Monday, February 2, 2009

Tasting In Style - Escondido and Temecula (Part One)



Of course, by "in style" I mean with friends (though the limo rented by my beau didn't hurt either). On this the day after my birthday (and the day before Cory and Elbert's anniversary) Sarah, Elbert, Cory, Heather, my beau and I spent the day sampling local vino offerings.

The day began with us all meeting at Orfila, a local award winning winery in Escondido. To be honest, for all of its accolades I have never had one of their wines and I now regret this oversight. Their method of tasting was basically you get to pick six of anything they offer for an exceptionally reasonable price. I have to say, nothing disappointed me which makes me so happy they are close to home! For this outing I tasted the following:

  • Estate Viognier "Lotus" Lot 67: Nice light gold tint, floral notes with a hint of vanilla. Crisp, lovely balanced furit and acidity providing a lovely medium-length finish.

  • "Bien Nacido" Chardonnay 2007: Orfila offered a couple of Chardonnays and I decided to go with their "no oak" offering. Stainless steel fermentation really let the fruit shine. Greenish-yellow tinge, loads of melon and green apple, very crsip with a lovely citrus finish makes this something I intent to have on hand this summer.

  • Pinot Noir Lot 37: This wine is made from grapes grown in SLO. Deep lovely red in color and a nose of cherries and raspberries and just a hint of vanilla delivering the fruit on a beautifully balanced acid/tannin backbone. Very classic Pinot Noir.

  • Estate Sangiovese 2006: Nice raspberries on the nose and tongue. Tannins were a little rough, good acid though. I think this wine shows great potential but needs to rest another year before its beauty really show through.

  • Merlot 2007 - Barrel Sample: I love getting barrel samples and this one filled my expectations of what I was coming to learn about Orfila. Purplish youth, fruit forward, young tannins. Good now, will be very good with a little more time to rest.

  • "Seasons" Syrah 2005: A nice "everyday" Syrah. Hints of pepper and black fruit, good tannins and acid. Not a cellar wine but definitely good to pick up this year.

  • Estate Heritage Syrah 2005: A limited selection offering showing some excellent wine making. Cherries and blackberries, solid tannins, long finish. Very good now, shows potential for drinkability over the next 5 years or so, but why wait???


  • With near perfect timing the limo that my beau reserved for us arrived and off we went to Temecula. Along the way we "sampled" two Cabernets I had pulled from my collection to help pass the time to our first destination, Leonesse. I enjoy Leonesse, it is the first winery in Temecula whose wine club I joined and this visit simply reinforced the reasons. On this trip down to the "member's tasting area" I tried:

  • Viognier 2007: Lovely honeysuckle and orange blossoms, crisp acidity. This was my palate cleanser for the rest of the tasting.

  • VS Chardonnay 2006: This is their "Vineyard Selection" Chardonnay offering. Hints of oaky spice, melon and apple, nice acidity but I would let it rest just a little longer, perhaps another 6 months (just in time for summer)

  • Riesling 2007: Classic Riesling, clean, notes of petroleum on the nose unlying the floral and peach smells with lovely fruit and acidity.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon 2006: Hints of pepper, spice and currants all blended together. Lovely structure ending in a soft, medium-long finish.

  • Zinfandel 2006: Nice offering from a Temecula winery. Black pepper, blackberries and hints of clove makes for a lip-smacking wine with a long finish.


  • Back up the hill, we loaded into the limo and headed to another place I have not been, Oak Mountain Winery. It had gotten good reviews and I did find some offering that I enjoyed. For this tasting I had the following:

  • "No Oak" Chardonnay 2005: Another nice stainless-steel offering. Greenish tint, hints of green apple and melon on the nose and tongue with lovely acidity. I got some light spice on the finish, not sure where it comes from but it made for a lovely ending.

  • Sauvignon Blanc 2006: An off-dry Sauv blanc with pretty peaches on the nose and nice slightly-sweet fruit on the tongue with decent acidity. Made me want some spicy Thai food.

  • Miscela di Sangiovese 2005: This is a "Super Tuscan" blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc. Spicy strawberry and cherry, excellent acidity and nice tannins made me look for some tomato-based pasta offering around the area (alas, there wasn't any). A very good offering.

  • Cabernet Franc 2005: Deep, clean ruby colored wine, loaded with cherries and black fruit. Tannins were pretty powerful, might let it rest a little longer but there is potential here, definitely not a whimpy Cab Franc.

  • Brut Champagne: Not sure if I would classify it as a brut, seemed more dry to me. Nice, lively, good sipping bubbly. I prefer it to most of the other local sparklings.


  • Thus ends part one of the trip. I'll write about the remainder tomorrow when I again get to talk about my other overall favorite winery in the area...

    Wines Reported On In 2009: 89

    2 comments:

    Bairbre Aine said...

    I've never been to the Escondido winery, but now I shall plan to.
    I'm tempted, by your posting, to taste a few of the same wines you sampled.
    From the picture, it looks as though you all had a brilliant time!

    Mike Pape said...

    You definitely should go to Orfila. If you want I will let you know when I am headed back and we can make an afternoon of it.