Picture this. You and your friends are on the De Portola Trail in Temecula Wine Country in SoCal and spot the Tuscan style Tasting Room and Winery of Robert Renzoni Vineyards, sitting on 13 hillside acres of fertile soil, with sunny skies and gentle breezes.
Inside, you ask for your favorite red and find out how long the Renzoni family has been making wine. The answer, 135 years, puts a smile on your face as you raise your glass to the family members who made wine history, from Fano Italy in 1886 to Temecula California today.
With such a history of winemaking, Robert Renzoni, with his father Frederick collaborating, founded the beautiful Temecula property in 2006.
Despite the “Great Recession” of 2008, the magnificent Italian-style tasting room and Mama Rosa’s Trattoria were built, and a family tradition took a giant step forward. I first met Robert about 2005 as he was working a Temecula Wine Country trade show as sales manager for Leoness winery.
After a quick how-do-you-do, he disclosed that he was in negotiations for his vineyard and winery close to Leoness and that it would be named Robert Renzoni Vineyards because it had a similar sound to the great Robert Mondavi, his idol in the wine business and a name known to all who enjoy a good glass of wine.
Over the years, Robert would respect his past by emphasizing Italian wines to the extent that his winery would become the largest producer of Sangiovese in Southern California. This ”bread and butter” wine is Tuscany’s best-known red, used in their legendary Chianti Classico.
Some 7 years ago, a major decision was made at Renzoni by bringing in Olivia Bue as Assistant Winemaker. Bue, a native of nearby Encinitas, a coastal San Diego beach town, was making a name for herself in the winery business.
Bue graduated from UC Davis Sonoma, the most elite name in wine education.
She spent winemaking time in Australia with Molly Dooker, then elevated her standing at Cakebread winery in Napa Valley. Renzoni saw the potential for greatness and hired Bue, later appointing her to Winemaker.
The results have been spectacular.
Just this year, the latest San Francisco Chronicle International competition results saw Renzoni’s 2017 Montepulciano and Tempranillo win Double Gold and the 2019 Chardonnay win Gold.
The respected publication Wine Enthusiast recently rewarded Renzoni with 92 points for the Sonata Estate and Montepulciano, 91 points for the Brunello Estate and a whopping 93 points for the Tempranillo.
Of the eight wines that Rico and I had the pleasure of tasting, we were unanimous in our selection of the 2017 Riserva Syrah from the Don Fernando vineyard in the Temecula Valley.
Robert promised, “This is one of the best wines that can be grown in Temecula.” And he was right! I’ll tell you a little secret. Rico is going to reveal all you need to know about this wine in a couple of weeks. It will be one of his top 5 tastes for the first half of this year.
And here’s another top tip for when you visit Renzoni. Be sure to come hungry between 12 and 5 pm, when Mama Rosa’s Trattoria is serving America’s favorite comfort food…Italian! It’s sooo easy to enjoy real, authentic, straight from the old country ingredients, cooked by an expert.
Voice your choice at Mama’s counter and they will bring the luscious food and drink to your table ASAP, from an imported meat and cheese board to your favorite pastas and pizzas, with a taste made in heaven.
The Robert Renzoni story is one of a winemaking family with four generations on two continents, succeeding with grit and determination, moving forward with a will to win. Visit for more at robertrenzonivineyards.com.
— Flora Bar & Kitchen in Carmel Valley presents a Night in Valle de Guadalupe Winemaker Dinner Wed. June 23 and Thurs. June 24 at 6 pm. These are a pair of rare evenings with wines from three of Mexico’s greatest winemakers, with a special menu that complements the wine selections. Cabernets, Italian wines and red blends will all be poured at this event. Call 858-461-0622 for an RSVP. Cost is $70. per person plus tax and gratuity.
— West End in Del Mar is going all out for Father’s Day Brunch and Dinner Sun. June 20 with Brunch from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. Dinner will be from 4 pm to 8 pm. Half off all wine bottles with dinner! View the Brunch and Dinner menu at westenddelmar.com. Make a reservation at 858-259-5878.
— The WineSellar Brasserie in Sorrento Valley San Diego has just revealed its menu for the Tablas Creek Paso Robles Vineyard wine dinner Fri. June 18 and Sat. June 19 at 7 pm. These dinners are selling fast. Call 858-450-9557. Menus at winesellar.com.
Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. View his columns at tasteofwineandfood.com. Reach him at [email protected]