Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wine & Knomes

Decided to drive out to Temecula today. It's approximately 1 hour 20 minutes from my place in Orange County. It's a nice day getaway. You can either take the 91 to the 15 south or if you are in South OC like me, you can just take the Ortega Highway (Highway 74) which goes directly over the mountains and into Lake Elsinore. Then from there, hop on the 15 south for about 8 more miles and you are there. The Ortega Highway is a windy road going through Cleveland National Forest but it's got less traffic and is a little more direct depending on where you are coming from. I happen to live down the street from the entrance so it's perfect for me.

Most of the wineries are off of the main road Rancho California Road. We decided to have lunch in Old Town Temecula which reminded me of Knott's Berry Farm for some reason. haha. There are a few restaurants, antique stores, candy store, etc. Then we headed to our first winery.

We chose Briar Rose Winery. The original land owner worked for Disney and had built a replica of Snow White's cottage on the land for his wife. The cottage is still there and is actually the wine tasting room. It's so cute. This winery is a little different than most of the others in the area. They actually serve you at small tables in the cottage. It's not the normal counter kind of winery. They also say they require reservations however, if it's slow enough there isn't a problem coming in as a "walk-in" without a reservation. The white wines were amazing. So yum. They were light and sweet. I loved the Estate Viognier, Gewerztraminer and the Citronier. This winery is a must visit. Cozy, whimsical and best of all great wine!

The other winery we chose was South Coast Winery. This is one of my favorite wineries in Temecula. I go there each time. They have tons of great whites, sparkling wine and I even liked some of the reds! They have a large tasting room and a large selection of wines. You get 5 wine coupons ($15 fee) plus you get to keep the glass. You can pick from about 50 types of wine and sparkling wines. I love their Ruby Cuvee sparkling wine and also their Spumante Diamonte sparkling wine. I also love their 2009 Gewurztraminer and the Riesling. There are tons that I have not tried yet either. I really want to try the sparkling Gewurztraminer!
We only had time for the 2 wineries this time. I am looking forward to going back in the spring time when the grapes start growing. Or in the fall when they harvest. It's such a pretty area with the rolling vineyards.
Back to the real world tomorrow. Getting ready for a busy few months. Good thing I have a nice new bottle of wine to pop open in case of work stress... :-)
Super Secret wine tip: Yes, Sparkling Wine is what we normally would call "champagne". However, you are not allowed to call it champagne unless it's actually from Champagne, France! So, if you are wine tasting, it will be called Sparkling Wine. Not Champagne.


Katie said...

Mmm... I love Temecula. I'm in the San Diego area, so it's really close. Briar Rose is a great winery because you can actually sit and enjoy the wine rather than standing at a busy counter. I also enjoy how they give you a little wine tasting lesson if you're in the mood! Have any other favorite wineries in Temecula?


christinamg said...

Hi Katie!
I also love South Coast Winery and also like Wilson Creek for the almond "champagne". I've been to a few others in the past but these have been the places where I've actually purchased the wine.

I did like the little wine lesson and the personal service at Briar Rose. A great little find. :)

FrancescPhoto said...

Excellent blog!!! Salut!!

Francesc, Barcelona