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Introducing our ultimate wine pairing guide, with specific recommendations from our award-winning wines at Wiens Cellars. Let us take you on a culinary journey that transcends mere consumption. This guide delves into the intricate dance between flavors, aromas, and textures, revealing how the harmonious union of wine and food can transform a meal into an unforgettable sensory experience.

Understanding the importance of pairing wine with food goes beyond mere tradition; it’s a pursuit that bridges the gap between culture, science, and creativity. In this comprehensive guide, we will embark on a journey through the essentials of wine and food pairings. We’ll unravel the key principles that govern successful pairings, considering factors such as acidity, sweetness, body, and intensity. Beyond the basics, we’ll delve into the nuances of pairing regional cuisines with wines, understanding the impact of seasonality, and even experimenting with unconventional matches.

For the curious novice or the seasoned sommelier, our guide promises to demystify the art of pairing, equipping you with the knowledge and confidence to curate exquisite dining experiences that tantalize the senses and create lasting memories. So, let’s raise our glasses to the adventure that awaits – a journey of flavors, discoveries, and the delightful marriage of wine and food.

Basic Principles of Wine and Food Pairing

Wine and food pairing principles involve matching intensity and flavors, balancing acidity, sweetness, and textures, and considering the wine’s characteristics in relation to the dish’s components, such as protein, sauce, and cooking method, to create a harmonious and enhanced culinary experience. To further explain, let’s break it down:

  • Matching the weight and intensity
    • When pairing wine with food, it’s essential to consider the weight and intensity of both elements. Light-bodied wines, such as a Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, harmonize well with delicate dishes like salads or seafood. On the other hand, robust wines like a Zinfandel complement heartier fare, from stews, all the way to venison. The idea is to ensure that neither the wine nor the food overpowers the other, creating a balanced and enjoyable experience.
  • Balancing flavors
    • Pairing wine with food is a delicate art of balancing flavors. Look for wines whose characteristics either complement or contrast with the flavors in the dish. For instance, a slightly sweet Riesling can offset the spiciness of Asian cuisine, while a zesty Sauvignon Blanc can accentuate the freshness of a citrusy seafood dish. The goal is to create a harmonious interplay of flavors that enhances both the wine and the food.
  • Considering the dish’s main components (protein, sauce, cooking method)
    • Breaking down the components of a dish – its protein, sauce, and cooking method – is crucial for congruent pairings. Rich, fatty proteins like lamb can be matched with tannic red wines to cut through the richness. The sauce also matters; a creamy sauce may call for a wine with good acidity to provide contrast. Additionally, the cooking method matters – grilled dishes might benefit from wines with smoky or earthy undertones like Syrah/Shiraz, while poached dishes might pair well with lighter, aromatic whites, like Reisling.


Of course, before you can pair wine with food, you need a basic understanding of what you’re even pairing them with. Grasping wine characteristics entails deciphering the intricate tapestry of aromas, flavors, and textures, that make each bottle unique. The best way to do that? Wine tasting. Practice your palate frequently! In the meantime, we’ll walk you through the basics:

  • Red Wine
    • Red wine’s characteristics encompass a spectrum of body, from light and elegant to full-bodied and robust. Pairing red wines with food involves matching their body to the dish’s intensity, creating a harmonious balance where lighter to medium-bodied reds like Sangiovese enhance delicate flavors, while heartier ones like Cabernet Sauvignon stand up to rich and robust dishes.
  • White Wine
    • The acidity of white wines plays a vital role in enhancing culinary pairings. Crisp, acidic wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Vermentino brighten up seafood and salads, while the balanced acidity of Chardonnay complements buttery sauces and creamy dishes.
  • Rosé Wine
    • The diverse styles of rosé wines, spanning from bone-dry to slightly sweet, offer a versatile canvas for food pairing. A dry and crisp rosé beautifully complements light salads and grilled veggies, while a fruitier style pairs delightfully with spicy dishes, showcasing the wine’s ability to adapt and enhance a wide array of culinary creations.
  • Sparkling Wine
    • The diverse characteristics of sparkling wines, shaped by their regions and varietals, open up a world of culinary possibilities. A Champagne crafted from Chardonnay grapes from the Champagne region of France pairs elegantly with delicate appetizers, while our California Blanc de Blancs at Wiens Cellars complements seafood and rich, hard cheeses.
  • Dessert Wine
    • Dessert wines, exemplified specifically at Wiens by our rich selection of Ports, possess concentrated sweetness that creates exquisite culinary partnerships. Our White Port showcases a luscious harmony with caramelized fruit dishes, or white chocolate desserts, while the rich complexity of our Ruby Port beautifully complements dark chocolate, showcasing how these sweet wines’ distinct characteristics enhance the pleasure of similarly sweet foods.


