Cart 0 items: $0.00
Mount Palomar Winery
October 29, 2015 | Mount Palomar Winery

5 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About Meritage Wine

Mount Palomar Winery Fall Special: 2010 Artist Series Meritage

Now that fall is here and it’s finally starting to cool down in Temecula (it’s supposed to stay under 85 this week!) it’s time to talk about our fall specials.  Right now you can get 6 or more bottles of our Meritage wine for 40% off, and wine club members get 50% off - Before you buy a bottle (or 6) you may have a few questions, like what is Meritage wine? Is that the name of a grape, or a place, or what?

In Brief:  A Meritage is a wine blend of varietals originating from Bordeaux to produce a more traditional wine that is superior to a lone varietal.

If you’d like a little more detailed information, here are 5 things you (probably) don’t know about Meritage wine.

1) What the name means

 “Meritage” is a trademarked name, created in the 80’s by a group of vintners looking for a name to describe New World blended wines that followed Bordeaux traditions. The name “Meritage” comes from blending the word “merit”, referring to the high quality of the grapes used, and “heritage”, meant to reflect the long history of blended wines.  It is pronounced like Heritage, but just be sure to pronounce it close enough to get it in your glass.  Any winery that wants to use the term “Meritage” must belong to the Meritage Alliance, the group that owns the trademark.

2) It’s held to a very specific set of standards

To understand what is so great about a Meritage wine, try to think about what is so great about the wine traditions of the Bordeaux region of France.  The Alliance controls the name ‘Meritage’ much like France controls the name ‘Bordeaux’, and holds wineries that use the term to certain standards.  The American wine market tends to be Varietal driven, meaning we Americans tend to buy wine by the grape, favoring wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Europeans tend to buy wine by the region that produced the wine, and they will often buy traditional blended wines.  Meritage is the New World’s way to return to the wine making traditions of the Bordeaux region.  There are many people who love Cabernet Sauvignon and that is great, but the grape by old tradition was never intended to be a lone varietal.  For many, the opinion is that Cabernet Sauvignon and related grapes are best when used as part of a blend.    

3) It does great things for the grape

Various Bordeaux varietals often develop earthy vegetative characters particularly that of Green Bell Pepper, which in excess are a flaw.  The vintners of Bordeaux have a long tradition of managing the character of their wines through what is done in both the vineyard and the cellar. One of the most important management methods is to properly blend their wines for a superior balance of taste and character.  Meritage producers follow these blending traditions.  When creating a Meritage it can be either red or white, but most commonly these wines are red.

 4) It can only be made from very specific grapes

Meritage is a classic blend made with wines that come from at least two traditional Bordeaux grape varieties. Red wines may be a blend of two or more varietals that include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenere.  White wines may be blends of two or more of the varietals Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Sauvignon Vert.  The blend will be consistently good from one vintage to the next, while specific varietals may vary in quality year to year. The vines of Bordeaux are a special group as they tend to be genetically closely related, and are adapted for the moist Atlantic influences that would rot the fruit of other varieties from drier regions.  These Bordeaux varietals commonly have loose clustered fruit that allow greater air circulation and thicker berry skins that resist rot and give the wines a distinctive character that differ from the varietals from other regions.

 5) Mount Palomar Meritage is a delicious take on these traditions

This tradition of excellence brought us to choose the Meritage to be bottled as our second edition to our Artist Series.  The nose is spicy with floral hints.  Smooth and round in the mouth, this blend is a soft melding of plum, cherry, currents and spice.  Complex while easy to drink, the 2010 Meritage provides an easy pairing with many dishes, in particular dishes of beef or lamb and red sauces. You can buy it online here – and remember, if you buy 6 or more bottles, you’ll get 40% off.

If you’d like to try our Artist Series Meritage, you can come by the tasting room, open every day from 10 – 6 on the winery grounds at 33820 Rancho California Rd. in Temecula, CA. You can get directions and more information on the tasting room page - For regular updates about new things at Mount Palomar, including new sales, special events, blog updates, and news about our new Restaurant (opening soon!) join our mailing list at

Want to stay up to date with Mount Palomar Winery? Like us on Facebook - and sign up for Email updates at

Time Posted: Oct 29, 2015 at 9:00 AM
Mount Palomar Winery
September 30, 2015 | Mount Palomar Winery

Temecula, Where They Make Great Wines

Blake Shelton says Temecula makes really good wine! #VisitTemecula #BlakeShelton #winecountry

Posted by Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country on Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Time Posted: Sep 30, 2015 at 4:26 PM
Mount Palomar Winery
September 29, 2015 | Mount Palomar Winery

Strangelove in Concert at Mount Palomar 9/25/15


Strangelove in concert at Mount Palomar Winery, 9/25/15.  The put on a great show!  You can seem more photos from the show on our Facebook page here, and you can see more from Strangelove on their website here.

