Enjoying a luxurious getaway experience and at the same time being conscious of our environment is not always easy. April is Down to Earth Month for the California wine industry and it has been exciting to discoverer South Coast Winery Resort & Spa in Temecula, California, a Wine Institute member who is sustainable yet offers everything one could desire in a relaxing first class destination winery.
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa features a hotel, spa, winery and restaurant. When first entering the property one is astonished by the landscaping. During my spring visit, the flowers were in bloom and the vineyards were experiencing bud break. I loved walking through the arbors in front of the tasting room, enjoying the fragrances of the Wisteria, Roses and Geraniums. The bouquet immediately sets ones mind in a good place.
What is amazing is with all this wonderful landscaping, one of the main focal points of this sustainable winery is water. Being California is in a drought, it is important for wineries that are so dependent on water to be very conscientious. For South Coast Winery the focus is using the least amount of water and at the same time achieving the highest quality in their wines and other products as well as service. Energy efficiency is another aspect of sustainability that South Coast concentrates on.
Staying at the resort is a must. There are 76 villas and 50 suites in the tower. On my visit I stayed in a villa that opens to a patio and vineyard. Hearsay has it in the summer you can see guests sitting out on the patio munching on grapes from the vineyard. With no common walls, my villa was quite comfortable with a nice spacious sitting area with fireplace and all the creature comforts you expect in a luxury hotel.
The sustainable aspect of the hotel includes the lo-flow toilets and energy efficient lighting. In the new hotel tower automatic energy saving devices are utilized with each guest room key, turning off all power when a room is unoccupied.
The Vineyard Rose Restaurant is another area where one can find sustainable practices. The contemporary California cuisine is highlighted with the use of locally grown ingredients including many that are grown on the South Coast property. I enjoyed one of the best Arugula Salads I have ever tasted. You could tell this was home grown at the winery. It was complemented with gala apples, pears, mandarin oranges, sliced almonds and Temecula Valley blood orange vinaigrette. My main course was California All Natural Angus Beef Filet Mignon with roasted mushroom sauce and South Coast cabernet reduction served on confetti quinoa and asparagus. My dinner was paired with a 2008 South Coast Il Temporale, a wonderful blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. I loved the smoky cherry flavors. To finish off the meal I sampled what is called Black Jack Port that honors those wines from Portugal. Named after Captain “Black Jack” Malvoise, who was known in the area for being a rancher, gambler and lover of rich wines from the Oporto region of Portugal. The wine is rich, fruit forward, very flavorful with notes of cherry and plum and just the right amount of sweetness. It was the perfect finish to a superb dinner.
The extensive portfolio of wines and the winery itself are the essence of South Coast. Winemaker Jon McPherson is very passionate yet humble and modest about his creations. His Texas roots and training bring a little different outlook to California wines. He works in an environment that gives him a lot of latitude to be very creative in his winemaking process. There is a lot of experimentation with blends and varietals especially in the sparkling wines, making it very fun to taste the wines and discover something different.
The sustainable aspects of the winery and vineyard are evidenced by the drip irrigation system, owl boxes to control pests in the vineyard and an extensive composting program. A solar panel is utilized to light up the vineyard grounds. Rose bushes are placed throughout the vineyard and are indicators of the presence of mildew allowing the vineyard manager to take the necessary precautions on the grape vines.
In order to meet the requirements to be Certified California Sustainable Winergrowing by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, South Coast Winery had to meet standards in various areas of best business practice including viticulture, wine quality, ecosystem management, energy management, water conservation and water quality, material handling, solid waste reduction and management, environmentally preferred purchasing, human resources and neighbors and community and air quality.
I began my tour of the winery with several tastings directly from the tank. I started with the 2013 Viognier, which will be bottled in a couple of weeks. The nose was wonderfully crisp with aromas of honeysuckle. It was a nicely balanced Viognier that I highly recommend The 2013 Grenache Blanc was fragrant and fruity.
South Coast is known for their sparkling wines so it was natural for me experience have some tank samples of these wines. The most unusual was the sparkling Zinfandel.
In the reds my tank tastes were the 2011 Il Temporale, a Tuscan blend with its smoky, silky and smooth finish. This will be real winner. I also enjoyed sampling the 2011 Sangiovese, which at this point in time had nice spicy flavors on the finish.
In the tasting room I sample the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, a very subtle but balance wine and 2010 GVR, a white Rhone blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne. It was a excellent white Chateaneuf du Pape.
The reds I sample were the 2008 GSM, which explodes with the flavors of Syrah and the 2008 Syrah, a silky and balanced wine. I found the 2011 Malbec a soft yet balance Malbec. I liked that it was not too heavy.
I finished my tasting with two very different wines, the late Harvest Roussanne that was filled with flavors of apricots and was very balanced dessert wine. The other wine was the Sin, a sparkling Touriga Nacional. This is a most unusual sparkling wine with its grape origins from the Douro Valley of Portugal. This varietal grows well in Temecula because of the similarities to that of the Douro region. It is definitely an exotically bold wine with a very unique taste. You have to be daring when you try this sparkling wine.
South Coast Winery takes pride in giving the consumer the best accommodations, gourmet cuisine along with the winery tasting experience. All of this is enhanced by their sustainability practices, making the environment better through reducing of the carbon footprint. South Coast is proud to be one of 57 Wineries and one of 187 vineyards in State of California that is Certified.
For more information:
34843 Rancho California Road
Temecula, California 92591
Tasting Room Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
Breakfast: 8 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday
Weekend Brunch: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday
Lounge Menu: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
Weekly Happy Hour: 4 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
Dinner: 5:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday