Posts Tagged ‘Orfila Vineyards & Winery’

The San Diego Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival!

June 29, 2010

Well, it’s been nearly a month ago, but I’m finally getting around to posting pictures from the San Diego Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival that took place on June 4th.  Boy does time fly!  This month has been busy for me, what with the end of one internship and the beginning of a new one with ONEHOPE Wine, but that’ll be the topic for another blog entry entirely!

Now, I’m going to give you the details of the event through the planner’s point-of-view!

The WCCF, as I shall now refer to it, is a fundraiser for the Women’s History Museum of San Diego.  The past couple of years the WCCF’s been held in Balboa Park, but this was the first year the event was held in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.  It was a beautiful venue and perfect for accommodating the size of this year’s event.

I came on board the WCCF in February through my internship with Lindsay Pomeroy of Wine Smarties, whose been involved in this event since it’s inception.

Besides helping out in pretty much every area of the event, Lindsay’s main focus was securing all the wine donations for the event.  She did a great job because there was definitely more than enough wine flowing at the event!  We had some great sponsors including…

Jake-Ryan Cellars

Hill Family Estate

Skylark Wine Company

ONEHOPE Wine & PRP Wine

Orfila Vineyards & Winery

Fallbrook Winery

I was assigned with the task of finding cheese and chocolate sponsors for the event, which sounds a lot easier than it actually is!  You try calling local businesses during a recession and then ask them to donate their time and product for 600 guests, and let me know how that goes ;).

Luckily there were a lot of great businesses in San Diego that generously agreed to be a part of this year’s event.  This event would not have been possible without the donations from our sponsors!

Here’s a few pictures of our lovely cheese & chocolate sponsors…

Big Kitchen

I want to send out a special thank you to Judy and Mark from Big Kitchen!  We couldn’t have pulled off the festival without their help.  They loaned us kitchen supplies, baskets, and had staff from their restaurant help out in our kitchen.  HUGE thanks to them!

Cupcake Love

Let me just tell you a thing or two about Cupcake Love.  They have the best cupcakes ever!  Their chocolate cupcake with whipped peanut butter frosting is to DIE for!

I really can’t say enough about them other than you have to go check them out :P.  Their store front location is in Solana Beach.

Ghirardelli Chocolates

Godiva Chocolates

Eclipse Chocolat

I wish I could pay homage to each and every sponsor, but my blog can only handle so much!

Even Jasmine, my friend and fellow blogger showed up to check out the event and do a write-up about it on her blog.

At the end of the day, I think the festival turned out to be a huge success.  I’m so glad I got to be part of such a great event.  With that said, I’ll leave you with some festival highlights below…  Enjoy!

Cheers,

Jess

A Crash Course in Port Wine

May 22, 2010

Port wine is like the nectar of the gods.

With its full bodied mouth-feel and sweet, rich flavors, it is the perfect after-dinner drink.  I recently uncorked a bottle of Tawny Port from Orfila Winery in Escondido, California and was highly impressed with their take on this lovely dessert wine.

History:

Stories of Port wine go back as far as the late 16th century in the Duoro Valley of Portugal, where Port is still grown and produced today.  Port is named after the coastal city of “Porto” where the wine was originally exported.  Laws today protect the origin of this wine so that only the product from Portugal can be labeled as Port.  Wines that undergo the same process as Port wines are often be labeled “dessert wine” instead.

How It’s Made:

Orfila Winery’s Tawny Port is extremely aromatic with unmistakable scents of raisin and spice taking center-stage while hints of caramel and orange linger on the palette as an after-thought.  A friend of mine referred to it as “raisin-flavored cough syrup,” which isn’t entirely off base!

Because Port is a fortified wine it’s extremely sweet and syrupy.  Fortified wines undergo a different process than most where grape-derived spirits like brandy are added to the partially-fermented grape juice to kill off the yeast and halt fermentation before all of the sugar converts to alcohol.  This creates a wine that is sugary and several times higher in alcohol content than most at 19.5-20% abv.

Unlike other single varietal wines, Port is made with a blend of different red and black grape varietals.  Not all Port is made alike, however—there are also dry and semi-dry versions, and occasionally you may run across a white Port.

Styles of Port:

Orfila's Tawny Port

Ruby Port—Named for its deep red color, Ruby Port is young, fruity and undergoes two to three years of aging before it’s bottled.

Reserve Ruby Port—This is a higher quality Port with more intense fruit flavors and a longer period of aging before bottling, generally five years.

Late Bottled Vintage Port—Similar to a Reserve Ruby Port, LBV Ports are made from grapes harvested in a single year and undergo four to six years of aging before bottling.  It’s best enjoyed while it’s young.

Traditional Style LBV—This traditional style is made much the same way as LBV, except that the wine is not filtered before bottling, leaving behind a deposit that requires decanting.

Vintage Port—Vintage Port is the crème de la crème when it comes to Port.  It uses grapes from the very best vineyards during years when harvest is exceptional.  With a short period in oak, this wine benefits from several years of bottle aging and requires decanting.

