A Cellar Room to Remember

It’s been a while since I visited Wiens Family Cellars in Temecula Valley Wine Country in Southern California’s trendy wine region near San Diego. I like small-lot wineries that keep the focus on the wine, but don’t forget they need to move and groove with the times and their target market.  I’ve seen this particular winery in its infancy in 2006 when it was located in a trailer on the property, then again in its teenage years when it built its tasting room, event pavilion and barrel room.  So it was a treat to be invited to see yet another incarnation of their commitment to producing and sharing “big red” Bordeaux style wines through the addition of a Cellar Room.  After my visit, I can say sincerely, I think they’ve master the move and shake of it all just fine.

Wiens Family Cellars is owned by four Wiens brothers and supported by 40+ members of the extended family. What began as a family hobby has turned into a successful family business.  I am impressed that the Cellar Room is actually a working barrel room. Somehow this makes the promise of premium red wines more of a truth than a pledge.  Monday – Thursday the Cellar Room is  all about the business of nurturing the wines to have their best voice possible.  Come the weekend, it’s a very different story…and one that you need to immerse yourself in.

You’ll find the by-appointment only Cellar Room tasting a fun, guided –but not too stuffy– opportunity to expand your wine horizons.   Friday, Saturday and Sunday reservation times are 10:30 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm. The tasting fee is $30. Seated tasting includes a flight of Reserve and limited red wines and a small plate of nibbles consisting of olives, cheese and crackers.  Tip:  The olives are especially addicting.  You’ll sit at a beautiful wooden table, in an elegant cool atmosphere with other wine lovers.  

 My tasting began with a 2009 Temecula Valley Reserve Chardonnay ($35).  I am generally not a Chardonnay fan, but this one was pleasant as it presented notes of pear and apple with just a hint of vanilla. We moved on to the 2008 La Cresta Vineyards Reserve Cabernet ($80).  Charming wine, varietally specific, showcasing big black berry fruit, spice and a hint of tobacco. The next wine showed a softer side.  The 2007 Reserve Cabernet Franc ($85) from Sage Vineyards was a treat of ripe plum, coffee, cocoa  and  some nice mineral characteristics thrown in to make it a complex indulgence.  The next wine, a 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($90) from La Cresta Vineyards found its (substantial) voice through notes of black currant, blackberry, cocoa and coffee.  The word “winner!” comes to mind.  Last of the tasting was a small batch 2007 Syrah Reserve ($65). Temecula can make great Syrah.  This is an example of that ability and vision.  This whole berry, hand punched beauty with its big beautiful nose and notes of cherry and cedar is likely to charm you as it did me… and everyone else sitting around me.

Doug Wiens, winemaker and viticulturist for Wiens Family Cellars is a man with many threads in his hands.  He’s weaving an incredible story of growing and sourcing premium fruit, crafting fine wines, and creating exceptional customer experiences.  He explains how this all comes together for the family.  “We enjoy good food, the company of friends and fine wines. Our goal is to create a place where people feel right at home – part of our family. We invite everyone to meet the family, stay and have a picnic on the beautiful grounds, and relax with glass of wine.”

Reservations for the Cellar Room experience are required.  You can call (951)694-9892 or book online through the Wiens Web site.

Sip, Shop & Swirl ~ The Wine Chixs
Linda Kissam