By guest Wine Chix Carmen Micheli
Carmen is a freelance wine, food and music writer living in Temecula Valley Wine Country. An amazing home chef, mother of two and wine aficionado she writes about those in-the-know and on-the-go. With a pulse on the latest in dining, entertainment, events and more, Carmen delivers the latest news and happenings around the city, showcasing the best that Temecula Wine Country and the SoCal area has to offer.
The Perfect Summertime Wine
Summer has arrived and with it comes hot, lazy days, sweet smelling breezes, magnificent beach adventures, and the season long search for the perfect summertime wine. I had the pleasant surprise of stumbling upon such a find at the June 2012 Woman’s Wine Council (WWC) review of some very interesting California Wines. A 2010 Shannon Ridge “Ranch Collection” Chardonnay, 2010 Napa Cellars Mount Vedeer Chardonnay, 2009 Napa Cellars Dyer Vineyard Carneros Syrah, 2009 Shannon Ridge “Ranch Collection” Cabernet Sauvignon- Lake County, 2009 Stagecoach Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and Quady Winery Elysium. All were good, two were amazing.
The 2009 Shannon Ridge “Ranch Collection” Cabernet Sauvignon is a great summertime red wine. The rich smoke undertones and the sweetness of summer berries are lovely and remind me of the backyard BBQ’s and beach bonfires that have been the definition of so many sunny California summers. The finish is pleasantly balanced and soft as a result of aging in French and American Oak along with “gentle handling, controlled fermentation and some extended maceration”. Toasted flatbread with prosciutto, gorgonzola cheese, basil and fresh local blueberries from Temecula Berry Company made by WWC member, Corie Maue, was a big hit with this wine and really brought out the beautiful berry essence.
We tasted all of the red wines using a Wine Soiree. Ever heard of it? It is a fun and functional instant wine decanter that when attached to any wine bottle, immediately aerates red wine as it is poured into your glass. This allows the character of the wine to present itself right away “with no swirling required”. Learn the intriguing details at www.winesoiree.com.
All Chardonnay’s are NOT created equal, as WWC winner, the Silver Medal 2010 Shannon Ridge “Ranch Collection” Chardonnay, far exceeds any California Chardonnay in the $19 price range. This wine is sunshine in a glass. It boasts a beautifully clean, pale yellow color and notes of sweet cream soda and pear, followed by a buttery, bright, and smooth finish. The wine is even more heavenly when paired with Monks Meadow and Amelia’s White Wine Bruschetta Bread Spread on crostini. The spread with crostini were also nice with a refreshing Pomegranate Rose Iced Tea with mulled Sage and Sage honey provided by WWC member Laura Plant. The spread is $5 at finer wine stores and can be served hot or cold, on breads, croissants, crackers, and sandwiches. Find out more by visiting www.monksandmeadow.com.
The Caldwell Ranch, which is the home to 1st and 2nd place Shannon Ridge wines, stretches through the vast mountain ridges of Mendocino National Forest. I adore the balance and the wine reflects this harmony. The Ranch is 1,000 acres of which only 60%-70% will be converted to vineyards. The owners are adamant that the property be preserved for the wildlife which constantly wander through, and are committed to the land as not only a great vineyard site, but also home to bears, elk, mountain lions, eagles and other amazing creatures. They even designed the vineyards to leave corridors open for migrating animals and to protect nesting areas. For more information on this wonderful Winery, the wines they create, and their majestic property, visit the Shannon Ridge Wines website www.shannonridge.com.