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A taste of Italy in Temecula

Sometimes when I think of Temecula I think of cheesy wineries and annoying bachelorette parties, but the new Bottaia Winery has me reconsidering that notion with its new upscale refined wine country farmhouse experience, with stunning vineyard views backed up to a mountainous landscape. Adjacent to the Ponte Vineyard Inn Resort, relaxed Bottaia Winery grows and harvests only Italian varietals.

Just a year old, intimate Bottaia has emerged as a showstopper with over a dozen all-estate varietals. Apparently, Cabernet and Zinfandel grow better here in Temecula than Napa. We fell in love with the 2014 Arneis Reserve, the 2014 Nero D’Avola, and 2013 Montepulciano Reserve although we heard Sangiovese is a popular choice.

Upon arrival, doors are swept open as you are warmly greeted before check-in at the front desk (reservations preferred) for your experience of choice. Straight ahead lies the luxurious elegant lounge room with modern décor, tall ceilings, and grand windows to suck in the natural light. My eyes are drawn to the geometrical arching rooftop terrace aligning the bar that frames the expansive vineyard views outside, some 240 acres of vines. This outdoor patio is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of vino or a bottle while just gazing out at the peaceful vineyard. To the right lies a pool area reminding me of the Hamptons with chaise lounge chairs, cabines (dressing room with shower), and a splash pad for kids. This area, unlike the rest of the property, is family-friendly.

The pool area next to the vineyard also offers café patio dining with sandwiches, salads, and Italian appetizers plus a full bar (not just wine) open to the public Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. Check their website for day pass rates and cabine rentals, but this is not needed if you are just eating. However, eventually the lounge, terrace, and pool with cafe will be exclusive to wine members.

To the left of the entrance is a barrel room for tastings, while off to the right is a beautiful white classy room with high top tables reserved for private charcuterie and wine pairings – some right from the barrel. For $25, you can enjoy a barrel room tasting and split 3 reds and 3 whites with a 7th tasting out of one of their French oak cask barrels. Our expert server Zach lead us through a detailed and knowledgeable education of the wines as two charcuterie boards came out stuffed with perfectly paired selections of figs, nuts, burrata, tomato, dates, spreads, pates, meats, breads, cheeses, crackers, and truffle honey!

 

Even though Bottaia is the sister property to Ponte, the wines are not the same. Here at Bottaia you will find some of the best wines in Temecula. During our wine tasting flight journey, we learned Bottaia’s 45 acres will expand to 90 and that 8-10,000 cases a year of estate wines are harvested at the end of August to the end of December. The wine tasting experience is well worth the $50 with five pre-selected quality estate wines paired with a charcuterie board. The professional service, attention to detail, and our super knowledgeable server made this top notch experience incredibly memorable.

Starting with the white Arneis 2016, we learn these Northern Italian wines are fermented in concrete then aged in oak because the oak lets more flavor in. Typically, near Tuscany they grow Sangiovese grapes but  Montepulciano grapes are used to make the Montepulciano 2013 reserve, and Bottaia is the only vineyard who makes this wine in Temecula.

Want to blend your own wine? A wine blending lab that looks like a science room in on site too, where guests learn how to blend their own wine. Take home a souvenir bottle after corking and labeling one of five varietals. The small private room is perfect for intimate parties, celebrations, gatherings, or company retreats.

Don’t bother driving anywhere because the stunning boutique Ponte Vineyard Inn Resort sits next door with its lush manicured gardens. The hotel lobby and grounds feel like an old-world Mission, set on a 300 acre sanctuary. Our spacious bedroom with veranda looked out over the vineyard complete with lake, fountains, windmill, and distant mountain hugging views providing a romantic cozy almost European-feel. This wine country hotel also boasts a hot tub, Olympic sized pool, poolside bar and café, and outdoor intimate bar. Live music and food can be found in The Cellar bar along with several raved about restaurants, and of course, wine tasting.

Photo credit: http://www.agoda.com

 

A trip to wine country in Temecula is no longer complete without time well spent at Bottaia and at least a night or two at Ponte Vineyard Inn Resort.

The Temecula Valley Wine Country is Southern California’s wine country, and the place to go – so get away from it all, and celebrate in style.

 

 

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