We have another concert coming up this week!  Wang Chung is playing live at Mount Palomar October 1st, 2015, and you can get tickets here

Time Posted: Sep 29, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Mount Palomar Winery
September 28, 2015 | Mount Palomar Winery

Wang Chung Live At Mount Palomar

Wang Chung is back, and they're coming to Mount Palomar Winery! You can see them live Thursday, October 1st starting at 6pm.  Tickets are available online - There's even a special offer for wine club members! 

Time Posted: Sep 28, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Mount Palomar Winery
September 21, 2015 | Mount Palomar Winery

Three White Wines Every Wine Lover Should Try


Three White Wines Every Wine Lover Should Try

Every winery, restaurant, grocery store and gift shop that sell white wines all seem to stock the same ones: Chardonnay, Moscato, Sauvignon Blanc – they pop up everywhere, and with good reason. Every white wine drinker has a favorite type that they can enjoy in almost any decent brand, but finding something new or unusual can seem almost impossible unless you know where to look. The white wine standards may be delicious, but because they’re so easy to find, they’re also easy to get sick of, even if it's a wine you really love.  If you’re also looking for something new and interesting to drink, stop by our tasting room and try any (or all!) of these three wines:



2013 Cinsaut Blanc

This is a distinctly white wine made from a red grape.  Blanc de Noir (white from dark) wines usually have a slight pink color, and this wine is no exception. Delicate is the best word to describe this softly scented wine,  a sniff will give you subtle hints of citrus, pear and apple blossom. This wine is dry and slightly crisp with tastes of lemon, quince, and rosehip. 

Best food matches: White fish, and light chicken dishes (no heavy sauces, and too much garlic would destroy it!)

You can buy this wine online here.







2012 Viognier

Viognier wines are a little easier to find than Cinsaut Blanc, but still don’t show up as often as Chardonnay.   It’s a perfumy wine with deep floral scents of lily and violets, complemented by fresh pear. With a soft feel in the mouth the flavors include hints of peach, Pippin apple and lychee with a slight lemon bite on the finish. 

Best food matches: White sauces, poultry, pork, and stronger flavored seafood.

You can buy this wine online here.










2013 Castelleto Cortese

We’re very proud of our Cortese, in part because we introduced this fine Italian variety to California in 1991. Cortese, grown mainly in the province of Piemonte in Northwest Italy, is often considered Italy's premiere traditional white variety.  The name “Cortese” means courteous, because the grapes develop a soft, gentle quality when allowed to fully ripen. We chose to age this wine in somewhat older barrels for a brief period to achieve richness in character without overwhelming the delicate flavor of the grape with oakiness.  The 2013 vintage shows a good array of aroma including kiwi, ripe green apple, apricot, and candied fruit with a creamy mouth feel and finish.  Our Cortese has won awards every year, including "Best of Show" and "Best of Class" awards at major wine competitions.

Best food matches: Seafood pastas, grilled fish, any kind of citrus chicken and sweet baked brie.

You can buy this wine online here.  

If you'd like to join our wine club and get 20% off of these wines, plus access to exclusive wines, complimentary tastings, and our annual appreciation dinner, sign up online here or email



Want a recipe to go with your wine?  

Sign up for our email list, and we'll send you one recipe for each of the wines featured above.  Click here to join our mailing list.








Time Posted: Sep 21, 2015 at 8:00 AM
Mount Palomar Winery
September 18, 2015 | Mount Palomar Winery

Wine Club Selection September 2015

September Wines

Mount Palomar Winery has a wine club, in case you didn't know, and one of the perks of the club is receiving a shipment of discounted wine every other month for as long as you're a member.  Members can have the wine shipped to their homes, or come and pick them up - we have a fantastic pick up party during shipment months for members to come by and have a good time, but they can pick up their wines whenever it's convenient. This month on the 4th and the 11th we had our annual Wine Club appreciation dinner and the pick up party for club members.  Here are the wines those members received:

White Wines -

RieslingThe 2013 Riesling is well balanced, medium sweet and is a small scale ultra premium production of this type of wine.  The fruit was allowed to ripen to perfection and emphasize floral and tropical character.  The nose is bright with soft scents of jasmine and papaya. Tropical tastes of lychee, papaya and star fruit compliment apricot, peach and honey.  Serve chilled with soft cheeses, fresh fruit, Asian cuisine, white fish and poultry.

