My parents live in Temecula and I'm headed out there tomorrow to visit. So, in the 8 years they've lived there, I've only been to maybe 4 of the wineries and tried a bottle or two from a couple others.

I've never found anything really spectacular out there (found some that are alright) and at least one winery produces wine that is downright undrinkable. But...I may not be looking in the right place since I'm not familiar with all the wineries and wines there.

Anyone have any recomendations for wine from that area?
Original Post
Have you tried the Inn a Churon Winery?

My parents went there with friends and brought back a couple of bottles.

I thought it was pretty good. Don't expect something spectacular. Expect an interesting experience with some decent wine.

Originally posted by rickym13:
none Roll Eyes

I guess that means, it is what it is, huh?

Yea, I'm pretty much just looking for something good to go have at the winery or grab a bottle of and drink there. Something interesting would be perfect. I know Temecula doesn't really produce the finest wines.

I guess I should be there anything good there at all? Or just drinkable, but not great?

Haven't been to Churon. I will check it out.
Temecula winereis are a mine field. We were just there and found a lot of undrinkable plonk (but a few nice wines mixed in). The best we found for reds was Hart. It is like russian roulette after that. Avoid Ponte...all of their wines suck.
I'm thinking of starting a winery of my own in Temecula. I'm thinking that Syrah would be the grape of choice. In keeping with the VAST majority of wines produced there, I have already picked out a name......

Syrah of Epicac......
Originally posted by phlin:
i'll second the ponte comment. the restaurant is quite good, but the wines are below par imho.

That's actually the situation most places out there in my experience. The restaurants are great. Even the restaurant in Maurice Carrie winery is very good, but OMG! Never try their wine, unless you like that taste of rubbing alcohol. It's the worse thing I've ever tasted in my life.

I've been up to Bella Vista and seen that white cab from Wilson Creek in the longs drugs there. I had wondered about it. We go to Wilson Creek quite often cause my parents like to go there for the blues bands. At least I think it's wilson creek.

My parents live almost next door to South Coast (only one property between them) so that could be convenient to check out.

Thanks for the recommendations. At least I have an idea of what to go check out for fun without getting something totally undrinkable. Big Grin

Too bad my parents didn't get a house in a better wine country. Razz
Hart is the only game in town. Mount Palomar has made a decent wine or two over the years, but very inconsistent and a real crapshoot.
I think Temecula's problem is it's just too dang hot there for most varieties. They need to grow grapes can that thrive in that kind of environment.
Maybe Tempranillo would do well?
I found a very drinkable Bordeaux-style Cab at Leonesse Cellars. I ordered a glass and enjoyed it. That was the exception, the rest of the wines on their tasting menu were downright undrinkable. I ended up having lunch at Ponte. I did like the food at the restarant. I had an iced tea with it WinkAnd when I had a sip of the wine my mom ordered, I was so glad I ordered the iced tea.

I went tasting to Hart which had some interesting wines. They had a decent tempranillo, a Sangiovese that was alright and a very interesting Viognier that was very dry and had a lot of grapefruit and guava flavor. I also tasted at South Coast, which had a decent Syrah, Cab, Merlot and Meritage.

Wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

At Longs drugs there, I picked up a couple bottles of the Hart Viognier ($15), a bottle of their Sangiovese ($10), And a bottle of South coast Merlot ($15). For that price, they were worth it.

But, I cheated & picked up a bottle of Simi Cab to drink w/ dinner. Roll Eyes Not from Temecula...Oh well.

Long were the days since R2 last posted. A relatively recent change of scenery, proximity to Temecula (as in IN TEMECULA) and curiosity have brought R2 out of posting retirement to chime in on my Temecula wine experiences over the past year.

No one, I mean no one, is comparing the Temecula Valley to the great wine growing areas around the world, nor even some of the lesser established areas within California. Ok, well, maybe some misguided marketing folk are doing that. But no one serious about wine. It's hot during the day, dry as f***, with cool ocean air rolling in late in the afternoon and it's pretty apparent most wineries are still experimenting with growing grapes that produce wines worth what they charge. Out of financial necessity, most wineries are appealing to the wedding/party/event crowds with beautiful spaces, ritzy tasting rooms, live music, spas, resorts, special events, hot air balloons, etc. At some wineries, wine seems to be a secondary compliment to their business. The quality of those places are exactly what you think. Not terrible, just not anything to tickle a connoisseurs fancy. All wineries charge a fee from $15-25 to taste 5+ wines from their tasting menu. And... almost every bottle of Temecula wine is vastly overpriced with "club" members receiving 20% discounts versus non-club members. Most wineries are a tourist trap and tourism is a BIG part of the Temecula economy.

That being said, there are some good to very good wines being produced by the more serious winemakers. A lot of the wines I would rate 90-93 points are not on the public tasting lists. Schmoozing has its benefits, especially mid-week when the employees are appreciative of not serving the over-served, annoying bachelorette party crowd. I can't speak for wines being served in 2006 (as in the original post) but the better wines I have had were almost exclusively Rhone and Italian varietals or blends. Grenache, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Montepulciano and to a lesser degree Viognier, Zinfandel, Sangiovese and Tempranillo. And to be honest, some of these are sourced from vineyards outside of the Temecula Valley. For me the better red wines in Temecula are medium to full bodied, have plentiful red berry or cherry fruit, herbs, minerals, slight toasted oak with balanced tannins, and a medium-dry to dry acidic, lingering finish. Syrah/PS/Zin lean dark, jammy fruit, peppery, leathery with a lingering finish. I have yet to try a wine that I feel could improve beyond 3-5 years. The better Viognier and Sauvignon Blancs tend to have lush floral aromas, medium to dry acids and little oak. Overall, quality of the better red wines is better than the better white wines. Port and sherry dessert wines are supposedly of respectable quality. However, I have had very few of those and can't really speak to their supposed qualities. Temecula sparkling wine doesn't move the needle for me, nor does traditional Bordeaux varietals or many whites. They are not horrid, just utterly nondescript.

