Tastes of Great Wine by Paul and Teresa Lowe – www.chronicletravelers.com

Wine is, to a lot of folks, is a superb beverage that is enjoyed at just about any occasion. A good wine is especially delightful with exotic and flavorful cheeses, bread or a scrumptious meal. A great wine is also a perfect gift that doesn’t have to break the bank. If you don’t know much about wine or how to best choose or enjoy the many varieties then perhaps after reading the following you might feel a bit more assured about wines.

https://www.visittemeculavalley.com/

Have you ever wondered how or who decides which wine gets labeled “award winner” and preferred over another bottle of wine. The answer is not easy to explain. The truth about wine flavors can depend on the wine’s aroma or personal preferences, the vintner’s skill, the weather or soil in which the wine grape is grown. Making great wine requires horticultural science but also a lot of artistic expression.

In the fall of the year, the Temecula Valley Wine Growers Association hosts several events for locals and visitors to sample their finest wine offerings (www.temeculawines.org/). One of the coolest of these is the ‘People’s Choice Blind Tasting’ (https://www.visittemeculavalley.com/articles/post/temecula-valley-reveals-winners-of-second-annual-peoples-choice-blind-tasting-and-awards/) event held in November. Our host extended a gracious invitation to us to share in the wine judging and a six course gourmet dinner prepared by Chef Daragh Matheson, held at Leoness Cellars (https://www.visittemeculavalley.com/listing/leoness-cellars/58/). It’s a fantastic experience!

Doffo Winery’s Zinfandel 2015 bottle was awarded first place in the ‘People’s Choice’ competition (2017). This award winning bottle is available starting February 2018 (https://www.visittemeculavalley.com/listing/doffo-winery/49/). Second place was awarded to Lorimar Winery’s Syrah 2014 bottle (https://www.lorimarwinery.com/). Judged in third place was the 2014 Estate Syrah by Thornton Winery. (https://www.visittemeculavalley.com/listing/thornton-winery/68/)

How is a blind tasting competition done?
29 wines, 23 reds and 6 whites, are sampled by more than 200 invited guests. The guests of course and not told the identity of the wine. The sampled wine is judged on a 1 to 5 scale for overall flavor. The top 12 scoring samples are than sampled at a wine seminar. Master of Wine, Roger Bohmrich instructs guests on what to look for and how to best taste the varieties. The wines range in price from $24 – $100.

A few basics for wine tasting;
What does the wine look like in the glass. How does it smell. A wine’s bouquet is made known by swirling it in a glass. This helps generate more oxygen in the glass and reveals the aromas. Also, what does the wine taste like. What is the after taste flavor – sweet, fruity, smooth or acidity, slightly bitter and so on. The anonymous tasting score cards are tallied to determine the top three wines judged as ‘the best.’
At the end of the evening’s event a very humble Damian Doffo, CEO and Winemaker for Doffo Zinfandel, thanked his fellow area growers and visitors for such a prestigious honor. Doffo says that “his family and team push themselves always to grow the very best quality grapes for developing the finest tasting wine.”

One time grass covered rolling hills and open meadows of Temecula have been transformed into one of the finest wine growing areas in the country over the past decade. Temecula wine growers say they’re just getting started. There is a lot to enjoy with more to come.

Where to Stay

While visiting and touring the community we enjoyed an extraordinary room at the Temecula Creek Inn. Our space overlooked the beautiful and peaceful golf course. (https://www.visittemeculavalley.com/listing/temecula-creek-inn/21/)

Where to Eat

A couple of restaurant favorites in old downtown Temecula are the ‘1909.’ A great place for casual dinning, cocktails and even breakfast specialties (https://www.visittemeculavalley.com/listing/1909/1070/). There is often a line waiting for a table. For a different meal experience that includes a gluten free, and totally locally sources food menu, the E.A.T. Restaurant is a wonderful treat (https://www.visittemeculavalley.com/listing/e-a-t-marketplace/918/).

Also, Baily’s Restaurant and Nightclub serves extraordinary cuisine and wine (http://www.baily.com/).

Don’t neglect strolling through old town shops and discover one of a kind Olive Oils and blends, unique spices and specialties breads. Local restaurants use these products. (https://www.visittemeculavalley.com/listing/temecula-olive-oil-company/143/), (https://www.visittemeculavalley.com/listing/old-town-spice-%26-tea-merchants/647/)

More Wine? Yes Please

Over the past few years, Teresa and I have attended many dinner parties and tasted wines from a variety of areas of California and other parts of the world.
We’ve learned that when serving wine at a party, it’s wise to have at least one variety of red wine and one variety of white wine on hand. While most folks aren’t choosy about any particular wine region or a winery, most simply prefer that it tastes really good- red or white. Having both on hand you are sure to have something that pleases everyone’s taste.

