Belle Marie Winery & Chateau Dragoo
Belle Marie Winery and Chateau Dragoo are located in North Escondido along Interstate 15. The facility encompasses a 20,000 gallon winery, corporate and reception venues, educational facilities and a demonstration vineyard with varietals from around the world. This afternoon we spent 90 minutes on a tour and tasting of more varieties than we can name.
The 120 planted varieties of grapes, produce 74 working varities and 30 different wines are produced annually.  As winemaker Jeff told us, they do not produce the typical Merlot or Chardonnay wines as they try to keep all their wines a complete mix of different flavors.  As he demonstrated to the roughly 30 guests in the tasting, “tell me what you like and I’ll choose one of our wines for you to taste”.  His trial and error guessing game made this tasting a unique experience to us.

The Tasting
We tasted seven wines and a port during the hour and 30 minute session, which included two whites, five reds and the port.  However, when it came down to it we purchased the Cinq Diamante 2004 and the Malbec 2006.  The Cinq Diamante means ‘five diamond’ and is aged for two years in French and American barrels before bottling.  It consists of 30% each of Cabernet Sauvengion, Nebbiolo and Grenache grapes with 7% Malbec and 3% Syrah mixed in.  The Malbec, as you would expect, consists of 100% Malbec grapes.

You can view more photos from Belle Marie and our California trip here!

Dinner After
After the tasting, on reccommendation of winemaker Jeff, we went for Italian at Caio.  The dinner was OK, huge portions, low cost, but average.  What was unique was Belle Marie had a deal with the restaurant that allowed us to bring a bottle of our newly purchased Cinq Diamante into the restaurant with no corkage fee.  Hoping Canada will soon adopt this policy, once the charging for some HST on the privledge can be figured out of course.

All in all, a great evening out!