Wednesday, October 5, 2011


This year’s crush is almost over at Salerno Vineyards and Winery in Ramona. April and her pal Mary started a Sunday afternoon tasting with a refreshing 2007 “Bianco Tosto” blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc from Central Coast grapes. Of the seven reds on offer, the favorites were:

2008 San Diego County Merlot – light and dry
2007 Estate Syrah – fruit forward with a dry finish
2008 Estate Pinot Noir – a worthy exemplar, rare in these parts
2007 Lagrein from Paso Robles grapes – full and dry.


Rose Salerno welcomed us at the tasting counter. There we also met Dave, whose day job involves supplying bottles and corks to almost every winery in the county. Helping out at Salerno on Sundays is his way to recharge for the week ahead.  Also behind the bar was college student Garret, double-majoring in business and geology. This guy can talk wine like a sommelier. He and his father Nathan are about to open a wine bar and retail shop in central Ramona that will feature San Diego County wines. 

Dave encouraged us to try a little port with a slice of a guest’s birthday cake. Herman Salerno is really proud of his port; he buys grapes from vintners who agree to only let the fruit stay on the vines until the sugar content is up to 24-25 brix. It’s a common practice is to make port from grapes that are way more sugary (32-34 brix). In Salerno’s port the grapes are the star of the show. It's raisin-y and full-flavored but not cloyingly sweet or boozy.

Meanwhile, Herman treated us to a song.

Salerno's tasting patio is open Wednesday - Sunday 11:00-dusk. 760.788.7160

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