I'm willing to post on individual wines or wineries if anyone reads this and has just got to know. The main complaint - at least my main complaint - is that the quality does not match the price for serious wine drinking. Many of these wines need to be $20-30 wines instead of  $50-80+ wines. While farming and grape selection seem to be improving, it may take another 3-5-10 years before a winemaker can produce a wine to be rated excellent by WS or WA. And maybe never... who knows.


Well, well, R2 sighting!   Welcome back and thanks for (a) the memories, and (b) the great post.  I would be interested in hearing about some individual wines/wineries.  Not being familiar with the area, I would leave it to you and others to decide what the rest of us might be interested in. 

First post in nine years, and it was a good one. You left here long before I arrived, so I'm not familiar with your history on the forum, but if the post above is any indication, please come back on a full time basis. That was both entertaining and informative.

Also: forgive my ignorance, but where the f*ck is Temecula?

Last edited by sunnylea57

Temecula is about 60 miles north of San Diego, 90 miles south of LA, and 30 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Daytime temps can exceed 100 during the summer and drop substatially in the evenings. Most of the area was cattle land until the 70s and early 80s. Interstate construction connected San Diego to LA and Temecula’s vicinity to both of those plus Orange County and Palm Springs caused an explosion in population (5k to 120k). We (and others we know) moved here because it was affordable housing compared to San Diego (250-500k less). People from Orange County move here to cash out and live more affordable. So, almost no one from Temecula is really from Temecula. The wineries did not (and for many still do not) have a good reputation because of the issues I noted earlier. My understanding is that the last five years have been a marked improvement in quality due to better sanitation, farming, winemaking and outside investment. I want to say there are over 40+ wineries so there is a lot of plonk out there. A lot.

I started going to Temecula in the 70's when Ely Calloway started his winery. Received personal tours from him and drank his dessert wine "Sweet Nancy". His chenin blanc and sauvignon blanc were pretty good. I bought cases of it. Those days all went away after Mr Calloway sold it and started the golf club company. I have gone back out to Temecula several times and afterwards always say to my self, why did I waste my time tasting here. Area can be fun, good golf, but don't waste your time wine tasting.


My folks are in town, and since the weather was a bit chilly (mid 60s) so we bailed on the pool day and did some tastings in Temecula.  I had pretty low expectations, and for good reason, the wines were all over the place on several levels.  But the weather was beautiful, the scenery very nice and we drank plonk in nice settings.  

 First stop was Vindemia, a decent SB and voigner and a poor bdx blend and a drinkable syrah.  All over priced...the list was $98 for the bdx and something I’d expect was poured out of a jug if served blind.  

Peltzer close by was maybe a half step up...I stayed with the SB (ok), voigner (thin, acidic, watery), again a decent Syrah, and a Sangiovese and a Tempranillo that we’re both thin and acidic.

last stop, Callaway.  The bartenderess bro dealed us on the tastings, about 10 non-descript, forgettable wines.  She did a field blend reserve cab/Syrah that was fun and the NV Bella Blanc sparkler was the best of the lot by miles...ironically listed as produced and bottled in Lodi.

Overall, a fun time, but yes, as others have noted it is a touristic experience, and wine production seems is only part of the experience.  I would venture less than 50% of the fruit is actually sourced in Temecula, so the heat/dryness of the area doesn’t tell the whole story of the mediocrity of the wines.  Oh well, it made for a fun day out.

Most interesting wine I found there a couple years ago was from Cougar winery. They did the smart thing and planted all Italian grapes. Now there are a few people buying from them. Better than trying to make Cab and Riesling, which I found.

And they all know that they're pricing high, but they sell out to the bachelorette parties every weekend. It's a nice life actually - loads of young women showing up regularly, no middleman or wholesaler needed, and you live in a nice area.

jabe11 posted:

....NV Bella Blanc sparkler was the best of the lot by miles...ironically listed as produced and bottled in Lodi.....

Bulk wine.  You send them your labels, they apply them to the already bottled product.  Zippo, you've got a champagne on the menu and available for all those weddings you're booking.  I'm sure that version is better than the 'almond champagne' we can't seem to get rid of in this area.

JABE, those were definitely three of the lower end wineries in Temecula. Callaway gets by because of their golfing calling card (a relationship that ended years ago) and the wine is some of the worst. I don't even consider Peltzer a winery - it's more of a farm. I do like Vindemia only because I know the owner and employees. But you are right the pricing is absurd. BTW that Viognier is from Santa Ynez =) Cougar does some interesting white varietals - a Falaghina and Arneis. I did not like their attempts at italian red wine.

I would suggest a couple wineries: Palumbo (a really good Brunello clone), Renzoni (mostly italian varietals), Lorenzi (good but way overpriced), and Lorimar. But everywhere you go the wine is some hit, some miss, generally crowded on the weekends and vastly overpriced for the quality. 

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