We went on a Friday afternoon (5/22/09) of a long weekend and it was not crowded with only 6 or 8 people.
We tried: '05 Viognier, which was "peachy"; 2004 Zinfandel, "a light zin"; '06 Malbec, which was easy-drinking with only 12.5% alcohol with some black fruits and spice; '05 Sauvignon Blanc, very mild and subtle.
We talked for a while with "Bob" who is a consultant for Stuart Cellars, and learned a bit about the place and its vines. Then I met Matt (the cellar's biochemist), and since my background is in geochemistry, we chatted up a little about chemistry.
Wife and I tasted a 2006 old-vine Zin, which was not on the menu. And what a treat it was: it's full-bodied and long on the finish; got good tannins and oomph. You can just smell it all night long. Note: it has a Cucamonga Valley appellation, not Temecula.
That's how a good winery experience was to us: meet the people, learn about the place and have some wine.
After putting in some time (an hour and 45 min.) talking to various folks at Stuart and tasting its wines, I honestly think they deserve 3.5 to 4 stars. I think if I had a tour, I probably would rate it higher.
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