TEMECULA – 45 WINERIES IN 45 DAYS (WEEK 3)
We’re already at week 3. Time flies when you’re drinking everyday. We continue our way down Rancho California in the heart of Temecula Wine Country, so take some good notes and head on out to those that look good to you soon. I’ll be creating some recommended day trips soon, so be on the look out for those. I of course recommend that you follow along on Instagram @boozepress, so you don’t miss any of my ongoing ramblings and so you can stay up to date. Cheers my friends… MAURICE CAR’RIE WINERY – So, we’ve visited 1/3 of the wineries in Temecula so far and my liver is holding up exceptionally well😉 Day 15 brings us to Maurice Car’rie. One of the older wineries in the Valley, it was established in 1986 by the Van Roekels (more on them when we visit Avensole tomorrow) Maurice Car’rie, which sits right on Rancho California Road, is a beehive of activity each weekend. Loads of both visitors and numerous vendors pack the grounds. For my midweek visit and tasting, things were considerably calmer. My tastings were… Peach/Mango Sparkling – Aroma leans heavily towards the peach, but with a natural sweetness. Mango and peach play harmonically on the pallet. Finish is perfect. A bit of fun 2020 Gewurtztiminer – Aroma of eucalyptus and petrol. Very light residual sugars, exhibits a quick marshmallow note before some creamy lime takes over the finish 2019 Chardonnay – Aroma shows a fair amount of oak with lemon merengue. Well balanced and almost creamy on the pallet. Familiar citrus tang on the finish Fairly unique range of lighter wines for my tasting, but quite enjoyable. I strongly recommend you visit on the weekend, as there are some real treats to be had from some of the vendors as well as some delicious wines AVENSOLE WINERY – Local historians refer to the land Avensole sits on as the birthplace of Temecula Wine Country. Back in 1968, sitting on a dirt path called Long Valley Road (now Rancho California), wine pioneer Vince Cilurzo planted the first Petite Syrah and Chenin Blanc plants there. Then years later, In 2013, Sheldon Lytton, along with his wife and sister came across Avensole, then named Van Roekel. They purchased, expanded and redesigned it. They added an indoor-outdoor restaurant, a picturesque pond, and numerous event spaces. Avensole now is one of the marquee stops along the Rancho California Rd route. Recently, I relaxed near the pond and enjoyed my tastings chosen by the lovely “just call me Chris” 😄 2019 Susan – A Sauvignon Blanc leaning more towards the lemon grass side rather than the grapefruit. Very well balanced on the pallet with a slight tang. Finish is lengthy with notes of lemon merengue 2015 Super Tuscan – A little over half Sangiovese, with bits of Merlot, Cab Franc and Cab Sauvignon. Earthy fruits, leather, cigar wrapper on the nose. Tannins fill the mouth with bing cherry and over ripe strawberries. Finish is long and consistent 2015 Solea – Primarily Tempranillo, the Solea has aromas of prunes and black licorice. Sneaky tannins blend with raspberries and tobacco. Moderate length on the finish 2017 Lytton Cabernet Sauvignon – Avensole’s Estate grown Cab, it jumps from the glass with notes of milk chocolate and dark fruits. Coats the pallet with chocolate cream and cherries. Tannins are surprisingly subdued. Very nice indeed As you can see from my reviews, I broke tradition and added one extra. They were all so good. Though I didn’t dine this time around I have before. I recommend the Caesar salad and one of the flatbreads, delicious! Bon Appetit! LORIMAR WINERY – Located just off the De Anza “roundabout”, Lorimar seems much more sedate than some of its more grand neighbors, though on a Wednesday, most wineries are pretty calm. Clearly focused on a musical theme (even with a musical note on logo of all glasses) Lorimar has regular concerts at both the winery location and at the Loft in Old Town. Lorimar (a combination of the first 2 names of the owners, Lawrie and Mark) began life in 2009 at the Old Town location and then expanded in 2012 with the winery. Since then, plenty of awards have followed for their wines. I tried a few recently… Muscat Canelli – Immediate orange blossoms in the nose, but not an overly sweet scent. Nice orange honey on the pallet but steers clear of the “koolaid curse”, afflicting many a Muscat. Subtle but lengthy finish Cabernet / Mouverde – Cereal with milk chocolate and a hint of prune on the aroma. Jammy on the pallet, with plums and very light grains. Light tannins coat the mouth and produce a very nice finish Tempranillo / Barbera – Nice dark fruits aroma with some leather, slightly chalky. Nice dark fruit and spice element with warming tannins on the pallet. Montepulciamo – Little black licorice on the nose, with some dark fruits. Biggest wine so far. Nice splash of fruits with minimal tannins. Coats the mouth and gets comfortable in there for awhile. Delicious… With all of the musical acts playing here. Lorimar is the perfect place to end a Friday or Saturday tasting trip. A menu of appetizers, flatbreads, salads, pastas and desserts is available on Friday and Saturday as well CARTER ESTATE WINERY AND RESORT – Located just west of the “De Anza roundabout” on Rancho California Rd, Carter Estate Winery and Resort offers an elegant wine tasting experience and a beautiful setting for its 42 Mediterranean-styled bungalows. Relatively new on the