by Phil Anderson
Shelley’s son recently got married and we found ourselves in California for quite some time, her longer than me. The woman her son married is very, VERY cool, but what I enjoy most about her is her passion for learning more about wine!
We have a Wine Time bell that is attached on the wall outside our back door and it is rang when appropriate, like when chores get the best of me and I lose track of time, as a reminder that it is wine time. Because of this little bell and it’s name and how much she enjoys that time of the day, Jennifer chose that as an underlying theme to their wedding and chose the ceremony to be held at Leonesse Cellars in Temecula, California.
As a wedding present to the new couple, I made them a slightly smaller replica of the cork catcher I made for us that I’ve written so much about. Getting that down to California in one piece was a feat in and of itself! I sent everything down with Shelley (knocked down), as she drove down a week prior to me to work at Camp ReCreation, except the glass which I bought down there, TWICE as it turns out after breaking the first pane (or should I say PAIN!?!) during installation! The cork catcher was going to be used primarily at the wedding reception as guests deposited corks in it they had written words of wisdom to the couple on. Then during the course of their marriage they will add more and more corks with each bottle of wine they drink.
We arrived on Saturday morning for the rehersal and then checked into The Inn at Churon Winery in Temecula. The property was nice enough and had a happy hour that included one glass of their wine per person. I don’t write this blog to bash wineries or vineyards or the wine they produce, but I will say I know why they give this wine away. We had their Chardonnay and their White Merlot. I tolerated the Chardonnay (Shelley did not) and she tolerated the White Merlot (I did not) but suffice it to say, we were not impressed at all with these wines.
Temecula has not been known as an area that produces great wine and after these first tastes we were starting to become concerned. Not long after those thoughts permeated our minds we found ourselves in the barrel room at Ponte Family Estate Winery which is a boutique producer. Their wines are made in very small quantities, typically 1,500 cases per year for each variety. We started out with their Fume Blanc which had a very pretty, floral nose that completely made us forget about the Chardonnay at Churon.
For dinner we enjoyed an unbelievable crab stuffed filet mignon which was pan roasted and finished with a creamy white balsamic bearnaise. This paired perfectly with their Super T, a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Ponte’s Super T is made in the classic Super Tuscan style, perfectly blending Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. This rich and bold wine tasted of juicy raspberries with hints of anise and vanilla and a smooth finish that left me longing for another glass.
I next moved to their Dolcetto. Although the name means “little sweet one”, this wine is not at all sweet! It was big and bold and also went very well with the filet. During the entire dinner I switched from the Super T to the Dolcetto, thinking each glass was my favorite. The dinner was superb as was the service. People even put a few corks into the cork catcher as I had brought it by there.
A very rushed day turned into a wonderful evening with perfectly prepared food and excellent wine from Ponte Family Estate Winery. If you EVER visit Temecula and want a treat around dinner time I would suggest you kill two birds with one stone and have dinner at Ponte and choose one of their delicious wines to go with it.
Here is what is coming in the future on General Wine Thoughts:
-Part Two and Part Three of The Wedding Weekend
-Guest Blog from Lindsay Anderson about her Napa Valley experience, which included a four hour stop at Opus One (and also happened on the same weekend as the wedding.)
-d’Alessandro Wine from Italy
-Cafe Dolce in Missoula, Montana
-One Hope Winery
-The Dinner Party
-Another edition of “Here’s To Good Friends”, although I’ll have to change the title, featuring sparklers and Pinot Noirs (maybe even one from the producer of my favorite Pinot Noir, Patricia Green Cellars)!
I thank you for reading and please remember you can always write me at email@example.com or converse, chat or correspond with me about wine, or anything ELSE for that matter, on Twitter and Facebook! Until next time, bottoms up!