Leonesse Cellars Review
Address: 38311 De Portola Rd. Temecula,California 92592.
Phone Number: 951-302-7601
Tasting Hours: 11:00-5:00
Region: South Coast and S. California, Temecula Valley AVA, California
Reviewer: Tara Torres
Review Date: 9/12/2012
Reviewer: Tara Torres
Leoness Winery, located on the secluded Deportola Road, features hand crafted wines and dramatic views of Temecula Valley. Leoness created a village environment, perfect for serious wine connoisseurs and beginners alike.
The Place:  The architecture possesses old world charm, reminiscent of a village in the Swiss Alps. Tucked away behind a row of hedges is the wedding area complete with a white trellis and awe-inspiring views of the vineyard and the dark purple mountains that surround the valley of vines. A patio provides seating to enjoy a glass of wine and the views. Inside, the tasting room is spacious with high ceilings, exposed wooden beams and large picture windows on each side the fireplace . Warm colors and a stone fireplace add to the cozy atmosphere, and a restaurant, simply named “The Restaurant at Leoness,” offers appetizers and sandwiches. A painting of a wooden arched door surrounded by grapes caught my eye and reminded me a door to a winery, if the winery was owned by a Hobbit. Later I learned the painting was called Village of Dreams,” and the image was previously used on the winery’s labels and is still used for certain limited edition bottles.
The Experience:  After stopping to admire the view, I made my way in to taste Leoness’ offering. The tasting room attendant was pleasant and gave the requisite description of each wine. Once she realized I was actually interested in the wines and not just there to overindulge, her enthusiasm increased and she embraced the challenge to find me the perfect wine. I quickly realized the more feedback I provided after each taste the closer we were to finding my bottle. As we progressed in the tasting, she took me off the standard wine tasting menu and deeper into the expansive Leoness wine selection. It turned into almost a game to see how tuned in my pallet was, as I tried to distinguish the flavors in the wine. We went through more than the standard amount of tastes, but her hard work paid off and I became a happy Leonesse customer.
The Wines: Not knowing much about Leoness prior to going, it quickly came apparent that it was one of the staples of the Temecula wine industry cultivating 500 acres of grapes. Tastings cost $14 per person for six tastes. They offer an extensive wine selection with a heavy emphasis on their red wines. Leoness also produces several estate wines produced from grapes grown on the property. The Viognier possesses bold flavors, while the 2013 Melange de Blanc is more balanced. The 2006 Pinotage created a merry-go-round of flavors in my mouth. The wine morphed from flavor to flavor leaving me wondering when it would end. The 2008 Melange de Reves is true to its description of fruit and smoky tobacco flavors, but it was the 2008 Meritage I took home with me.
Insiders Tip:  After opening the new wine tasting room, the old Barrel room is used exclusively for the wine club members on the weekends to escape the crowds. Live music is featured every Sunday from 2-5pm. Leoness also offers a variety of events such as dinner with the Winemaker, cooking classes, and wine cruises. Join the wine club for discounts and access to pre-release wines.