Lorimar Winery, Wine and Art Inspiration.

Lorimar Temecula California

Lorimar Winery is located in Temecula California. Lormiar created a tasting room inspired by Music and Art. Our Video Homage uses Art & music to showcase their new tasting room.

Miramonte Winery, a backstage tour

Miramonte WInery

Join us for a tour of Miramonte Winery in the Temecula Valley of Southern California!

Miramonte is a boutique winery in the Temecula Valley in Southern California.  They provide a wide variety of music on the weekends on their patio.  As well as amazing cheese and charcuterie boards. This eclectic and artistically minded winery creates an incredible atmosphere for enjoying wines.

Wiens Reflection Vertical, wine tasting and pairings

Wiens Reflection Vertical

Wine is terrific, and when you pair it with food you can take it to another level.  Learning how to taste, decant and pair can be an exciting adventure.

The journey today is with a Vertical of three vintages of Wiens Reflections red blend.  There are differences because of the actual blends (they use different varieties of grapes each year), differences because of the climate in each year and then differences because obviously the older vintages have aged longer!  We taste the wines right out of the bottle and then decanted and watch as the flavors evolve. Then we pair them with meats cheeses and other foods and the flavors change again, enhanced (or not) by contrasting or complimentary flavors in the food.  It’s an exciting journey, join us and then try a tasting of your own! See original Post.

Temecula Wine Country Video

The Temecula Valley in Southern California is a wine area that is finding it’s own way.  With 35,000 acres of rolling hills and vineyards it is a quick drive from San Diego and allows you to visit almost 40 wineries within a 20 minute drive.

If you enjoy live music, this is the wine country for you.  Many of the wineries have music on the weekends. Really this area is a festival of wine and entertainment.

You can also find small family run wineries that might be a bit less fancy, but that are making wines from the heart, and some like Palumbo, with a style and grace that is truly exceptional.

The variety of wines here is pretty amazing.  There are plenty of wineries that are sticking with the traditional Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc & Merlot, but more and more wineries are finding their own path with the varieties that they grow.  Rhone varieties grow well here and you find some wonderful Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Viognier all over the valley. Italian varieties are finding their way into the Valley with Cougar bringing in more obscure Italian grapes, so you ready to explore some new wines  this is the place to go.  Several wineries offer Sangria on the weekends also.

There are also amazing restaurants at several of the wineries where you can enjoy gourmet lunches or dinners.  Other wineries have small plates or lunch services on the weekends and many have delis where you can pick up a snack if you need to.

While you’re here take a morning hot air balloon ride over the vineyards or go horseback riding.  They also have limo or horseback tours to the vineyards.

There are great places to stay also.  The Europa Village Inn has an amazing view, beautiful rooms and a gourmet breakfast by Chef Dean that will knock your socks off!  Ponte and South Coast have resort style rooms on their properties.

Then there is Old Town, with shopping, olive oil tasting, wine tasting rooms, plenty of dining and night life and lots of additional hotel rooms from national chains.

Really there is so much to do in the growing Temecula Wine Country, from a quiet romantic weekend escape to a busy weekend filled with great food wine and entertainment, Temecula  has something to fit your every style and mood. Explore our site to find out more about Temecula Wine Country


Keyways Winery

Keyways Sign

We had stopped by Keyways in December and found it full and busy in the midst of their Victorian Christmas Faire.  We enjoyed walking into the tasting room decorated for the holidays with Santa reciting “The Night Before Christmas” before the fireplace.  It was truly enchanting…. and full.  So we didn’t stop to taste, we soaked in the ambience and went on our way with plans to return to taste on our next trip.

Keyways Onyx Bar

Keyways Onyx Bar

And so we did.  I was fascinated reading about their Brazilian Onyx bar, which is really beautiful.  Founded in 1989 by Carl Key, Keyways was one of the original wineries in the Temecula Valley.  The winery used to be known as the only woman-owned winery in Temecula. Terri Delayer, the female owner, sold the winery to Silverton Partners in late 2011.

The grounds here are beautiful and the tasting room feels like a wonderful small hotel lobby, with a seating area with a fireplace and the beautiful bar.

Keyways Lounge and Fireplace

Keyways Lounge and Fireplace

Our Wine Tasting started with  the 2012 Fume Blanc, which had grapefruit of course on the nose there was a little mineral and chalk on the back of this with spice on the finish and a little heat.  The 2010 Riesling was very nice with citrus on the nose and green apple on the palate. This wine was clear, minimally sweet, and really tasty in an unexpected way.  The 2010 Valley Cuvee Du Sud was my favorite.  It is a Rhone Blend with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre as well as Petite Sirah, Cinsault and Viognier.  It had a wonderful cigar box nose with lovely tannins and warmth.  Think red berries with earth and spice.  There was a little peppery heat on the end.  Really beautiful.  The 2010 Valley Cuvee Du Nord is in a Northern Rhone style and is Syrah based with the same varietals as the Du Sud but in different proportions.  You get more fruit on this one and it is darker and chewier.  The 2008 Charbono had a sweet nose.  On the first taste it was sweet on the palate and then mellowed with additional tastes.  The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve had a sweet nose with dark chocolate.  The tannins here were more aggressive and the wine had a medium to long finish.