Understanding Food Characteristics

Understanding food characteristics involves recognizing the intricate interplay of proteins, cooking methods, sauces, and spices to create harmonious and flavorful dining experiences. It is a journey into the realm of harmonious flavors, where a few key points can transform your dining experience:

  • Different types of proteins (meat, fish, poultry, vegetarian options)
    • Mastering food pairing begins with recognizing the diversity of proteins. Rich red meats call for robust wines, while delicate fish pairs well with light whites. Poultry and vegetarian options find balance with versatile wines that complement their distinct flavors, enhancing both the dish and the wine.
  • Various cooking methods (grilled, roasted, steamed, raw)
    • Cooking methods shape the textures and flavors of dishes. Grilled foods benefit from wines with smoky or earthy undertones, while roasted creations marry well with wines featuring depth and structure. Steamed or raw dishes are often elevated by aromatic whites or sparkling wines, highlighting the freshness of ingredients.
  • Different types of sauces and spices
    • Sauces and spices are the architects of taste. Rich, creamy sauces may demand wines with acidity to cut through like Chardonnay, while spicy foods thrive with off-dry or slightly sweet selections like Gewürztraminer. Bold spices can be balanced by wines with complex layers that mirror or contrast with the dish’s intensity.

Basic Pairing Guidelines

Before diving into your pairings head-first, consider the weight and intensity of both the dish and the wine, ensuring that one doesn’t overpower the other. Balance acidity – opt for wines with relatively high acidity to cut through rich or fatty foods. Think about the wine’s sweetness level, matching it with the dish’s sweetness or spice. The cooking method matters too, as grilled or roasted dishes often complement wines with smoky or earthy undertones, while steamed or raw options shine with lighter and fresher wines. Lastly, don’t underestimate the influence of sauces and spices, which can harmonize or contrast with the wine’s flavor profile. We’ll give you some recommendations from our menu, to start:

