Middle Ridge Winery was born in Idyllwild, CA and is now made in Temecula. Wine Maker Chris Johnston’s original Innovation Lab in Idyllwild continues to be the source of new ideas but us lucky wine lovers can taste the best that Middle Ridge has to offer at Temecula’s Wine Collective in Old Town.
For Chris and his wife Melody, wine is all about starting a conversation. In that vein, we have two wine suggestions that are sure to be a hot topics of conversation when poured at any gathering.
The first one is their 2010 Pinot Grigio, what the folks at Middle Ridge call the “perfect deck wine.” Chris designed this wine with hot summer days in mind – it’s very light and perfect to enjoy with friends on the deck or at a picnic. It has fresh pear aromas and a delicate lemon finish, and is great alone or with food. He says it pairs nicely with melons and mild cheeses . Or try it with a salad. And for something heartier, it will also go really well with seafood or roasted chicken.
The grapes for this wine come from Blue’s Creek Vineyard, owned by John Wayland. The vineyard is named after John’s labrador retriever, Blue, who enjoys the creek on the property. The Pinot Grigio is from the sixth harvest Chris has purchased from John, so it looks like this collaboration works really well for everyone.
For all you red wine fans, you have to check out Middle Ridge’s 2008 Reserve Petite Sirah. It tastes of lush blackberries and plums with lingering licorice and floral notes. I also noted a delicate pepper finish as well. It has a lovely deep, almost black color. All of this – the color, the aromas, the smoothness – is thanks to the great fruit Chris uses and thirty-one months of aging in French oak barrels.
Unfortunately, there are only twenty cases left of this delicious wine, and then it’s gone for good. They will never be able to harvest these grapes again since that particular vineyard was lost to a herd of horses. It’s always an adventure when it comes to wine making - but fun adventures make great conversations. And in that regard, Chris and Melody are always happy to help. Salut!
Photos Credit: Carl Kravats
Repost July 24, 2012