 

You can make amazing pairings with your favorite wine for the dinner party.
For example, you can pair a Chardonnay with either Smoked Gouda or even Provolone. For stronger cheeses, such as Cheddar, opt for a Shiraz/Syrah or a Cabernet such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc works well. Zinfandel wines also goes beautifully with the more distinct tasting cheeses such as Feta or Brie.

Developing a good understanding of wines means you must sample a lot of different kinds of wine along the way. When we say sample, that means having just enough to discover the taste – savor each sip that you take. Do NOT guzzle the wine! Sometimes, you may be drinking a wine bottle that costs a lot of money so you might feel as though you want to get your money’s worth. Avoid doing that please.

Some Wine Masters suggest having white whines when they’re young, particularly in its first or second year. Chardonnay is a wine that has a little more longevity. That’s because oak wood barrels usually are not used when producing white wine. Other types of wines on the other hand, the exact opposite is usually true. Once again making great wine is both horticultural science and artistic expression.

Choose your food and wine pairings wisely to your tastes. Tradition suggest that white wine is suitable for light dishes, salads or fish. Red wine goes well with heavier dishes and dark meats. The rule of thumb is the heavier or darker the dish, the darker the wine that you choose. If you’re having a multi-course dinner, start with white wine and progress to red wine. Most wine makers will tell you to ‘drink what YOU like’ but also have understanding of what you are drinking.’

Winemakers say to us that it’s not a written law that reds only taste good with meats and whites only with fish. There are wines on both sides that pair up well with such dishes. Some Wine Masters now also suggest that you open up your mind to experimenting with wine and food variations. You may be limiting your creativity with wine and if you don’t engage your artistic tasting palate!

Over the years we’ve learned one of the quickest ways to chill a bottle of wine is to place it into a container that is filled with water and ice. You will be able to chill it to drinking standards within 30 minutes.

 

 

When serving a red wine it’s wise to give the wine a chance to breathe after opening. This gives the wine more time to interact with the oxygen in the air. If you are pushed for time, pour the wine through an aerator and into a decanter so that it breathes properly first. Enjoy!

 

Technology for A Passionate Baker – The World of TV Producer Rushion McDonald

By Paul & Teresa Lowe – http://www.chronicletravelers.com – November 20th 2017

The holiday season and thoughts of dinner parties can often spark a special excitement for a lot of folks, but not so for many others. Dinner parties and family gatherings can mean a lot of work and mess in the kitchen, especially when it comes to preparing baking treats-cakes, pies, cookies, and other desserts. Two times Emmy Award-winning TV producer Rushion McDonald says not to worry…time-saving baking help is here. He says even newbies can bake like a pro in no time with a little help from ‘Perfect Bake Smart Scale.’ (https://makeitperfectly.com/bake).

McDonald says if you can imagine measuring, to perfection, all the correct ingredients to bake a delicious peach cobbler or pink/red velvet cupcakes in minutes without making a mess of your kitchen wouldn’t life be grand? Rushion, a former executive producer of the “Steve Harvey” talk show and Consulting Producer of  “Syndicated Family Feud,” says he’s confident anyone can bake well, even if he or she has never baked anything before with just a little help from the Smart Scale and its apps.

Few things in life can make your tummy do a happy dance quite like brown sugar monkey bread, buttery sweet potato pie or baked banana pudding, so says Rushion McDonald. Dessert lovers can download a free video series, to gobble up and seemingly enjoying the more than two dozen recipes of McDonald’s new baking bonanza partnership with makers of the ‘Perfect Bake Smart Scale.’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxrfLXzx67w).

McDonald is now, in the opinion of some pastry chefs and colleagues, a superb baker and is passionate about baking desserts. He has won several regional and national awards for his delectable desserts. Rushion credits some of his rapid kitchen success to the Smart Scale. He says baking is a type of therapy for relaxing after a long day in the studio or on the road – the device is small and easy to pack and can be used for several no-bake recipes when traveling.

McDonald, a Houston, Texas native, didn’t spend much time in the kitchen while growing up. He began baking desserts only three years ago after being told to make a bundt cake as part of a pre-show superstitious prank. That life changing prank was the idea of his long time friend and one time business partner Steve Harvey and the program’s other executive producer Alex Douda (the former Chicago based “Steve Harvey Show.’ Currently taping in Los Angeles as “Steve.”).   (https://www.steveharvey.com/)

Not knowing how to even start baking anything McDonald figured he would get five pounds of baking flour, five pounds of sugar, and also five pounds of what he terms “this that and the other” plus a bottle of vanilla to make his single bundt cake. He discovered such an overkill approach was ill-conceived and his kitchen was a disaster afterward, but the cake turned out okay as staff gobbled up his first bundt cake!