Red Wines 

  • 2020 Pinot Noir
    • A versatile and light red wine, our Pinot Noir pairs wonderfully with a variety of dishes. Its delicate red fruit flavors and soft tannins complement dishes like grilled salmon, roasted chicken, mushroom risotto, and even lighter pasta dishes.
Click to Buy Pinot Noir
  • 2019 Obscura
    • Comprised of 90% Merlot, our Obscura is consistently a great match for a wide range of foods, with its smooth and approachable character. It works well with dishes like roasted pork tenderloin, grilled sausages, tomato-based pasta, and even dishes with slightly spicy elements like Moroccan tagines.
Click to Buy Obscura
  • 2019 Kriel Cabernet Sauvignon
    • Bold and full-bodied, this high tannin, Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignon is excellent with rich, hearty dishes. It pairs beautifully with grilled steaks, braised short ribs, beef stew, and dishes featuring strong cheeses or herbs like rosemary and thyme.
Click to Buy Kriel Cab
  • 2022 Vermentino
    • Known for its bright acidity and herbal notes, this Italian varietal pairs well with dishes like grilled asparagus, goat cheese salads, shellfish or ceviche, and light pasta dishes with pesto.
Click to Buy Vermentino
  • 2022 Chardonnay
    • Chardonnay’s versatility makes it a great match for various foods. It pairs nicely with white meat dishes like roast chicken, creamy pasta dishes, rich cheeses like brie or gouda, and even lobster or crab.
Click to Buy Chardonnay
  • 2022 Pinot Grigio
    • With its crisp and light profile, Pinot Grigio works well with light and fresh dishes. It’s a good match for salads, seafood such as grilled shrimp or fish tacos, vegetarian dishes, and light pasta with olive oil and herbs.
Click to Buy Pinot Grigio
  • 2022 Rosé of Malbec
    • The distinct characteristics of Malbec made into a lighter rosé can complement a variety of dishes. Try pairing it with grilled sausages, barbecue ribs, dishes featuring roasted red meats, and even spicier dishes like Tex-Mex cuisine.
Click to Buy Rosé of Malbec
  • 2021 Pink Crowded
    • Rosé blends like our Pink Crowded offer a balanced and versatile profile. They work well with Mediterranean-inspired dishes, such as Greek salads, grilled chicken souvlaki, light pasta dishes with vegetables, and seafood like grilled shrimp or salmon.
Click to Buy Pink Crowded
  • Amour de L’Orange
    • Amour de L’Orange, with its infusion of orange essence, offers a unique twist. It’s a great match for brunch dishes like eggs Benedict, citrusy salads, grilled chicken with citrus glaze, and even desserts like orange-flavored cakes.
Click to Buy Amour
  • Blanc de Blancs
    • Our Blanc de Blancs is wonderfully crisp and elegant. It pairs delightfully with fresh oysters, creamy seafood risotto, grilled scallops, and light hors d’oeuvres.
Click to Buy Blanc
  • Brut Rosé
    • Our Brut Rosé’s effervescence makes it a delightful companion for various foods. It’s great with seafood, particularly oysters and sushi, as well as lighter appetizers, charcuterie, creamy dishes, and even fried foods.
Click to Buy Brut
  • Ruby Port
    • Ruby Port’s rich and sweet profile pairs well with dark chocolate desserts, blue cheese, and nut-based desserts like pecan pie. It’s also a delightful match with berry tarts and desserts featuring caramel or toffee.
Click to Buy Ruby Port
  • White Port
    • White Port’s slightly lighter sweetness works well with lighter desserts. It’s a great match with lemon tarts, poached pears, almond cakes, and even fruit salads with tropical flavors.
Click to Buy White Port
  • Amour Sangria
    • Amour Sangria’s vibrant and fruity character with blood orange essence calls for lively pairings. Enjoy it with fruit-based desserts like citrus sorbet, mixed berry crumble, or as a refreshing partner to light summer salads.
Click to Buy Sangria


Explore the Wild World of Food and Wine Pairings

There may be “rules,” but don’t be afraid to color outside the lines with your wine pairings! Experimenting opens up a realm of discovery, allowing you to uncover unexpected harmonies and contrasts that enhance both the wine and the food. By venturing beyond traditional matches, you can create unique and delightful dining experiences that stimulate your palate and ignite your culinary creativity. You may surprise yourself with even the strangest ideas, like these ones we’ve tried:

  • Brut Rosé + Fried Chicken
    • Remember when we hinted at this earlier? The effervescence and red fruit notes of sparkling rosé cut through the richness of fried chicken, creating a refreshing and unexpected partnership. It’s for those summer picnic kind of evenings.
  • Dulce Maria + Barbecue Ribs
    • 100% Muscat, Dulce Maria’s sweetness counters the smokiness of barbecue ribs, providing a delicious counterpoint that enhances the overall experience. We know you may not believe us, but bring a bottle to your next barbeque and see the magic unfold… Make sure that barbeque sauce has a little kick to it, too.
  • 2022 Fiano + Thai Green Curry
    • Although an Italian varietal, Fiano’s aromatic qualities and crisp acidity balance the bold and spicy flavors of Thai green curry beautifully, creating a surprisingly harmonious contrast. Grab a bottle for your next Thai take-out night in.


As we bring this culinary expedition to a close, let’s not forget that the true joy lies in the exploration. From understanding the nuances of wine characteristics to grasping the intricacies of various cuisines, we’ve delved into the art of finding that perfect wine pairing. Remember, the weight and intensity of both the wine and the dish, the interplay of acidity, sweetness, and textures, and the magic of experimenting with unexpected combinations are all keys to a successful pairing.