Sangiovese Rose -  Our Sangiovese Rose is fragrant with scents of melon, strawberry and hints of rose. This is an ‘off dry’ wine so it is finished with a hint of sweetness that is balances and plays well with the natural acid level making.  It is smooth and approachable.  With a velvety mouth feel it has tastes of rose, tangerine, apple, and buttered pear.  Pair this wine with seafood, pork and poultry and soft cheeses.

Red Wines - 

2010 CharbonoCharbono came to California in the 1800s while Savoie was part of the Italian Kingdom of Piedmont and today this challenging vine is rarely found in the state.  This unusual varietal has rich floral scents of daisy and jasmine complimented by plum.  It has a smooth velvety feel in the mouth with tastes of dark fruit, cassis and hints of boysen berry.  The wine pairs well with poultry and pork, but is just as pleasant enjoyed by itself. Aged for 32 months in American and French oak barrels.

2010 Quartet - The 2010 Quartet is a Rhone Style blend using our estate grown Rhone varietals. Quartet is fragrant with earthy scents of leather, cherry, violets and licorice.  The flavors are complex with peppery tastes of plum, cherry mint, tobacco, and rose hip.  This is a medium bodied red wine that pairs well with beef, lamb and spicy BBQ.


Sweet Wines - 

Our new Sweet Wine Club is so new that it launched after this shipment went out - the next wine club shipments will be the first one to include the sweets!

If you are not a wine club member, you can still buy these wines through our online store.  If you'd like to buy these wines at the discounted member price, you can join the wine club online or buy calling (951) 676-5047 ext. 12, and you'll be signed up for the next set of wine club wines.

Time Posted: Sep 18, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Mount Palomar Winery
September 14, 2015 | Mount Palomar Winery

Announcing Our Sweet Club!



Announcing Our New Sweet Club!

Mount Palomar Winery in Temecula is happy to announce our newest addition to our wine club – our sweet wines.  Now when you join as a Villa or Estate club member, you can choose from a bi-monthly delivery of red, white, or sweet wines.  The sweet wine club membership includes our Riesling, Rosés, Mont Noir, and other dessert wines, with a surprise selection sent to you every other month.  Satisfy your sweet tooth and sign up online here, or call (951) 676-5047 ext. 12

Time Posted: Sep 14, 2015 at 2:00 PM
Mount Palomar Winery
September 3, 2015 | Mount Palomar Winery

Mount Palomar Solera Cream Sherry

Mount Palomar Cream Sherry

Handcrafted in California

“No wine differs so much from all others, and the differences are not merely of taste or colour, of scent or sparkle, but of kind … it is not a variant, but a primary...There is Sherry, and there are all other wines.” -Rupert Croft-Cooke, Sherry.

Sherry is one of those wines that is just incredibly underappreciated.  It has a reputation as a Grandma drink, and it's what writers use to make a character seem stuff or pompous - just look at Frasier, and Mr. Banks from Mary Poppins.  This is an incredible shame, because the most important thing about sherry is that it's delicious.  It's sweet, but not too heavy, perfect heated and drizzled on ice cream (just ask Martha Stewart!) or added to coffee, and it makes a fantastic little treat anytime you're just too tired to bake.  It's like drinking an alcoholic caramel, and it's heaven, Mount Palomar's cream sherry especially.

Since 1978 Mount Palomar has produced handcrafted sherry wines in our outdoor aging solera.  It's made from Palomino grapes, and aged at least five years in the  golden California sun until it's sweet, smooth, and tastes like hazelnuts and caramel.  It's perfect with shortbread cookies, roasted almonds, baklava, or just on it's own.

