Monday, December 26, 2011


Weve enjoyed some wonderful wines this year, from right in our own San Diego County backyard. This list makes us smile.

Belle Marie Chateau Dragoo 2003 Barolo
   $32 (wine club: $28.80)

Bernardo 2006 Estate Syrah

Cactus Star Scaredy Cat Ranch 2009 Estate Tempranillo

Cordiano 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
   All gone, but the 2005 is $30 (wine club: $24)

Eagles Nest 2007 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Edwards 2004 Ramona Valley Syrah

Hawk Watch 2006 Estate Reserve Syrah
   All gone. But they have lots of other good stuff.

JJJ Cellars (Pamo Valley Vineyards) 2006 Ramona Valley Merlot

Kohill 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

La Finquita 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

La Serenissima 2006 San Diego County Cabernet Sauvignon
   Around $28 in retail stores, available by the case at the winery

Milagro 2008 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
   $22.50 (wine club: $18)

Orrin 2007 Estate Syrah

Rock Canyon 2007 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon

Salerno 2007 Lagrein
   $50 (wine club: $32)

San Pasqual 2001 “Ranchero” (Cab./Nebbiolo blend)
   $25 (wine club: $20)

Shadow Mountain 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
   $28 (wine club: $22.40)

Woof’n Rose 2008 Estate Cabernet Franc

Monday, December 19, 2011


Wine tasting with a kid in tow? Keep it short, and choose places with food, pets, and a casual atmosphere. Salerno certainly fits the bill with wood-fired pizzas, plenty of open space, and family-friendly people. Winery dog Pinot Noir has a big bark, but he loves to be petted.
At the Pamo tasting room, kids can feed treats to pooches Teacup and Roxy (who, on a recent visit, looked very cute in their red sweaters). There are always little treats for the humans too.
Cordiano Winery hosts a lot of boisterous family gatherings around tables laden with pizza and salad. On a weekend, your child will not be the only one here. There’s plenty of room to move about in, and quite a cast of playful canine characters.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

UNCORKED Wine Bar - Orange County

22342 El Paseo
Rancho Santa Margarita

Bar Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday 4:30-9, Thursday 4:30-10, Friday-Saturday 4:30-11, Sunday noon-6. Happy Hour Tuesday-Friday 4:30-6:30.

We decided to branch out a bit and explore some wine venues in the OC (Orange County).  UnCorked is a
wine shop and bar with an excellent selection of global wines, offering good value for price, regardless of whether you intend to spend $18 or $200 on a bottle. In the back there's a very friendly wine bar with a thoughtfully crafted list by the glass or in flights, plus a bit of food. We enjoyed tastes of Tobin James Chardonnay (Monterrey, CA), Mud House Pinot Noir (Central Otago, New Zealand), and Jim Barry Lodge Hill Shiraz (Clare Valley, Australia). According to owner George Riviere, “If I don’t like it, I don’t buy it.” This straightforward philosophy seems to be working quite well.

Monday, December 12, 2011

AMAZING GRAPES Wine Bar - Orange County

Amazing Grapes
29911 Aventura Suites D, E and F
Rancho Santa Margarita

Bar Hours: Monday-Tuesday 5-7, Wednesday-Saturday 5-10
Amazing Grapes is an expansive wine store with something for everybody, including a “wines under $10” section. There’s a tasting area with a bar and tables; the food menu accommodates guests who want to dine as well as those who just want a nibble with their wine. About fifteen wines are offered by the taste (2 oz.); selections change every two weeks. Or, choose a bottle from the store and enjoy it at the bar with no corkage fee. There are $10 flights on Wednesdays and winery tastings on Thursdays.