The world of food and wine pairings is boundless and open to interpretation, inviting you to venture beyond the familiar and discover the endless possibilities that await. Whether you’re embarking on an elegant dinner party or enjoying a cozy evening at home, let your senses guide you as you craft experiences that delight the palate and create lasting memories. So, raise your glass to the art of pairing, and may your culinary journeys be filled with moments of pure gastronomic delight.

Cheers to exploring, experimenting, and relishing the magic of perfect pairings!

At Wiens Cellars, we’re regularly asked to explain wine basics to our tasting room visitors… As a California winery, this happens pretty often. So, in an attempt to properly educate those who are curious, we thought we’d give you a beginner’s guide into the world of wine tasting—an artful exploration that invites you to engage your senses and embark on a captivating journey through flavors, aromas, and experiences. Whether you’re a curious newcomer or a seasoned wine enthusiast, learning how to properly taste wine can enhance your appreciation and deepen your connection with this ancient and complex beverage. As you read through this blog post, we’ll give you a beginner’s guide through the steps of wine tasting, from observing wines like Cabernet Sauvignon to Chardonnay, all while highlighting the subjective and personal nature of this delightful pursuit. So, raise your glass and prepare to unravel the secrets that each bottle of wine holds, as we embark on a sensory adventure like no other!

What is Wine Tasting?

Although it may seem simple from afar, there is both an art and a science to wine tasting; And what better way to experiment than with a glass of your favorite beverage? Simply put, wine tasting is the process of evaluating and appreciating wine by using sight, smell, and taste. It involves observing the wine’s color and clarity, identifying aromas through smell, and analyzing flavors, texture, and overall characteristics while sipping.

Of course, practice makes for the best education in the world of wine, so you must taste often! Bummer, right? But it’s true! Wine tasting allows you to engage multiple senses and decode the intricate layers that contribute to a wine’s character. By systematically observing the wine’s appearance, inhaling its aromas, savoring its flavors, and considering its finish, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the wine’s composition and complexity. Ultimately, wine tasting equips you with the tools to discern and articulate your preferences, transforming wine consumption from a simple beverage into a rich and rewarding sensory experience.

The Five Basic Steps of Wine Tasting

Demonstrating wine tasting techniques respectively: 1 - Sight; 2 - Swirl; 3 - Smell; 4 - Taste; 5 - Savor

1 – Sight, 2 – Swirl, 3 – Smell, 4 – Taste, 5 – Savor

  1. Sight

For all types of wine, understanding the visual aspects is a crucial step in tasting, as the color and clarity provide initial clues about its age, grape varieties, and potential flavors. In addition, the “legs” or “tears” in wine, observed as droplets that form and run down the inside of the glass after swirling, provide information about its alcohol content and viscosity. Simple observations such as the hue and intensity observed in the glass offer valuable insights into the wine’s character before even taking the first sip.

When visually interpreting wine, it’s important to grasp the wine glass by its stem to avoid heating the wine with your hand, which could affect its temperature and aromas. Additionally, comparing the following components in all red wines, rosé wines, white wines and sparkling wines are best viewed against a lighter background:

  • Color: Color can hint at the variety of wine used, the age of the wine, and even its winemaking techniques. This initial visual assessment helps tasters anticipate the wine’s potential aromas and flavors, shaping their expectations and enhancing their overall appreciation of the wine.
  • Clarity: Clarity provides valuable insights into the wine’s purity, quality, and how well it has been processed and filtered. Cloudiness or sediment could suggest inadequate filtration or aging issues, potentially affecting both the visual appeal and the overall taste experience.
  • Legs: While often misconstrued as indicating level of quality, the phenomenon of legs is directly related to the wine’s viscosity and alcohol content. Wines with more prominent and slow-moving legs often have higher alcohol content and possibly more glycerol, which can affect the wine’s texture and mouthfeel.
  1. Swirl

Why do we swirl wine?

