The Best Wines of Temecula
I researched the most visited Internet wine sites to come up with the Web Wine Know Award for Best Temecula Wines. These are the excellent wines that people mentioned "top of mind" without any prompting. They are the most talked about wines of the Temecula Valley Wine Country.
The Temecula Valley Agricultural Viticultural Area (AVA) is located near Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, and the Inland Empire. When people find out that I've tasted all the wineries in Temecula, they ask me about the best wines. That's a tough question to answer since people have different tastes. This page is an effort to answer that question in a broader sense than my own opinion.
The results surprised me and I hope you find them as interesting.
Top Three Wines
Three wines stood out from the rest as mentioned the most. Reviewer's comments are followed by the price at the winery for non-wine club members.
Stuart Cellars Tatria MeritageTatria meaning blend of three, this Meritage consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Reviewer comments: Complex wine with a great nose. There's a great fruit forward component that is matched perfectly with a firm tannin structure that just says...DRINK ME! This wine is hands down the best red in Temecula. - $36
Wilson Creek Almond ChampagneWine connoisseurs won't admit to even tasting this Almond Champagne but after a proper bottle of wine they'll remark that it's pretty good. Reviewer comments: Sweet sparkling wine plus almonds. It's hard for me to drink any other 'normal' sparkling wine now. - $17
Stuart Cellars Cabernet FrancReviewer comments: Outstanding with fruit forward complexity. These is not much on the mid to back palate but was quite smooth and well balanced. One of Stuart Cellars best wines. - $30
Rounding Out the Top Ten
The rest of the wines were bunched together in votes so they are listed in alphabetical order.
Callaway Winemaker's Reserve Meritage
Bordeaux blend. Reviewer comments: Lovely purple color, good nose and depth. Musty, dark cedar notes on the nose. Very interesting complex mix. Well balanced. Nice acidity. - $45
Reviewer comments: Medium body with just enough bite (acid) to cut through the steak's fat. I'm tired of big Cabs that don't match up to anything other than cheese and crackers. Light body, great balance between fruit and acidity. Perfect for fatty red meat and heavy pasta dishes. - $59
Reviewer comments: Aromas of red berries, plum, vanilla, cedar, and American oak. Medium to full bodied without a lot of complexity. Very smooth, enjoyable and easy to drink. Fresh ripe fruit and well integrated polished dry tannins that lead to a nice long lingering vanilla finish. - $20
Reviewer comments: Beautiful wine with lots of red currant and subtle integrated oak on the nose. The same is experienced on the palate with a long finish. This wine is delicious! - $15
Palumbo Tre Fratelli
Tre Fratelli, Italian for three brothers, is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Reviewer comments: Spicy, musky bouquet. A nice mix of flavors that is quite smooth with a very tannic finish. Wine needs to be aged. This wine is one of my favorite Meritage style blends. - $36
Ponte Dolcetto Family Estate
Reviewer comments: Black cherry red, nice clarity, clean aroma, clean on the palate with gentle tannins and nice acidity. Fruity, rich, and slightly sweet. This is a very approachable enjoyable wine. - $29
Stuart Cellars Sangiovese Reserva
Sangiovese blended with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot known as a Super Tuscan. Reviewer comments: Lots of wood flavor that is excellent with a strong stew. - $28
Web Wine Know Awards for Temecula Wineries
More than 50 Temecula wines were mentioned at least once and four wineries led the pack. These are the Web Wine Know Awards for Temecula Wineries.
- Stuart Cellars - 8 wines (2 in the top 10)
- Leonesse - 8 wines
- Hart - 5 wines (2 in the top 10)
- Keyways - 5 wines
Vote for Your Favorites
Guidebook to Get the Most from Your Time in Wine Country
- Best Temecula Wineries
Wine tasting is more than just wine. This page rates wineries by a number of categories that relate to the total tasting experience.
- Best Web Map of Temecula Wineries and Wine Purveyors
Temecula wineries, wine tasting rooms, and sellers of Temecula wines. It contains a few more locations than the printable map below.
- Best Printable Map of Temecula Wine Country
This is my favorite printable map of the wineries in Temecula. It's got nearly all the wineries.
- Temecula Valley Wine Growers Association
This web site is a great place to start if you're looking for a hotel, restaurant, or limo tour.
- Baron's - The Marketplace
Baron's is a specialty grocery story. The one in Temecula has a great selection of Temecula wines at good prices.
The first photo is in my back yard.
The last three photos are courtesy of miheco.
Valerie on October 24, 2011:
We didn't even hear about this to get any of our wines tasted. Oak Mountain Winery has one of the best Cabernet Sauvignons in the Valley as well as the only Counoise
brennawelker on October 12, 2011:
funky23 from Deutschland on February 24, 2011:
thanks that is awesome
suzanne smith on July 28, 2010:
I am a big fan of Long Shadow, they have the best port in the Valley. Callaway is nice- but they have really moved away from the sharp crisp and tasty whites they used to make back in the early 90's. Ponte is nice as well but I find the wines lacking... Maurice- nice but I prefer the Sourdough bread and brie cheese bake. Palumbo-thats where I get my reds- full bodied, earthy and rich, perfect with meat especially a good steak or game dish.
Marcel Millot on April 19, 2010:
You did not mention Briar Rose or Wiens as having some very nice Cabernets, Zins, or blends. The wineries you mentioned do not even compare to the two I mentioned in this email.
Dude on November 18, 2009:
No. That's silly.
Yes, there may be some truth to this experiment. As in, some people might not be good at discerning flavors. But in general, a cheap wine is cheap because very little craftsmanship went into the production, so as a result it either taste bad, or is boring. Expensive wines are expensive sometimes just because of snobby reputation but often because a lot of craftsmanship went into producing a really good flavor. Obviously there are exceptions. I mean, 2 Buck Chuck, tastes like 13 Dollar Charley!
stevebchambers from Dallas, TX on October 21, 2009:
What about research that suggests that most people cannot taste the difference between wines? In fact, an experiment where they gave a participant a cheap wine but told them it had a higher price, and then gave the same participant an expensive wine but told him that it was cheap showed that the participant will always choose the wine that he believes to be the most expensive, regardless of quality or actual price. Does this mean we should just buy cheap wines?
Carlo on January 25, 2009:
The Temecula House of wine in Old Town Temecula sells only Temecula Wines.