Bel Vino Review
Address: 33515 Rancho California Rd. Temecula,California 92591.
Phone Number: 888-260-0870
Tasting Hours: Mon-Thurs 10:00-5:00, Fri-Sun 10:00-6:00
Region: South Coast and S. California, Temecula Valley AVA, California
Reviewer: Tara Torres
Review Date: 7/27/2012
Reviewer: Tara Torres
Formerly known as Stuart Cellars, Bel Vino winery isnt much to look at from the outside, but inside you will find multiple, cozy tasting areas and a friendly, knowledgeable staff.
The Place:  The tasting room itself wont be winning any architecture awards, but the sweeping views of Temecula wine country are fantastic. Across from the winery is a stage where one can imagine a quaint little concert. Once inside, the décor improves with warm paint colors and low lightening creating good ambiance. In addition to the two small tasting bars that greet visitors as they enter the winery, Bel Vino has an additional, large tasting room located down the barrel-lined hallway (with each barrel being individually lit). These touches give visitors the impression that they are in a vast wine cellar, and provide excellent ambience.
The Experience:  The tasting room wasnt crowded when we arrived, and we were able to get our tasting going without waiting. Two people worked the bar and were able to keep everyones glasses full with the right amount of small talk. When I went to skip the Viognier in favor for the popular Field Blend wine, the server refused to let me and filled my glass with the Viognier then dared me to hate it before I could object. While I was slightly annoyed she was picking the wines for me, I changed my tune when I tasted the Viognier. She gave me a knowing look when I declared that I did not hate it. In fact, it was quite good, so I forgave her for her pushiness (especially after tasting the Field Blend). Even though it wasnt even noon, everyone tasting seemed to be enjoying themselves. One of the girls next to me declared that she could probably lose a lot of weight if she stopped drinking, but asked “why would I want to do that?” None of her fellow wine drinkers even attempted to come up with a good answer.
The Wines: Bel Vino offers a large variety of wines from sweet Rieslings to dry, complex reds. With sixteen different wines to choose from, visitors are sure to find something they like. The white wines all were on the sweet side, even the Sauvignon Blanc. The red wines are certainly not economical, with the cheapest starting at $32.95. However, the reds are complex. The Malbec, a wine more commonly found in South America, had subtle flavors that transitioned smoothly in the mouth. The most popular of the reds is the 2008 Tatria, Limited Estate Reserve, which was one of my favorites as well.
Insiders Tip:  Bel Vino features Tapas and Wine Pairing events on Saturday and Sundays for the reasonable price of $22.95. Ask about their specials as well; Bel Vino was offering a two for one special on their port wine when I was there. Bel Vino also has a wine club and wine club, pick up parties. The Bel Vino House can be rented for weddings or special events.