Swirling wine is a common practice in tasting because it enhances the wine-tasting experience by releasing its aromas and oxygenating the wine. Swirling also helps to soften the wine, particularly red wines with tannins, as they can interact with oxygen, mellowing the wine and making it more approachable on the palate.

  • Releasing the aromas: Swirling wine exposes a larger surface area of the liquid to the air, causing volatile aromatic compounds to evaporate from the wine and become more concentrated in the space above the glass. This process intensifies the wine’s aromas, making them more noticeable and enhancing the overall olfactory experience when smelling the wine.
  • Observing the wine’s body: Swirling wine in the glass helps us observe the wine’s body by creating legs, as previously discussed. By indicating viscosity, these legs provide insights into its overall texture and weight on the palate.
  1. Smell

The act of smelling wine, also known as “nosing,” allows us to identify a wide range of scents that contribute to the overall sensory experience. The aromas in wine are derived from various compounds present in the grapes, the fermentation process, and sometimes from aging in oak barrels. To properly smell wine and fully appreciate its aromas, try these steps:

  • Position Your Nose: Bring the glass of wine to your nose, tilting it slightly if needed, and place your nose just above the rim of the glass.
  • Inhale Slowly: Take a slow, deep breath through your nose. Try to identify the different aromas present in the wine. You might detect fruity, floral, herbal, or even earthy scents.
  • Think About Associations: As you smell the wine, try to associate the aromas with familiar scents. This can help you connect the smells to specific flavors you might encounter when tasting the wine.
  • Repeat and Reflect: Smell the wine multiple times, taking short breaks between sniffs. Each time you smell, you might pick up different nuances and layers of aromas.

Remember that smelling wine is a subjective experience, and everyone’s sense of smell is unique. Don’t hesitate to trust your own perceptions and interpretations of the aromas.

  1. Taste

    wine aroma wheel

    When in doubt, use the aroma wheel!

Now comes the part that everyone is familiar with: Tasting. While it may seem as if you have this part down pat, consider the following steps the next time you taste:

  • First Sip: Take a small sip of the wine and let it linger in your mouth for a moment before swallowing. This initial sip gives you a sense of the wine’s initial impression on your palate.
  • Taste Structure: Pay attention to the wine’s structure
  • Sweetness: Notice if the wine tastes sweet or dry.
  • Acidity: Identify the level of acidity, which contributes to the wine’s freshness.
  • Tannin: Assess the presence of tannins, which create a drying sensation in the mouth, especially in red wines.
  • Body: Observe the weight and texture of the wine in your mouth, ranging from light to full-bodied.
  • Flavor: Analyze the flavors on your palate, trying to identify different tasting notes like fruit, herbs, spices, or earthiness.
  • Aftertaste: Swallow the wine and pay attention to the aftertaste or finish. Notice how long the flavors linger in your mouth after swallowing. A longer finish often indicates a higher-quality wine with more complex flavors.

By following these steps, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the wine’s taste structure, flavors, and how it evolves on your palate from the initial sip to the concluding finish.

  1. Savor

Once you taste, it’s important to pause and reflect on what you have savored. Try to focus on these aspects:

  • Balance: Assess how well the wine’s components—such as sweetness, acidity, tannins, and alcohol—harmonize with each other. A well-balanced wine will have these elements in proportion, enhancing the overall drinking experience.
  • Complexity: Evaluate the wine’s complexity by noting the layers of aromas and flavors it offers. A more complex wine will reveal a range of nuanced scents and tastes, often evolving as you sip.
  • Finish: Pay attention to the wine’s finish, which is the lingering aftertaste it leaves in your mouth after swallowing. A longer, satisfying finish indicates depth and quality, allowing you to appreciate the wine’s flavors even after you’ve taken a sip.

Considering these elements as you reflect on the wine’s balance, complexity, and finish will provide deeper insights into its character and help you form a more complete impression of the wine’s overall quality and personality.

