The theme for our evening was Rhone Zone and featured Tesoro's Tuscan-Inspired red wines paired with sensational tapas created by Chef Dorothy Blandi, owner of Artists' Gourmet Café. Upon arrival we were welcomed with a sample of some of the most original sparkling wines I have ever tasted. All three are set to be bottled and released early 2011 and we are counting down the days until they are available for purchase... especially the passion fruit! With our evening under way, we were then entertained by the talented Rocky Osborn and his up close card tricks. For those interested, he performs at Tesoro's Tasting Room in Old Town Temecula every Saturday from 4pm to close and believe us, his magic is definitely worth seeing in person!
As we took a seat around the elegantly decorated table we were served with our first course, Ham & Caramelized Onion in Puff Pastry paired with the 2007 Elio Doro, meaning "Gift of the Sun" in Greek. The flavors from the pastry complimented and enhanced the blend of fruit and earthy notes in the wine.
Our second course was unlike anything I have ever tasted. Chef Dorothy prepared Smoked Salmon with Polenta and topped it with fresh creamy avocado, fire roasted corn, blood oranges and drizzled with citrus olive oil. The 2007 Mourvedre was chosen to serve alongside because of its earthy tones which paired well with the smoked salmon and corn while complimenting the citrus flavors of the dish perfectly.
The next course was one Chef Dorothy enjoyed creating because it was paired with her favorite Tesoro wine: the 2007 Syrah. Lamb with Artichoke Garlic Mashed Potatoes was served in order to emphasize the ripe fruit flavors and earthy undertones in the wine. While enjoying this course it was mentioned that "Drinking Syrah is like drinking sunshine" which we feel is perfect for Temecula!
Our final course and probably my favorite was the Dark Chocolate Cherry Petite Fleur served with Cherry and Port Wine Reduction and paired with Tesoro's Tribordo Port. It was the perfect ending to an amazing evening of flavors.
One highlight of the night was listening to winemaker Etienne Cowper speak so passionately about his profession. It is rare to sit down with a winemaker in an open forum to ask questions so we felt privileged to have had the opportunity. As the only winemaker for Tesoro Winery, Etienne believes in letting the grapes tell their own story without much intervention. He enjoys blending wines and by focusing on enhancement instead of manipulation, Etienne is able to create the balanced flavors that reflect the Mediterranean style wines Tesoro Winery has been known for.
Before the night ended we were given great news as the Olson's announced the purchase of the famous Castle B&B on Rancho California which currently resides next door to Kimberly Vineyards and the future location of Tesoro's permanent winery tasting room. Castellini di Tesoro will hopefully be open for business in the coming months on their 27-acre property which will eventually include guest accommodations, winery and tasting room.
We could not be more excited for what's to come at Tesoro Winery and cannot wait to learn about all the future plans as they continue to grow. The Temecula Insider wishes Buzz and Kimberly Olson the best of luck!
Tesoro Winery's Tasting Room is located at 28475 Old Town Front Street in Temecula.
Artists' Gourmet Café is located at 41790 Winchester Road, Temecula, CA, (951)719-1276. Dine in also available.
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