The future is now at Orfila Winery

Wine futures have always fascinated me. The fact that wine loyalists will invest in purchasing cases of wine after harvest but before bottling, betting that the wine will be of the highest quality without tasting it until the following year, is a sign of trust in the winery’s ability to produce consistent excellence.
Orfila Vineyard and Winery in Escondido each year presents its Merlot Futures Winemaker Dinner. The most recent gala, the 10th annual, brought aficionados from Las Angeles to New Jersey to make sure they picked up their orders for the 2006 Merlot, and placed their case orders at a discount for the 2007, which will be released at the next dinner in the fall of this year.
Last year’s 2005 Merlot received high praise at the 2008 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition in San Diego.
The Orfila creation was awarded a Platinum Medal, the highest possible accolade. Leon Santoro, Orfila’s winemaker, emphasized the low production, high quality of the Merlot grapes for the 2006. Just 1,116 cases were available.
He promised “beautiful notes of cherries, raspberries and violets. It has a deep, complex Merlot flavor with delicious oak overtones and maximum color and was aged primarily in French oak barrels blended with 4.5 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.”
The 2006 is the 16th production of San Diego County Merlot and counting the turnout to take possession of the 2006 futures and sign up for the 2007, many wine lovers have faith in their “Merlot Futures” at Orfila. For more information, contact the winery at (760) 738-6500 or visit www.orfila.com.
Wine Bytes
— Ceja Vineyards in the Napa Valley will be spotlighted by Napa Valley Grille in Horton Plaza San Diego from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Jan 14. A reception will start things off with dinner and wines to follow, including the luscious 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon. The cost is $60 per person. Call (619) 236-9649 for details.
— San Diego Wine and Culinary Center across from the Convention Center is holding a series of “Brilliant Basics Cooking Classes” from 9 a.m. to p.m. starting Jan. 17. Participants will create a three-course meal to enjoy. Wine will play a part in the preparation. The cost is $90 per session. Two other dates are Jan. 24 and Jan. 31. To sign up, call (619) 231-6400.
— South Coast Winery Resort and Spa will hold a Wine and Food Pairing class from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 17, taught by Executive Chef Serni and winemaker Jon McPherson. Cost is $75 per person. The winery will also hold a free Bridal Open House on Jan. 18 with appearances by wedding specialists and vendors. Reservations for both are available by calling (951) 587-9463.

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