Well Hooray. My shipment of Temecula wines arrived safe and sound yesterday. These were the various bottles I had picked up while visiting the region last week. Thankfully the souvenir winery tasting glasses also arrived fully intact. (on a side note, the Mt. Palomar Winery glasses were hands down the nicest glasses you received at a tasting).
Now that my wines are here I can post the tasting notes I took at the various wineries. Here are the six wines I tasted at the Wilson Creek Winery.
2005 Sauvignon Blanc - $18.95
Eyes: Clear translucent straw
Nose: Crisp apricot tropical flower, green honeyed melon
Palate: Dry and crisp. Not bad, touch of green stem bitterness at the back of the tongue.
Finish: Slightly astringent linger, but crisp and spritely.
This was an OK sauvignon blanc.
Quartet Blanc (non vintage) - $18.95
Eyes: The palest yellow straw
Nose: subtly blended vanilla and kiwi and green apple. Slight citrus. Not as minerally as I would have expected.
Palate: Mixed rather than complementarily blended flavors. Overly yeasty and lacking any distinguishing character of any varietal. Comes across watery and blase.
Finish: what finish?
This wine was a blend of Semillon, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. While the nose was nice, the scent profile had to be teased out rather than coming out on its own. As the tasting review suggests, the mouth feel was limp and watery and generally not nice. This tasted like what you might get pouring a bottle of these varietals into a bowl, adding some water, and letting it sit out for a while. A wine to avoid.
2004 Estate Syrah - $34.95
Eyes: Ruby with burnt brick at the edge
Nose: Coffee, chocolate, dried cherry and creamy hints.
Palate: Over hot and peppery. Bitter at the back. A bit too acidic for my taste. Very good tannic structure.
Finish: Warm and better than the initial palate impression. Nice dried cherry on the back. Will mellow with another 2 - 3 years aging.
Overall this was a nice syrah. It could maybe blow off some of the hotness with decanting or more breathing (I have no idea for how long the bottle we tasted was opened). The bitterness at the back of the palate was distracting, but for that, the wine was quite nice.
Eyes: Translucent red mellon at the edge moving to clear red apple at the center.
Nose: Makes me say, "OOH!" Smooth chocolate, cherry, raisin and leather.
Palate: Nicely balanced with a warm and firm structure.
Finish: smooth with black cherry hints at the back of the finish.
This was the best wine we tasted at Wilson Creek. It was really quite nice. Unfortunately, I do not see it on their website (though I do see the 2003 there). The fetching Mrs. Billy also agreed that this was the best wine of the bunch. Their zinfandel was well constructed, had outstanding flavors that were balanced and not overpowering and showed a maturity and character absent in the other wines. This is one to get again.
Almond Champagne - $16.95
Eyes: Nearly Clear
Nose: Big almond nose
Palate: medium bubbles, light structure, almond hints. Nice
Finish: none to mention.
I should note that I am really quite poor at "tasting" sparkling wines. The bubbles throw me, I will admit it. I am also not really one for "flavor spike" wines like this sparkling champagne style with almond. Nevertheless, this was actually fun to drink. It was sweeter than I would have liked, but it easy to see its appeal. This wine, according to the Wilson Creek gang, is what put them on the map. Alex, our server, said that she likes to put a splash of this almond champagne into a glass of our last reviewed wine - the Grand Cuvee Champagne. We brought a bottle home, so when we pop that cork, I'll post another review for comparison.
Grand Cuvee Champagne - $18.95
Eyes: Nearly Clear eggshell
Nose: Nice traditional champagne nose. Granny Smith apple
Palate: small bubbles, crisp and apply. Dry and easily drinkable. Quite nice actually.
Finish: Very nice, though short, smooth finish.
For a southern California winery to produce such a well structured and smooth champagne style wine is something that I (correctly or incorrectly) found amazing. This was really nice. I brought a bottle of this home with me as well, so we'll get to see another review and then we can compare what I tasted there to what I taste here. Then maybe we'll see how much the ambiance and the atmosphere affected my "on site" reviews.
Raise a Glass to Temecula Wines and Wilson Creek Winery