Common Wine Tasting Terms

Of course, discussion is inevitable when analyzing the diverse world of wine. It can be intimidating, but rest assured, it’s a lot scarier than it may seem. To start you off, here are 10 common wine tasting terms that will help you navigate the world of wine with confidence:

  • Acidity
    • This term refers to the refreshing and lively sensation you feel on your tongue when you taste wine. In the case of wine pairing, wines with higher acidity often pair well with foods, as their brightness cuts through rich flavors.
  • Tannin
    • Tannins are compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems. They impart a drying, sometimes astringent sensation in your mouth when you sip red wine. Think of tannins as the backbone that gives structure to the wine.
  • Bouquet
    • When you hear someone mention the bouquet of a wine, they’re talking about its aroma. Bouquet encompasses the various scents that arise from the wine due to its aging and fermentation processes.
  • Finish
    • The finish is the lasting impression a wine leaves after you’ve swallowed. A long finish indicates a wine with depth and complexity, as its flavors continue to evolve even after you’ve taken a sip.
  • Notes
    • Tasters often describe the aromas and flavors they detect in a wine using specific terms like “citrus notes,” “vanilla notes,” or “blackberry notes.” These notes help paint a vivid picture of the wine’s character.
  • Oak
    • When a wine has been aged in oak barrels, it can develop flavors like vanilla, spice, or toastiness from the wood. Oak aging contributes to a wine’s complexity and texture.
  • Body
    • Wine’s body refers to its weight and texture in your mouth. A wine can be light-bodied, medium-bodied, or full-bodied. This term gives you an idea of how the wine feels on your palate.
  • Dry
    • A wine that’s described as “dry” has little to no residual sugar, meaning it doesn’t taste sweet. Dry wines are better complemented in food pairings and allow the natural flavors to shine through.
  • Elegant
    • An elegant wine is one that’s refined and balanced, with a smooth and harmonious character. It doesn’t overwhelm your senses but rather impresses with its finesse.
  • Terroir
    • Terroir is a French term (translated to “land” in English) that encompasses the unique characteristics of a specific vineyard site—soil, climate, topography—that influence the wine’s personality. Wines with a strong sense of terroir express the essence of their origin.

For more wine terms, click here to read our blog post titled: Wine Speak.

Practice, Practice, Practice

When it’s all said & done, preparation will be your biggest support when embarking on your wine tasting adventure. Here are some tips to ensure you have a successful and enjoyable experience:

How to Prepare for a Wine Tasting:

  • Research: Spend a bit of time learning about the winery, the wines they produce, and the region they’re from. This background knowledge can enhance your appreciation and understanding of the wines.
  • Hydration and Snacks: Stay hydrated and have a light snack before the tasting to keep your palate fresh and your senses alert. Avoid strong flavors that could overpower your taste buds.
  • Neutral Scents: Skip strong perfumes or colognes, as they can interfere with your ability to fully appreciate the wine’s aromas.

What to Do During a Wine Tasting:

  • Observe the Wine: Start by examining the wine’s color and clarity. Swirl the glass gently to release aromas, and take a moment to appreciate the visual aspects before moving on to smelling.
  • Use Your Senses: When you smell the wine, inhale deeply and try to identify the different aromas. Take your time to let the scents unfold.
  • Sip and Savor: Taste the wine by taking a small sip and allowing it to linger on your palate. Pay attention to the balance of sweetness, acidity, tannins, and flavors. Let the wine evolve as you hold it in your mouth.

*Bonus Tip: Do NOT be afraid to ask your Wine Specialist or Sommelier for advice. They’re there to help!

How to Document Your Impressions:

  • Take Notes: Bring a notebook or use a wine tasting app to jot down your impressions. Describe the aromas, flavors, and any unique characteristics you notice.
  • Use Descriptive Language: Don’t be afraid to get creative with your descriptions. Use words like “fruity,” “earthy,” or “spicy” to capture the essence of the wine.
  • Rate and Reflect: Assign a rating or score to the wine based on your personal preferences. After tasting, take a moment to reflect on your favorite aspects and what made each wine stand out.

