79 per person and $89 after March 1. For more information go to www.temeculawines.org.
Wines of distinction
A great number of fine wines have passed my palate lately so let’s get into some picks that I would like you to try:
— Falkner Winery Sauvignon Blanc Temecula 2007 for $18.95. Double Gold medal winner in the recent San Francisco competition. Estate grown grapes of delicious citrus. Visit www.falknerwinery. com for details.
— Canard Vineyard Napa Valley Estate Cabernet 2006 for $18. Small property recently offered at Meritage in Encinitas at this discount price. Silverado Trail grown. A touch of 120-year-old Zin. Visit www.canardvineyard.com for details.
— Cru Vin Dogs Cab-Merlot Napa & Sonoma 2006 for $26. Twice the quality here with Cab from Napa and Merlot from Dry Creek, Sonoma. Distinct flavors and finesse. The fascinating fact here is that Cru Vin Dogs Group is dedicated to small lots of quality grapes from vineyards around the world labeled with different graphics of dogs. The reason: 10 percent of all sales are donated to charitable organizations that benefit the canine corps. To learn more, see www.cruvindogs.com.
– Tamayo Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Monterey 2006 for $23. Oh so Pinot, this one is seductively smooth and marries up with most food pairings. Went down with an enriching taste. Visit www.tamayofamilyvineyards.com for details.
— La Cereza Garnacha Temecula 2006 for $29.95. Winner of four recent medals, here’s a discovery worth tasting. Spanish grape with lovely smoky flavors of cherry, blackberry and plum notes. Try this with a La Cereza cigar next time you’re in Temecula. Visit www.lacerezawinery.com for details.
Wine Bytes
— Going Grape, the Temecula Touring Company, has a February special on. It’s a four-hour wine country excursion that includes three to four wineries with one free tasting per person, fruit and cheese plate, with romantic optional add-ons. Base price is $110 per couple. Call (951) 852-1923 for details.
— San Diego Wine Company on Miramar Road has a Pinot Noir import and domestic tasting from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 21 for just $15. Get more information at (858) 586-9463.
— Bacchus Wine Market in the Gaslamp District, San Diego presents Wines from Tuscany, Italy, from 2 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 21. Tasting fee is $15 and includes Chianti Classico and Brunello among six tastings. Get all the facts at (619) 236-0005.
— The Paso Robles Grand Tasting stops in Tustin, Orange County on Feb. 26. Public hours are 6 to 8:30 p.m. and includes all your area favorites with three Paso chefs providing elegant cuisine. This is Paso’s big road show so don’t miss out. Visit www.pasowine. com for details.
— The American Institute of Wine & Food, San Diego Chapter has a gourmet wine dinner meeting at El Bizcocho, Rancho Bernado Inn on Feb. 27. Portugese and Oregon wines are featured at this five-course dinner. Members pay $100, nonmembers $115. RSVP at (619) 297-0951.