As we move closer to the end of our journey, we continue on with some wineries along the newer section of Temecula Wine Country, the De Portola Wine Trail. A little less hustle and bustle along the “Trail” there are some absolutely fabulous wines to be had.

FAZELI CELLARS WINERY –  Fazeli Cellars Winery sits at the beginning of the De Portola Wine Trail in an impressive setting with gorgeous views. I stopped by recently on a Saturday, and though bustling, service was still exceptional. I had a few bites to eat and sampled 4 tasty wines…

Mayhem –
Very subdued on the nose. Notes of cranberry and sweet spices. Some cherry added to the cranberry on the pallet with dash of potpourri. Nice lengthy finish

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Fazeli-1.jpg

Shiraz –
Ripe figs, and black licorice aromas. Dark berries on the pallet. Nice full finish

Saadi –
Ratan furniture and fresh prunes on the nose. Dark fruit and cherries with traces of warm vanilla on the pallet

Norooz –
Light orange juice and oyster shell. Orange juice and honey on the pallet with some sweetness, but not overpowering. Coats the pallet with a delicious finish

The food at Fazelis is delicious. I STRONGLY recommend the Persian tacos. A definite stop on your next visit to the De Portola area of Temecula

SOMERSET WINERY – One of the newest wineries in Temecula (having taken over the Keyways property a couple of years ago) Somerset Winery is quickly making a name for itself. I arrived late in the day, so I was able to relax and enjoy things winding down. I tried a number of excellent wines including one that had aged in clay (amphora) that was quite delicious, though not reviewed below. Look in my photos for shot of one of the pots. The 4 that poured…

Le Merdio (GSM) –
A nice light red, notes of light berries and grassy herbs. Some nice ripe cherries and white pepper on the pallet with minimal tannins. Nice smooth finish

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Somerset1.png

2018 Malbec –
Aromas of tobacco and leather and a hint of (plums?) On the pallet the fruit becomes more pronounced but by no means over-powering. Some mouth enveloping tannins and a full finish

2018 El Toro – (Tempernillo Syrah and Cab)
Aromas of a raspberry Icee and a titch of fruit loops. No real tannins to speak of. A nice leathery plum hit on the pallet

2018 Mr Tage –

My pour was from an unlabeled bottle and as legend has it, a tage is the perfect man (hmm, and she felt I should taste it? Just sayin 🤷🏼‍♂️😂)…something very mysterious about this wine. Somewhat herbaceous on the nose with some mocha and a little green pepper. I believe the blend is Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Merlot. Soft tannins and a laid back amount of fresh dark fruits. A very versatile wine.

A definite stop as you begin your De Portola trip. Service, wine and atmosphere are all amazing. Going to be a regular stop on the the Booze Press Trail. More on that soon…

BELLA VISTA WINERY – Bella Vista is the oldest winery in the Temecula area. Having originally opened in the 60’s, Bella Vista is a throwback to the early days of wine making in Southern California. Currently owned and operated by Imre Cziraki, Bella Vista Winery is creating some award winning wines, including the ones I tried on my visit recently

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bella-Vista1.jpg

2016 Petite Sirah –
Their signature wine, which is estate grown. Smokey on the nose with the essence of the terroir very present. Tart cherries play strong on the pallet. Light tannins fade into a somewhat lengthy finish

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon –
Aromas of light smoke with blackberries. Even a little smokey on the pallet with a nice blast of black cherries. Fairly light on the tannins with a great finish

2019 Rozmaring –
A unique Hungarian varietal. Aromas of honey, marshmallows and stone fruit. Honey comes on strong on the pallet mixed with white peaches. Finish is smooth. I tried the 2020 out of the tank and it was sublime. It will be bottled next week

A very quaint experience, don’t let the rather humble appearance fool you. These are exceptional wines that help create a very fun experience. Be sure to check out the gorgeous lake located just above the winery

ROBERT RENZONI VINEYARDS & WINERY – Sitting atop a hill along the De Portola Trail, Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery could pass for a modern castle (albeit heavily impersonating a large Tuscan villa). Surrounded by their estate vineyards, one can’t help feel simultaneously exhilarated and relaxed while taking in the view and enjoying a tasting. Known for Italian blends, 2 of my 3 fell into that category

