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Monday, December 26, 2011

Quality Wines From Temecula

Up until recently, quality and Temecula was an oxymoron.  Having moved a few years ago from the San Francisco Bay area to San Diego County, I’ve been praying to Bacchus that someday, someone in nearby Temecula would make a great wine.  My prayers have been answered with not only one winery, but two, that are making superb wines.  There’s only one problem:  they’re not cheap.

The first one that knocked my socks off had been recommended by a winemaker from California’s Central Coast.  We had oenophiles visiting from Northern California and I warned them several times during the 40 minute drive from our home, “Do not expect Napa.  Do not expect Sonoma.  In fact, don’t expect anything.”   Then we walked into Doffo’s tasting room and the earth shifted on its axis.

Doffo is committed to small lot, limited production wines.  The family, originally from the famous Barolo wine district in Italy, has great pedigree DNA and it shows in their wines.  Every sip I tasted was well crafted and could have competed with Italian superstars from Barolo & Barbaresco.  My visitors, who have traveled to the world’s most famous wine districts, immediately joined Doffo’s wine club.  I just received an email from them that the Tiarella Cabernet was “outstanding.”  It better have been as it was $200.

The second winery producing world-class wines is Leoness.  I was introduced to Leoness by my new friend, Debbie--- the local-in-the-know wine maven.   She served a 2008 Signature Select Melange ($80) at a dinner party she hosted this summer, and as the saying goes, the rest is history.  I raved so much about the wine that she recently invited us to Leoness’ wine club dinner party (the winery’s al fresco restaurant was just voted the best new restaurant in Temecula).   The winery is stunning and the food excellent…but the wines from the Signature Select series are the real stars of the show,


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