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    Temecula Valley Wines from Hart Winery

    IMG_2390In an earlier article about my visit to the Temecula Valley, I mentioned that the best wines of the day were the first, and the last.? In this article I’ll talk a bit about the first winery I visited, and one which you’ll encounter as you head east on Rancho California Road.? Blink and you might go right by it, as you can see the big villas on the hilltops further down the road.? That would be a shame, however, as the wine here is excellent, the atmosphere is laid back and relaxed, and the lines are likely not too long.? So pay attention to the road and look to the left.? There you’ll see the sign for Hart Winery, and the entrance.? Vines line both sides of the driveway as you roll up to the tasting room and parking lot.

    The tasting room is in a rustic building perched on a small hill.? Outside, near the entrance, is an outdoor tasting bar.? There are also a IMG_2400few picnic tables available for small groups.? This is quite the opposite of some of the larger establishments further down the road.? I found some room inside, and spent some quality time getting to know the wines made here.? It was time well spent.

    IMG_2396Hart Winery started back in 1973, when the Hart family purchased 12 acres in the Temecula Valley. The first acreage was planted in 1974.?? Additional plantings followed in the ensuing years, and in 1980 they built the winery building.? That same year they had a small crush, and made their first estate wines. ? These days the Estate vineyards comprise 8 1/2 acres, and they are planted to Syrah, Viognier, Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc, with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.? Hart also makes Temecula Valley wines with grapes sourced from throughout the valley.

    Below I highlight my favorites, and all prices listed are retail.? You can do much better pricewise if you are a club member.

    2017 Rousanne –?100% Rousanne, a white grape from the Rhone Valley.? This is clean and crisp but still substantial, with some IMG_2401body and a 13.7% alcohol content.? I really liked it, but then I really like Rousanne.? Quality wine.? Totally dry and a very long finish. $21 and good value.

    2018 Rosé of Sangiovese –?a light pink color, and an explosive nose of strawberries and citrus.? It is also dry, but has an intense, fruit filed palate.? Delicious and long.? $22 and a great Rosé.

    IMG_24022018 Arneis – grapes here are from the Brookside? Vineyard in Temecula.? Arneis is something you would expect to see in northwest Italy, in Piemonte.? This version has a great mouthfeel, with peach fruit and an earthy touch.? It is very long and pretty classic for the grape.? I loved this wine.? $28

    2016 Barbera –?a medium red colored wine, with red berry and blueberry on the nose.? There’s also some earth and a touch of caramel.? It is medium bodied, and a little lean on the palate.? It has excellent length, good balance and is built to have with dinner. $32

    2016 Petite Sirah –?this is a dark, ruby red, with a nose of plum and berry.? The fruit is bright, yet the wine is quite rich and full IMG_2405bodied.? The palate features focused fruit flavors.? This is very long, and very good.? $40

    2016 Tres Hermanos –?a GSM blend (Grenache,?Syrah and Mourvedre – the classic blend of Chateauneuf du Pape in the Southern Rhone).? The color is a lighter red, and the wine has restrained red fruit, cedar and orange peel on the nose.? The palate is also a bit lean, but the fruit is there.? Medium bodied and good length, and this is another solid food wine.? Limited stock was available when I visited.? $42

    IMG_24072016 Tempranillo –?a deep, ruby red wine with plum and tobacco aromas.? This is full bodied, focused and rich.? At the end you get a wonderful finish of Maraschino cherry.? At 15.1% alcohol this is big, but stays fresh and is really an excellent wine. $47

    2016 Driveway Red –?here we have a Bordeaux style red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.? It has a beautiful ruby color, and a nose full of berries.? Nuances of cedar, brush and anise join the party.? There is also some cherry on the palate, along with some orange peel at the back.? Another significant wine at 14.8% alcohol, but also another that drinks very well.? Aged in Hungarian oak.? $36 and a good value.

    2016 Merlot – a medium ruby color.? The nose brings plum, cocoa, oak, leather and some berry fruit.? Rich and focused on the IMG_2409palate, with more of the berry fruit coming in. This has good acid and balance, as well as a very long finish.? Really well done.? $38

    2016 Cabernet Franc –?this is an interesting wine, with raspberry fruit, and green olive on the nose.? Throw in some spice as well.? It’s another big yet balanced wine, with the seemingly traditional, long finish of all the Hart wines.? $38

    As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, this was my first stop, and first exposure to the wines of the Temecula Valley.? What a way to begin.? There was a very high quality factor to all of these wines.? The Rousanne and Arneis were spectacular.? The Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Driveway Red and Merlot equally so.? Everything else was very, very good.? Wine club prices bring these down into the $20-$40 range for the most part, and they certainly stand up to the value test at those prices.

    If you find yourself near Temecula, and are looking for a?relaxed wine experience without the crowds, then pay a visit to Hart Winery.? I’ll be stopping by on my next visit to see how the future vintages turn out.

    The particulars:

    Hart Winery

    41300 Avenida Biona

    Temecula, CA? 92593

    951-676-6300

    Website:?http://hartfamilywinery.com/

    A votre santé!

     

     

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