Although I’m a native Californian, I’ve never been to Temecula – that was until yesterday. Since we had an early morning call to check out a wheelchair-accessible balloon on Monday, we decided to come in a day early and enjoy a little Sunday afternoon vino tasting. Since all the wineries charge for their tastings I chose very carefully, and in the end ended up at Bel Vino Winery. And I wasn’t disappointed — with the access or the quality of their wine.
First things first – the access at Bel Vino is top-drawer. Although the parking area is pretty expansive (and crowded on weekends) there was plenty of accessible parking available right next to the tasting room. And if you don’t have a placard, but can’t do the slight hill up to the tasting room, there’s a shuttle available. There is level access to the tasting room, gift shop and bistro, and a large level grassy area with tables outside. Accessible restrooms are also available in the tasting room.
As for the tasting, well we opted for the “signature” tasting which was a selection of six one-ounce pours of their premium wines. The price is $15.95 on the weekends or $12.95 on weekdays. I also have to add that Charles and I shared a tasting, which was a good idea because their pours are quite generous. They also have a budget tasting option for $6.95, but I figured we may as well go for the good stuff.
We started with a Chardonnay which was nice, and then followed it with a Viognier which was sweeter than we’re used to, so we decided to pass on the Riesling and move on to the reds. And boy were they ever a treat. The Sangiovese was very well done, but the Tempranillo was excellent. I liked their Merlot, but my absolute favorite was their Long Valley Red. This Bordeaux blend is apparently their first attempt at a varietal, and boy did they ever hit a home run. It’s largely Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with just the right combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot mixed in. I liked it so much that I went home with a bottle. I also couldn’t resist the Tempranillo.
As an added bonus, they also have musical entertainment out on the lawn on weekends. And in my book, that’s the icing on an already tasty – and very accessible – cake.