Keyways Bar

Keyways Bar

If you have a chance I definitely recommend getting here around the holidays with time to spend at the Victorian Christmas Faire.  There are vendors set up in the grassy area out front, Carriage rides in horse drawn carriages and the whole atmosphere is just amazing.  And don’t miss sidling up to that beautiful Brazilian Onyx bar and grab a glass of The Du Sud to enjoy while listening to Santa in front of the fire.

For more Pictures check out our Keyways Photo Page.


C’est la Vie – A Moulin Rouge themed evening of amazing food and wine

Europa Village, Moulin Rouge Themed Food & Wine Dinner from Crushed Grape Chronicles on Vimeo.

We had relaxed at the Inn at Europa Village with white sangria on the balcony overlooking the Winery and Vineyards, then had a nap and now were dressed (to the nines) and heading down the to Musical Wine Pairing Dinner at Europa Village.  All afternoon the scent of smoked pork wafted up to our room from the smoker outside that Chef Dean was using.

We strolled into the courtyard with some other guests, commenting on the red windmill lit up and tacked to the end of the winery.  There was some confusion as to why it was there.  This dinner was Moulin Rouge themed!

Europa Village has 3 labels for their wines Vienza is their Italian varieties and blends, Bolero for the Spanish and C’est la Vie for their French wines. Tonight was to be a celebration of their French Style wines with hors d’oeuvres, dinner as well as a musical performance with singers and Can Can girls!

We headed into the tasting room and checked in.  The first pour of the night was their 2011 Viognier.  We grabbed a glass and headed back out to the courtyard to enjoy the beautiful early evening.  We had a seat at one of the café tables outside the tasting room and enjoyed the view of the gardens and the Inn.  You could see the fire pit going on the patio up at the Inn.  The Passé course came by to pair with the Viognier.  It was a Tarte Flambée with Crème Fraiche, Onion & Lardons.  A perfect bite to start the evening.  People gathered, many here were “Societe” Members (members of the wine club) and knew each other.  We met a few people and were introduced to a few more, and then we were all directed to “The Cave” for dinner.

This is a simulated Italian Wine Cave built next to the tasting room where they hold events.  Tables were set for 8 and the Cave was dim and candlelit.  We found a table and met some more new people.  Dinner began with a word or two from the presenters followed by Chef Dean Thomas coming to explain each of the courses we would be enjoying.  The sommelier then spoke about the wines and we finished things off with a song, “Come What May” from Baz Lurman’s film “Moulin Rouge” along with the Debut course of Mushroom Bisque with a Chevre Gourgere and chive oil, paired with the C’est La Vie 2011 Chardonnay.  Michael hates mushrooms, so I snuck a look at him out of the corner of my eye as he tested the soup.  I felt sure that he would take a taste and then politely put it to the side.  Nope, after one taste, he went back for a second and third and finished the cup.  Chef Dean you have converted him!

The third course was our “Prima” and finally I got to taste that smoked pork!  This was smoked pork tenderloin & roast belly, duck confit “Kronenbourg” choucroute, De Puy lentils and legumes paired with the C’est La Vie En Vie.  This is a Rhone Style blend of Grenache, Syrah Counoise, Cinsault and Mourvedre.  En Vie means “In Life”.  This dish was delicious and aromatic and rich.

The next course was the Fromage Amuse.  A little cheese course (we are dong the French thing here!) to round up the savory flavors of dinner

The Finale Course our dessert was a Grand Marnier Soufflé Glace (frozen) with Raspberry Coulis & Citrus Supremes paired with the Vienza Grenache Rose.  We stepped away from France with this wine and this Rose was definitely on the sweet side.  It made a unique pairing with the Glace.

Throughout the evening we had been entertained by Can Can girls and vocals some from the movie and others from other Moulin Rouge and French inspired movies and musicals.

We strolled out very full into the moonlight through the gardens and then back to our Inn on the hill.  The fire pit on the patio was enticing, but we were sated and sleepy so we collapsed into the comfortable bed and waited to be awoken by the sounds of hot air balloons.

Lumiere – a truly beautiful small winery

Lumiere Winery

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.

Lumiere Banner

Lumiere Banner

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.

Lumiere View from Tasting room

Lumiere View from Tasting room

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.

Lumiere Cork Art on Wall

Lumiere Cork Art on Wall

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.

Lumiere Winery Patio

Lumiere Winery Patio

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!

Wilson Creek Winery, Picture Perfect

Wilson Creek Winery, Picture Perfect in Temecula CA from Crushed Grape Chronicles on Vimeo.

It has been over 4 years since we last visited Wilson Creek.   Check it out.

For More Temecula Videos

Danza Del Sol, exploring Temecula Wine Country

Danza Del Sol Winery, Taste Temecula Wine Country from Crushed Grape Chronicles on Vimeo.

