I tasted several wines during my visit and it's clear to me Marshall hasn't lost his touch. The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc was crisp and reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauv Blanc. The 2010 White Merlot surprised me because I didn't expect to like it.
On Wednesdays from 5:30 – 9:00, the winemaker pours Jeff’s three selections as well as a bonus pour of his choosing that might be a barrel sample, a reserve or library wine. Four 3 ounce pours will cost you $18. Add three tapas paired to the wines and the cost is $28. In my book that’s a hell of a bargain.
Under the direction of Jon McPherson, he dragged hoses, cleaned and shoveled out tanks, driving from San Bernardino to Temecula and back three to four times a week. He was hired on across the street at Callaway Winery where he managed the tasting room and worked in the lab.
A campaign Callaway launched ruffled some feathers, however: "White Wine Is All We Make". Joe says the German winemaker Callaway had at the time was trained in whites, primarily Riesling and the reds he produced weren't so good. The inside joke at the time was "white wine is all they know how to make."
He explains that he's making wine for a broad range of customers, from the person who has never tasted wine to the true connoisseur. "I don't buy enough wine to keep us in business", he says, so he makes wines for the people on the other side of the counter. He listens to his customers, too, and enjoys interacting with them.
Whereas he used to believe you were a good winemaker if you could analyze a wine down to its chemical base, he now realizes the importance of time spent in the vineyards understanding how the fruit is grown and being able to manipulate the vineyards to optimize the quality of the fruit.