Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Temecula Valley Wine Country

After over a month in the area, we finally made it to the wineries. We have been driving by them on our way to and from Lake Skinner, and since it was a dreary, rainy Sunday afternoon we figured it was a good time to taste some wine.
A couple different friends recommended Thornton Winery, so we stopped there first. They offer free tours but our tour was abbreviated due to the rain.
We did get to see the cask room, which they actually rent out for weddings. It is a constant 58 degrees in there, so I’m not sure what the attraction is, but I guess it’s a popular place to get married.
We also learned that the French and American oak casks are only used for 3 to 5 times because of seepage. You can see the red wine stains on some of these casks. Then they turn around and sell them to be made into planters sold at places like Lowe’s and Home Depot.
We came to California a few years too late, as most wineries no longer offer free wine tasting. Now the going rate is $10-$15 for anywhere from 4-6 different tastes. Since we like cheap box wine or Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw $2 a bottle wine, better known as Two Buck Chuck, the tasting prices seem a bit much. I found several 2 for 1 tasting coupons, so we decided to splurge. They don’t give you a souvenir glass on the 2 for 1 deal, but we didn’t want the glass anyway.
After our tour at Thornton, we looked in the tasting room and it was very crowded. Plus they only give you 4 tastes, so we left and went on to Robert Renzoni Winery, where we each got to taste 5 different wines for $12. There were several we really liked, and we were debating whether to buy a bottle, when the server came along and poured us an extra taste. Naturally we had to buy something then! We picked a slightly sweet white wine, Bellissimo, which was really good and I am saving for my upcoming birthday in a couple weeks.
We learned that tasting wine on a rainy afternoon sure does lift your spirits!
Another fun thing to do in Temecula is go to the Farmer’s Market. Every Wednesday it is set up in the Promenade Mall parking lot, and on Saturdays in Old Town.
When Debbie was here, she and I went twice to the Wednesday market. There was a stand with excellent breads. We loved the multi-grain sourdough bread and whole wheat fruit and nut bread, and wanted to get some more. How disappointing when they were not set up at the Saturday market. There were lots of fruit and vegetable stands but at this time of year there is not a whole lot in season, so we ended up not buying anything. We did walk around Old Town, a nice area of shops and restaurants. but it was in the 40’s so we didn’t last long. They are calling for no rain and low to mid 60’s the next 10 days, which will be a big improvement.

1 comment:

  1. Jim and Gayle:

    Thanks for the update. We're doing well enough, the winter is unusually cold so far. To New Orleans this weekend and maybe a bike race at the end of the month, maybe...randy