It’s TIME for Temecula Valley Wines

Tasting Notes, Temecula Valley

As a judge at the 2008 Temecula Valley Wine Society’s annual competition, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of remarkable wines being produced there. Temecula Valley wineries have come a long way since the nasty glassy-winged sharpshooter wreaked havoc through this California wine growing region in the late 90’s. I’m sure I am just one of many who are more than happy for the dedicated grape growers, winemakers and winery owners throughout this region who have not only persevered and bounced back, but are producing award winning wines worthy of praise … And for the satisfied consumers who are clearly enjoying the delectable fruits of their labor.

Here is a snapshot of my favorites from the competition:

South Coast Winery, Carter Estate Vineyards 2007 Gewurztraminer:  Tantalizing spicy aromatics lead to juicy mouthful of baked fresh apple laced with just enough residual sugar; delightfully balanced and uplifting on the palate and an ever-so-pleasing finish. GOLD MEDAL

Wilson Creek Winery 2007 Muscat:  Fragrant honeysuckle and floral notes waft from the glass, focused bright citrus flavors on the palate with beautiful acidity from start to finish.SILVER MEDAL (but clearly GOLD in my book.)

Callaway Vineyard & Winery Sweet Nancy NV Late Harvest  Chenin Blanc:  Floral aromas lead to a lush, rich and creamy texture full of caramel and honey notes wrapped delectably around sweet pears at the core. GOLD MEDAL

South Coast Winery NV Sparkling Syrah Ruby Cuvee:  Fragrant expression of syrah right from the start with berry notes in the nose, clean and pure fruit and a dash of sweetness on the palate, refreshingly delicious. GOLD MEDAL, Best of Class Sparkling

South Coast Winery 2007 Sans Chene Chardonnay:  This unoaked Chardonnay opens with gobs of tropical fruit in the nose. Crisp and elegant on the palate, with juicy tropical fruit flavors and a touch of lemon weaving throughout. Delicate, well balanced and lovely; awarded a SILVER MEDAL; but my vote was vociferously GOLD

South Coast 2007 Roussane:  The fresh, bright aromatics promise more, and this Roussane really delivers the goods. Fruit and spice woven together in a refined package with a pleasing touch of herbs and plenty of acidity to thrill your taste buds. GOLD MEDAL

South Coast Winery 2007 GVR White Proprietary Blend:   An artfully crafted blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussane and Viognier; hints of peach on the nose lead to a cornucopia of lemon, pear and stone fruit flavors melding together deliciously. GOLD MEDAL and Tied for Best of Class, White Wine

South Coast Winery 2007 Semillon:   Opens with inviting aromatics and a rich, unctuous entry.  Juicy citrus fruit at the core laced with alluring spice notes, and smooth as silk on the palate; this varietally distinct Semillon boasts a memorable finish.  GOLD MEDAL and Tied for Best of Class, White Wine

La Cereza Winery 2007 Pinot Grigio:  One whiff of this fresh lemon lime aromas and you are hooked on this bright, crisp and refreshing Pinot Grigio; a beautiful sipper for relaxing hot summer days.  GOLD MEDAL

Falkner Winery 2007 Riesling:    Citrus blossom aromas followed by a mouthful of juicy pears; this Riesling is beautifully balanced with generous fruit and pleasing acidity, and delicate flavors that linger through the lengthy finish.  GOLD MEDAL

South Coast Winery 2007 Grenache Rose:  The sparkling raspberry hue grabs your attention;  and inviting aromatics pull you in further into the glass.  Delightfully refreshing on the palate with delicate flavors of raspberry, pomegranate and a dash of citrus peel. GOLD MEDAL and Best of Class Rose

Stuart Cellars Vineyard & Winery 2005 Long Valley Red Meritage:   Pretty berry and cassis aromas continue to carry seamlessly on the palate, with a hint of earth and oak notes adding complexity.  An impressively structured Meritage with plenty of depth and character.  GOLD MEDAL and Tied for Best of Class, Red Wine

Thornton Winery 2005 Cabernet-Merlot Proprietary Red Blend:  A full bodied blend of Cabernet and Merlot; this well crafted wine opens with enticing fruity aromas followed by ripe wild berry and herbal flavors that dominate the palate.  Firmly structured with nicely integrated tannins.  GOLD MEDAL and Tied for Best of Class, Red Wine

South Coast Winery Wild Horse Peak Vineyards 2006 Petite Syrah:   Full throttle rendition of this ageworthy varietal.  Dense dark berry fruit aromas and vanilla notes greet the nose. Juicy blackberry flavors richly coat the palate, with expressive spice notes alongside.  Firm tannins suggest a long life; if you can wait!   GOLD MEDAL

Mount Palomar Winery NV Solera Cream Sherry:   Heavenly expressive aromatics and a velvety texture with flavors of creamy pralines and caramelized nuts dance across the palate.  A gloriously rich and satisfying finish leaves you wanting more!  GOLD MEDAL and Best of Competition SWEEPSTAKES winner

DO YOURSELF A FAVOR; saunter through the heart and soul of the Temecula Valley Wine Region and see for yourself; you’ll be glad you did.