Remember, the wine tasting experience is a journey of discovery, and everyone’s palate is unique. Don’t worry if you’re new to it—practice makes perfect, and with time, your tasting skills will become more attuned to the subtleties of each wine. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned enthusiast, the adventure of exploring different wines can be both educational and delightful. So, gather your friends, visit our winery, or simply open a bottle at home—immerse yourself and any other wine lover in your life in the experience. Savor each sip, and let the world of wine unfold before you in all its nuanced beauty!

Hey there newbies! It’s getting to be that time of year again where parties fill up your weekends & you see your family more than the average amount. You know what that means: Alcohol! Plus, you don’t want to walk in empty-handed, right? Good thing we have a variety of options on our menu right now. Let me walk you through 8 different holiday wines you’re sure to impress with! Don’t worry, I’ll give you the run-down on each one so you don’t walk in empty-headed either!

2020 Merrytage, COMING SOON!!!

1.       2020 Merrytage

An annual holiday favorite, our 2020 Merrytage pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes. This vintage is exceptionally yummy with a fuller body, smooth tannins, & notes of holiday spices, cranberry, with a silky finish. Being that it’s a more complex wine, it will allude to your wine intelligence, but also allow for easy drinking (Score!). It has many characteristics that present themselves as you continue to drink, making it a great conversation starter, as well. You really can’t go wrong with this one!

Winemaker’s Notes: We create this special blend annually with the goal of appealing to a broad range of wine palates. Medium bodied, fruity, and pleasantly textured, our 2020 Merrytage will pair nicely with a wide variety of dishes at your holiday table.


2.       2018 Refugio Malbec

Our 2018 Refugio Malbec is another beautiful red to put on your holiday table this year. Again, with velvety tannins, this wine will showcase a lot of depth while still being approachable. Nonetheless, a beautiful wine for both beginning & seasoned wine drinkers. Beginning with notes reminiscent of a freshly baked blackberry pie, this wine opens up to reveal notes of cedar & pine, while also offering notes of brown spice & chocolate covered strawberries, with supple tannins. It pairs best with hearty beef dishes & rich sauces. If you’ve got a red wine lover in the group, bring it!

Winemaker’s Notes: While our 2018 Refugio Malbec isn’t as intensely tannic as some vintages, it shines with alluring complexity. With the body, and tannin restrained, the nuances of spice and forest from the oak get more of the spotlight.  Our Elk Grove and Montfort Malbec provide the support for this vintage, which is enhanced with Waxman Malbec, adding more blue fruit and black pepper notes.

2018 Refugio Malbec


2019 Pinot Noir

3.       2019 Pinot Noir

There’s a reason Pinot Noir is a crowd favorite: It has something for everybody. This red wine is a favorite for even the white wine drinker. Bring it to the next function if you don’t believe me. Truly, the perfect Thanksgiving wine— Of course, it can pair with other holiday dishes, as well. Pinot Noir is often thought of as a lighter wine, & compared to our bolder reds that may be true, however this vintage presents complexity in its own way, while still promising easy drinking. Offering notes of red cherry, fig, & cinnamon bark, this Pinot Noir will have everyone doing the happy dance!

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2019 Pinot Noir is 100% Pinot Noir making this a unique vintage that show cases the true typicity of the varietal. This wine is soft and elegant with simplicity, a delicate tannin structure highlighting the red fruit and spice from a partial stem included in fermentation.

*Also, offered in a holiday pack with our Pinot Grigio starting Nov. 16!


4.       2019 Chardonnay

2019 Chardonnay

Buttery & delicious—Just like that turkey you’ll be having next week. This oaked chardonnay screams holiday with its elegant characteristics & authentic flavors. Even red wine drinkers will enjoy this one for its subtle complexity. Aged for 6 months in French Oak, this wine offers notes of vanilla amongst crisp apple, honey & pear. The balance of flavors pairs wonderfully with salmon, chicken marsala, & fettucine carbonara—A beautiful wine to bring to the party.

Winemaker’s Notes: Our Chardonnay is unique in that we age on oak, while suppressing the secondary fermentation.  This allows us to accentuate the natural flavors in the wine with oak, rather than the buttery notes present in a “ML” chardonnay. The French oak used lends some creamy vanilla notes, that balance nicely against crisp, green apple notes, making our Chardonnay a little lighter bodied than most California Chardonnays, while retaining good typicity.


