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Perhaps wine tasting and touring through the vineyards wouldn’t be your first priority on one of the hottest days of the year in Temecula, but when granted the opportunity, Temecula QPoner and I jumped at it.
The grounds of Europa Village Winery are enticing as their main entry. One is promised transportation into old world Europe, with the three bell towers each representing a different time and country, and trademarking each unique label within Europa Village. Bolero, for Spain, Vienza, for Italy, and C’est La Vie, for France.
It is here that the current tasting room is centered — a quaint little bistro setting that draws visitors to the tasting bar for fantastic wine.
On weekends, the exclusive Cave of Bolero is opened for overflow tasting, and is a unique experience all by itself. For the tasting tour, guests are invited to wait at the well appointed courtyard lounge area, under lazy ceiling fans and patio misters. And of course, parasols are provided to shade the Europa visitors for the walk through the vines.
Wine tours started at 10 a.m. in the outdoor veranda area, beginning with a meet and greet with your tour guide.
All of the guides are knowledgeable, amicable, and definitely able to hold the attention of the crowd for 2 ½ hour tasting and tour. Today, Dr. Doug, a former educator and professor from Bowling Green University now retired to San Diego, and the wine-country life, took the reins and escorted our group back into the vines for a hands on wine education that starts at the source.
Europa Village Vineyards is unique in that they “drop” their grapes in the old world tradition. That means, they trim half of their grapes off the vine by hand. Only allowing a handful of bunches to ripen on the vine. The walking tour takes you around the estate now dripping with red, ripening sweet Grenache, Mourvedre, earthy Cinsault, and delectable Primitivo (basically Zinfandel). This is a hands on approach, as visitors are encouraged to sample fruit at will.
Each vine is dripping heavy fruit even though the actual harvest at Europa isn’t slated until mid-September. NOTE: If you are looking for a gorgeous winery to take family photos in wine country, consider Europa Village. This presentation of vines will eclipse into lovely reds, golds of fall after the fruit is harvested, and is easily accessible from the outdoor patio area.
The tour included ample tastes under each of their three distinct labels, whites tasted “in the field” as visitors strolled through the vineyard, sampled sun-warmed fruit directly off the vine, and mugged for social network photographs in the vines.
Each label is designed with a unique “bell tower” for the country they represent – be it France, Italy, or Spain:
C’est La Vie: Chardonnay, Viogneir, Sauvignon Blanc, En Vie (a Rhone blend of 42% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 13% Counoise, 10% Cinsault, 10% Mouvèdre)
Vienza : Pinot Grigio, Barbera, Vendetta (45% Primitivo, 45% Barbera, 10% Mourvèdre), and Primitivo, a twin of southern California’s famous Syrah.
Bolero: Libido, Europa’s self proclaimed “sexy wine” that contains a classic blend of Tempranillo, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Carignane with luscious flavors of dried fruit and caramels, with that toasted oak velvet finish.
The reds were savored in Bolero’s unique barrel room. This cave was markedly cooler than the outdoor, with funky lit-from-within barrel tables, old vines gracing the walls giving the room a unique, living, organic feel.
Guests sat at long tables for the wine tasting class. Each wine expertly poured, explained, and paired with three types of cheeses, toasted almonds, and dark chocolate for an enhanced tasting experience.
If all that tasting makes you hungry, Dr. Doug took us through expert exploration of senses, sights and smells, encouraging tasters to get their noses into the glasses, swirl and dump wine as needed, gain experience with the act of ordering great wine, hosting wine tasting parties with friends, and being comfortable that you know how to look when tasting wine in public in this basic wine tasting experience. For more one on one education and wine notes, keep the website handy, as Europa’s wine tasting and pairing notes are an education in and of themselves.
Europa Village has something for everyone now, with their deli and cheese shop, gorgeous French, Italian, and Spanish decor, and a courtyard that leaves visitors feeling like they’ve taken a moment out of time and space of busy SoCal lives, and stepped into the old world of Europe.
For the next events at Europa Village, visit their web site — including the much anticipated La Tomatina event benefiting Rancho Damacitas on September 15, 2013:
La Tomatina Festival 2013Sunday, September 15th 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
It’s that time of year again! Come celebrate Spain’s famous tomato fight at Europa Village –
– Participate in our MASSIVE TOMATO FIGHT
Enjoy great food by Europa’s own Award-winning Chef Dean
Tickets: $49/Société $45
plus service charge & sales tax
Ticket price includes glass of wine
Join in on the fun and