No group of sailors or adventurers ever set sail for the Caribbean without a bountiful wine supply. So be it too with the members of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers on their "Conference at Sea" event aboard the Eurodam. Serious as wine writers, members invited Don Reha, winemaker for Thornton Wines and Orfila Vineyards, to join them for a series of wine tastings.
Also on the cruise was Associate Member Linda Kissam who presented wines from Keyways, Tesoro and Lorimar wineries of Temecula. If it sounds like all we did on the cruise was taste wine our defense is that it was spread over the seven days of the voyage. Don Reha used the first wine session to present four vintages from Thornton where he has been winemaker for six years.
Wines presented included Thornton Brut sparkler, 2008 Thornton Chardonnay, a 2006 Meritage of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2006 Thornton Syrah. These events all took place at the Pinnacle Restaurant, the Eurodam's fine dining room with a helping hand from Cellar Master Fernando. Thornton Winery has achieved a reputation for producing both sparkling and still wines and is also site for Cafe Champagne, a five star restaurant.
Another day associate IFW member Linda Kissam took us through wines from three Temecula wineries. They were Tesoro, Keyways and Lorimar. Of the wines we tasted our highest marks went to Keyways 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Tesoro 2005 Tempranillo and Lorimar Meritage. Also Tesoro 2007 Riesling which was a Silver Medal winner and Lorimar's 2009 Gewurztraminer.
Tesoro is a newcomer at Temecula with Carl and Kimnberly Olson as principal owners. Recently they opened a Tasting Room in old town Temecula and a new winery and Bed & Breakfast with an Italian theme is under development on their vineyard property.
Keyways Vineyards is unique in that it is the only Temecula winery owned and managed by a woman, Terri Pebley, statewide only a few are owned by women. Since taking over in 2004 Terri Pebley has made extensive improvements both in vineyard plantings and at the winery.
Don Reha wears two hats being winemaker at both Thornton and San Diego's Orfila Winery. Orfila has a 36 year history as a San Pasqual Valley winery. Don says that the San Pasqual terrior is ideal for Italian varietals and after tasting Orfila 2006 Estate Sangiovese we had to agree. Orfila also offers an estate Viognier called Lotus. We particularly liked this blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Roussane.
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