TEMECULA – 45 WINERIES IN 45 DAYS (WEEK 1)
First off…the idea of visiting and tasting at 45 wineries in 45 days is a task only some crazed lunatic would attempt…oh yea, totally makes sense now. What follows below is a recap of the posts that have appeared on the Instagram @boozepress account during the first week of the “45 in 45” project. Each week for the next 6 weeks or so, a new recap will appear here, featuring the nuggets from my daily posts. I of course recommend that you follow along on Instagram @boozepress, so you don’t miss a thing and stay up to date.
HART WINERY – A very quaint and relaxed way to either begin or end your day. Nestled in the trees just above Rancho California Road, at the beginning of Temecula Wine Country. It’s a welcome retreat from some of the more hectic wineries along the same path. Service is top notch, as I was made to feel like an old friend from the moment I arrived and the wines were quite good.
Sauvignon Blanc –
Aromas of light grapefruit and some melon. Light acidity on the pallet and quite well balanced. Nice moderate, pleasant finish
Begins with a nice earthy aroma, along with some potpourri with white pepper. Soft, full mouth feel, then envelops the mouth with over ripe berries. Concludes with a nice, full finish that lingers
Exhibits bold fruits and chocolate on the nose, almost Cabernet like in its aromas. Then it continues this “Cab”deception, with the dark fruits, some herbal qualities and a health dose of tannins on the pallet. An extremely unique Merlot. Not a Merlot for those who want the “smooth jazz” feel of your typical Merlot, but an excellent wine.
Overall, a very enjoyable experience, in a unique setting. Complimented by a friendly, attentive staff and excellent wines.
THORNTON WINERY – One of the more well known wineries in Temecula, Thornton greats you at the “head of the trail” on Rancho California Rd, just up a small rise to the right. Thornton utilizes an overall French chateau style, both in building design / grounds and with the use of the Methode method for its numerous sparkling wines. During the warmer months (when Covid abates) Thornton regularly hosts well-known smooth jazz and pop acts during the evening on its patio.
No wine tasting was conducted during my visit. However, at Thornton a unique tasting process is available. For somewhere between $23 and $29, you can sample a 4-glass flight, in a style of your choosing. Additionally, individual glasses can be ordered and a full menu is available from their restaurant. Choices include entrees, salads appetizers, sandwiches and desserts. The grounds are expansive and peaceful and include an herb garden, a tranquil pond area and wine caves.
CALLAWAY VINEYARD & WINERY – I’m sure many of you in past have seen a Callaway wine at your local grocery store at a, shall we call it, affordable price. That is not the wine that you’ll find here at the winery, as a matter of fact Callaway Vineyard & Winery doesn’t even produce the wine you may have seen in your local Kroger. A visit to this winery will please both your pallet and your stomach. Located on the north side of Rancho California Rd just after crossing Butterfield Stage Rd, you’ll wind up slowly up the entrance to an ample parking area. From there a short walk will lead to beautiful views from both the restaurant and tasting room. The tastings and dining are reasonably priced and quite good, so do try to take advantage of both. As with all of the tastings during the 45 in 45 project, I ask for 3 wines that best represent the winery. My thoughts…
2017 Wild Yeast Viognier –
A nice melon, summer fruits aroma. On the pallet, the residual sugars are light (thankfully) with some sweetness, subtle shades of a 50/50 bar. Maybe a longer finish is the only fault I find
2017 Wild Yeast Petite Syrah –
Needs some time to open up but it’s worth it. Dark berries and earthy on the nose. Taste is rich and warm, with blackberries, plums and some pepper. Light tannins are present, especially on the finish which is nice and full
Bella Rose –
Cabernet is used as the base grape in this sparkling wine. Exploding on the nose with stone fruits such as peaches & nectarines as well as tropical (mango/pineapple) The taste of this wine seems to mimic that of the aroma with an added toastiness peaking through its mellow bubbles
Callaway is definitely one to put on your visiting list but make sure it’s at the end of your day, as sunsets from the winery are stunning
EUROPA VILLAGE – The concept behind Europa Village is certainly a unique one. While some wineries choose a particular region or country to focus their style on, Europa Village has taken the unprecedented step of offering their visitors a mini vacation to Europe, by creating wines made in the styles of Spain, France and Italy. This unique approach extends to the architecture as well, as structures representing all of these countries are springing up all across the 30 or so acres that make up Europa Village. Wine tasting at Europa can also challenge the pallet (in the best way possible) as there are approximately 10 wines from “each country” to choose from. Here are my mini tasting notes…
Pinot Grigio –