If you keep up with the blog you will remember that we were in Temecula back in December.  On that trip we stopped at Danza del Sol and fled in fear of the completely packed tasting room!  We intended to return mid week early in the day so we could taste the wines and talk with the people in the tasting room to find more out about this winery.  So…on this last trip to Temecula we did just that, pulling into the tasting room to be their first tasters of the day.  Tommy took care of us and was a wealth of information.

This winery had been owned by William and Katherine Filsinger who purchase 35 acres of vineyard property on De Portola in 1978.  The vineyards had been planted with Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc in 1972.  Dr. Filsinger planted the first Gewurztraminer in southern California.

The Winemaker here is Mike Tingley, who was the winemaker at Cirluzo.  With 30 years experience in the Temecula Valley his goal is “To craft varietal wines and innovative blends that not only are delicious, but have identity”.

The winery is now owned by Robert Olson and the winery now produces wines with a Mediterranean influence.

As we tasted through the wines here, there was nothing we didn’t enjoy, some though were out of the park wonderful.  The 2011 Le Blanc SV, the Sinfonia, the Rousanne, the 2011 Vermentino, the 2010 Mourvedre, the Cab Franc, Merlot, Syrah were all wonderful and we didn’t taste half the menu! The Trilogy and the 2010 Grenache were amazing.  This Grenache is the perfect early summer wine, when it is warm and you want the flavors of a red without the heavy body.

Tommy was kind enough to fill us in on all the geeky wine stuff, talking about the vineyard blocks and where each of the grapes were grown on the property.

We had originally planned to take a tour here, but the time slot we needed to fit in our somewhat full schedule was not available.  We will come back and do a tour with Tommy.  We were thrilled enough with the wines and the information that we joined the club.  They have a clubhouse just above the tasting room that is exclusive for members.   As we mentioned before…it gets crowded here on the weekends!

They have music on the patio on weekends as well as monthly “Get Sauced” events which include a cooking demo, class & small plates.  The tasting room is open daily from 11-6 and is dog and equestrian friendly.

Lorimar Winery, inspired by Music and Art

Lorimar Winery, Inspired by Music and Art from Crushed Grape Chronicles on Vimeo.

We stopped back to check out the new tasting room at Lorimar Winery  in Temecula Wine Country.  Check it out.

Fazeli Cellars Tasting Room, Old Town Temecula

Fazeli Cellars

When we were in Temecula in December we had passed a sign on the DePortolo Wine Trail for Fazeli Cellars Vineyards. After returning home from that trip I looked them up and found that they had just opened a tasting room in Old Town. The tasting room is stunning it is in the Old Town Center on Fourth Street. The inside it hip, comfortable and inviting. Jasmin welcomed us and set us up at the bar.

Fazeli Tasting Menu

Fazeli Tasting Menu

They have a set tasting menu here and have a place mat with each of the wine listed. They pour the glasses and suggest a tasting order. When they are really busy this is great! You can get all the information you need even when they don’t have time to spend with each person. But…we are spoiled and wonder into tasting rooms when they are almost empty so that we can soak up all the attention and all of the geeky wine information. Jasmin and Nicole were happy to oblige!
The Fazeli family is Persian and is proud of it’s cultural heritage. You see this in the names of the wines and in their favorite grape Shiraz. This grape was named after the beautiful ancient city in Persia.

Fazeli Norooz Celebration

Fazeli Norooz Celebration

We started off with the 2010 Norooz. Named after the Persian New Year which is celebrated in spring and was being celebrated the day we were tasting! This is a white blend perfect for spring which is 70% Viognier and 30% Muscat Canelli. It has a full mouth feel and is light and crisp with peach and apricot.
The 2nd wine we tasted was the 2009 Mehregan which is a blend of 69% Grenache and 31% Shiraz. Mehregan is the Persian Festival of Autumn. This wine is Medium in body with a bit of licorice and earth on the bright red fruits.
The 3rd wine is called their 2009 Pandemonium. With a distinctively hip label this wine is a blend of 43% Petite Sirah, 42% Cabernet Franc, 7% Shiraz, 4% Mourvedre and 4% Grenache. Their tag line on this is “embrace the Chaos”.
The 4th wine was the 2009 Shiraz. They blend this with Grenache and Mourvedre effectively making it a GSM. It is 78% Shiraz, 12% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre. I really enjoyed this wine.
The last wine was the 2009 Yalda. This is a softer blend with the Shiraz at 44% Shiraz, 28% Grenache and 28% Mourvedre. This wine gives notes of tobacco and dried cloves.
They do have quite a few other wines. Including a Cab Franc, their Phel Phel which is 84% Cinsault and 16% Shiraz, a Sauvignon Blanc, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon called Khayyam among others.
We also tasted the 2010 Petite Sirah which is 100% Petite Sirah and really lovely.
We had a wonderful tasting here. Nicole is so passionate about the wines! She is sure that she can taste the particular blend of granite and clay in the soil from their vineyards in a wine. It’s very distinctive! Another wine geek. God I love ‘em!
To end the night, we needed food and they pointed us in just the right direction. Palumbo’s does amazing Italian food just a block over and we had a great dinner.

Thanks Jasmin & Nicole! We will be back!