As we change seasons during the month of September, it’s the perfect time to harvest the bounty from local artisans. During the same month, we also celebrate California Wine Month throughout state. For Southern California wine lovers, the annual CRUSH event hosted by Temecula Valley Wine Growers Association showcases the bounty from local wineries and nearby restaurants. It is also during this time, the milder weather makes the setting held at Monte De Oro’s courtyard the perfect setting this year.
Sure I probably have been to numerous wine and food events and every event has their own version of uniqueness. While some events focus more on the food, other wine events targets the younger crowd to immerse in that Sunday-Funday version of crapulence.
The 9th annual CRUSH wine event, however, can be described as a fun and intimate night. A night immersing with local wine makers and eating culinary masterpieces in a simple and natural setting overlooking the vineyard. The quality of the wines here were amazing. Signature wines coupled with award winning wines flowed from over 30+ wineries. The wines weren’t limited to red and white, many bubbles also made an appearance. Wilson Creek Sparkling Rosé anyone?
Personally, I have been attending Temecula Wine events for the last five years and this region has accomplished so much in this amount of time. The winemakers with knowledge and patience who embraces the sun-filled days and cooler nights in the Temecula Valley AVA (American Verticultural Area) have cranked out award winning wines in Southern California’s own backyard.
We were ecstatic this event showcase many award winning wines. Some favorites: Simplexity from Monte De Oro, reserve red from Vindemia, but our favorite of the night was the reds from Lorenzi Winery. We love Lorenzi as they have the profile that match our taste. Smoke on the nose, slightly peppery on the tongue, bold on the taste, and smooth and slightly dry on the finish. Highly recommend any wine-lover who has similar taste buds like ours. The courtyard for the night was filled with lots of smiles, dancing, and mingling with proprietors under the moon-lit sky.
The voracious appetite for these wines have created not only more demand for wine but visitors as well. As a side note, during our visit to Temecula the same day, we’ve visited the newest kid on the block. Bottaia Winery. Located just north of Wien’s on Racho California Rd., this all white farmhouse, boutique winery that is a sister property to Ponte Wines. Definitely a 180-spin from your traditional Temecula setting with it’s own pool and cocktail bar. Definitely a higher priced and higher-end experience from your traditional Temecula winery. We shall see in time if there more people follow.
Live entertainment for the night by Kai Kalama of the Kalama Brothers. Kai was great but if you get to see both brothers Ryan and Kai perform, be ready for a fun-filled time. I personally have seen them perform at many local events. Although the night flowed softly with mainstream favorites from Kai, I strongly suggest seeing them performing the the Hawaiian tunes. They’ll put a smile on your face. They do it like no one can. As Bruno Mars said, “Hawaii is paradise. It sounds cheesy to say it, but there’s music in the air there.”
As for the food, there were plethora of choices to complement the wine. We did find the pork belly from Naughty Pig Butchery to be exceptional tasty with the bold red wines. Melt in your mouth goodness and with the right amount of acidity to cut through fat. The prettiest bite and most composed dish was from Cork Fire Kitchen with their kombu cured hamachi with buckwheat sesame cracker topped with smoked white soy, avocado, and cucumber blossom. Went back from seconds for both.
The night ended on a high note, as I was able to mingle with some local friends who also attended the event along with meeting a couple who attended this event for the first time. It was our first time as well and I have to say, it was impressive. The wine selection was over the top and I was never hungry. The best part? We didn’t have to trek from winery to winery. We did have to, however, share seats for the night as there were more event-goers than seats available.
What’s next on Temecula’s radar?
Just as you heard earlier about the new Bottaia Winery, the recent word on the street for Temecula is EXPANSION. According to Temecula Valley Development, “2.7 million visitors come every year pumping 712 million into the local economy.” As more hotels are being built in places like Fourth street in Downtown Temecula and Murrieta , more places are expanding to offset the demand. Pechanga Hotel and Casino most recently doubled the number of rooms in hopes to gain more people to stay during the winter months and to house events in the nearby Temecula area.
I do personally recommend staying nearby for the night, it makes for attending this event and any event more enjoyable. With selections in old town and more choices in the up and coming year nearby, staying in a local hotel should be competitively priced. The money you saved can be splurged on outlet shopping for the wife or a brewery run for thyself.
Make sure you follow Temecula Wines as they announce the 10th annual CRUSH for next September. Just like this year, it’ll be a night to remember.
Temecula CRUSH wine event
@ Monte De Oro
September 29, 2018