Visually, one of the most unique Pinot Grigios I’ve ever seen. Nearly orange in its color, its aroma flirting with honeysuckle and floral notes. On the pallet, a slight orange sweetness combined with the honey and a floral essence provided a full and extended finish
Aromas of berries, but a richness of leather lays a underlying foundation. The wine envelops the mouth with a warm, welcoming coating of berries and dark fruits. The rich finish continues for some time
Annabel Brut Traditionelle –
Sparkling with an aroma of baked apples and spices followed by sage brush. An initial pop of cream followed by tangerine/orange on the pallet. A delicious dessert in a glass
The uniqueness of Europa Village certainly warrants a visit, as do the wines. I look forward to watching all the villages as they continue to develop and expand. Various appetizers and desserts are available on a limited menu, to enhance your tasting
BAILY WINERY – Baily Winery has been around since 1986, when it launched with just 1 offering, a Cabernet Sauvignon. They of course now feature a fine selection of wines and Carol’s, a somewhat (visually) medieval themed restaurant. No jousting permitted on the grounds and or grog in goblets however. They are also proprietors of @bailyestatewines but we will visit that winery in a few weeks. There’s a “grand” feeling in both the tasting room and Carol’s. Perhaps it’s the voluminous high ceilings or perhaps the décor, but one can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the vastness of both rooms. I felt them quite majestic. But if those aren’t to your liking, there are also 2 outside seating areas, surrounded by beautiful scenery. My tasting took place in the tasting room and consisted of a white and 2 reds
Sauvignon Blanc – Aroma of grapefruit mixed with tropical fruit, wet sidewalk and some sulfur notes. Tangerine on the pallet with a nice lengthy, modestly acidic finish.
2017 Cab Franc –
Nosing brought wild berries and herbaceous notes, almost earthy. Nicely balanced with just a hint of tannins. Dirty berries on the pallet. Finish is somewhat quick however. Would prefer it to linger longer
2017 Malbec –
Aroma of ripe prunes and raisins. Sugars and alcohol explode on the pallet and coat the tongue with plums and berries. Nice lengthy finish on this one
Would love to dine at Carol’s next time and fill you in on that experience. The menu consists of everything from salads to sandwiches to dinner faire. I understand that the Rueben is exceptional..perhaps that with a glass of a nice red. I think the decision’s been made…
THE INN AT CHURON – Sitting atop a small rise on the south side of Rancho California Rd, the Inn at Churon Winery offers beautiful views of the valley and gorgeous grounds to wander through
The Inn offers a number of room options ranging from around $200 – $300 per night over weekends during the summer months. There is also a café menu serving up appetizers, salads, sandwiches, flatbreads and desserts. The award winning wines can be sampled in the tasting room at “the bottom of the stairs” My 3 tastings were…
Cabernet Sauvignon –
Aroma of ripe berries and that old school Temecula aroma (not a fan) But a gorgeous burst of berries on the pallet righted the ship. Very fruit forward. Finish is moderate and smooth
Raisin and Italian spices on the nose. Nice ripe prune and dark chocolate on the pallet. Finish is quite long
Fairly quiet aroma, hints of red licorice and berries. Nice and well balanced on the pallet, with a taste of red raspberries and strawberries and finishing with a hint of black licorice. Minimal tannins and a moderate finish
The Inn at Churon Winery provides a beautiful setting and nice amenities. It is also located within viewing distance of a number of other wineries you can try during your weekend stay
MIRAMONTE WINERY – OK…little piece of advice. Make sure you park as close as you can to the winery. It can be a bit of a hike if you are in the lower parking areas. The winery itself, and especially the outdoor seating area provide a beautiful setting with great views up and down the valley. The Bistro boasts handmade, craft food, made fresh daily. The menu includes a variety of starters, entrees, flatbreads and desserts. Plenty of tasty morsels to enjoy with your tasting as you take in the scenery. My tasting was a bit eclectic with a couple of reds and a “punch”
Red raspberries, some leathery tobacco notes. Spicy with some plum on the pallet, light vanilla feel. Nice moderate smooth finish
Members Reserve – (Mourvedre / Petite Syrah) Aromas of bakers chocolate, then woody, with some spice. Fruity on pallet. Tannins are subdued and elegant with a somewhat long finish
Sangria Blend (made from both red a & white) –
Initially very fruity and floral on the nose. Nice browned toast with jam on the pallet. Breakfast anyone? Or maybe party by the pool? A very fun drink
Service actually feels more restaurant like than a winery, but very efficient and friendly. Seating seems as though it could be limited at times so perhaps call ahead.
So that’s a wrap on week 1. I will be posting week 2 in a few days. Once again. be sure to follow @boozepress on Instagram so you don’t miss a thing. Cheers!