Adventures at Van Roekel

Van Roekel Sign

Van Roekel is the sister property to Maurice Car’rie.  It sits on the hill overlooking Maurice Car’rie and is where their winemaker Gus produces his more refined wines.  The winery complex is on a drive that includes the Van Roekel winery, a small wine country art gallery, the Temecula Wine Makers Association offices and the Van Roekel tasting room.  The tasting room has a sparkling wine menu and a regular menu.

Van Roekel tasting room

Van Roekel tasting room

The pourers in the tasting room were friendly and we had great conversation while we tasted the wines.  We began with the Gewurztraminer which was crisp and not overly sweet and is a great buy at $12.95.  All the wines here are very reasonably priced.  We also tasted their White Zin , and the Chardonnay which was very crisp and slightly sweet and very un Chard like to me, but fascinating enough that I took a bottle home.  On to the reds.  The 2011 Merlot had a bit of oak and spice and a light mouth feel with butter on the end and only a slight hint of tannins.  The Syrah was medium bodied with light silky tannings and pepper with a cooling bit of eucalyptus on the nose.  This felt very finessed for a syrah, not your big fruit bomb or barnyard style syrah.  The 2008 Grenache was full of plums and had higher tannins.  The Papa Red is a non vintage blend that gave you cooked berries on the nose and a variety of fragrances that my nose could not pick out. They were very well rounded and blended.  Bright tannins fill your mouth and there is a little hint of oxidations which is actually very pleasant and provides a depth of flavor.  There is a little bit of barnyard/wet dog on this that is very nice.  This wine is extremely unique.

Our afternoon here was very nice.  The wines, while not what I typically think of for the varieties were very enjoyable as well as cost effective.  These wines are an adventure and one that caught me by surprise and I enjoyed.

Brie of Dreams at Maurice Car’rie

Maurice Car'rie Vineyard

The sprawling Victorian style farmhouse is eye catching as you drive down Rancho California Road.  They also lay claim to the oldest structure in Temecula with their barn and windmill.  The vineyards here were the first established in Temecula back in 1968 by Vincenzo Cilurzo. Maurice and Bud Van Roekel  founded this winery in 1986. This is the sister property to the Van Roekel Winery, the winemaker here is Gus Vizgirda.  He creates wines that are meant for drinking not for storing for years in a dusty cellar.

Maurice Carrie in Oil

Maurice Carrie in Oil

This winery is most famous for it’s baked brie and sourdough bread which is only available on weekends in Maurice’s Kitchen, but…you can pick up an unbaked loaf to take with you and back yourself any day of the week.

On the weekends the front lawn fills with tents for the Maurice Car’rie Arts and Crafts Fair.  Every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm you will find local craft vendors with jewelry, paintings, ceramics etc.  You can wander the craft fair finding treasures and then pick up some of that amazing Brie to enjoy with a bottle of wine on the picnic grounds.

They are open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and offer tastings for $10 for 5 wines or you can get a dual pass for $18 to allow you to taste 5 here and 5 at Van Roekel.  They also have a Champagne tasting that allows you to taste 4 here at Maurice Car’rie and 4 at Van Roekel up the hill.