Continuing on with our Wine country adventures, About a year ago a co-worker came back from a trip to Temecula Wine Country and told me that they had tasted at Lumiere Winery.
The friend he was traveling with knew the winemaker. I, being a Temecula wine junkie, researched the winery to find that they are very small, family run and the tasting room is only open on weekends. Our last trip allowed us to be in Temecula on a Friday, so we took a chance and drove up to the tasting room, which is on the North side of Calle Contento Road. There is a banner for Lumiere posted at the end of their drive. It’s a beautiful drive up to the ridge that the tasting room and winery sit on. The tasting room is a beautifully renovated 3-car garage.
It has windows on both sides looking out onto the vineyards. We didn’t see anyone and stepped around outside to see the view outback, when a back door opened and a woman asked if we needed some help. This woman is the owner, Martha Kleiner. She and her husband bought the vineyard in 1987 from the Barlin Family who planted Sauvignon Blanc here in 1980. Her son Andrew grew up coming out to the vineyard every weekend and is now the winemaker. He and his mother run the entire place.
They are doing landscaping and putting in a small deli so people can grab something to eat on the weekends.
The tasting room view as you stand at the bar is through the eucalyptus trees and out onto the vineyard. It’s really peaceful and beautiful. They have picnic tables on the patio, so it’s perfect for bringing a picnic and buying a bottle of wine.
The tasting room itself it beautiful with clean lines and beautiful woods and a lovely piece of cork art created by a local artist, that they submitted in the cork competition for the annual WOW (World of Wine) weekend.
We began wine tasting and Martha told us a little about the vineyard and the plans they have for it. Being small, growth is slow. As she told us about purchasing and working the vineyards back in the early 80’s I mentioned that I had just picked up a book on Temecula wine country. She remembered writing and essay and giving pictures to the author. Michael ran out to the car and brought the book back in for her to see. At the time they started the vineyard, the valley was much smaller in a community sense and everyone knew everyone. She knows Vincent and Audrey Cirluzo as well as Bud and Maurice Van Roekel. They were all starting out at the same time. Soooo much history here. It was truly an honor to speak with her.
The wines are unique. They have a Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc as well as a late harvest Sav Blanc. Their “Bail out Blanc” was made in 2007 and has 1% residual sugar. We also tasted their 2006 Merlot. In making this wine they did punch downs by hand then it was 2 years in the barrel. This is free run juice; the skins and seeds are not pressed. They use barrels with French and American oak staves. Their 2006 “Romantic Fantasy” is 90% Merlot and 10% Cab Franc. It is hard pressed with the skins and seeds. Their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is done in new American 70 Gallon Barrels. It was the top choice in a blind tasting at a local vineyard meeting.
The 2006 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc was picked at 27 Brix and has 4.5% residual sugar. It was fermented in steel at 29 degrees for 6 months and it has a lovely brightness. The “Voulez Vous” their sparkling Sav Blanc has a nice tartness.
This is really a wonderful peaceful stop. If you are in Temecula on a wine travel weekend, don’t miss it. And tell Martha that we say hello!
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