2016 Sonata

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Renzoni1-1024x576.jpg

An estate grown blend Brunello and Cabernet Sauvignon. Alive with aromas of blackberry, spice and some light tobacco leaf. Flavors lean towards those of milk chocolate and raspberries. Light leathery tannins that stick in the mouth and slowly fade

2017 Montepulicano –
Smells of smoked cheeses and crushed green olives. Covers the pallet in leather and dark berries. Light tannins entice yet again…

2016 Fiore di Fano –
A Super Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cab Franc. Aromas of red fruits and cinnamon, turning to cherries and perhaps cranberries on the pallet. A light leathery tone provides a smooth and lengthy finish

If you love Italian wines and are in the De Portola area, I invite you to stop by Robert Renzoni. Excellent wines, beautiful views and a stellar staff (thanks Jacque 😉) will make your visit a wonderful experience. Ciao!

GERSHON BACHUS VINTNERS – Gershon Bachus Vintners, or GBV as the cool kids say it😀, is yet another winery not to be missed. I sat down recently with Dakota from GBV (see how cool that looks?) and sampled a number of wines and discussed the thoughts about their creation (possibly an upcoming article?). There’s some (slightly) non-traditional experimentations with the blends that work out quite well. Here’s a few thoughts…

2015 Hesperus (100% Grenache) –
Honey glazed ham and cranberries on the nose with some very light smoke. Baking spices and pepper on the pallet. Light spicy tannins fade beautifully. Like Winter holidays in a glass

2016 Anteros –
50/50 Cab Franc and Zinfandel. Nice and fruity yet still extremely peppery. Some light potpourri also sneaks through. Black pepper and raisins tickle the pallet. A lengthy and elegant finish

2016 Petite Syrah –
Aromas of prunes and figs. Ripe plums on the pallet with clingy tannins that lightly remain until the next sip

2015 Aeolus –
Cab Franc, Zinfandel and Grenache.
Aromas of violets and sweet spices. Cinnamon, cloves and black cherry wrestle (nicely) on the pallet
Definitely heading back to try additional samples and speak in more detail with the winemaker. Cheers!

LEONESS CELLARS WINERY – As I move my way back on De Portola, I continue to experience excellent wines and wineries. Leoness Cellars Winery offers a beautiful outside patio area to relax as well as 2 inside bar areas to taste. I “saddled” up to the bar and was treated to a number of tastings…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Leoness1.jpg

2019 Sauvignon Blanc –
Lemon and grassy notes. Grapefruit on the pallet with some salinity. Salinity rides through on the pallet with the addition of honey suckle. Nice slow fading finish

2019 Viognier –
Pepper and herbs with some light smoke and stone fruits on the nose. Smoke on the pallet with ripe peach. An elegant finish

2019 Melange d’ete –
Very light smoke with some peach. Slightly creamy on the pallet with a nice full finish

2018 Zinfandel –

Aromas of black pepper and anise are very strong. Anise and prune on the pallet

2016 Syrah
Lightly smokey with ripe berries and a little tobacco and green pepper on the nose. Boysenberries on the pallet

Greg was very knowledgeable and put up with all of my twisted humor. If he is available, find him and have him pour for you. A top notch representative of the winery

OAK MOUNTAIN WINERY – Over the next 4 days we’ll wrap up our tour of the De Portola Trail, and I must admit, it’s been a very enjoyable couple of weeks. Oak Mountain Winery, best know for The Cave (which was not available the day I visited. Grrr😡) is known primarily for its reds, though they have a raspberry sparkling wine that’s quite popular (maybe next time). My tastes were all of the red persuasion

2016 Tempranillo –
Fairly muted aromas of fresh berries and grassy herbs. A splash of fruit on the pallet and extremely light tannins

Steve’s Wine –
Nice ripe raspberries on the nose and fruity on the pallet. Mellow and a quite soft finish

Cab Franc –

Very fruit forward on the pallet. Light tannins that cling to the roof of the mouth throughout the finish

Little disappointed that I couldn’t visit The Cave, hopefully I can tour next time I drop by. If you’ve visited it in the past, let me know in the comments. Be sure to check out Week 6 coming soon…