The smart scale, with its easy to follow apps, assists you with measuring teaspoon and cup counts as well as the familiar pinches and dashes of ingredients without having to pull out a bunch of mixing bowls. Rushion says just pour until you hear the bell sound.

The device lets you know when to stop to have the perfect measurements. Also, if you happened to have only a circle pan when the recipe calls for a square pan, or if you’re short of any particular ingredient – perhaps you have one egg instead of two – the Perfect Bake Smart Scale will do a little algebra configuring and adjusts the entire recipe. Rushion says you will still achieve a delicious full flavor tasting dessert. He boasts of another cool creative advantage of this recipe app. You just tell the smart scale what’s in your pantry and the device suggests types of desserts that are possible for you to make.

McDonald is currently working on new no-bake recipes – desserts made without an oven and new recipes for macaroni and cheese and soul food style salads.
He gives a precautionary heads up to everyone- his food is “full flavored with a whole lot of calories.” He jokes that you should “consult with your physician before sampling!”

McDonald shares with us that he often has conversations with God and that he believes his creator has been very very good to him – helping him to build many businesses. McDonald works to share a little wisdom with others to achieve their own perception of success. McDonald hosts a radio series featuring money making conversations. His two-hour live celebrity-driven show offers tips and inspirational talks about individual pursuits of happiness and dreams fulfilled. He even has a YouTube channel where he pushes everyone to “dream and dream big to achieve success, however that is defined to you.” (https://www.rushionmcdonald.com/money-making-conversations/).

McDonald cautions that career success can take a bit of time. He emphasizes that folks should “be consistent with beliefs, your ethics and work practices.” He jokes “going viral” is today considered cool but that it is only relative fame, and is very very fleeting – nothing replaces putting in the real work to have a foundation for lifelong achievement.” By achievement, he means being able to share life wisdom and give to others.

Perfect Bake App Download on Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0163LLNX2

(Photo credits for all pictures of Rushion McDonald are courtesy of Rushion McDonald)

Paul & Teresa Lowe are writers and reviewers for a online travel, print, wine and cuisine, entertainment, travel technology, lifestyle and culture magazines.
Teresa, an independent filmmaker, picture and dialogue editor, co-created the series ‘ChronicleTravlers’ with husband Paul when he worked (25 years ) as a featured reporter and news anchor and story producer for KFWB Radio, KTWV once part of CBS Radio LA’s online. ChronicleTravelers included a segment called ‘One Tank Getaways’ which featured cool Eat, Stay and Play destinations and bucketlist adventures. Paul and Teresa, have been featured as a couple in a national AARP campaign. “How Do You Spell AARP?” (https://www.ispot.tv/ad/AKqg/aarp-how-do-you-spell-aarp). The couple hopes to bring their brand of travel writing and adventures to more eyes and ears across the country and around the world.

Feasting Fun; Cooking in Puerto Vallarta

By Paul and Teresa Lowe – www.chronicletravelers.com November 17th 2017

Imagine your perfect adventure and relaxation getaway trip. Where would that be and what would you see? Would you see a bay shore with inviting sandy beaches surrounded by mountains? How about a vision of gleaming morning sunlight rippling in the Pacific Ocean waves as dolphins play in the surf. Would you see yourself sipping on a cocktail as honeymooners walk hand in hand as a magenta and golden color sunset gracefully melts into the horizon?   Or imagine enjoying an elegant traditional 5 course Mexican meal that you make yourself.

All of this is real in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. You find paradise here! (http://visitpuertovallarta.com/)

A wonderful treat is taking part in Chef Julio Cesar’ real world cooking class at the ‘Restaurant Gaby (https://www.facebook.com/Restaurant-Gaby-148765453028/) .’

 

The experience is not only fun but off the scale palate-pleasing tasty! You don’t just walk into his restaurant and sit down for a class. Nope, Chef Julio takes you market shopping through town (walking three short street blocks) with him for the ingredients to prepare, grind, brew and grill your own aromatic and flavorful 5-course meal.

Chef Julio and his family pride themselves on making certain that you enjoy a memorable meal! He says that he wants you to “walk away from the table feeling you’ve ‘lived a full day, enjoyed a wonderful meal with genuinely friendly conversation” – all made extra special with a taste of fine tequila.

Another venture about town is on a walking ‘Vallarta Taco Tour.’ This is one of those really cool opportunities to see the town up close and to indulge yourself with fresh produce and meats. Publicly served foods are strictly regulated by the Mexican government. This is authentic family comfort food that is enjoyed by the folks of Puerto Vallarta.

