I was excited to receive my first assignment from Taste of Temecula last Friday afternoon, and what a treat it was! This evening was the kick off to Callaway’s Summer Sunsets event which will be held on the patio each Friday evening for the next 9 weeks.
We were met by the wonderful Denise Sutterfield of Callaway Vineyards & Winery, who was happy to have us visiting on this evening. Thomas and I arrived just shortly after 6:00 pm to a sprawling patio overlooking the vineyard to the west.
JD Priest was just beginning to play his first acoustic set of the evening. They played a variety of music from the most recent tunes, to melodies that take us all down memory lane. Sunshine on my Shoulders by John Denver was a beautiful arrangement of two guitars that made Thomas and I both smile.
We chose a small table and looked over the wines and tapas available for the evening. The evening’s menu has been created solely for Friday’s at the Winery. I chose the 2010 Rose’ Sangiovese, and Thomas picked the 2008 Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. My wine came to the table icy cold…upon my first sip I could not help bust burst out with “Oh my …!” This wine was perfect for the warm evening. It was refreshing and vibrant with hints of watermelon and nectarine and finished with the slightest taste of lime. It was not overly sweet, truly a bottle I will enjoy having in my refrigerator and serving to my guests on a warm evening on our own patio.
Thomas’s choice, the 2008 Cab was equally spectacular. Thomas described his choice. “Can you actually drink silk? Full bodied and smooth, a nice spice with a berry front. I can see this by my plate of pasta, I smile waiting for the next sip.” I particularly loved the hint of chocolate in it… because of course, all girls love chocolate!
The evening menu has been created by Executive Chef Michael Henry. It is simple and fresh, using many locally grown and organic ingredients. He has also chosen to set up on the patio with the diners and prepare each dish himself, which I give huge props to Callaway for. Keeping the menu short, sweet and the chef close made it easy and quick in the service, losing nothing in the quality of the dishes that were prepared.
I chose the Genoa Salami and provolone Panini. I did not get what I expected… I don’t know what I expected, but let me say it was nothing short of a treat and took me back to my teenage years to my favorite sandwich. The bread is baked on the premises’ daily, and it is amazing. It is first brushed with olive oil then layered with beautiful, rich and spicy genoa salami and lovely provolone. The bread is perfectly chewy and paired with the Rose’, is nostalgic and heavenly. This meal is perfect for a summer evening, as it is vibrant, simple and uncomplicated. These flavors together are a Mediterranean staple that are sure to please the most discerning palate.
Thomas’selection was the Brie en Croute. This is a warm, perfectly flaky pastry, layered with smooth brie, rich chocolate gnash, strawberry jam (made by Chef Henry,) and toasted almonds, plated with fresh strawberries. This dish is sensational and flavorful with no single ingredient overpowering another. Each element enhances the flavors of the others, creating a recipe that is not overly sweet and a delight to the taste buds.
Later on Denise shared with me that patrons were requesting deserts, so Chef Michael has decided that next Friday he will create a special desert and then present a different one for each Summer Sunset at Callaway.
Music will be provided by Master Splinter and the Shredders on August 6th. There is plenty of room to get your loved one close and dance away the evening under the Temecula stars.
We more than enjoyed our visit to Callaway. The atmosphere that Denise and the staff have created is warm, unpretentious, romantic and inviting. The menu prices are a fair value, with nothing over 13.00. We are so looking forward to a return visit and hope that we will meet you there soon.
Summer Sunsets are held every Friday evening through September 30th from 6:00 o’clock till 9:00 o’clock
Callaway Vineyard and Winery, 32720 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, CA 92591 (951) 676-4001