You don’t need to go all the way to Temecula for an outstanding wine tasting experience at a winery. I was planning a trip to the Sawdust Festival, and thought I might as well add some other activities while I was in Laguna Beach. I settled on Asada for a place to eat (outstanding!), and also added a stop at the Laguna Canyon Winery.
Unlike some wineries, where you may be limited to whatever selections they are pouring that day, we were offered their full complement of wines, from white to port (with the exception of one, limited quantity reserve). Between the two of us, we sampled most of what was available, and the 2009 Lodi Petite Sirah was the only one that didn’t impress us. The rest were all good, and we especially liked the 2009 Thief Red Blend. Indeed, Laguna Canyon Winery won seven medals at this year’s Orange County Fair, including four gold medals.
Here is a tip. If you buy a bottle of wine at the Laguna Canyon Winery, ask for the list of local restaurants in the area that won’t hit you with a corkage fee. This is a very cool (and frugal) process I intend to make standard procedure when we are dining in Laguna Beach. Select a wine at Laguna Canyon Winery, then enjoy it with dinner without the restaurant’s usual 300% mark-up.
As it turned out, Asada was on the no corkage fee list, so we shared a bottle of Thief Red Blend at Asada while enjoying the Mexican food and the sunset over the ocean. Tommy Bahama’s and Nick’s are two other restaurants that waive the corkage fee for a bottle from the Laguna Canyon Winery, and there are many more.
If you’ve ever wanted to start your own winery, Laguna Canyon Winery can help you with that also. Well, not really, but they do offer a custom label program, enabling you to offer your own private label wines to your friends. “Oh, do try my Cabernet made only from grapes grown on the South facing hills of Northern Napa Valley. I think you’ll find it quite precocious.” You know you want to be able to say that.
The downtown location is open seven days a week, 2-8 Thursday through Saturday, and 3-7 Sunday through Wednesday. The main tasting room, just a short distance away at 2133 Laguna Canyon Road, is closed on Mondays, but open 11-6 the rest of the week. For more information, be sure to read this additional article about the Laguna Canyon Winery.