Our San Ignacio Vineyard is located 9 miles Northeast of the winery and sits at an elevation of 2,300-2,350ft, approximately 900’ higher than the winery. We chose this property because of its proximity next to a ridgetop that has a consistent breeze which helps to lessen frost danger in the spring. It has similar daytime temperatures as Temecula valley floor, but without morning fog, and a slightly dryer climate. The sandy loam soil allows for good drainage, has the preferred PH range, and contains a good amount of natural nutritious organic material. We planted four Bordeaux grape varieties in 2013- Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot, with the intent to create big, bold, age worthy red wines. The clones we selected were for their deep color, intense fruit flavors and aroma.
One of the challenges with this vineyard is there is very little well water available, so vines are as close to dry farmed as possible. Because of the dry conditions, the vines produce pea sized berries with concentrated flavor that create rich intense wines. Although the yields are low, and we have to work harder to get them, the fruit we harvest is incredible and consistently produces Reserve quality wine. Our Reserve blend Unforgiving, a blend using 100% San Ignacio grown grapes, is named after these challenging and “unforgiving” conditions.
The four varieties planted at San Ignacio are:
Carmenere: Our San Ignacio vineyard is our first vineyard we planted an Italian clone of Carmenere, known for its red and black black berry flavors, crimson color, and herbaceous green peppercorn notes in. Used in our “Unforgiving” blend and other future blends the Carmenere adds color and “pepper spice”.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Our San Ignacio Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon produces high intensity fruit that is used in our blends like our 2017 Grand Rouge and in future releases like the 2018 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The San Ignacio Cabernet Sauvignon fruit has shown Reserve potential each harvest.
Malbec: Also used in the Unforgiving blend, the San Ignacio Malbec adds to this Bordeaux style blend that showcases ample concentration, body, and age worthiness as a delicious reward for all of the hard work.
Merlot: The 2018 Reserve San Ignacio Merlot is scheduled to be released in January 2021. Expect Red fruit and peppers, with incredibly smooth tannins, making it a big red that can still appeal to a wide audience.
Do you know we farm a total of 110 acres of vineyards all throughout the Temecula area? They are located East of us in Sage, West of us in La Cresta and De Luz, and right here in the Valley- including the 10 acres our Tasting Room sits on. Although our vineyard’s locations are relatively close (within 20 miles of the winery), they were strategically chosen based on the differences in their soil composition, climate, and elevation. These differences allow us to grow many different grape varietals in locations that suite each varietal best, including wines like the Cabernet Franc grown at our Sage Vineyard.
Our Sage Vineyard is located 12 miles Northeast of the winery in Sage. At an elevation of 2,500-2,550, it sits about 1,000 feet higher than the winery. This additional elevation creates a slightly different climate with a higher day to night temperature shift than here at the winery. Although there are similar daytime temperatures, and an afternoon breeze like the valley floor, there is generally no morning fog. Since the Sage area is drier, and has less soil nutrients in its primarily sandy loam soil, vines produce smaller quantities of intense fruit giving our Cabernet Franc its concentrated strength and elegance unique to this property. This smaller quantity, yet intense fruit from the Sage Vineyard has become some of our most popular reserve wines.
In addition to the Cabernet Franc grown at our Sage Vineyard, we also have nine other varietals planted including:
Alicante Boushcet- A semi-rare variety that was cultivated in France in 1866 by Henri Bouschet as a cross of Petit Bouschet and Grenache. It was heavily planted in California in the 1920’s for export to the East Coast because of its thick skin and its resistance to rot during transport. We grow a small quantity of it because of its deep and intense red color. We field blend it with our Barbera and/or Sangiovese to add color.
Chardonnay- Chardonnay does well in most of our Temecula vineyards including Sage. Our 2019 Reserve Chardonnay is made from 48% Sage Chardonnay which provides boasting elements of mineral, tangerine and honeysuckle, complemented by lush cream notes and toasted oak derived from barrel aging. Our 2019 Reserve Chardonnay is the perfect balance of full oak body and flavors, countered by lean acidity to provide a crisp, clean finish.
Barbera- Our Sage Vineyard produces Barbera fruit with good acidity, making this wine a perfect accompaniment for more acidic dishes, such as Italian tomato-based dishes. The 2016 Reserve Barbera is 76% Sage Barbera blended with 18% Sage Petite Sirah and 6% Sage Alicante Bouschet making it a 100% Sage Vineyard designate. The 2016 Reserve Barbera has intense flavors of blackberry pie, rosemary, and graham crackers.
Cabernet Sauvignon- Sage vineyard regularly produces some of our best reserve wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon. The rocky, well-drained soil and bigger diurnal shifts (difference between day temperature and night) produce much less fruit, yet much higher quality with balanced sugar and acidity. The berries are small and allow more skin to juice ratio making these wines highly concentrated and full bodied.
