Show 33, June 29, 2013: David Vergari, Winemaker at Thornton Winery in Temecula

Thornton Winery in TemeculaYou really know David is a regular guy when he shares with you the winemakers’ tip that after a long day of tasting and blending a winemakers’ remedy for refreshing the fatigued taste buds is to enjoy a cold beer.

Vergari is only the 3rd winemaker in the rich, 25 year history of the proudly Family-owner Thornton Winery, and he has been in residence there for three years. They are known for consistently excellent California sparkling wines but in recent years they have developed a reputation for producing significant still wines, too. He has a current release of a Nebbiolo and Vermentino (both Italian grape varietals) that he’s very pleased with.

2013 is also the 25th Anniversary of Thornton’s Champagne Jazz Series. The concerts are performed outdoors in their acoustically superior Mediterranean fountain terrace and continue through October. The intimate space overlooks the scenic Temecula Valley wine country.

Huge acts who you would normally only see in large concert halls perform in this special venue because it’s a quality space. Headliner Dave Koz performed last weekend and tonight is Spyro Gyra and Acoustic Alchemy,

Thornton Winery’s long-time executive chef Steve Pickell of Café Champagne prepares a seated picnic menu (enjoyed under a shaded canopy) for every concert. It’s really an unfussy fine-dining experience with three courses. Both Thornton and other carefully selected premium wines are suggested as appropriate pairings for each course.

The appetizer course is field-to-table as all the fresh fruits and vegetables are sourced from local family farmers. Besides the wine grapes the unincorporated Riverside County portion of Temecula is an abundant agricultural area.

June 29: Kedric Francis, Tony Abou-Ganim, Thornton Winery

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part One
Segment Four: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part Two
Segment Five: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part Two
Segment Six: David Vergari, Winemaker at Thornton Winery in Temecula

Time to talk dining…

Providence RestaurantChef Jet celebrated Father’s Day at Providence in Los Angeles. This is celebrity chef Michael Cimarusti’s (ex-Water Grill) much-praised, fine-dining seafood restaurant. In addition to the expected great seafood non-stuffy, attentive service is part of the experience. There is also a very deep wine list and an outstanding bar. Jet talks about his meal there and why this is such a popular special occasion establishment.

We’ll also answer some e-mail inquiries.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineMr. Suave himself, Kedric Francis, is back with us. He’s the Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and co-founding editor of the revamped OC Register Magazine.

Kedric is in-studio talking about local travel opportunities for Summer. He’s got some inspired ideas for traveling on the rails and previews the new attractions at The Disneyland Resort. It’s all child-friendly, too.

The Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-GanimWe’re delighted to welcome The Modern Mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim, to the show. He’s a master barman and part magician. Tony is based in Las Vegas. He created the entire bar program (nothing short of spectacular) for the opening of Steve Wynn’s  original Bellagio, the trend-setting casino resort of it’s time.

Tony will share his inspirations for Summer cocktails and the importance of quality ice. It really makes the difference in a properly-prepared cocktail!

The Modern Mixologist also previews his new line of custom-designed bar tools.

Man about Orange County, Kedric Francis encores for another segment. This time he’s  chatting about the just-released June Restaurant Issue of Coast.

One feature profiles up and coming areas where there are pockets of distinctive dining places. Downtown Santa Ana is one of these spotlighted dining neighborhoods.

The most interesting piece, we think, is on the best restaurants in Orange County located in the worst spots. What a fun idea…

A truly underappreciated local wine country destination is the Temecula Valley. It’s 90 minutes, or less, from most areas of Orange County. It’s probably best known as the location of the Pechanga Casino Resort (largest Indian casino & hotel property in the West) but there is lots more out there.

Thornton Winery in TemeculaWhen you cross Butterfield Stage Road going East on Rancho California Road you hit the picturesque, and delightfully rural,  wine country. The first winery property you pass is the eye-catching Thornton Winery celebrating their 25th anniversary of proud family ownership in 2013. They are especially known for their premium California sparkling wines but also produce a  distinctive line of still wines under the stewardship of winemaker David Vergari.

Since the beginning Thornton has staged a highly regarded summer Champagne Jazz Series at the winery showcasing renowned contemporary jazz artists. Dave Koz performed two concerts there last weekend. It’s a superb environment to enjoy a concert in. You can also sip wine and enjoy a three-course seated dinner in the concert area.

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part One
Segment Four: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part Two
Segment Five: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part Two
Segment Six: David Vergari, Winemaker at Thornton Winery in Temecula