I first met Tony Tiso at The Wine Co. in Temecula where he was doing a private tasting for the owner. In my usual style, I looked pathetic enough to score a small taste of Tony’s family wine. It was just enough to get me jonzing for more.
Over the past year I have met up with Tony (or his father Dr. John Tiso) at various restaurants or local private estates. I have become increasingly fond of the wine from this small, old world boutique winery and finally got my chance to visit Tony at his home/winery in Warner Springs. It’s a beautiful estate just 15 minutes past Vail Lake – well, at least the way I drive. When you’re still a little ways away, you can see La Serenissima perched on a hillside surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. You almost feel as if you are in the “old country” as you start to ascend the driveway, and are greeted by Tony’s winery hounds.
As I walked up to the patio past a beautiful fountain, I saw Tony and a few of his fellow farmers from the area sharing a carafe of his wine and talking about the grapes and this year’s harvest. After an exchange of introductions and a small glass of wine, Tony took my friend Ian and I into the winery and gave us the full tour. What was especially nice was that my friend is a newbie to the wine world, yet Tony explained every part of the process and the differences between a production winery and his small family winery that only uses the fruit they grow themselves.
We descended into the barrel room and Tony allowed us to try each of his varietals – everything was fantastic! The one wine that stood above the rest was the first wine of Tony’s that I had tried almost a year ago – the 2007 Cabernet Franc. Many wineries only use Cab Franc as a blending grape, but when it stands alone as its own varietal, I simply can’t resist it.
The La Serenissima 2007 Cab Franc is a “big red” and is not for those who are looking for a simple table wine. I recommend decanting it, which will open up the flavors and aromas. Be prepared for a mind-bending nose, a ton of fruit, and a long, dry finish. Although most Italian wines are made to be enjoyed with food, this wine is perfect for either just that – an authentic Italian meal (pasta, veal, seafood) – or simply by itself, sans paring. My advice: spend an upcoming evening drinking an exceptional red wine, and let it be the La Serenissima Cabernet Franc.
This fine wine can be purchased at local wine shops, markets like Baron’s and Whole Foods or directly from the winery. Pricing is very reasonable as right now Tony is making room in his cellar for his latest wines. Come down to take advantage of his lack of space and get your favorite La Serenissima wines at a fantastic price.
You can visit the winery everyday, but you must call ahead to make an appointment.
Ciao for now,