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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 6:46 pm | Fair 60º


Donna Polizzi

Here & There

Donna Polizzi: At Lago Giuseppe Winery, the Resort Itself Is as Enchanting as Its Wine

Templeton getaway uncorks delicious wines along with a chance to stroll, fish, birdwatch, unwind and even stay for a few days


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

Their Lago Giuseppe Winery is nestled among ancient oak trees with the sounds of flowing water adding to the tranquility of the new wine country resort. The Mediterranean-style tasting room, along with a view of the lago just a stone’s throw away, makes you feel as if you’re in another time and place.

The 40-foot-deep lake also beckons to visitors. Should you stay and taste, or go outside and absorb the property’s ambience first? It’s a tough decision as you gaze through the stunning glass doors of the tasting room.

If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or event venue, this lakefront property is not only a winery, it’s also a bed and breakfast. The spacious villas have comfortable beds and private balconies, and some have full kitchens.

It’s a fabulous getaway at 45 Green Valley Road, off Highway 46 West. You can sit, sip and explore the area, play bocce ball, take out a boat on the lake while you fish for largemouth bass, bluegill or catfish. It doesn’t hurt that Templeton — a town of around 8,000 just 19 miles north of San Luis Obispo — typically has a mild temperature year-round.

If you’re a bird-watcher, you’re in for a guaranteed treat. Mallard, night heron, turkeys, California osprey and even majestic bald eagles are seen regularly.

Lago Giuseppe is a unique, dog-friendly resort and event center. While wine tasting, I spoke with a delightful young couple who had attended a wedding on the property and said that it was like a fairytale.

The property lends itself to solitude, romance, privacy and a great time. I am certain that I’ll return many times to enjoy the excellent wines and natural beauty. 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.

“Our family has built our dream and people seem to love what we’re pouring,” Aanerud said.

Indeed, the wines are as impressive as the property. Three reds are offered on the tasting menu that are sure to impress even the most discriminating wine enthusiasts.

Wine lovers enjoy the 2014 Sorelle Rosa, 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,” Aanerud explained. “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.”

Tempranillo fans will love the 2014, if you get there in time. Production is only 49 cases this year. A fun Spanish varietal, Tempranillo is typically used as a blend, but this one stands out on its own. The 2011 Nebiolla is Lago Giuseppe’s first Italian varietal, and it’s 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 that Lago Giuseppe Winery has been a dream come to fruition, and the Mistrettas have set the bar high for future facilities. In the meantime, step away from the monotony of life and into a tranquil space to refresh.

— Donna Polizzi is a regional travel expert and founder of Keys to the Coast, a free Central Coast travel resource providing honest recommendations on the best places that locals want to go. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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