Tuesday, September 28, 2010

UNEXPECTED GRAPES FROM UNEXPECTED PLACES: TEMECULA


Peggy Evans

The recent Wine event, "Unexpected Grapes From Unexpected Places," gave a throng of wine industry and media types a chance to sample the wares of some grape growing regions in California that are considered "off the beaten path," at least for the average wine consumer. 

Temecula may be off the path, but they are quickly blazing one of their own just east of the I-15 Freeway.  After exiting the freeway, you may feel the urge to stop and gamble at the casino.  Continue east, though, and in just a few miles it's a sure bet you'll find some wines you like.  You won't get those kind of odds at the casino.

I was a little disappointed at first that Hart Winery, a favorite of mine in the Temecula Valley, was not represented at the tasting table.  Even without Hart, an admirable array of very good wines were assembled and it seemed to me visitors to the table were leaving happy, and maybe a little surprised.

Peggy Evans, Director of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association, was kind enough to pour some very good wines for me while singing the praises of the grapes and wines of Temecula.

Baily Winery Dry Riesling 2008 - made to commemorate 150 years of Temecula - crisp, with pears and floral notes

Palumbo Rosato Secco - 100% Sangiovese rose - dry, with cherry and a flinty edge and good acidity

Miramonte Grenache Rosé 2009 - a little residual sugar - pink and sweet

Danza del Sol Tempranillo 2009 - smokey, brambly nose - very earthy and delicious

Wilson Creek Mourvèdre 2006 - not very dark and kinda bright - "mourvèdre lite" - fruity, tasty, dry

Cougar Montepulciano 2006 - "Full Monte" - funky nose, brambly palate, dry

Robert Renzoni Vecchio Fratte "Old Friar" 2007 - 90% Lagrein, 10% Merlot - big, rich, 21 months in French Oak - very dry with full mouthfeel - deep, expressive nose - coffee notes

Leonesse "Melange de Reves" 2007 - Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, and Grenache - smells and tastes darker than it looks - full of fruit

Stuart Cellars White Port NV - late harvest Muscat and Chardonnay - reminds me of vermouth - herbal and spicy - quite good

Tomorrow we head into Ventura County.