On April 26, 2014, we took a leisurely drive down to the Del Mar Fairgrounds & Race Track for the San Diego International Wine Show. As we got off the 5 freeway, dark clouds loomed overhead. We arrived a little early and decide to hang out in the car . . . then the rain started. But, just like rain in Hawaii, it was gone just as fast as it came. We hoped the cloud coverage would stay as it would help keep it cooler for an outside event and even better, light diffusion for beautiful photography.
The San Diego International Wine Show took over The Paddocks which is set up like a beautiful courtyard, some of the wineries and artisans were in stalls where prized horses are kept in between races. Others were in tented stalls around the courtyard. Plus, there were tables and chairs to relax and enjoy the wines of your choice. The 17 Hands Restaurant served a limited menu and also housed the culinary demonstrations.
Let’s take a look at some of the wineries & culinary artisans:
Two Shepherds is owned by William Allen. William has a passion for wine – Rhône enthusiast and former wine writer/blogger. Two Shepherds began commercial production in 2010 and specializes in Rhone varieties like Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Roussane. 2012 Grenache Blanc is clean, crisp, bright, and slightly sweet. It would be perfectly paired with seafood linguini in either a light cream sauce or tossed in olive oil or shrimp or scallop scampi.
Coomber Wines was born from Skip and Maureen Coomber’s love of wine and animals. Their dogs, Murphy and Maggie, are on the wine label. Maggie is a skateboarding bull dog! Since starting their winemaking endeavor, the Coombers have also donated 5% of their profits to animal welfare groups. 2011 Vintner’s Collection California Cabernet Sauvignon is bold, dark, oaky, with subtle flavors of black cherry and raspberry. This would pair well with a pepper crusted ribeye grilled over charcoal and sautéed mushrooms.
Wilson Creek Winery is one of my favorite Temecula Valley wineries. They are known for their Almond Champagne. It is refreshingly light, crisp, and sweet. It can be enjoyed chilled by the pool, with dessert, and even for toasting at your next special occasion. Wilson Creek Winery also offers stays at the Wilson Creek Manor so you can enjoy the day exploring the winery and vineyard, have a lunch and dinner at Creekside Grille, and then retire to your room. Wake up refreshed and stay for breakfast or brunch before heading back home.
Kiwi Distributing is owned by Doug and Matt Pye who are native Kiwis. They started 20 years ago as an importer and warehouse serving Whole Foods Markets in the Southern California area. They are able to showcase boutique winemakers from all over the world without having us leave the states. An example is a 2009 Cable Bay Sauvignon Blanc from the Malboro region of New Zealand. It has a pear aroma with citrus and pear tones. There is also a slight cucumber flavor which is very different. This would pair well with a roasted pork chop with apple chutney.
Carruth Cellars is owned by Adam Carruth. After working in Healdsburg in Sonoma County, he headed back home to Carlsbad to make the wine he loved. In September 2010, Carruth Cellars was born. They “bring the grapes to the people” by sourcing from Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Lake County, and Mendocino. The 2010 Alexander Valley Merlot has a cherry aroma and is full-bodied with oak and light cherry on the palate. This would pair well with smoked pit barbeque meats or rich Bolognese sauced pasta.
Dessert First San Diego is owned by Pat and Rachel Barro and just opened up shop in January 2014. It all started because they wanted to build a better cheesecake. The Berry Kiss Joyful is a multi-layered cheesecake treat with mixed seasonal berries. It was delicious! Not too heavy, yet decadent enough to be more than just a small bite. Similar to concept to Seasons 52 desserts, they pack a lot of flavor in these “passed desserts”. They also offer San Diego’s only “Dessert and Canvas” party that combines luxury mini desserts with fine art.
Quigley Fine Wines is owned by Brendan Quigley. After extensive travel through Europe, Brendan saw potential in importing small, family owned boutique wines not typically available in the U.S. In 2010, Quigley Fine Wines opened up shop. They can import from France, Italy, and Spain and deliver directly to the consumer in 45 states. 2008 Château Tour des Genêts Cuvee Christian is a blend of 70% Syrah and 305 Grenache with dark ruby-purple color, light berry and cherry tones, and a clean finish. This would pair well with venison tenderloin with cherry demi-glace.
Kris and Jen Garrett bought Wine Street in December 2008 and renamed it La Costa Wine Company. Their love of wine evolved from a love of cooking. The store also has a large selection of artisan cheeses to create the ideal pairing. Kris has also started his own wine label, No Pasa Nada, with 2012 Authority which is a Cabernet blend using grapes from Paso Robles. It has oak and cherry aroma with a lot of character – sour, sweet cherry, and oaky. It keeps the taste buds buzzing as it goes through your palate. Even with the different cheeses La Costa offered, like Honey Bee Goat Gouda, the wine flavor stayed the same. This would pair perfectly with prime rib of beef with whipped horseradish and creamed spinach.
Chef Pablo Fernandez offered a demonstration of healthy Guatemalan appetizers to pair with wines. His brother was acting sous chef and made plantains stuffed with black beans and topped with queso fresco. He also made a vegetable lettuce wrap that packed lots of healthy flavors together. The brothers were friendly yet had a lot of fun with the audience as well. Chef Pablo owns The Secret Table which is a community based, real food movement event company – bringing people together around organic food, inspiring relationships, and having fun doing it!
There are so many international wines, there is no way you can taste them all on one visit. Make plans to visit next year for San Diego International Wine Show!
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San Diego International Wine Show
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