Taste of Wine

Temecula’s in-demand winemaker is Tim Kramer

I first met Tim Kramer back in 2005 not knowing a lot about Temecula Wine Country or much about other California Wine countries for that matter.

The elegant Fazeli Cellars Tasting Room in Temecula has opened to rave reviews as owners BJ and Wendy Fazeli toast the occasion. Photos by Frank MangioTemecula’s Monte de Oro Executive Chef Taylor Harris and Winemaker Tim Kramer at a recent Winemakers Dinner. Courtesy photo

I had just made a name for myself by spending valuable time in the wine country of Tuscany, Italy, and then taking a writing job at the San Diego Union Tribune, creating TASTE OF WINE.

Kramer, at that time, was and still is the winemaker for Leonesse Cellars. He was self-taught from books, kits, 5 gallon buckets and great volunteer experience from the Temecula winemaking legend Jon McPherson when he was with 
Thornton Winery.

From his Leonesse base, he was approached in 2005 to make wine for Monte De Oro and Robert Renzoni Wineries. Eventually, his client list to make wines grew to the point that he now shares his winemaking abilities with many wineries under the name Temecula Valley Winery Management.

I managed a few minutes with Kramer at a recent Monte de Oro “Black Label” Winemaker’s Dinner that featured five special reserve wines and barrel samplings. The four Cabernets and Syrahs poured; all showcased what the wines of Temecula can do. Kramer pointed to the last offering, the 2009 Synergy 65, a wine that I featured as a “Wine of the Month” as being the one he was most proud of. “We received a Best of Class in the Winemakers’ Challenge in San Diego on this wine,” he declared. “It was barrel aged in new French Oak for 28 months. Our vines that were planted five or six years ago are coming into their own and really showing what they can do. There are five varietals in this blend, depending on what nature gives us.” Last year, in the beautiful 2012 harvest, 238 tons of grapes were made into wine. According to Monte de Oro G.M. Ken Zignorski, the red wine harvest came in at 25 percent more than forecast from the 72 acres under vine.

Kramer’s most recent client is Fazeli Cellars that will be building a winery inspired by the ancient traditions of Persia, between Robert Renzoni and Keyways, on the DePortola Trail section of Temecula Wine Country. Its wine is named for the ancient city of Shiraz, where some say this grape originated.

Wine is already being made and critically acclaimed. The wines are the passion of BJ and Wendy Fazeli, who recently opened a tasting room on Fourth Street, in Old Town Temecula. You’ll taste many selections of French style whites and reds, premium fruit with a lovely earthy flavor.


Temecula’s New Cellarz 93 Sizzles with the New Fazeli Wines

A sense of excitement ran through the diners at a recent private dinner at Temecula’s new Cellarz93. The lineup of Fazeli Wines was poured; enhancing a chef-inspired menu hosted by Cheri Ellstrom, a principal investor and designer of Cellarz93. She introduced the menu creator, Executive Chef Greg Stillman, who has impressive credentials, coming from the legendary Napa Valley French Laundry in the late-90s where he developed his culinary skills from owner and world famous chef, Thomas Keller. Fazeli’s “Khayyam Cabernet Sauvginon 2009 ($55), a rich boysenberry and blackberry based cab grabbed the most attention of the wines served.

Cellarz93 will continue its local vintners series of wine dinners June 13 with an intimate event featuring winemaker Nick Palumbo of Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery. The evening will cost $75. RSVP at (951) 296-9700.


Wine Bytes

Meet Jaime Orozco from Mi Sueno Winery of Napa Valley at North County Wine Company San Marcos, June 6 from 5 to 9 p.m. This special tasting event is $20. Call (760) 744-2119.

Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar in Carlsbad has a Street Fare with a Taste of Spain June 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. Live music, street food and house made Sangria for a $20 entry fee. Details at (760) 827-2500.

An Encinitas Night Out is being hosted by Meritage Wine Market June 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Local speaker and humorist Ed Cozza will emcee, personalizing his book “Nowhere Yet.” Cost is $35. Call to RSVP at (760) 479-2500.

The Grand Del Mar is hosting The ABC’s of BBQ, June 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. Discover tricks and tips with a BBQ expert and Chef Mathew Sramek. Dinner and wine tasting included for $65. RSVP at (858) 314-1996.


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