While the weather this year has taken a little bit longer than usual to get its act together, and brought lots of rain along with it, the sun is finally starting to heat things up, shorts are moving from the back of the dresser drawer to the front, and grape vines are looking green and full. You know what this means? It’s officially summer wine time.
Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is certainly known for its rich, full-bodied red wines. However, it’s also home to some pretty incredible whites, rosés, sparkling wines and lighter-style reds. Here’s a few of our favorites for sipping out on the patio on a warm summer afternoon, or while backyard grilling with your friends… or for any occasion, really.
Carter Estate 2014 Blanc de Blanc Brut, $40
Why we love it: This crisp, clean, bone-dry bubbly is made in the méthode Champenoise, AKA how they do it in the most famous sparkling wine region of the world, Champagne. Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, it’s light but remarkably complex, with golden delicious apple, apple blossom and toasted brioche on the nose, teensy little bubbles, and a tight, persistent finish. Ring in the 4th of July with this beautiful bottle, or simply pop it while you celebrate your own heartbeat all summer long.
Why we love it: Oak Mountain has taken Temecula Valley Roussanne – one of the Rhône Valley’s signature white grapes – and made it sparkle. The result is a pleasantly floral, fresh wine that is delightful as an aperitif or paired with a wide range of cuisines. The beauty of bubbles is they go with just about everything… including nothing at all but the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair.
Danza del Sol 2017 Vermentino, $28
Why we love it: Close your eyes and you are in Italy with this bright, juicy Vermentino, a grape that is equally at home in Temecula as it is in Sardinia, Liguria and Tuscany. Notes of ripe, fleshy stone fruit, lime zest and white flowers give way to a clean, oyster shell finish. The very definition of “quaffable.”
Doffo Winery 2018 Viognier, $32
Why we love it: Viognier shines in Temecula Valley and this bottling is no exception. While Viognier can at times be heavy, luscious and slightly oily, Doffo Winery has captured all of the floral aromatics of the grape variety while maintaining citrusy freshness and a delicate minerality thanks to fermentation in concrete tanks. The result is a light, clean, elegant wine that belongs on your summer dinner table.
Why we love it: Don’t let the deep, almost magenta color fool you – this rosé, made from 100% estate Zinfandel, is light on its feet and bursting with juicy strawberry, red currant, and watermelon Jolly Rancher notes giving way to a totally dry, lime zest finish. Pair this with cedar planked salmon and a sunset.
Hart Winery 2018 Rosé of Sangiovese, $22
Why we love it: Sipping this wine, you could be strolling through Provençal lavender fields with a straw hat and a picnic. We would argue Temecula Valley is just as pretty, and this wine just as perfect as any rosé we’ve tried from Provence. Pale, baby pink in color, with notes of warm, ripe strawberries and raspberries, violet petals and an elegant, wet river stone finish. This is one we could drink all day and well into the night.
Europa Village 2016 Vienza Montepulciano, $35
Why we love it: Another example of how well Italian grape varieties thrive in Temecula Valley. This Montepulciano is surprisingly light-bodied, with bright red fruit, a touch of baking spice and a soft, warm finish, like the lingering sunshine as you recline in a hammock with a good book at the end of a mid-summer day. A wine made that practically begs for food, you could even try serving this with a very slight chill on it.
Baily Winery 2014 Meritage, $65
Why we love it: If you simply must have a rich, complex red, even during the hottest summer months, then Baily Winery is your go-to for highly structured, elegant red wines. Meritage is their flagship bottling, and they have a library selection that dates back over a decade. A stunning blend of classic Bordeaux grape varieties, this wine is lean but powerful, with ripe berry fruit, plum, sweet baking spices and an intriguing tobacco note.
While all of these wines can be purchased online or direct from the winery, the summer months are a fantastic time to visit Temecula. With plenty to do, from wine tastings to concerts, festivals, hot air ballooning and more, you are sure to find enough to fill several days in Southern California Wine Country. Find out more about what’s going on all summer long in the region Wine Enthusiast Magazine named one of the world’s Top Ten Wine Travel Destinations HERE.
Tags: drink temecula, Temecula Valley Wine Country, temecula valley winegrowers association, temecula valley wineries, temecula valley wines, temecula wine, temecula wine country, temecula wine tasting, temecula wineries, temecula winery, temecula wines