For many wine sophisticates, “Southern California wine” is an oxymoron.
The criticisms of the wines, usually produced in Temecula, are vast: They’re too sweet, the aromas are funky, they lack the complexity and flavor found in wines from Napa or even Paso Robles.
“When I tell Central Coast winemakers that I’m going south to explore Temecula wines, they say, ‘Well that sucks. I’m so sorry,’ ” said Matt Kettmann, contributing editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine, who rates central and south coast wines for the publication. “But no one ever really tries the wine.”
Now a core group of Temecula winemakers is...