Wine of the Week

Chris’ Wine Pick of the Week

Traz asked me to take over the “wine pick” this week, so I thought I’d head over to a winery we’ve yet to highlight, one that is becoming a favorite of mine here in the Temecula Valley, Longshadow Ranch Winery.

Longshadow Ranch, 2007 Estate Cinsault. Photo by Chris Baptiste

Besides being known for their “Boot Shooters” (Sipping cups, shaped like cowboy boots, made from Belgian chocolate filled to the brim with their Ponderosa Port), Longshadow has a great selection of red wines (and a couple of whites), including their 2007 Merlot (unfiltered), a smooth 2007 Reata Red (a Syrah/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend) and a nice big 2007 Cabernet Franc. Today, I found my favorite to be their 2006 Estate Cinsault.

The Cinsault grape is primarily grown in the Mediterranean region (both European and African shores) and has become known as an important varietal in South Africa, where it was referred as “Hermitage” until the 1970s. When its yields are restricted, the Cinsault grape can produce lush, sweetly rich wines full of character. Longshadow Ranch is one of the few vineyards in the U.S. to grow it, and as such, makes it a unique and exotic varietal wine for us here in Temecula.

Even from my first sip, it was clear that the 2006 Estate Cinsault was a distinguished red wine with a complex, fruit-forward nose and a bright, almost brilliant, clarity and color. It’s off-dry, full of robust berry flavors (but not too sweet), with a subtle spicy, yet smooth, finish. Grace, my fantastic “sommelier” for this tasting, called it a “mustard seed finish.” Its noticeable, over-all balance combined with a fairly low alcohol content (13%) equals a versatile wine when pairing with food. Grace suggested having it with a grilled bratwurst, which sounded perfect. I also thought of a pulled-pork BBQ sandwich with potato salad…delicious!

What I also liked about the 2006 Estate Cinsault is that it’s reasonably priced – just $30. Seeing that they have less than 200 cases remaining, this lovely wine won’t last long. That said, for you, our loyal and growing viewers, Longshadow is offering their Wine Club discount of $25.50 (a 15% savings) for one week only—from today through May 13th. Just over $25 for a bottle of wine this flavorful and silky? a steal, pure and simple. Just mention that you learned of their Cinsault via Taste of Temecula, and pick up a bottle or two with your discount.

If you’ve never visited the Longshadow Ranch Winery, you have two tasting rooms to choose from—their Winery Tasting Room (at their vineyard off Rancho California Road, or their Old Town Tasting Room (on Front Street).  For more information, visit:

Some of the local winery residents. Photo by Chris Baptiste

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