Temecula/Escondido Wine + Beer Review

Cas enjoys a good glass of wine and knows just what he likes. When he lived in southern California, he made an attempt to visit one winery a week until he hit up all of the wineries in Temecula–a region that was, at that time, fairly new to wine growing and making. He made it just 16 weeks before deciding that his threshold for wine was higher than was being made at that time. However, he was a big fan of four of the wineries and took me for tastings at each. AND says that they have even gotten better since he last visited. 

This was a big day. We paced ourselves. We took our time. We were responsible. You should be, too, when wine tasting. Get a ride, join a tour, get a designated driver. Safety first, friends. 

We started out at Cas’ favorite: Palumbo Winery. He was one of the founding members and enjoyed his membership for years! We sipped on the standard tasting and were delighted when we were offered to taste a few off-menu items. We bought two bottles, the Tre Fratelli and the 50/50 (50% Syrah, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon) that we happily shared with a friend when we got to Walla Walla! 

We popped across the way to Doffo Winery which is a recent winner of the Temecula Winery of the Year! The family that owns and operates the winery has deep roots in Argentina and Italy which is evident in their wines. Of course, the multi-generational effort makes them special. As does their interest in motorcycles. They had a ton of vintage and rare motorcycles from around the world on display in their tasting room! That plus the killer view made for a lovely stay. 

Cas loves wine, we’ve established that. He is ALSO a founding member at the Lorimar Winery and has his name in a brick in the wall! I do enjoy wine tasting and I like the ambience of wine tasting, too. The ambience wasn’t as lovely here as at other places. We were shuffled into a great big room to stand up at a counter with tons and tons of other people. I prefer a smaller, more intimate tasting, with a little bit more attention–call me needy! I am not sure if it was because the vibe was wrong or if the crowd was too big, but the wines just didn’t do it for me here. Are the taste buds connected to our eyes and ears? Hummm….

We also made a visit to the South Coast Winery as Cas says that the South Coast Winery is a very typical winery for Temecula. Agreed. Granted we only visited these four spots, and Doffo and Palumbo stood out from the other two. I suppose I would say that this was average. I did get the ushered-in-ushered-out and buy-buy-buy feeling here. The grounds were absolutely breathtaking, but the wines were fairly average. Now, what is a visit to this region without a visit to Stone Brewing. I’d been to Stone Brewing in San Diego and the vibe is certainly similar, but this really was a visit to the mothership. It is …expansive…I know that is a strange term to use, but everything felt larger than life. The architecture allows the interior to flow, with practically unobstructed views, to the outdoor one-acre beer garden. YES. One ACRE beer garden. The beer is outstanding. If you’ve never tried Stone, look for it in well-appointed stores. You may be lucky! We both really like their flagship series and this time around tried their Anniversary DIPA (which was a limited release!). If we hadn’t had been out wine tasting, I would have tried more! Alas…next time! And hopefully there will be. With 11 tap rooms (even one in…SHANGHAI!?!), I am sure to visit again!

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