This winter, the roads led to Temecula, California. A wine country not too far from my door step.
From Los Angeles, Temecula is about an hour and half drive away, perfect for a day trip of tasting. Early in my wine life I visited this region, but a pre-purchased wine class was the perfect excuse to revisit.
Let me set the scene, the climate in Temecula is warm with a little ocean breeze which makes the European style grapes(Cabernet, Sangiovese, Tempranillo etc.) suited to grow in this area. It is well after harvest time, which should explain the bare vines, but good fortunate lends a hand for a warmer California winter day.
Myself and couple of fellow Vino-ista’s headed to Oak Mountain Winery for a 90 minute class. Oak Mountain Winery is a lovely winery with a huge outdoor patio, where the class was held.
The class, lead by Patty had two goals in my mind, first to teach each attendee about their wine and its distinct characteristics and second to show how those wines can change with the pairing of cheese.
We tasted 6 wines with 3 different cheeses. (List of the wines and cheese below). For my palate, the wines were made as you would expect, very similar to old world wines. Meaning the reds are not made with the fruit forward nature that you would expect in California wine.( By fruit forward, I mean you don’t immediate taste/think, fruit or grapes when you drink it.) The white wine, Sauvignon Blanc, doesn’t have the grassy taste that I’ve come to expect from California/New Zealand wines.
My favorite was Sauvignon Blanc with Cream Havarti. The combination of the acidity in the wine with the creaminess of the cheese made a smooth smiling palate. My least favorite would be the Pinotage. Although I like trying the unusual, I didn’t enjoy this one. If you are looking for old world style wines, lovely view and little break from the hustle and bustle, Oak Mountain Winery would be a great place to start.
Oak Mountain Winery – Wines and Cheese:
- Counoise Blanc De Noir Sparkling (Fruit forward sparkling wine made with Counosie grape)
- Sauvignon Blanc 2011 with Cream Havarti Cheese
- Tempranillo 2009 with Gouda Cheese
- Pinotage 2010 (Traditionally South African wine)
- Cabernet Franc 2009 with Gorgonzola Cheese
- Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Estate
The second, stop was larger style winery, Wilson Creek.
We stopped here for lunch and a tasting.The selection was more than expected, but we covered a lot of ground between the 3 of us. The most popular wines is their Almond Champagne and Chocolate Port. My favorite was the White Cabernet. The White Cab., is made with Cabernet grape, semi-sweet and no skin contact. Although dry wines are my norm, this wine was summer time in a bottle and it made an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Being it was a day trip, we only made two tasting stops, but there was plenty for the choosing. Next time you want to do some WineExploration, think Temecula and hit the road!