2020 Pinot Grigio

5.       2020 Pinot Grigio

A white with a bit of a bite… Of minerality that is. Our 2020 Pinot Grigio is a wine with a variety of characteristics. Notes of lemongrass, nectarine, & pear explode on your tastebuds, with a crisp acidity on the finish. This wine gives you a great wine to pair with your appetizers! Adding charcuterie boards, white fish & shellfish, will make you the savior of cocktail hour. Naturally, it can pair well with the main course, as well. Regardless of when you drink it, rest assured: Your palate will thank you.

Winemaker’s Notes: Our Pinot Grigio is crafted as an homage to its home country, Italy.  We harvest early, when there is still plenty of acidity in the grape, to produce a wine with lower alcohol, and crisp acidity.  We ferment in stainless steel at low temperatures to bring out the delicate fruit, and mineral notes. Finally, we bottle soon after fermentation to make sure we capture those flavors and aromas before they “flash off”.

*Also, offered in a holiday pack with our Pinot Noir starting Nov. 16!


6.       2019 Rosé of Barbera

Floral on the nose & strawberry on the palate— Another wine that pairs well with your meal before the meal. A lighter choice to begin with, but that’s how it should be anyways, right? Barbera is the perfect fruit to make a rosé with because of its bright acidity, making this crisp wine a great pairing with margherita pizza or light seafood.  Bringing this to the pre-party will make both a wine drinker & a wine hater happy—Trust.

Winemaker’s Notes: Barbera makes an excellent candidate for rosé, as it retains its acidity better than any other red variety in our warm Temecula climate.  This gives the finished rose a crisp, refreshing finish that pairs nicely with our warmer days.

2019 Rosé of Barbera


Amour De L’Orange

7.       Amour De L’Orange

Could it BE any more obvious? I don’t really need to convince you, do I? The perfect sparkling wine for any occasion, but especially the holidays. The beauty of this wine is its ability to pair with any time of day. Have it with appetizers, the main course, or even after with dessert! Either way, your fellow guests will love you for it.

Winemaker’s Notes: Amour De L’Orange Sparkling Wine is an ambrosial delight for those of you who enjoy Champagne with a fun twist. Starting with the finest Chardonnay cuvee loaded with fruity aromas including pear, coconut, and pineapple, our winemaker added just a hint of natural orange flavoring. If you love mimosas, our Amour De L’Orange is sure to be a hit at your party, wedding, or Sunday brunch!


8.       White Port & Ruby Port

Alright, I know I put two in one here, but choosing one of these really has everything to do with your desserts, so it’s unlikely you’ll bring both. Each are excellent choices at the end of the night. White Port pairs well with desserts like apple pie & cheesecake, & our Ruby Port complements rich chocolate dishes. Sounds delicious, right? It is! If you haven’t tried a port before, be warned: It is a distilled wine with much more alcohol than your typical table wine. Nevertheless, exploding with flavor & a great addition to any dessert. Highly recommend.

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2020 batch of White Port brings back an old familiar classic. Blending classic and aromatic varietals aged in light toast barrels for a wine that is a pleasant night cap.

Winemaker’s Notes: Our Ruby Port is a blend of vintages, aged to allow the fresh red fruit notes to be tempered by nutty, caramel flavors and aromas brought forth by extended aging.  Enjoy our Ruby Port with any rich chocolate desserts or as a decadent stand-alone digestif.

White Port & Ruby Port

So, there they are! A variety of choices for your next dinner party this holiday season, straight off our tasting menu. I know I said you can’t go wrong with the Merrytage (still true), but honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them. Each one would bring a little something special to your holiday evening in their own unique way, guaranteed. That’s the beauty of wine! It can be a drink, a conversation, a memory, the start to a friendship—& Especially during the holidays.

Let’s raise a glass to what it can create this season! Cheers!


Bailey Morris, Marketing/Gift Shop