Petit Sirah- The arid, rocky granite terrain at the Sage Vineyard makes for a Petite Sirah with incredible concentration and depth. Our 2014 Reserve Petite Sirah was made with 100% Sage Vineyard fruit and showcased aromas of white pepper and roasted rosemary that lead into a dense palate of ripe blackberry, blueberry and French vanilla, with bold, age-worthy tannins on the finish.
Sangiovese- Our Sage Vineyard Sangiovese is used in our popular blends such as our red Crowded and Reflection. Our 2015 Sangiovese is a blend of Temecula Valley and Sage Vineyard Sangiovese and shines with notes of black plum, mulberry and fresh herbs building into a generous palate of crème de cassis, earth notes and warm spice, making this vintage a true crowd pleaser.
Sauvignon Blanc: The aromatics of our Sage Sauvignon Blanc in particular change significantly throughout the ripening process, so in order to attempt to capture the full range of aromatic potential, we harvest our Sauvignon Blanc in two lots. The first is harvested slightly under-ripe at 19 brix, fermenting out to give top notes of lemon grass and green pepper, while the second lot is harvested a little over-ripe at 24 brix, giving us notes of ripe apricot and pineapple. When the two lots are blended back together, they balance each other out perfectly. Lightly oaking enhances the nose by adding some creamy vanilla notes, while rounding out the palate, giving the finished wine a little more weight.
Viognier: Viognier has a tendency to become rich, viscous, and overpowering if left on the vine too long, so we intentionally harvest our Sage Vineyard Viognier a little earlier than most. This allows us to retain enough acidity to cut through, and balance out some of the richness, and gives us a wider spectrum of flavors and aromas that may get “cooked out” if left to over ripen.
Zinfandel: The Sage Vineyard Zinfandel is used in a few of our blends and was a Reserve single variety in 2015. Notes of rose petal potpourri, cinnamon bark, raspberry purée, and balanced acidity are present with most Sage Vineyard Zinfandel vintages.
Living in Palm Springs may feel like a perpetual vacation but sometimes even us perpetual vacationers need an escape. One of my favorite weekend getaways is just over the hills from the desert to Southern California’s very own wine country, Temecula. Temecula is just a short drive from most of Southern California, including Palm Springs (just over an hour) and is full of wineries, breweries, golf, food, and shopping. Get ready to pack your bags as I share my perfect weekend itinerary with you!
Book a stay at the newly opened The New Inn, a modern farmhouse style boutique hotel just minutes from the heart of Wine Country. All the rooms have a unique theme and feature private terraces with expansive views…the perfect spot to sip your wine under the stars.
Start your wine tasting adventure at Wiens Family Cellars at one of the many outdoor tables. My tastings always begin with the Amour de L’orange sparkling wine, trust me, yours should too! Other favorites on my tasting “must have” list are the Rosé of Pinot Noir (a perfectly light and crisp rosé) and the Fume Blanc before moving over to the red side of the menu. The reds are where things get extra exciting for me (since I am a red wine drinker). Wiens is known for their Big Reds and their tasting menu never disappoints. The Barbera, Domestique, and Red Crowded are always favorites of mine. If you happen to visit around the Holiday season save a taste for the Merrytage, a fun red blend with notes of Holiday mulling spices and rich cherry. To end my tasting I like to move to the Reserve Wines – any Cabernet on the list is a must try…bold, rich and very Californian…just the way I like my wine! After taking a trip through the yummy wines, my fiancé and I love to grab some cheese and crackers from the tasting room and order a bottle (or two) of my favorite wines to enjoy on the breezy patio.
After a full day of sipping wine a yummy dinner outdoors is a must. My fiancé and I have found tons of favorite restaurants in Old Town Temecula, just a quick drive (or Lyft) from Wine Country. Old Town is made up of wooden sidewalks, antique shops, and plenty of good food. Head to Blackbird Tavern for a casual night in their backyard space- I love the Disco Fries (no judgement) and the Brussels Sprouts paired with an Old Fashioned or a glass of local wine. If Mexican food is more your speed, Espadin is the place for you! Fried Avocado, Ceviche and plenty of Mezcal are menu favorites. After dinner head back to that private terrace and settle in for a nightcap.
After a long weekend of wine tasting there is nothing more enjoyable to me than a boozy brunch. PUBlic House does a beautiful job bringing a gastropub vibe with local and fresh ingredients together. Try the Avocado Toast or the Goat Toast with a poached egg or the Kobe Burger if you are really going big. Oh, and don’t miss a house crafted Bloody Mary or glass of rosé to accompany your brunch.
Before heading home stroll down the sidewalks of Old Town, pop into the local shops, browse eclectic antiques, and grab some artisan cheese from the Temecula Valley Cheese Shop.
Nicole a.k.a. @thedarlingnikki