Lorimar Vineyards and Winery opened in Temecula 10 years ago, featuring a large portfolio of fruit-forward wines, Tuscan-style architecture and breathtaking views of Mount Palomar and the Santa Ana Mountains. The winery describes itself as “a fusion of wine, art, music and food.” Certainly, guests can enjoy live music while sipping wine and nibbling on appetizers, and local art is displayed throughout the tasting room. We found a distinctive personality there, and yes, their wines sing!
Brothers-in-law Lawrie Lipton and Mark Manfield dreamt about opening a winery for a long time. When the dream became a reality, they decided to call it a mash-up of their first names, Lorimar, and build it on their shared passion for music, experiences in hospitality, and culinary and performing arts.
First, they planted Cabernet Sauvignon in 2000, in soil of decomposed granite and clay. Subsequently, they planted Syrah, Grenache, Muscat, Viognier, Sangiovese and more. Located 22 miles from the ocean, warm, sunny days and cool nights classify the region as a Mediterranean climate. Therefore, the vines flourish and produce excellent fruit.
Next, their journey continued in 2009 with the opening of a “placeholder” location, Lorimar Loft, in Temecula’s quaint Old Town. Further, construction of the winery began in the heart of the Temecula Valley, amidst orange groves and their 22-acre estate vineyard.
In 2012, the winery doors opened, with Mark and Lawrie’s goal of giving Lorimar a distinct personality, built around the perfect combination of wine and music.
In addition, a custom, gourmet mobile kitchen, appropriately called Pairings, features a menu created to complement Lorimar’s wines. As well, the winery provides special events such as live music and wine dinners, and a wedding venue. Meanwhile, the Loft has proven to be a mainstay in Old Town Temecula.
We took these four bottles home, but the choice wasn’t easy: 2018 Montepulciano, and 2017 Zinfandel, Malbec and Tempranillo Barbera. Lorimar produces two dozen wines, including sparklers, whites, reds and limited reserves. Keeping with the music theme, the logo and labels on many of the bottles contain musical notes. And our entertaining winery host Chris Gates also performs on site with his southern California rock band, Kings of Karma.
2018 Montepulciano ($64) and 2017 Tempranillo Barbera ($56)
Lorimar blends Montepulciano with Petite Sirah and Zinfandel, creating a unique wine that is both delicate and bold at the same time. San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2021 awarded it a silver medal. Think wild strawberries and rich plums. Speaking of rich, 2017 Tempranillo Barbera is full-bodied and savory, with notes of blackberries, black licorice, pepper and spices. This is a rare blend to find in Temecula. Pair these two wines with spaghetti, pizza or simply chocolate.
2017 Malbec ($59) and 2017 Zinfandel ($56)
2017 Malbec and Zinfandel each received bronze medals in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2021. Lorimar’s Malbec is topped with 15% Petite Sirah, a popular blending grape in Temecula. This is one smooth beauty, with flavors of blueberries, figs, rhubarb and hints of chocolate. Meanwhile, 2017 Zinfandel also contains Petite Sirah (20%). As a result, we tasted raspberries, cherries, dark fruit, vanilla and dark chocolate. The Zin pairs with prime rib or bacon-wrapped dates. Serve the Malbec with barbecued burgers, chicken or pork dumplings.
In conclusion, Lorimar is a one-stop Temecula location for wine, food, art and music. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and there are two dozen wines to experience. We’re happy we discovered Lorimar on our recent trip to Temecula wine country.
Margot and Dave