Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Two Temecula Favorites

Well, it was time to pick up my shipment from Baily so today after breakfast with my beau it was up to Temecula. Of course, it didn't make sense driving up just to pick up one wine club shipment so I made it a threesome by dropping my Leonesse and picking a winery I had not been to before (Cougar Winery which gets its own posting). Since I have written extensively about Baily and Leonesse before I will just highlight some new findings in their every growing and increasingly excellent wines.

Two newbies for me at Baily are:

  • Montage 2007. This is a Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion blend which is somewhat typical in Bordeaux but relatively new here in the states and somewhat of a trend I have been seeing lately (Brander, a California star of the White Bordeaux, has been making this for years but it seems to be spreading). The Montage is very lightly gold in color. Hints of figs and melon on the nose while on the tongue the fruits and a hint of the "herbaceousness" one gets from Sauvignon Blancs does peek out. Very nice acidity, this is a good little wine to drink now and through the next year or so.

  • Riesling - Dry, 2008. Baily offers two Rieslings, this one is a special one produced for the 150th anniversary of Temecula. Very light color in the glass, lovely notes of apple and apricot on the nose while in the mouth one gets good fruit, and nice acidity for a light-bodied wine experience. At first I thought I detected more sugar than I should have but then decided it was really the fruit-forwardness of the wine that was creating an apple-cinnamon combo that was delicious.

  • And a non-newbie but a new release:

  • Merlot 2005. Recently released, this fruit-forward wine delivered strawberries and hint of vanilla, nice acid, and solid tannins but I think it is still a bit young and could profit from another year or so resting in a nice, cool, dark cellar. Quite drinkable but not at its peak yet.

  • Once again, Baily's confirmed my decision to join its wine club.

    Leonesse, as always, was a joy to visit. What was fun this time was nothing I tasted was on the tasting list, so you get some idea here from what can be purchased at the barrel room tasting area but you won't find on the shelves. Today, the cute and articulate attendant Mike poured me the following:

  • Compilation 2006. This was something new and pretty exciting, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cinsault, and Zinfandel. Very fruit forward, spicy and peppery, soft tannins, good acidity, all components clicking together to create a medium/full bodied wine with a long delicious finish.

  • Dry Muscat 2008. Brand new and just out on the floor this was an interesting experience. Everyone wants to think of Muscat as sweet but this wine proves that need not be the case. The nose promises apricot and just a little hint of peach which gets delivered with an interesting "green" (Mike's term) on the finish (I was saying "grassy" but I think we meant the same thing) which took a little getting used to because it was a total surprise. The wine maker said that this "green" was produced by the wine skins so I'll take his word for it. The natural fruit flavors and acidity combine to make a definitely not sweet, fruit forward enjoyable wine... once you get over the "green" surprise.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 "Signature Selection". A veriable fruit explosion in the mouth! Nice tannins, lovely acid, very well integrated components, all you could hope for in a Cab but alas, not scheduled for release until 2010 so get up there, join the club, go on a weekend tasting and beg to get a sample.

  • Zinfandel 2006. Yum. Beautiful fruit and peppery spice. Medium bodied, soft, almost sweet tannins, mouthwatering acids, long lovely finish. Soon to be released (March I think).

  • Barrel sample Merlot/Cab Franc Blend. Light bodied, nice fruit, very soft tannins and good acid. I will be anxious to try it when it grows up.

  • Barrel Pull Cabernet Sauvignon. No release date, this one was "special". Oak and fruit on the nose and tonuge, soft tannins (somehow Leonesse has great control of the tannin components of their red wines), good acid. The finish was a little harsh and Mike said that it seemed like there was something missing at this stage. I agree, it was like all of the kids showed up but they don't yet know how to play well together. Shows promise though and I will keep an eye on this one for you.

  • Once again, Leonesse has shown why they are my favorite in Temecula.

    Wines reviewed in 2009: 117

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