On one Sunday afternoon while scouting wineries in the Temecula Wine Country, I found myself in an unlikely place–in a bathtub on a mountain top with a bottle of “Old Gus”. Shadow Mountain Winery is located about a half an hour drive outside the continuously growing Temecula Valley Wineries, but it’s worth the stop for its beautiful location and quality, affordable wines. Nestled at 3200 feet , the winery is located on a coastal mountain range in San Diego county.
The current owners, Alexander and Pamela McGeary, acquired the estate in 1990 and produce all their varietals in this unique microclimate. “Old Gus” is a tribute to the first owner Gus Mase of italian descent, who planted the first vineyards on the property six decades ago.
Red varietals included Claret, Merlot, 3 blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, and “Old Gus”, their signature red table wine. Although a small winery in a quiet and remote location, the quality and complexity of their wines can compete amongst the best of wines from the region. Their stellar red wines range from $14-$18. I could not help but fall in love with the minerality and earthiness attributed to the decomposed granite soil in the area.
We were greeted by owner Pamela McGeary when we entered the quaint tasting room and she poured us a generous variety of wines from the tasting menu including a standout Claret not on the list. Other standouts included Carignane, Mystic Muscat, and a Syrah Dessert wine to die for! All the wines were priced under $30 with the exception of the Syrah Dessert wine at $30. We were not charged a tasting fee and used our saved tasting fees to purchase a bottle of Carignane and picnic behind the winery along a beautiful sloping hillside of vines. As my family and I were picnicking, Mr. McGeary came by to say hello and I took the opportunity to ask him a question, What varietal do you find most pleasure in growing and producing into a wine? He looked at me at first perplexed and then said, All of them, they are all a labor of love.
And indeed, I could taste that love and hardwork.
34680 Highway 79
Warner Springs, CA 92086