The Coast News Group
Taste of Wine

Flavor of Paso comes to San Marcos eats

I was fascinated and privileged to be a part of an intimate wine dinner at a neighborhood pizza/pasta restaurant in San Marcos, Rossi’s Pizza. The owner, an affable host, Marshall Bryer, like most of us, enjoys stopping at country vineyards and knocking on doors.  One such trip through the back door to Paso Robles, took him to a town called Templeton and there he met Michael Giubbini who operates Rotta Winery, one of the first in Paso Wine Country.
Bryer loved the wines and proposed that Rotta Wines be featured at his restaurant along with a four-course Italian “soul food” menu of Caesar salad, lasagna, chicken parmigiana and a stunning chocolate cake. Each course would be paired with Rotta Wines and the price would be very attractive to all.
2 for 1 tickets makes it irresistible.
Two wines stood out in this wine event that I want to advise you to taste:  The Estate Zinfandel 2006 is very fruity and intense, definitely a power Zin. It has won gold. It’s sold for $27 at the winery and at Rossi’s.  The other is the Black Monukka Dessert Wine, served with a rich chocolate cake. It’s a caramelized, nutty vanilla, baked cream sherry drink, produced in small oak barrels.  This one is a big hit with judges around the country.  It goes for $27 at the winery and at Rossi’s.  Giubbini emphasized, “We use the dry farming method of growing grapes.  No irrigation, just the natural rainfall.  We had a light crop, about a half-ton an acre to make a hearty wine grape.”
Learn more at and 
New Season – New Wines
Many wineries are introducing new releases for the fall and up-coming holidays.  Some wines I recommend you try include:
— Banfi Centine, Tuscany Italy, 2008, $12.  No matter the price point, Banfi quality is produced into each wine. A richly deserved accolade;
— Charles Krug Reserve “Generations,” Napa Valley CA, 2008, $51.  A showstopper at the recent 150th Krug Anniversary Celebration;
— Falernia Carmenere Reserva, Elqui Valley, Chile, 2007, $9.  Carmenere just might be the grape that no one knows about.  This winery may break it open to the world;
— Frank Family Zinfandel, Napa Valley, CA, 2008, $27. Historic winery established 1884. Aromas of black cherry and oak Zesty spice and cinnamon flavors;
— Gen 7 “Road To Zanzibar” Zinfandel Blend, San Diego, CA, 2008.  $34.  Magical Red made from Zinfandel, Cab Franc and Carignane;
— Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands Monterey, CA, 2009.  $22.  From the Wagner Family that gives us the great Caymus Wines. This Chard is made of steel only.  Lovely and crisp.
— Orin Swift “The Prisoner” Blend, Napa Valley, CA, 2009.  $35.  Mostly Zinfandel with luscious, rich black cherry overtones;
— Pedroncelli Bench Vineyards Merlot, Dry Creek Sonoma, CA, 2009.  $15.  Sloped, rocky terrain brings out the best in this richly textured Merlot.  Soft, integrated tannins; 
— Sterling Vineyards Meritage, Napa Valley, CA, 2007.  $30.  Black cherry and toasty oak spike up the Cabernet, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Layers of flavor; 
— Thornton Mourvedre, Temecula Valley, CA, 2010.  $22.  A Rhone Valley grape, that’s finally unleashed.  Truly delicious; 
Wine Bytes
— VINZ Wine Bar in Escondido now has Sunday and Monday entertainment as well as Friday and Saturday.  For an RSVP call (760) 743-8466.
— Alternative Wines in Carmel Valley presents Tablas Creek Vineyard of Paso Robles Sept. 30 at 6:30pm.  Call (858) 780-9463 for pricing.
— “Sons of Italy” and other organizations bring you La Dolce Vita Italian Festival in Laguna Niguel Sept. 30, 5 to 10 p.m. and Oct. 1, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Free entertainment, dancing, cooking demos and shuttle to bocce.  See more at, or call (949) 340-5770.
— Lobster 2011 is Sat. Oct. 1 from 6 to 9pm at Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas.  It’s an old-fashioned lobster boil with Maine Lobsters.  $100 Pre-sale only. Call (760) 479-2500.
— The RB Tasting Festival is at Bernardo Winery Oct. 2 from noon to 4 p.m.  Enjoy music, art, food and beer and wine.  $15 per person; $25 for two, in advance.  Free logo glass.  Call (858) 663-4852.
— A Fall Harvest Wine Dinner is planned at Bistro West Carlsbad, Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m.  Cost is $55.  Reception, dessert and a three-course dinner with four top wines makes it a must.