San Diego County incl Temecula / Wine Country


A few weeks ago, I got together with girlfriends Rosalee, Jackie, Anita and Arlene, an awesome group of women whom I’ve known since high school for a day of BFF bonding. Rosalee proposed the get together at a recent high school reunion planning meeting—lucky girl lives in Murietta, a few minutes away from the Temecula Wine Country so of course I was game.

We got together on a Saturday and unfortunately got a late start (we all arrived in Murietta around noon). We were enjoying a very late lunch at Wilson Creek Winery’s Creekside Grill when Rosalee’s cousin Ceasar joined us at the tail end. We wanted to do some wine tasting but given the time, we only had time for one winery. Ceasar is very knowledgeable when it comes to wine and has a close relationship with a few of the wineries in the Temecula valley. Perfect for us since we were unfamiliar with Temecula and with the exception of myself and Ceasar, my friends had never gone wine tasting. Boy, were they in for a treat!

Caesar suggested Leonesse Cellars, a few minutes from Wilson Creek. He’s a familiar face with the staff as we soon found out. Driving onto the property, we were struck by the beauty of the vineyard, the rolling hills blanketed with perfectly aligned vines. It looked like a scene out of Falcon Crest. The building which housed the Tasting Room looked like something out of a medieval village in a fairy tale. I found out later that Leonesse means, “village of dreams” which aptly describes the winery. They had closed off a part of the vineyard for a private wedding which was just about to get underway. As far as I was concerned, we arrived at the perfect time. The late afternoon sun bathed Leonesse in a warm glow, the skies were clear and there was a hint of a gentle breeze. It was simply stunning.

We walked into the tasting room and Leonesse was very busy making wine enthusiasts very happy on this Saturday afternoon. Ceasar was able to get our little group a spot near the entrance. Ceasar is partial to red as was I, and all of the wines we tasted were reds. For $12 you get a taste of six of their Cellar Selection wines. Unfortunately, you don’t get to keep the glass but you get to keep the memory of an incredible wine tasting experience and a little lesson in understanding the subtle complexities of wine.

Leonesse Cellars was founded in 2003 by Mike Rennie and Gary Winder. Both have over fifty years of experience and understand the science of growing grapes as well as producing a wonderful repertoire of wines. Some of the wines produced by Leonesse include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, and Cinsault Port.


Founder Mike Rennie with The Princess Gourmet & Friends



The Princess Gourmet w/ Wine Enthusiast Ceasar


Among the wines we tried, I really enjoyed the 2006 Signature Selection Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2007 Limited Selection Six, a blend of 85% Sangiovese,11% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot. Simply delicious.

If you enjoy wine and haven’t yet made it out to the Temecula Valley, I recommend that you add Leonesse in your list of wineries to visit. I’ll definitely be back!

Open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
38311 De Portola Road
Temecula, CA 92592
Tel: (951) 302 7601


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