From the sweetest whites to the boldest reds, the number of wines out there is seemingly endless. You may have a few go-to bottles that are your absolute faves. Maybe you have a good understanding of your taste and know exactly what you are looking for in a wine.
Or maybe you’re new to wine and you really have no clue what you enjoy just yet. Also, our palettes change over time, meaning that you might not love the same wine you once did. You could also be an adventurous wine lover that likes to mix it up and keep your taste buds on their toes.
Either way, wine tastings are the best way to discover new wines. It allows you to try new flavors and get to know your preferences better. Plus, it makes for a pretty great time and fun conversations.
The Temecula Valley is simply one of the best places in the world to enjoy fantastic wine tastings. A trip here can give you the opportunity to try some amazing wines, crafted by those that have been growing grapes for generations. And the Southern California weather’s not too shabby either.
For wine enthusiasts, a trip to Temecula is an absolute must. All of the wine tastings that the area has to offer make it a sure bet that you’ll find your next fave. Here’s all you need to know to knock tasting your way through the Temecula Valley off your wine-loving bucket list.
Get “Temecula Wine Tasting Ready”
Prepare your palette and your mind for tasting with these helpful tips. Not only will you enjoy your tastings more, but you’ll be able to more meaningfully discuss the wine. It will also give you a greater appreciation for these expert winemakers and their well-honed processes.
Know Your California Wine History
California has been producing some of the world’s greatest wines since the end of the 1700s. Its mild climate and sunny days allow grapes to flourish and develop amazing flavors. Soon, wineries popped up all over the state and the California wine industry was booming.
Then, prohibition caused the burgeoning business to grind to a halt. Growers took to cultivating easy to transport grape varieties to sell and ship. These allowed wine lovers to still create their beloved beverage at home.
Finally, prohibition was repealed and wineries were able to operate again. However, it was a slow start to reignite the industry. Thanks to winemakers like Robert Mondavi and Brother Timothy, California began to again that the wine world by storm.
Today, a large majority, about 81%, of the country’s wine is produced in California. The Golden State shows no sign of slowing down. A visit here allows you the witness this amazing industry first hand. You’ll no doubt see, and taste, why so many winemakers have chosen the area as their home.
The Winemaking Process
As you visit different wineries, you’ll have a chance to learn about the processes that each uses. Having a basic knowledge of winemaking will allow you to better understand their explanation. It will also give you a chance to ask meaningful questions of the experts.
First, the grapes are meticulously planted and grown. Then, they are harvested at just the right time for optimal flavor. In fact, when a grape is harvested can have a huge impact on the flavor of the wine it creates. This can be done mechanically, but many winemakers like to pick grapes to select the very best ones and prevent damage to the skins.
Then, the stems are removed and the grapes are carefully sorted. They are next crushed using a press and allowed to sit and ferment. It’s then thoroughly filtered to remove sediment.
Now is where the winemaker has more control over the process and the flavors that develop. The wine is then moved to a container for aging. This can be a stainless steel tank, an oak barrel, or another type of container. This can drastically affect the outcome of the wine.
It’s important to know how wines are aged as you’re tasting them. Many people find that they prefer wine aged in certain containers. Some wine lovers prefer clean white wine aged in stainless steel. Others a more drawn to red wine aged in oak with earthy flavors. Being aware of this helps you discover your own aging preferences.
After being expertly aged, the wine may need to be filtered again. It’s then bottled, corked, and ready to drink. This long process results in the delicious wine in your tasting glass.
How to Taste and Talk About Your Temecula Wine
Now for the fun part. Tasting the wine and discussing its properties. You don’t need to be an expert to discuss wine. And you certainly don’t have to know much to enjoy it. However, brushing up on some basic concepts can help make your tasting more fun.
Smell your wine before you taste it. The scent, or aroma, is one of the best hints of the wine’s flavors. Some words to describe the aroma of your wine are:
Then sip your wine and discuss the flavors. There are no right or wrong answers, everyone’s palate is different. You might taste notes of:
The body of the wine is how it feels in your mouth. This can usually be described as heavy or light. The color of the wine is often a good indicator. A lighter color usually results in a lighter body.
The varietal refers to the grape that the wine is mainly made from. There are many different varietals created from grapes sourced from all over the world. Some of the most popular in Temecula Valley are:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Sauvignon Blanc
Prep Your Wine Palette Before The Actual Wine Tasting
It might be a good idea to sample a few wines and have a mock tasting to prep your palette. This is especially true if you are new to wines. It will give you the chance to familiarize yourself with the terms and practice using them.
This also gives you a baseline to compare to the great wines in Temecula. Try to purchase wines from many regions to get a feel for the differences. It’s also important to get used to a mix of reds and whites as many wine tastings include both.
Get Record Ready When You Go On a Temecula Wine Tasting Adventure
The number of wines you taste on your visit to Temecula might be pleasantly overwhelming. You don’t want to get home or back to your hotel after a long day and find yourself struggling to remember a great one you just discovered. Get ready to take records so you can look back at your favorites and order them again and again.
A wine diary is a simple way to track all of the amazing choices you will be tasting. Keep it with you to record notes about the best ones. Then, you can refer to it when you need your next bottle.
Print this handy wine diary to take along on your journey:
Here, you can record each wine as you taste them and rate them for future reference. It’s also a great tool to compare prices and how they affect the quality of wines. Looking back on your diary can help you find trends in your likes and preferences.
Wine is a great gift. The “Would Love It” column allows you to jot down that special someone that you think would adore the wine you just tried. Then, when it’s time for their birthday or the holidays, treat them with the wine you’ve carefully selected just for them.
Is also great to find the best wine to go with your favorite dish. Think about the foods that would complement the wines you are tasting and vice versa. Oftentimes, your tasting host can give you some tips and pointers on which wines go best with which types of cuisines. When you’re ready to host a dinner party or special meal, you can look back on your diary to pick the perfect wine for your menu.
Off On Your Tasting Adventures
Now that you’re prepped, ready, and have all the tools for tasting, it’s time for the exciting part. Tasting the amazing wines that Temecula has to offer! But where do you start? The area has some awesome tasting spots. Here are a few that are great to check out.
A Unique Cablecar Wine Tour, Found in The Temecula Valley
Want to taste a variety of great wines, enjoy the SoCal weather, and take in the stunning scenery? A Cablecar Wine Tour is just the ticket! This unique experience allows you to enjoy the best of the best in the Temecula Valley.
Your five-hour adventure will take you to three of the region’s most amazing wineries. At each one, you’ll enjoy tastings as you learn about the property and the process of making the wine. You’ll have the opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn all about winemaking.
You’ll board an open-air cable car that will shuttle you too and from each winery. Your tour guide can tell you all about the area and the wineries that make it famous. You’ll even enjoy a fresh lunch at one of the wineries as part of your tour.
This is a fun and safe way to get to taste many of the wines available in Temecula. Don’t forget to bring your wine diary along to record your thoughts. Pick up a few bottles of your favorites to wow your friends back home.
Discover A Hidden Gem
Temecula is home to some huge, very impressive winery estates. However, sometimes the lesser-known wineries make for a fun experience. Though they may be smaller in size, they are big on taste and quality.
Lumiere Winery, Charming and Chill
Lumiere Winery is a delicious option for a quaint and quiet tasting. The family-owned property is committed to creating great wine from the ground up. With a dedication to quality, their wines just can’t be missed.
Stop here for a tasting and you’re sure to be impressed. They have plenty of options for everyone and a great tasting room. The friendly staff will gladly help you choose the correct tasting for your palette.
A premium tasting allows you to try all that the winery has to offer. Red wine lovers are sure to be impressed by the winery’s delicious Cabernet Sauvignon. The popular White Merlot is a fan favorite for a reason. Try the Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc for a refreshing treat.
Not a fan of red? You can opt to only try the winery’s selection of white wine and vice versa. Those white wine lovers can choose a tasting of only the premium light wines they enjoy.
For a real treat, splurge for a reserve tasting. This allows you to try out some of the winery’s very best vintages. The 2009 Black Cab is sure to be worth it. You may just find the 2006 LeCirque so irresistible that you want to spring for a bottle to go.
Whatever tasting you choose, your visit to Lumiere is a delightful way to spend an afternoon. Check out the stunning scenery and meet the expert winemakers. Just make sure you don’t leave empty-handed.
Akash Winery, A Growing Estate
The family that owns and runs the twenty-acre property at Akash Winery has big plans. They want to eventually open a resort, spa, and event venue. But for now, they are just focused on making outstanding wine.
A stop here for a tasting is well worth it. First of all, the scenery is breathtaking. The rolling hills and endless vines create the perfect backdrop for a wine tasting. Schedule a tour for the ultimate behind the scenes experience.
You’ll ride or walk through the beautiful vineyards, learning about the growing process. Get a tour of the facilities and memorable insight into their winemaking process. You’ll enjoy six tastings off the winery’s carefully selected menu.
For a really special experience, splurge for the Winery Owner Experience. The estate’s owner himself, Akash Patel, will show you first hand how he operates the winery. You’ll even get a souvenir glass after tasting six of his favorite wines. Pre-order a charcuterie board to snack on during your tasting for a yummy treat.
The laidback vibe of the winery will only enhance your tasting experience. Relax as you work your way through the wines. You can even try to time your tasting for a Tuesday and enjoy tapas from the taco truck!
A Touch of Culture
It’s no secret that wine regions all over the world have influenced many of America’s winemakers. Many import grape varietals from other continents to this day. Visit one of these wineries to taste wine inspired by the oldest varieties of grapes and techniques.
Fazeli Cellars, Rooted in Heritage
Fazeli Cellars is by far one of the most impressive estates in the region. With stunning architecture and sprawling grounds, it’s a sight to behold. A visit here can leave you with a sense of awe and wonder.
The owner creating the cellar with the influence of his Persian heritage in mind. The posh buildings are a luxurious place to grab a tasting. Huge windows frame the beautiful views of the valley from inside.
Stop at the tasting room to try out the delicious variety of wines that this cellar creates. You’ll try six award-winning wines and see right away why they are so acclaimed. From a large variety of reds and whites, you’re sure to taste something you love!
You can also book a ninety-minute tour of the stunning property. Walk the grounds and learn all about the vineyard from your knowledgeable tour guide. Go behind the scenes and check out where the delicious wines you’ll taste are expertly crafted.
Say “Hola!” to Spanish Charm
Masia de la Vinya is a property that just oozes with Spanish charm. The stunning estate is influenced by casual fun and a touch of nature. And the wine definitely doesn’t disappoint.
Visit here to taste an amazing wine flight. Will you fall in love with the Milenio or delicious Tempranillo? Maybe the Garnacha Blanca or crisp Verdelho is more your speed. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy the tasting at this cozy vineyard.
Try to time your tasting during one of the winery’s fun events. Check out Brunch Bites for a fun start to the day. And keep your eye out for sales to get an awesome deal on some of their fantastic bottles.
Enjoying Your Wine Tasting Experience
No matter where and how you choose to do your wine tasting, be sure to savor every moment. The Temecula Valley gives you the chance to taste a ton of great wine, so soak it all in.
Planning and prepping ahead will set you up for tasting success. Try out a variety of tastings and wineries. Keep your mind open and your taste buds alert, and you’re sure to find fun and new favorites on your wine tasting adventure.