Best Winery

Posted October 9, 2008 in Feature Story

While most wineries in the Temecula Valley won’t go Hungary, Bella Vista sure will. With literal roots going back to 1968, this is the valley’s oldest vineyard and one of its most picturesque. The very amiable owner Imre Cziraki took over Cilurzo and renamed her Bella Vista—purportedly meaning “spectacular viewing pleasure” in Hungarian pidgin—about four years ago, and now he’s introduced organic wines and Hungarian white grapes to the mix. These grapes are postcard clusters that are about the size of cranberries and sweeter than any you’ll ever taste (besides maybe Christmas divinity), and they’ll eventually end up the chief character in the signature organic soirée wines. If you see Cziraki walking around either the 52-acre primary premises or the 69-acre toiled rows in the hillocks off of Calle Contente, he is apt to tell you, in strong grandfatherly accent, that he’s nothing more than the janitor. In fact, this is an ideal retirement for Cziraki, a work of art and patience for a man who got into wine “to get drunk,” but stuck around to put smiles on connoisseurs faces and rack up awards. Of the four organic wines that Bella Vista currently has, the dry (’06) or sweet (’07) soirées are the best around, both of them aged in a barrel to earn organic certification. Word is there’ll be a fifth organic wine introduced this December in time for the holidays, a 2004 cabernet sauvignon which has earned early raves and orders. (Chuck Mindenhall)
Bella Vista Vineyard and Winery, 41220 Calle Contento, Temecula, (951) 676-5250,; Open for tastings daily, 10AM-6PM


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