Palumbo Family Vineyard & Winery Review
Address: 40150 Barksdale Circle Temecula,California 92591.
Phone Number: 951-676-7900
Tasting Hours: 11:00-5:00 and by appt.
Region: South Coast and S. California, Temecula Valley AVA, California
Reviewer: Tara Torres
Review Date: 6/11/2013
Reviewer: Tara Torres
Away from any of the wine trails, Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery is a small, family-owned winery producing a limited number of highly-regarded varietals.
The Place:  Palumbo Winery sits alone on Monto De Oro Rd. Nick Palumbo, grape farmer turned winemaker, spent many years as one of the most sought after viticulturists in Temecula. Nick recently decided to try his hand at winemaking and kept a small portion of his grapes for himself. Shortly after that, he was keeping all of his harvest for himself. A small, but warm and cozy, tasting room sits next to the Palumbo’s house and provides an intimate wine tasting experience. While you could fit their barrel room in the tasting halls of some of the larger Temecula wineries, Palumbos quaint tasting room is decorated in a traditional manner. Perhaps it was the British style car in the parking lot, but the combination of wood and stone reminded me of a British cottage. A small outdoor patio provides 360-degree vineyard views.
The Experience:  Palumbo Winery is spoken about quietly in Temecula wine circles as if it were the hottest speakeasy during prohibition. So of course I was intrigued and anxious to stop in and see (and taste) for myself what Palumbo had to offer. Something about the ambiance seemed to transport me back in time; the parking lot was lined with classic cars waiting to be restored, and a tractor was parked next to the parking lot. Everything was new and nicely done. Only four other people were at the bar when we entered, and the assistant winemaker was hosting the tastings. As a result, our wines were expertly explained and pours were quick. The tasting menu identified the number of cases left of each wine, letting visitors know that quantities are indeed limited. Overall, the experience was relaxing and enjoyable.
The Wines:  Palumbo’s $10 tasting fee is one of the lowest you’ll find in Temecula Valley. The five tastings included nearly all of Palumbo’s wines. With Palumbo’s focus on red grape varieties such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese, they only provided one white wine to taste, the 2012 Brezza di Mare Viognier-Roussanne. The four reds available for tasting were the 2010 Sangiovese Bella Vigna, the 2009 Cabernet Franc Catfish Vineyard, the 2010 Merlot Catfish Vineyard, and the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Sophias Vineyard. All of the reds displayed impressive complexity and balance, making each sip a treat. While they were all quality wines, the 2009 Cabernet Francs bright berry flavors and smooth-as-silk finish made it my favorite of the bunch. Bottles prices generally range from $24 to $45.
Insiders Tip:  As a testament to Palumbo’s small size and loyal following, there is a waiting list to join the wine club. You can sign up for the wine club waiting list online and they will notify you when there is space available. Palumbo Winery offers a 10% discount on purchases of six bottles, and a 15% discount on case purchases.