Tawny Port—An inexpensive Port made from a blend of light-colored ruby and white Port, it brings to mind flavors of toffee nut, caramel, and dried fruit.

Reserve Tawny Port—Light brown in color with flavors of nut, coffee, chocolate, and caramel, these wines require a minimum of seven years in oak.

Aged Tawny Port—A high quality blend of wines labeled with 10, 20, 30, or 40+ years of aging, Aged Tawny Port does not require decanting and is best enjoyed slightly chilled.

Food and Wine Pairings:

It’s important to consider what foods pair best with Port wine. You can drink Port solo, but it’s particularly refreshing when served alongside chocolate desserts, fresh fruits, puddings, and cheeses.

Stilton cheese is to Port wine what jelly is to peanut butter: a classic pairing that should not be missed out on.  Stilton cheese comes from the blue cheese family.   I decided to go with Trader Joe’s White Stilton With Apricots because I thought the sweetness of the fruit would pair nicely with the sweetness of wine, and I was right!

Brix Chocolate

I also used some Brix Chocolate, a special type of dark chocolate made especially for wine.  Both the cheese and the chocolate paired nicely with the Port and helped mellow out the tannins, making it more drinkable.  For only $18 Orfila’s Tawny Port is definitely worth every penny.

Armed with your newfound knowledge of Port wine, now you’re ready to impress friends and family at your next dinner party!  They may thank you for the wine 101 lesson, but more importantly you’ll enjoy wine’s ability to bring people together for an evening of fun and great conversation. And, on that note, I’ll leave you with the wise words of wine connoisseur Percy Croft, “Any time not spent drinking Port is a waste of time.”

Cheers,

Jess

Orfila Vineyards & Winery

April 24, 2010

I may not live in California’s “wine country,” but San Diego is definitely not lacking when it comes to wine.  Last week I visited Orfila Vineyards & Winery for the first time and was blown away by the magnificent views from the winery—it was like something straight out of a fairy tale.  Or maybe it was just a fairy tale to me because my dreams involve someday working for a winery ;).  Either way, it wasn’t hard to appreciate the beauty.  Orfila is located in Escondido, California on top of beautiful rolling hills with a lovely view of mountains in the background.

This has already gone on my list of “top picks” for places I would like to get married!  Orfila happens to do a lot of weddings right in front of their vineyard and they also have a huge outdoor tent for receptions.  Seriously, it’s the perfect spot for anyone who wants a romantic outdoor wine-themed wedding.

Apart from weddings, they have an amazing selection of wines.  While they happen to offer all your basic varietals, they specifically grow traditional Rhone varietals.  The reason for this is because the climate in Rhone is most similar to our own.  Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Viognier show their highest expression when grown in a maritime climate like the one offered in the San Pasqual Valley, just 15 miles from the coast.

I tried their Merlots and their Syrahs, (yes they have multiples of each), but what I was really blown away by was their white wines.  Now, I may have mentioned on here before that I started out as primarily a dry red wine drinker, but as I began taking wine classes my tastes evolved and I began to appreciate more white wines as a result. I have been especially obsessed with finding buttery Chardonnays that are maloactic fermented.

What exactly does this mean? Well, a lot of times the way a grape is grown will affect the taste of the wine, but there are also wine-making techniques that can enhance and add flavors to wine.  Maloactic fermentation involves stirring in the dead yeast cells leftover from fermentation, called lees, into the wine to add savory flavors of dairy, butter and cream.  These wines take on a whole different flavor profile and are much different than your oaky or fruit-forward Chardonnays.

Orfila’s 2007 Ambassador’s Reserve Chardonnay is the perfect example of what an ML Chard should taste like.  Additionally it is aged in French oak, giving it toasty and vanilla flavors.  I highly recommend it! 🙂

Orfila is also well known for their Estate Viognier.  Now, I have never been a huge fan of Viognier but I was definitely converted after trying theirs.  It’s amazing how you can try a varietal several times, but until you try a bottle where the winemaker truly captures the grape and balances the flavors just right, you may never know it’s potential.  With just the right balance of crispness and fruit, Orfila’s Estate Viognier is the perfect summer white—not too sweet, but not too dry.  Also aged in French oak barrels, it develops flavors of vanilla in addition to it’s cirtus and floral notes.

Last but not least, I really enjoyed Orfila’s California Tawny Port.  It is by far some of the best Port I have ever had.  With flavors of raisins, caramel, licorice and orange, it pairs perfectly with the dark chocolate they serve with it.  I liked it so much I had to buy a bottle which I am waiting to open for a future blog!  I bought some Stilton cheese the other day at Trader Joe’s that goes perfect with Port—I cannot WAIT to dig in!

So, for $10 I was given 6 different tastes of wine and a souvenir wine glass, in addition to the $18 bottle of Port I brought home.  I give this place two thumbs up.  Get out there now—go drink vino!

Cheers,

Jess