On a recent tour of the growing Temecula Valley wine country, our final stop brought to mind the first time I had laid eyes on what is now Wiens Family Cellars. It was 2006 and it was little more than a mobile office/tasting room, with a room full of Wiens brothers.
Their vineyard life began in 2001 with a seven-acre spread southeast of Sacramento. The light bulb went on for the four brothers when they decided to move their operation to Temecula in 2003.
It all came together by the end of 2006. A big, beautiful tasting room with special facilities for select wine club members and guests with exclusive wine tastings in the Barrel Room, are shining examples of first class all the way for Wiens. There are 46 members of this extended Wiens family, and all contribute in some way to its success.
I sat down with winemaker Doug Wiens and exchanged views on the Wiens story as it evolved over the years. I asked him if I was right that the focus is on the highest quality wines without compromise.
Wiens agreed, saying: “I have always set my sights on being a Bordeaux style winery with emphasis on Cabernet Sauvignon, to prove that Temecula can make an excellent cab. In dollar value, this varietal is the number one seller in California. We have a 2012 Grand Rouge that makes a statement and underlines our mission to be the home of Big Reds ($95; wine club price is $76). It’s bursting with cinnamon, chocolate and cedar.“
I asked him how much of the bottle was Cabernet. “We have a higher percentage of cabernet due to the great 2012 vintage. It added depth and complexity to the wine and did not diminish the herbal qualities of the 29 percent Cabernet Franc.”
Seventeen grape varietals are made at Wiens.
Most are of French origin and they are grown at several vineyards of varied altitudes in the Temecula area. To date, the 2016 growing season is going to be an early bloom, low production very hot vintage, much like the outstanding 2013 season, and that’s playing into the hands of Doug Wiens. It will be another premium year for the premium winemaker. See more and learn at wienscellars.com.
Dates Set for 2016 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival
The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, the West Coast’s largest luxury wine and food extravaganza, has announced the dates for this year’s event, and they are Nov. 13 to Nov. 20 for this 13th annual classic. More than 60 events are planned over this five-day non-stop week, held in locations throughout San Diego.
Wine, beer, spirits and gourmet foods are on the agenda. This one is an eye and palate-popper. The Lexus Grand Tasting is Nov. 19 and features 150 wineries, breweries and spirits, plus 60 local restaurants. See more at sandiegowineclassic.com.
Thornton Winery in Temecula is now rockin’ on Friday nights with live music in the courtyard from 6 to 9 p.m. On April 22, hear a Fleetwood Mac Tribute. More information is at thorntonwine.com.
Firenze Trattoria in Encinitas presents a B Cellars Napa Valley wine dinner April 21 at 6 p.m. These are classic French style wines with traditional Italian menu courses. $90. RSVP at (760) 944-9000.
The De Portola Wine Trail wineries present “Big Red Fest,” a wine and food event for the nine great wineries on the trail, in Temecula April 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Taste three wines per winery, paired with gourmet food; $69.99. Tickets and information available on-line at deportolawinetrail.com or call (855) DWT-WINE.
Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web. View his columns at tasteofwinetv.com and reach him at [email protected]. Follow him on Facebook.