The Coast News Group
Taste of Wine

Dishing out the Wine Spectator Awards

3,793 restaurants from around the world recently earned awards for their wine lists from the leading wine publication in the world, Wine Spectator.

The Grand Award is the publication’s highest honor for a wine list that sommeliers “take to the summit” in quality. The list is usually 1,500 bottles or more. Judges go over every square foot of the cellars and lists for great taste and value, plus breadth of selection ( must be around the world and then some.) There were 73 such awards this year, including the Grand Del Mar’s Addison for the fifth consecutive year. The San Diego resort’s Amaya Restaurant was selected for the second tier honor, The Best Award of Excellence for the fourth time, and Club M at the resort harvested the Award of Excellence for the second year.


Marriott’s Marina Kitchen Leaps Forward with Award of Excellence

After just over a year since opening in the San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina next to the convention center, Marina Kitchen has its first wine honor from Wine Spectator magazine, the Award of Excellence, recognizing its diverse and quality wine list of over 300 selections from 14 countries, with most wines priced under $100.

The fast-growing hot spot has already been voted Best Hotel Restaurant in San Diego by the readers of San Diego Magazine.

Joshua Orr, the Sommelier and Bar Manager was a critical part of the creation of this “modern comfort” launch of a wine and food program with fresh, sustainable local ingredients. Orr already holds the Advanced Sommelier certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers and does he know his wines! “This is a mostly West Coast-centric list that takes in California, Oregon and Washington with over 2,300 bottles and 320 different types of wines,” enthused Orr. “You won’t see most of them in grocery stores. They are not the same old names.

I have visited the vineyards and walked the walk. With our extensive seafood menu, you will see a lot of exciting Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Currently I am big on the Santa Rita Hills area north of Santa Barbara. Lots of young winemakers have new ideas in places like Laetitia and Talley that over deliver in taste, with pricing like a value wine,” he said.

You don’t want to miss the private dining wine cellar that holds 14 diners comfortably. Dining is family style on a handsome oak banquet table, surrounded by fine wines. A call to the private dining host can reserve your party a place in this premium space.

When you and your party arrive in the wine cellar, be sure to meet the Executive Chef Aron Schwartz and enjoy a demonstration of the “Ferrari of Prosciutto slicers.” Made in Italy, it slices this delicate artisan meat into paper-thin delicacies. This share-plate is the chef’s daily selection of three artisan meats and two cheeses.

Chef describes the menu as “modern comfort food” by presenting familiar favorites in a contemporary fashion.

Marina Kitchen began its new Tasting on the Terrace series on Saturdays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Accompanying premium cheeses will be three wines for $15. RSVP’s are requested. To reserve your place for the next Saturday event, call (619) 699-8222. For more information on Marina Kitchen, follow it on Facebook at

Other Wine Spectator awards went to: Acqua Al 2, Bertrands at Mr. A’s, Donovans and Humphreys in San Diego; Delicias, Veladora and Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe; Flemings, The Marine Room and Seasons 52 in La Jolla; Pampelmousse Grille, Sbicca’s and Il Fornaio in Del Mar; and Firefly, Firenze, Paon and West Steakhouse in Encinitas/Carlsbad.


Wine Bytes

The 10th annual Wine Social, produced by MIT Enterprise happens Aug. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla. More then 20 boutique wineries will be pouring, and a silent auction with a chance to bid on special gifts. Pre event charge of $85 with on-site registration $100. See more at

Zinfandel Advocates and Producers presents Zin by the Bay, Aug. 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bristol Hotel in the downtown San Diego Gaslamp District. Meet leading Zin producers and winemakers in this all-Zin tasting. Cost is $50 pp. Contact ZAP at (530) 274-4900.

Join the fun with Rum and Rhythm at Club M, at the Grand Del Mar Resort Aug. 8 from 7 to 11 p.m. Live Salsa music and dancing. No cover charge. Individual pricing for special Rum cocktails, Cuban-inspired tapas and hand-rolled cigars. Details at (858) 314-1923.

Kitchen 4140 on Morena Boulevard in San Diego has winemakers from Hall and Walt Wineries Napa Valley and Sonoma, offering a six-course meal with these fine wines, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. $100. Call Chef Kurt at (858) 483-4140 for an RSVP.