Friday, August 31, 2007

Wine Tasting in Temecula

Inspite of warnings that the heat would be in the triple digits we braved the weather and headed east to Temecula so that my mom could do a little wine tasting. It's her new hobby.

We just kept telling ourselves it would be a dry heat and cranked the AC in the car. OH MY GOODNESS! We had no idea how hot a dry heat can be. I got out of the car and felt like I couldn't breathe. Walking was like swimming.

We stopped to eat to make sure there was food in their stomachs before they started tasting and the clerk said it was 107. Oh yea, it was hot.

But we persevered and headed to our first winery - Churon. A winery bed and breakfast built to resemble a French Chateau. It has a picnic area and a great view. The staff is so friendly and informative. I remembered it from my last trip (5 years ago) and knew that they free poured. I gave my mom a crash course in pacing herself. Letting her know that its ok to spit.

Then we headed to Calloway for the free tour to see how they make wine. It's a great 25 minute overview of Calloway's philosophy and grounds. Even though they were in the middle of harvesting we didn't get to see any actually in process. Although they are having an old-fashioned wine stomping at the end of September.

Two things I learned from our guide Sergio was that most California wines expire in five years, if not sooner. They are not meant to be aged because of they way they use yeast to quicken the fermenting process. So essentially American wine is akin to fast food - sweet.

Our third stop was Maurice Car'rie. It is designed after a Victorian-style farmhouse. The grounds are quaint and they usually have a craft fair, but not today. Their wines are usually blends but they have the best baked brie in sourdough bread. That alone is worth stopping for.

Our final stop was at a winery I'd never been to, called South Coast Winery.

It is also a resort and spa. That aspect is definitely reflected in the grounds, which are stunning. The walkways are lined with a gorgeous pergola made of barn beams. It's a great place to take photos.

My mom said the wine at South Coast was great, especially a port wine called Black Jack. They also have tasty wine-related jams, dipping sauces and salsas.

Once we were wined out we went for a drive around the temecula valley, which is amazingly beautiful at this time of year.
Inspite of the heat it was a great day!

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