You can get this classic, delicious sherry through our online store or in person at our winery, Mount Palomar Winery
33820 Rancho California Road, Temecula, Ca.  Don't forget that wine club members get a discount on all wine purchases - you can join online or over the phone at (951) 676-5047 ext. 12

Time Posted: Sep 3, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Mount Palomar Winery
July 15, 2015 | Mount Palomar Winery

Corked Wine and Spoilage Caused by Tainted Cork

     ‘Corked Wine’ is spoiled wine which has been tainted by microbial infected cork.  The various microbes that may infect cork create chemical compounds that cause unpleasant aromas and off flavors in wine.  The Spoilage is not harmful to one’s health however the taint is detectable at very low levels and can cause great disappointment.

     Many of us have seen some movie where someone is dining in a fine restaurant and a bottle of wine is presented to the patron who smells the cork before the wine may be poured.  One can easily determine if the wine has been tainted by a sniff of the cork.  In my experience most of our guests are unfamiliar with what is meant by ‘Corked Wine’ though most have experienced it unaware of the actual problem.  ‘Corked’ is more of a blanket term for any spoilage caused by the natural cork, and various foul compounds which can be associated with various contaminating microbes.  One compound in particular stands out as perhaps the greatest offender, Trichloroanisole better known as TCA.  It is often characterized as odors that are musty, moldy,  dirty or of wet dog. TCA has such a pungent, distinctive and powerful scent that once one has smelled it this scent will not be easily forgotten.  TCA is produced when some amount of chlorine in the environment is metabolized by a microbe.  The wine may have been tainted by TCA anywhere during production however the natural cork is usually the source of the problem.  Natural cork is the standard for premium wines, but unfortunately we can expect a small percentage of these natural closures to carry a TCA infection even in the highest quality cork.  The cork industry strives to reduce taint problems in their product however advancements are slow and difficult considering cork is a natural product that is harvested from the bark of an oak tree.  A few cork companies have recently begun to use machinery that is able to sense and remove tainted cork during the processing stage. These technologies are very expensive and new.  No doubt time will reduce cost and improve the technology as well as increase the availability.  In the mean time a few things to keep in mind: screw caps and synthetic cork are TCA free though they tend to be used for wine of a lower price point.  Natural cork still prevails in the premium wine industry for various reasons, so if you find your favorite wine is corked consider exchanging it for a good bottle.  Most establishments appreciate your business and take pride in their wine so they would rather replace the tainted bottle to keep you happy, provided the purchase was recent and the policy is not abused.


Time Posted: Jul 15, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Mount Palomar Winery
May 18, 2015 | Mount Palomar Winery

It’s Time for Riesling

For Mount Palomar the month of May is a perfect time to bottle White Riesling after an extended slow cold fermentation that increases the wine’s fruit elements. Professionally as a winemaker I must maintain an appreciation for all types of wine. However I have very distinct memories of enjoying Riesling wines as a younger man and these wines continue to be particularly dear to me. The varietal is well known for its’ characteristic floral elements and often have tastes of stone fruit. Americans tend to think of Riesling only as sweet wines. These medium sweet wines are wonderful; however there remains a much larger world of Rieslings to explore.

Fact: DNA finger printing show that Riesling is closely related to Chardonnay. They are sibling hybrids.

Riesling is well associated with Germany and thus is assumed to be the place of origin, but in reality no one really knows where the grape originated. The vine is prone to bunch rot and can be particularly difficult to cultivate in areas with frequent summer rains so it may have originated in a dry climate similar to California. The grape tends to have high acid levels that make it a good choice to produce as a sweet wine. When the wine is produced without residual sugar these same elevated acids also make a dry wine taste drier. The clusters are small making harvesting tedious, however the small berry size increases the intensity of flavors and aromas. The vine can require more attention than other varieties, but the wine is worth the extra effort.

Medium Sweet Riesling: This is the most popular style in the United States. Generally the residual sugar is between two and four percent. This wine is not intended for extended aging and is best consumed less than four years old.

Dessert Riesling: These are super sweet and would include ice wines, late harvest, and botrytis wine. These wines are harvested or treated in a way that raises the sugar content. They are often allowed extended aging. The flavor components are very intense.

Dry Riesling: These wines have very little or no residual sugar. This class of Riesling can vary from light and crisp similar in style to a Pinot Grigio to big and full like a well oaked Chardonnay with a distinct Riesling character.

As the weather gets warmer and the summer heats up, Riesling is a refreshing wine choice. Visit us at Mount Palomar Winery and compare our “Riesling” at 3% residual sugar and our neutral barrel aged “Dry Riesling” at 0% residual sugar.


Time Posted: May 18, 2015 at 11:17 AM