Tonight was the night to tingle the tongue with Frizzante style wines and wonderful after-dinner wines. As Ken Mapes says, these are fortified “grappa style on steroids!” A perfect way to end the day satisfying the sweet tooth in all of us. Our hosts, Don and Michelle Campini–owners of Wine on a Dime here in Temecula–greeted each guest with a glass of Villa Jolanda Moscato, a sweet and sparkling Moscato Rose from Italy. We settled in to meet our guest winemaker/owner Ken Mapes of Mapes Cellars. Ken graciously described each of these aperitif-style wines–all from the Italia region–as we sipped and savored them with fruit and cheese. We enjoyed Moscato Di’ Asti, the varietal is Moscato de Cannelli, sweet but not overly sweet, with just enough bubbles. Then came Stella Rosa, awith a distinct nose of Rose. Fruity and sweet on the palette, I happily took home a bottle.
Ken and Ginny Mapes moved here to Temecula in 1995. His first words when stepping foot into our wine country were, “All theses grapes are waiting for me.” Although Ken has a chemistry and engineering background working for Intel and Boston Scientific for 14 yrs, he was a “closet” home wine-maker. He started dabbling in college. Then after moving here, he progressed to the laundry room, then his garage. He entered his homemade wines in several competitions throughout Southern California and won gold and double gold medals. He was also a 5 year president of a home-making wine club that had more than thirty members.
Now for the main attraction. We had the pleasure to taste all three of Mapes Cellars specialty dessert wines. First, Pacific Sunset–a wonderful Orange Muscat with orange, apricot, and just a hint of vanilla. I was definitely thinking Crème Brulee. The grapes come from the Central Coast of California’s wine region. Second, Chocolate Decompression. 100% Grenache from the Temecula Valley, I tasted dark chocolate, strawberry and red cherry. It was perfect with the rich chocolate brownie accompanying it. We finished with Day’s End, a Tawny Port-style wine made with 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache. Hints of red and blackberries, especially boysenberries. All three were a lovely way to cap an extraordinary evening.
Mapes Cellars is located in Temecula. They are currently finishing their online shopping website. Now you can find these wines at Wine on a Dime located on Jefferson Avenue. Ken’s distribution focus for is small boutique wine shops and local restaurants. He currently produces around 600 cases a year. For more information, contact Ken at email@example.com, or visit Wine on a Dime and buy a bottle. All retail for $17.95 each.
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