scene, Carter Estate is just a little over 5 years old, but they’ve already set themselves apart, as one of the only wineries in the valley utilizing the Methode Champenoise for their sparkling wines. As a matter of fact, this process and all of the production of the sparkling wines, takes place on the estate. During my visit I was able to sample these wines: 2015 Blanc de Noir – Notes of red fruit, with red raspberries leading the charge on the pallet and strawberry jam on toast rounding out the finish. Quite elegant 2020 Pinot Noir Rose – Cotton candy and floral notes. Slightly sour strawberries on the pallet with some nice acidity. Finish is very full 2014 Syrah – Oak comes through strong on the nose..almost like freshly sanded wood. Dark fruits are also present. Light smokiness and tannins on the pallet which ride through on the finish. Beautiful late night wine Though there is no restaurant on property, guests of the resort can order through the Vineyard Rose (at South Coast) to their room. Snacks are available in the tasting room. Any time spent at Carter Estate or South Coast Resort (next on my list) is guaranteed to be a first class experience, as their staff is dedicated to premium service. Definitely a stop to consider, if not for the sparkling wines alone.. SOUTH COAST WINERY RESORT & SPA – Known by many Southern Californians as the premier spa resort in Temecula’s Wine Country, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa certainly lives up to its reputation. With over 63 acres of sprawling grounds, South Coast can accommodate all of your vacation or getaway needs. Whether you’re looking for dining, relaxing at the pool or spa, wine tasting or just enjoying the scenery, this resort has it all. On my recent visit, I enjoyed a range of wines, here are my notes from 3… Brut – Cereal and fresh grain on the nose. Actually is slightly oily on the pallet with a taste of corn flakes. Far more toasty than usual for a So Cal sparkling Viognier – No sweetness on the nose, leaning towards an almost deli meats aroma (ham) and some floral notes. Tastes of tropical fruits and a very light sweetness
As with many Temecula syrahs, a nice fruity smokiness on the aroma, although a bit more subtle than some. Blackberries and raspberries on the pallet. Very light tannins. Nice mild finishThough a very large property, you’re not treated as a “number” at South Coast. They take great pride in treating you like family. You should stop in soon for a stay or at least a tasting. Cheers! PONTE WINERY – Providing all that you need for that weekend getaway, or a wedding for that matter. The Ponte property includes a winery, an Inn, restaurants and plenty of facilities for weddings or any other event. Surrounded by quaint and lush gardens at every turn, a stroll though the grounds at Ponte Winery and the Ponte Vineyard Inn is a must. After my quick stroll, I situated myself with a view of the vines and tasted the juice they produce 2020 Arneis – An Italian white varietal. Very strong honey notes with orange blossoms. Floral on the pallet with a hint of honeysuckle as well. Actually coats the pallet with a lengthy finish 2017 Doppietta – A 50/50 blend of Cab and Syrah. Dark berries, oak and light pepper on the nose. Peppery plums envelop the mouth with light tannins and a subtle but long finish 2018 Angry Wife Red – A proprietary red blend. Acts as their Super Tuscan. An aroma of wild berries and white pepper. Big and full on the pallet…light berry-filled tannins fade over a generous amount of time Ponte Winery has always had a calming effect on my day. No matter how many visitors it still seems to remain peaceful. So grab a glass of vino and something delicious to eat out on the patio, kick your feet up (just a joke…please keep feet on the ground) and relax for a bit at Ponte Winery. You can thank me later… WIENS FAMILY CELLARS – Known throughout the Temecula area, the various Wiens locations are the definition of a great experience. As I am in the midst of 45 in 45, I’ll be trying a few wines at Wiens Family Cellars, just past the roundabout, off Rancho California Rd. On this visit I tried 3 reds that were chosen especially for me (must be bold and upfront then😂) 2018 Reunion – More or less 50/50 Cab / Syrah blend. Very soft aroma of berries and pasta sauce with basil. More fruity on the pallet than expected and quite smooth. Nose becomes more sweet, think powdered sugar, after sitting. Fruit tapers off on the finish and is replaced with black pepper. Very interesting 2017 Malbec – Fruity pixie stix (for those of you old enough) and some green bell pepper. Remains strong on the pallet as well with a moderate finish 2018 Crowded – A blend of numerous reds (8 or 9 from what I understand) Beautiful aroma, like walking into an Italian restaurant, cooking with herbs. A slight floral feel on the pallet with herbaceous notes , also some anise that slowly fades on the finish Service was excellent as the was the company at the adjoining table. Always a great time at Wiens Family Cellars We’re nearly half way through , what at the outset felt like a daunting task. However, I’ve gotten into a bit of a rhythm and I can’t stress how welcoming everyone is to the idea of some opinionated drunk dropping in. The recap of week 4 will make it’s appearance in the next couple of days. Once again. be sure to follow @boozepress on Instagram so you don’t miss a thing. Cheers!