Lago Giuseppe in Templeton

By Donna Polizzi

Joe and Jeanine Mistretta, along with their daughter Morgan Aanerud, have created a delightfully tempting escape in Templeton, that exudes Italian family charm.

The Lago Giuseppe Winery is nestled amongst ancient oak trees, with the sounds of flowing water adding to the tranquility of this new wine country resort, located at 45 Green Valley Road in Templeton, off Highway 46 West. Templeton is a small central coast town with a population just shy of 8,000 people.  As the crow flies, it is located 19 miles from San Luis Obispo and 213 miles North of Los Angeles.

The Mediterranean-style tasting room offers a view of the Lago, just a stone throw from the tasting room, makes you feels like you’re walking into another time and place.

Stunning glass doors separate the tasting room from a glorious 40-foot-deep Lago that beckons you outside.  This is when and where the tough decision comes into play…you must decide if you do a tasting first, or go outside and absorb the ambiance of the property. It’s really a tough decision, as you peer through the stately tasting room doors at the magical setting.

If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or event venue, this lake-front property is not only a winery, it is also a bed and breakfast. My business partner and her husband spent their 19th wedding anniversary there and stayed in one of the spacious villas that had a private balcony that looked over the lake, comfortable queen size bed, and a full kitchen.  It is simply a fabulous getaway to a new location, where you can sit, sip and explore the area, play bocce ball, take out a boat on the large, 40-foot-deep lake, while you fish for largemouth bass, bluegill or catfish. The owner Joe says, “There is a monster bass in that lake, and he’s a smart one”

If you’re a birdwatcher, you’re in for a guaranteed treat. Mallard, Night Heron, turkeys, California Osprey, and even an occasional, majestic Bald Eagle are seen on a regular basis.

Lago Giuseppe is a truly unique, dog-friendly, wine country resort and event center.  I spoke with a charming young couple while wine tasting, who attended a wedding on the property and they said that it was, “like a fairytale.”  The property lends itself to solitude, romance, privacy and a great time.  I am certain that I will return many times to enjoy the excellent wines and natural beauty at Lago Giuseppe.

Where else can you stay in a beautiful villa, wake up and take a morning stroll around a beautiful lake?  The grounds are breathtaking and there are numerous little hideaways around the lake with strategically positioned Adirondack chairs.

Morgan Aanerud shared, “Our family has built our dream and people seem to love what we’re pouring.” Indeed, the wines are as impressive as the property. Three reds are offered on the tasting menu that is sure to impress even the most discriminating wine enthusiasts.

Most wine lovers enjoy the 2014 Sorelle Rosa. It is a late harvest Pinot.  For those who enjoy a bold Bordeaux, the 2007 Evening Glass is excellent.   “It was our first Bordeaux blend and it’s very full-bodied.  The blend is one-third Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  Guests love the dark flavors of black cherry, sweet plum and hints of chocolate. The production this year is 470 cases,” added Aanerud.

Tempranillo fans will love 2014 if you get there in time.  Production is only 49 cases this year. It’s a fun Spanish varietal. Tempranillo is typically used as a blend, but this one stands out on its own.  The 2011 Nebiolla is their first Italian varietal, a delicious, medium-bodied and very aromatic, but also smoky with a hint of tart cherries.

For those who prefer white wines, Lago Giuseppe’s 2014 Bellezza Nona is a superb blend with a fully balanced acidity. It is described as delightful, zesty and complex, just like a good Sicilian woman.

There’s no doubt about the fact that Lago Giuseppe Winery has been a dream come to fruition. And they’ve set the bar high for future facilities.   It masters the art of transformation.  Step away from the monotony of life into a tranquil space to refresh.

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