Traz was sick this week, and asked someone to cover his “Traz Pick of the Week.” Heroically, I stepped in to consider the best wineries in the Valley, and then go and pick the best wine that winery has to offer.
Stuart Cellars has been a favorite of mine as far back as I can remember. The big hearty reds were standouts, at a time when many wineries were still focusing on whites. Marshall and Susan Stuart were at the tasting room the first time I visited. They were charming, and so excited about what they were doing. Ten years later, they are still charming, and everyone is excited about what they are doing.
Stuart Cellars is perched high on a hill, overlooking Temecula Wine Country. The curving driveway is pleasant. It feels as though you are going right through the vineyard. I noticed some changes that were recently made, including a permanent stage on the front lawn. There were more changes inside. The winery has been decorated in a beautiful Tuscan style that feels warm and inviting.
I brought my husband, who wouldn’t miss an afternoon of wine tasting for anything. We made ourselves comfortable at the bar to look over the tasting menu. Do
nna, the petite brunette who was serving was friendly and knowledgeable. We tasted all the reds. My old favorites were there; the cherry toned 2007 Malbec, the slightly spicy 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, and the jammy 2006 Zinfandel. There was a new wine on the list too. Lagrein is an Italian varietal, fruity, but nicely acidic. I loved this new addition. The 2005 Long Valley was a standout as always. Only one could be my very favorite though. It was the same wine that was my favorite 10 years ago, when I first tasted at Stuart Cellars. Marshall Stuart’s Tatria is still, for my money, one of the very best wines Temecula has to offer. The 2005 may rival the 2002 for great vintages.
The 2005 Tatria is a full-bodied wine with a lingering finish. It is one of the region’s truly complex wines. It is full of black plum, spice smoke, and just the faintest touch of vanilla. The warm rich tones in the glasses perfectly accompanied the cooling afternoon.
Stuart Cellars is offering all Taste of Temecula readers a 30% discount on the 2005 Tatria. Go in and see the changes that have been made. Taste their wine and see if your favorite is the same as mine. If not, let us know what your favorite is.
Stuart Cellars is located at 33515 Rancho California Rd Temecula, CA 92591
Phone: (951) 676-6414