If you were to head east from Downtown Los Angeles you could be in wine country in less than an hour and a half. Of course, it’s not Napa Valley or the Central Coast but it is home to California wines and you just might be surprised by what they are pouring in Temecula California.
While people get excited about Napa Valley when talking about California wines the small growing region of Temecula has been producing wines for quite some time now. Talk to people in the region and they’ll tell you that for more than 100 years there have been grapes growing in this valley but commercial production did not start until the 1980’s. This valley just over an hour from San Diego and an ocean breeze away from the Pacific is pouring some good Syrahs as well as Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese varietals.
The region offers over 30 wineries many with tasting rooms and experiences rivaling their neighbors from the north. If you are based in Southern California this is a fun alternative to the longer drive north.
Let’s Start Tasting!
A Few Temecula Wineries to Visit
Doffo Winery – I’ll admit that this winery was on my list to visit because of the motorcycle collection that they have on the premises. However, the wines were impressive and worth a visit even without the extra diversions. Find yourself a bottle of their Syrah and get entangled in the complex fruit and long lasting finish of dark chery and cranberries. http://www.doffowines.com/
Palumbo Family Vineyard – This vineyard produces a boutique, 2500 cases per year and is all about a family operation. The Cabernet Franc is rich with dark fruits and a smattering of earth. The attention to detail in their product is promising for the region and this might be where the all-star of the region emerges. http://www.palumbowines.com/
Lorenzi Estate – The vines date back a few decades but but is only been as of late that these wines were bottled and available to the consumer. There is still a feel that you are enjoying a friend’s personal collection. The Zinfadel is promising and as is the Syrah although a favorite is the Lorenzi Estate Grenache. If you find one of those bottles give me a holler.
Chapin Family Vineyards – If you can imagine what a Petite Syrah that would hold true to its name tastes like you’ll find that the ripe fruit flavor is where it is at Chapin Family Vineyards. It’s not a Napa Petite Syrah but the fruit forward; big wine is alive with energy and very bright flavors. http://www.chapinfamilyvineyards.com/
A few more options for researching Temecula Valley Wines: