An Afternoon at Wilson Creek Winery: “I’m not sure if it’s the ambience, the company or the wine, but this is about the best Reuben I’ve ever had.”

A recent trip to Temecula, CA as part of our Wine for No Reason travels with several other couples provided wonderful content for this blog, although I’ve been too busy to share most of it. Today’s focus is on lunch at the Wilson Creek Winery, and reflections on how the setting adds to the enjoyment of a shared meal.

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Photo courtesy of Wilson Creek Winery

We met our fellow Wine for No Reason travelers at Wilson Creek on the first full day of our Temecula trek. One of the couples in our group had been there before and knew it would be just right. This place is more than just a winery: it is a sprawling compound that offers a full experience that includes whimsical outdoor art, a large tasting room and gift shop, landscaped grounds and vineyards that allow you to enjoy the California sunshine, and an excellent restaurant.

Arriving early, the Grill-Meister and I took a stroll through the vineyard and admired the grapes and the scenery.

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This part of the vineyard is called Merlot Mesa

Creekside Grille is nestled between the vineyard and the beautiful grounds, providing the perfect setting for a relaxing lunch with friends.

fullsizeoutput_8e0Creekside Grill at Wilson Creek Entrance

Still early when we ambled over to the restaurant, the Grill-Meister and I sipped chardonnay in the perfect, 72-degree, dry mountain climate while waiting for our friends. It felt like the world had slowed down a little, which is exactly how I want to feel on vacation. Don’t you?

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Yes Dear Chardonnay
I loved the name of this Chardonnay; see the fine print at the bottom, which says “Happy Wife Vineyard” and “Family Reserve”?

Our friends arrived and we had a lovely, lively, laughter-filled lunch. The menu at Creekside Grille is what I would call eclectic / American / locavore / foodie, with choices ranging from a Reuben sandwich to an octupus salad to a bison burger.

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A steelhead salmon filet with white asparagus and a salad
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The Caesar salad had the perfect amount of tangy dressing and crouton
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The Reuben, with a side of the Vineyard Salad, which had organic baby greens, candied pecans, bleu cheese, golden raisins and a delectable vanilla balsamic vinaigrette

It was a glorious afternoon of conversation, excellent food with much sharing of bites and wine-tasting. We were perfectly carefree and our time there felt like a gift; everything, including the weather, was over-the-top good. One of our friends summed it up, earnestly declaring:

I’m not sure if it’s the ambience, the company or the wine, but this is about the best Reuben I’ve ever had.

He went on to wax poetic about the Reuben, the company, the wine and the ambience, and we all dove into a discussion about how the place you’re in and the people you’re with have a huge impact on your enjoyment of a meal. We reveled in our current place (Temecula, Wilson Creek) and peeps, and then went on to describe some of our other “most memorable meals” throughout our lives.  Looking back, every one of our stories about fabulous meals included vivid descriptions of the setting and the companion(s).

It’s never just about the food. The setting and the people matter just as much.

I could go on about this topic, and perhaps I will, on another day. But for now, here are a few more photos of the lovely Wilson Creek Winery. Check it out if you ever get to Temecula. And look for us – we are definitely going to go back.

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Back home at Glover Gardens and sorting through pictures, I realized that we had had one of the wines before.

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Photo courtesy of Wilson Creek Winery

The Almond Champagne was the bubbly component for an Empty Nest New Year’s party a few years ago (just the two of us, at home). We really liked this champagne ~ at Glover Gardens or in Temecula ~ and will have it again. It is slightly sweet without being cloying and compliments fruit and chocolate desserts. It paired extraordinarily well with my friend Katherine’s homemade baclava, a holiday tradition. (Side note to Katherine: this is one of the reasons we need our allotment increased – so we’ll have some left for New Year’s!)

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The Wilson Creek Almond Champage was a New Year’s Eve hit for the two of us a few years ago, especially when sipped with the baclava (on the left in the green wrapper); I can hardly wait to try this combination again!

Resources:

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Visual Haiku: California Dreams

The concept of a “visual haiku” was contributed by a Glover Gardens Cookbook follower via a comment on one of my posts, a photo of three things.  I love that idea!  Here’s another: an arch, some morning glories and the California horizon, taken during a recent Wine for No Reason trek to the Temecula Valley.  We were at the Frangipani Winery, a very warm and welcoming place.

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The view from Frangipani Winery

arch framing blue sky
morning glories glorious
California dreams

Interested?  Here’s more:

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Days of Wine and Roses

The Grill-Meister and I have spent an enjoyable few days with friends in the Temecula Valley, which sports over 50 wineries.  There is much to share from this “Wine for No Reason” outing, but this post is just a few photos emphasizing the special relationship between wine and roses.

Many of the vineyards feature healthy, mature, blossom-covered rose bushes, some scattered across the property, and some smack-dab at the ends of the rows of vines.  The “why” behind this, we learned, is that roses and grape vines are susceptible to the same types of fungal diseases. The roses function as an early warning system for the vines when they display signs of illness, sort of like the canary in the coal mine.  They also attract beneficial insects that attack bugs that prey on vines.

Finally, they’re just beautiful, providing a riot of color amongst the greenery that is both vine and grape.

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Yours truly admiring the riot of color at Hart Winery

 

 

 

Temecula, Here We Come!

Been to California?  Yup.  Great state.

Where in California…San Francisco?  Yup.  Left my heart there; that foggy town is something else.  The art, the seafood, the restaurants, the walking, the public parks…

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Outside art at the De Young Museum; isn’t it cool?

…Napa Valley? Yup.  Loved the wineries, and the Oxbow Public Market.

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Photo courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine

…San Diego? Yup.  Got to tour the Navy Seal Base, which was amazing, and snagged a photo of the actual sign of their motto: “The only easy day was yesterday.” (I’m not sure it’s ok to share that photo.)

…Los Angeles? Yup.  Man, that city is BIG.  Overwhelming starts when you land at the airport, and continues as soon as you hit the freeways.  Great dining and entertainment scene, though.

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…Malibu?  Yup.  Drove along Highway 1 to go see where the Rockford Files (TV show) was filmed; it was so cool to see the locale of the series we watched almost religiously every Friday night growing up, and in reruns long afterward.

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What about Temecula? Say whaaaat?

I had never heard of Temecula before a wise man told us that it was the “wine country road less travelled”, as compared to Napa Valley.  Research revealed that Temecula sports several dozen wineries scattered tightly across beautiful, arid country with a quirky, fun culture and markedly less tourists (and thus less traffic) – let’s go!

We are.  Tomorrow morning.  Woohoo!

We’re meeting several other couples for the California version of the Grill-Meister’s “Wine for No Reason” series (more on that later).  One of the couples got started earlier in the week and texted these photos.  Anticipation!!!

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Watch this space for more about Temecula and “Wine for No Reason”.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook