A taste of Temecula: South Coast Winery

A moment of honesty before I begin this review of these two wonderful wines that were sent to me as samples. My moment of honesty is this; I remain skeptical about wines from Temecula, but I'm open to giving them a swirl, as you can see here. I say that because of my experiences in Temecula tasting rooms and if that makes me a snob then so be it.

At least what you will get here is an objective and authentic review. Now that I've flopped out that rare bit of honesty, I have to say that I've at times been very surprised [even impressed] by the quality of the wine produced from grapes grown on the what could be said to be San Diego's door step. So again, I was surprised by the caliber of these samples sent to the CCWB for the review process. In a word, both the samples [wine] were flat-out fantastic and each in their own way.

Their GVR, is the kind of wine that makes you sad when it is all gone and the aroma laden glass that draws my fat half Irish nose in for not just one, but multiple sniffs. The kind of thing that drives my wife crazy as she can see the oily residue of where my big sniffer left its footprint on the rim [If I listen closely I think I can hear the collective "eww" and "gross" from the peanut gallery]. Okay enough about my nose and on with the review of these two wonderful wines and how you can get your grimy-mitts on some of this delicious vino.

About South Coast: This winery in Temecula offer many things to many people, especially to those who maybe looking for the complete wine country experience. SCW offers a resort type experience, you will find a Restaurant, Spa, accommodations and even a place to bring your whole posse, if you're thinking about getting hitched and wanna throw a big shindig later. For more information please click here. If you plan to stop by their tasting room to give their wines a swirl, I would highly recommend you arrive as early as possible. I've heard they fill up quite quickly, especially on weekends.

Most of you folks reading this know where in Temecula you can find this popular winery and how to get there, but for those of you who are not already familiar with this gem, please click here to find out more about South Coast Winery.

GVR 2008 Temecula Valley:  Giving this wine the full swirly, sniffy and slurp I discovered some very floral aromatics, intense stone fruit flavors, overtones of honey, and a particularly lush mouth-feel. In the glass a barley [carmel] colored core. This wine is drinking pretty fab at the moment and there’s enough bright fruit to slurp it down with your favorite pairing right now, but it also has enough acidity and minerality to develop even more fully with some bottle aging, not an all to common trait among California white wines.

Rhone Zone: The SCW GVR 2008 is inspired by the great white wines of France’s Rhône region. A blend of 36% Viognier [the star of the northern Rhône) and 20% Rousanne [a workhorse of the southern Rhone] and leading the way with 44% Grenache Blanc giving this wine an added dimension of rich Rhone flavors and styling. SCW's GVR adds an extra measure of California richness via a visit to oakville, but still producing a mouth-filling, age worthy wine you should not miss out on.

Price, ABV and Score: This wine has a deft hand on the ABVside of the equation, weighing in at 13.1% and the SRP appears to be $20, which is a great price for a wine made this well. What's the score, I gave this wonderfully well made and very tasty wine 93 points.

Food Pairing Rec: This wine arrived early last week and once it got here seeing that I had actually got a different wine than the one I expected, my mind was made up about pairing direction for the evening. So I immediately put this wine on chill and set off to get dinner made. To many of you this pairing may sound strange, but I frankly can't get enough of Chicken Katsu Curry, Japanese Sticky Rice and frozen edamame which I warm in the microwave and sprinkle with salt after dumping the water. If you have never had this dish, oh man you are seriously missing the freaking boat, give it a swirl you will thank me later. Also great with a fat, buttery California Chardonnay like Rombauer [Beau's Barrel Room Fave] which would also be perfect for the task.

2006 SCW Meritage: In the glass I found this wine to have a deep red/violet hue in the core. From the glass sprung muted aromas of dried bing cherries and a dusting of dark chocolate truffles. Right away this wine is super approachable on the palate, bright fruit, and silky texture are supported by well-integrated oak. Most likely thanks to being predominantly Merlot at 56%, the rest of the blend consisted of 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and rounding out this Bordeaux Blend with 10% Petit Verdot, this wine shows a balanced tannin structure and a silky mouth-feel from start to finish. A fantastic food wine, but sporting a surprisingly short finish. Decant a full two hours in a "standard" decanter for maximum enjoyment [skip the those so-called wonder aerators].

Price, ABV and Score: This wine has a SRP of $20 and weighing in at a surprising 14.1% ABV. Surprising because of its light weight character. I gave this wine 90 points as a stand alone wine, but as food pairing champion it's a 93 point wine easily, great QPR.

Food Pairing Recs: I paired this wine with a simple, everyday meal Spaghetti, where I took a long afternoon [while haggling with plumbers] to simmer a rich, savory blend of [fresh cut] tomatoes, onions [a whole one], garlic, basil, oregano, red wine and a small amount of hamburger I picked up from TJ's early that day. Poured the sauce over some spinach infused Fettuccine. A simple garden salad and light vinaigrette on the side. The pairing worked out wonderfully and even my wife fought me for the last sip. Honestly though this wine would pair with so many things, as it is a FOODIE! wine. You could go with BBQ Chicken and still have a winner. Meatloaf and still a winner, see where this is going? Funny, toward the end of the meal, I was sad when the last sip had passed over my lips. This folks should speak volumes to how good this wine is now, right now. It has had time to bottle age wonderfully. My advice for this wine is to drink now and often.

Full Disclosure: Both these wines were sent for the wine review process as samples.

I've probably said this before, but I think it's worth repeating by saying this; when reading this review, please take into account that the CCWB is not easily impressed and I won't waste anyone's precious time reporting on mediocre wine [whether it was a sample or some dud that I purchased for myself]. That said, I believe these wines above deserve not only your time, empty wine glass, but also your hard earned dollars as well. I hope you will give these wonderful wines a swirl and stop by the what is the very popular South Coast Winery for a visit very soon. By the way check out this video below about the Meritage, which I just found on Youtube. Until next time sip long and prosper, cheers!


Peggy said…
Bill, thanks for your honest, and thankfully great review on the wines from South Coast. The GVR is my white wine of choice to for happy hour in the Vineyard Rose. I usually enjoy their Wild Horse Peak Cab with dinner, but I'm sure going to give the Meritage a try at my nexy visit.
Will Eyer said…
Hi Peggy,

Thanks for stopping by what has been a very popular post, breaking some previously held single day “view” records.

Yeah, the GVR is off the hook in terms of quality and taste. The Meritage really sneaks up on you, though. Not very impressive initially, kind of a shy and "librarian" like. But after a couples hours of out of the bottle, it just wows ya! I would love to hear your feedback.

Anonymous said…
I've been to about 200 wineries from Temecula to Napa and all points in between. This place has some of the worst wines (they usually have 25 or so on the menu- if these two are good, they must be diamonds in the rough) and by far the worst environment for wine tasting (unless you like to "party" with drunk morons).

If you're visiting California and Temecula, PLEASE visit somewhere with quality wines. In Temecula, like Leonesse or even Briar Rose. Wiens, which is right down the street from South Coast, also has some high quality wines.
Will Eyer said…
Hi Anonymous,

First thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and second I don't completely disagree with you. There are certainly some wineries which cater to a certain “clientele” as you so colorfully describe. South Coast does like many wineries make a few clunkers, which are sure to please no wine except the bulk wine crowd.

I do agree your point about Leonesse and Briar Rose, who are in my mind good representations of wines produced in Temecula. You should read my review about Briar Rose, which was very favorable. You did lose me at Weins though, which is one of the worst representations of wines from Temecula and I am frankly surprised that after that after the little tirade about South Coast and your claim of superlative knowledge about what represents seeking quality wine. I admire the passion and would love to hear back from you again, cheers!

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