You may have noticed a wine bottle in the picture from our Sunday dinner from a jar. That was the white Merlot from Leonesse Cellars in Temecula. We first found Leonesse (well, I did; I didn’t know T at the time) the first weekend they were open when a bunch of us went out wine tasting in Temecula.
First, a note about the Temecula Wine Country. I’ve been to wine country in Paso Robles (I did go to Cal Poly, SLO, after all – Go Mustangs!) and in Napa/Sonoma. Each region has their stars and not-so-greats. As much as I’d love to say we have wines here that give Napa a run for their money, I don’t believe we do. I’ve had wines up there (and from there) that make me think I’m tasting wine for the first time, it’s so good. However, we do have wines that can be had for less than $30 a bottle and are very nice to drink. Leoness is one of them; Wilson Creek = not so much and you can buy their almond champagne at Costso for much less money. I now return you to my rambling post.
T and I went through Temecula right before the new Leonesse tasting room was done and then also right after. Each time, we really enjoyed their wines and always said, “We should join their wine club” and just never signed up. We weren’t sure if we wanted to commit to one winery or if we should join one of those clubs that sends you various wines from all over. Finally, after visiting Leonesse again (we do visit other wineries when we go up) on a wine tasting trip with fellow nerdy young engineers, I really liked their white Merlot and Pinot Grigio. Then we found out that, along with a Merlot, those two wines were in the Wine Club shipment. We would also get discounts on any additional purchases of those wines, discounts on any other wines, and discounts in their restaurant whenever it finally opened. Maybe it was the port, or the sale mentality, or just an excuse to finally sign up and spend more money, but we did. We now belong to the Leonesse wine club.
Shipments in the regular Vineyard wine club, for there is also a special Cellar wine club, cost $50 for 3 bottles and you have the option of having them ship to you or going to pick it up. If you have your wine shipped, you do pay for S&H. The nice thing is, though, that they tell you when the new shipment will be available and throw a pick-up party (sort 0f) where you can mingle with other club members (doesn’t that sound all snooty?) and get your wine shipment. If you choose not to pick it up, then they will ship it to you. We’ve set our default delivery method as “ship” – if we can make it up there to pick up the wine we will, otherwise we won’t worry about it. I do like having an excuse to go up and hope that by the time our next shipment is ready the restaurant will be open, too.
Most wineries tell you that they specialize in something – whites, red, big reds, ports, blends. I know Leonesse is very proud of their Port and I almost prefer it to Wilson Creek’s Decadencia Port. While I wouldn’t say that Leonesse specializes in one type of wine, I do prefer their reds to their whites.
The white Merlot, however, is deceiving. It’s pink, which makes you think it’s a girly wine and will be sweet. It’s actually not that sweet – not like a Riesling – but not dry and it’s refreshing. I always buy Riesling and Muscat because I think I’ll sit on the patio during the summer drinking a cool wine, but I never do. The white Merlot I could drink, and we did. I wish we had bought more bottles of it. It’s light on the tongue, with a hint of strawberry, and then it just trickles down your throat with no sourness or brash flavors. It’s now my perfect summer wine.