Situated on over 300 acres in the heart of Temecula wine country, Mount Palomar Winery is known for its classic Bordeaux-style blends and Italian varietals, as well as producing Port and Solera Cream Sherry. Established in 1969, it was one of the first to bring the trend of Mediterranean grape varietals, which are so influential today. Before strolling the gorgeous grounds, I was blessed to sample a wide variety of its offerings and had a bit of trouble, I confess, narrowing down my favorite. In typical tasting tradition, I started with white, sampling the newly released 2007 Chardonnay. Less oaky than the 2006, the Chardonnay has a wonderful honey aroma with flavors of buttered toast and vanilla on the finish.
I moved on to sample the 2006 Castelletto Travato. This varietal is Mount Palomar’s super Tuscan blend – its “chianti,” so to speak. It was complex with plum and cherry flavors and a hint of smoke, but not overpowering. A perfect wine to drink with a summer picnic.
The 2005 Syrah is a great offering as well, with spicy cherry flavors and earth notes. I typically cannot get enough Syrah, but my heart began to wander back to the Travato.
Pressed by the charming Erica to try the Limited Reserve Port and Solera Cream Sherry, I acquiesced (to be polite, of course). I am not typically a huge fan of dessert wines, but these wines have won me over. The Port was ruby rich and wonderful, even better when complimented by the Hershey’s kiss provided with the taste. The Solera Cream Sherry was a revelation with flavors of roasted hazelnut and carmel. Using the classic Palomino varietal and patient aging of at least three years under the sun, it is finished in retired whiskey or bourbon barrels from Kentucky. The time, care, and passion are evident in every sip. While they suggest it as a dessert wine, my palate was longing for a sharp bit of cheese to provide contrast.
While I was surprised to fall in love with the Sherry, my pick this week is the 2006 Castelletto Travato. This wine perfectly complimented my lunch of roasted turkey breast and Swiss cheese with pesto mayo served on a croissant. Where did I get this delicious sandwich, you ask? From the Taverna right there in the tasting room. Mount Palomar Winery features its own little deli, which offers a wide variety of sandwiches, pizzas and salads. The Italian Sandwich served on Ciabatta Roll was a favorite as well, and it was a delicious match for the spicy flavors in the 2005 Syrah. The sandwiches are served with delightful tiny table grapes grown on the property.
In addition to the ample shaded picnic areas featuring no less than four outdoor tasting bars, Mount Palomar boasts “the Cave.” A wonderfully cool meeting room–in both temperature and ambiance–large enough to seat at least 50 people is carved into the side of the hill. Private tastings, corporate meetings and other parties are commonplace in this unique space. Taste of Temecula will be welcomed onto the property for our lunch meet up on Wednesday, August 11th. Director of Operations Kris May will be offering our fans a complimentary glass of wine with lunch on Wednesday along with another surprise gift which promises to please. In addition, we anticipate that winemaker Craig Boyd will make an appearance to talk wine with us. With over two decades of experience, he is sure to infuse wisdom and passion into our gathering.
For those who are looking for something fun to do in Temecula each weekend, plan on returning to Mount Palomar. They offer Artist Spotlight Under the Stars every Saturday from 6:00 – 9:30 pm. This weekend will feature acoustic musicians and local artists. A cash wine bar and gourmet picnic boxes will be available for purchase.
This Sunday, August 15th, Mount Palomar will be hosting a Garden Party from 12 noon – 6 pm. This will be quite the affair! Admission is complimentary and the dress code is all white. The event will feature live music, a fashion show, lawn bowling, croquet, an art bazaar and more. For more information, please visit www.mountpalomar.com or the Mount Palomar fan page on Facebook.
Mount Palomar Winery is located at:
33820 Rancho California Road