 

Fine dinning on the beach is a real treat especially when ocean waves lap only a few feet from you table in the sand. It makes for a romantic setting at the LaPalapa Restaurant. The snapper fish, coconut shrimp, tuna and oysters are spot-on fresh and decadently wonderful. As you enjoy a great meal and conversation ask your server to suggest an after dinner cocktail as local Mariachi players serenade guests to cap a pleasant evening in Puerto Vallarta (https://www.lapalapapv.com/).

While visiting Puerto Vallarta  we strongly recommend that you take a little time to experience  a spirits mixology class to make your adventure complete (wine blends also).  Exquisite fine foods, including an ancient delicacy of cinnamon dusted crickets-“drool, drool delicious,”  and out of this world beverages served poolside are also part of the experience at Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel and Romantic Getaway

 

http://www.premiereonline.com.mx/home) located in the heart of Old Downtown Puerto Vallarta.  Did we also mention that the class is only a few feet from the inviting Pacific ocean waves.  Puerto Vallarta is an outstanding Bucket List Getaway! Find Paradise in Puerto Vallarta

Paul & Teresa Lowe are writers and reviewers for online travel, print, wine and cuisine, entertainment, travel technology and culture magazines.  Teresa, an independent filmmaker, picture and dialogue editor, co-created the series ‘ChronicleTravlers’ with husband Paul when he worked (25 years ) as a featured reporter and news anchor and story producer for KFWB Radio, KTWV once part of CBS Radio LA’s online.  ChronicleTravelers included a segment called ‘One Tank Getaways’  which featured cool Eat, Stay and Play destinations and bucket list adventures.  Paul and Teresa, have been featured as a couple in a national AARP campaign. “How Do You Spell AARP?”(https://www.ispot.tv/ad/AKqg/aarp-how-do-you-spell-aarp).  The couple hopes to bring their brand of travel writing and adventures to more eyes and ears across the country and around the world.

 

 

 

Oscar Night’s Big Feast

By Paul and Teresa Lowe – www.chronicletravelers.com – February 19th 2017

When it comes to taking home Oscar – the coveted golden statuette of the motion picture industry – there’s no such thing as a sure bet for any A-list actor. However, Chef Wolfgang Puck’s over the top savory bite, hors d’oeuvres and seafood dishes and tapas served at the Governors Ball always win praises for ‘best cuisine of the year’ in Hollywood. (https://wolfgangpuck.com/)

Chef Wolfgang says the 89th Academy Awards Show (http://www.oscars.org/oscars) is the greatest celebration of the year and its after-party should feature the best food in the world. His ball menu features more than four dozen whimsical and colorful dishes; potatoes with caviar, Oscar-shaped biscuit salmon with caviar, Dover Sole, king crab, braised short ribs, mini Kobe burgers, pizza, pasta and truffles and chicken pot pie, which is a ball favorite. Chef is found of saying, “whatever you like, we have it, including lots and lots of vegetables.” Chef Wolfgang, by the way loves vegetables, and emphasizes farm-to-table freshness. He always uses produce from local growers and suppliers.

Chef Wolfgang’s gigantic smile and gracious laugh greet you as you enter his state of the art kitchen. Speaking with the 63-year-old Austrian-born culinary genius you can hear his passion for always wanting to extend the boundaries of flavorful dishes for the post-Oscars party. Chef’s recipes, made with the help of more than 350 culinary assistants, sous-chefs, and even his 11-year-old son, truly push your taste palate into zones you never knew could be so wonderful…wow!

On the evening of the Academy Awards, Chef Wolfgang says he spends about an hour or so in the kitchen and heads off to mingle with the 16-hundred guests, but not before praising and applauding his staff for a job well done.

At the end of the Oscars Governors Ball, everyone leaves full and happy. Also, no food goes to waste. Chef Wolfgang generously donates all of the unused fresh foods to Los Angeles area shelters. He says at least for one night, folks who’ve fallen on hard times also get to dine on fine foods just like a Hollywood movie star.

Paul & Teresa Lowe are writers and reviewers for a online travel, print, wine and cuisine, entertainment, travel technology, lifestyle and culture magazines.
Teresa, an independent filmmaker, picture and dialogue editor, co-created the series ‘ChronicleTravlers’ with husband Paul when he worked (25 years ) as a featured reporter and news anchor and story producer for KFWB Radio, KTWV once part of CBS Radio LA’s online. ChronicleTravelers included a segment called ‘One Tank Getaways’ which featured cool Eat, Stay and Play destinations and bucketlist adventures. Paul and Teresa, have been featured as a couple in a national AARP campaign. “How Do You Spell AARP?” (https://www.ispot.tv/ad/AKqg/aarp-how-do-you-spell-aarp). The couple hopes to bring their brand of travel writing and adventures to more eyes and ears across the country and around the world.