A couple of weeks ago I drove down with the family to explore the world of wine country, Temecula style. Now I’ve done your classic California wine tasting in the forms of Sonoma and Santa Barbara (many, many times), but I’ve never done one of Los Angeles’ closest wine trip getaways (truthfully snobbery might have had a tad to do with it). But past bias aside, with over 30 wineries that encompass over 35,000 acres of rolling hills and vineyards, “rural” Temecula has definitely joined the game. And the jewel of these wineries (whose product definitely rivals those of more “established” wine countries) is Doffo Winery.
Nestled on the Northeast border of the Temecula Valley, Doffo Winery is the epitome of Craft (one of my favorite words when it comes to food and wine!). Founded in 1997 by Argentinian Marcelo Doffo, it is one of the only micro-boutique wineries in the Temecula region. Situated on 15 acres of lush vineyard the winery’s focus is on producing small lot, hand crafted wines that represent some of the best varietals grown in the Temecula Valley.
The wines of Doffo are definitely of the old world variety (Marcelo’s family emigrated from Italy to Argentina a couple of generations ago). They are both sweaty and romantic, earthy and dreamy. Marcelo’s wines are mostly definitely not something you’d pick up at Costco (you can only get them through Doffo’s wine club or the occasional pour for library wine events). Doffo’s philosophy is that good winemaking begins in the vineyard, so to ensure “happy grapes” they employ a multitude of techniques from using a computer regulated watering system to playing classical music to the grapes.
Along with making great wine, Doffo Winery also home to MotoDoffo, a private collection of over 100 racing and vintage motorcycles. From an early age, Marcelo fell in love with racing and he soon found himself collecting rare and unique vintage motorcycles. Marcelo was awesome enough to take us on a tour of both the bikes and barrels (where we got to drink right out to tap of their outdoor stainless steel tanks, amazing!)
(Zinfandel Reserve, yum)
The highlight of the tasting was the Zinfandel Reserve '09; this bottle exemplifies Craft! Everything about the wine is 100% Handmade, from the double handle glass bottle to the super long cork sealed dramatically in red wax to the mind blowing taste. Romantically robust and bold, the wine swirls with notes of blackberries, toasted oak, and vanilla. The bottle sells out everything else they have (which is saying something when its going retail price is $150).