This past weekend, as part of my birthday week of gifts, my sig-o and I took a trip down to Temecula for a wine tasting tour. We had the pleasure of being escorted around town in an authentic, fully-restored San Franciscan cable car that drove us to four different wineries, with a picnic lunch scheduled during the middle of the day. We chose a great day to visit Temecula. It was bright and warm most of the day, allowing for a great view of the beautiful green hills and the newly developed neighborhoods. Living in the hustle and bustle city of L.A. really had a hand in how much I appreciated the serene and relaxing city of Temecula.
Anyone who knows me will know that I am not a drinker, not really by choice, but from an experience that I don't care to re-live again (use your imagination, people). As I get older, though, I would like to train my palette for much more sophisticated flavors. The extent of my wine experience, before this tour, was go to a restaurant, peruse their wine list, and point to my selection, almost blindly. It was usually a hit or a miss. From this tour, I discovered the kind of wine I like (white, sparkling, sweet, fruity) and the kind that I didn't like (red, port, dry). The deals that each winery was offering to the individuals on the tour were incredible - some were selling bottles for $10 each! Though it was tempting to grab such a deal, realistically speaking, I am not yet the person who comes home and pours myself a glass of wine to unwind after a hard-working day. For now, I am satisfied knowing that I will be able to choose a glass of wine that will satisfy my palette whenever I dine at a nice restaurant that will allow for a nice wine pairing.
Among the four wineries visited (South Coast Winery and Vineyards, Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyard, Oak Mountain Winery, and Frangipani Winery), South Coast Winery and Vineyards was my favorite. Situated on 400 acres of greenery, it was a full resort and spa and I could see myself returning for special events or just a weekend of relaxation. The first tasting of the day at South Coast Winery and Vineyards was the Spumante Diamante and was perfect for a beginner like myself.
Though I did have a favorite winery, each of the other wineries had their pros as well. Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyard sat on beautiful land, culminated with a gazebo, had an intriguing almond champagne. Oak Mountain Winery, a smaller winery, had unique selections, my favorite being the following: 2005 "No Oak Chardonnay", 2007 For Pete's Sake White, and Brut Champagne. Finally, the last stop of the day, Frangipani Winery, had a very delicious and refreshing 2005 Grenache Rose (I could see myself sipping this by a pool on an upcoming hot summer day) and oddly enough, a batchi ball court where they hold tournaments.
For those of you who are just beginning to venture into the wonderful world of wine, I suggest and encourage taking a wine tasting tour in the vicinity of your area. A tour will make the learning process less intimidating, less overwhelming, and will help you get the most education outside of your own research.