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I recently went to visit a dear friend in Temecula for the day. In discussing what we should do while there, wineries came to mind first as well as a visit to Old Town Temecula.
We started the day in Old Town. Walking through the quaint city it brought the feeling of being in the old west, with the wooden walkways creaking as we moved along. We ventured into Temecula Olive Oil Company. Surprisingly, that was where our tasting would begin. We mozied on over to the “bar” where we were served a variety of family made olive oils and balsamics. My favorite had to be the Citrus Reserve, who would have thought blood oranges tasted so good combined with olive oil?
As we walked around historic Old Town, The Old Town Sweet Shop and Old Town Rootbeer Company were definitely first on our list. These are a must for anyone visiting the city.
Once we finished in Old Town we made our way to our final destination – Ponte Family Estate and Winery. As we pulled in the driveway of the barn style Tasting Room, we immediately knew we were in the country, wine country!
Our tour of the winery and grounds started, naturally, with a glass of their Moscato in hand. Our friendly guide Ty showed us all that the winery had to offer. The tour felt more like we were catching up with an old friend. We momentarily forgot it was a business. We explored the wine making process and even tasted a Port wine straight from the oak barrels in their Mission style Barrel Room.
Ponte Vineyards are among the oldest and largest in the Temecula Wine Country. Claudio Ponte has owned the 310-acre vineyards since 1984. The vineyards include single named grape varieties such as Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc. I’ll be honest I am more of a white wine and sweet wine drinker. Once in the tasting room, Ty introduced as to their most popular hand crafted wine called Beverino. It’s a sweet boysenberry and black raspberry infused red wine that I am officially hooked on, you have try it!
Shhh ….. we had a sneak peak at what the accommodations will look like when their two-story, sixty-room boutique hotel, Ponte Vineyard Inn, is completed in April of 2012. These modern yet homey feeling rooms will be the perfect relaxation place after a fun filled day enjoying the winery. The hotel will be complete with a garden which leads to a pond.
We ended our day at the all-outdoor restaurant featuring casual Californian cuisine with an Italian influence. The Restaurant at Ponte where Chef
Vincent Logan has created an amazing menu was delizioso. I am a huge bread person and their rosemary bread with scallion olive oil was out of this world. I experienced the roasted half chicken with pan jus along with fried basmati rice and Temecula summer vegetables. My friend, Dianna , enjoyed a grilled pork tenderloin with a port cherry ginger sauce complete with truffle mashed potatoes and summer vegetables. These dishes gave savory a whole new meaning. It is no wonder they are an award winning venue.
Beginning in August when you take a tour you may also be able to taste the grapes right off the vines. On October 2, the 9th Annual Grape Stomp is on tap. You can enjoy tractor rides through the vineyard and can also enter their Grape Stomp Competition with a chance to win a case of Ponte wine, and much more.
For more information about Ponte Family Estate and Winery contact (951) 694-8855 or visit www.pontewinery.com