Saturday, March 12, 2016

Gagnon Cellars in Temecula

Last week Devon and I took a Taste N Trip to Temecula. After a great lunch at The Goat and Vine restaurant in Old Town we drove out Rancho California Road to visit the owners and winemakers of Gagnon Cellars, Gil and Rae Gagnon, at their new residence.
The route to their place, known as Rancho California Trail East, passes by wineries like Hart, Hallway, Thornton, Baily, Miramonte, Bel Vino, Mount Palomar, Maurice Car'rie, South Coast, Ponte Family, Wiens Family, Monte De Oro, and Wilson Creek.

Gagnon Cellars is currently a virtual winery; they reside in Temecula and their grapes are sourced from regions like Sonoma Coast and Alexander Valley. In the next few years they expect to start producing wine from their own estate grown grapes.
New Vineyard Planting
Both Gil and Rae have a successful background in special effects for movies, and as they say, they are transitioning from making movies "one frame at a time," to making artisan wine "one bottle at a time."  Their efforts result in hand-crafted wines that are excellent!
We were fortunate to taste a few recent releases and a barrel sample too. 
Gagnon Cellar's tasting notes are right on the mark ...
The 2013 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay "Reserve" has oaky, buttery flavors, while well balanced acidity keeps it bright and brilliant.  It was aged 18 months in oak barrels and was made in an old world, sur lie style to add just a hint of buttery flavor before bottling. This allows it to settle naturally with minimal intervention. The 15.4% alcohol level seems to balance well with the fruit.
The 2013 Alexander Valley Red Wine Blend (40% Petite Sirah, 40% Zinfandel, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon) includes varietals al from a single vineyard in the Alexander Valley. It has intense, complex, dark fruit flavors, is full bodied,  is aged 22 months in French oak, and has 14.7% alcohol.

The 2015 Petit Sirah barrel sample was an excellent inky example of Petite Sirah from Alexander Valley.  And if it turns out like the 2013 vintage it will have dark, intense, concentrated fruit flavors and aromatics of blackberry, cherry, and cedar.

Keep an eye out for Gagnon Cellars at Southern California wine festivals. They have an "Upcoming Tasting Events" section on their website at

Gary, Catherine, Devon, Sam & Pierson
We enjoyed having our relatives, Catherine, Sam & Pierson visit from the east coast join us on our tasting trip. 

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