The Coast News Group
Taste of Wine

Pork & Pinot: A perfect night at Twenty/20

Twenty/20 in the Carlsbad Sheraton Hotel has an executive chef who may be the best at sensing a culinary trend and moving in front with its presentation.  Proof of that was the recent Pork and Pinot soiree when every entrée was pork-based, paired with a Pinot Noir from the vast Jackson Family Wines Collection from the Central and North Coast of California.

Robert Carr is a big man in the kitchen, and at Twenty/20, he proves it daily. He loves what he does.  I have seen him adapt and evolve, creating distinguished menus since this restaurant opened. His entrees are like his children as he lovingly described his pork dishes, from Prosciutto to Braised Port Cheek.  All were worthy dishes to pair with Pinot

Noirs brought in by Director of Wine Communication & Education Steve Heimoff from Jackson Family Wines of Sonoma.  Everyone knows Kendall Jackson and their varietals, but this night Heimoff brought in lesser known but higher quality Pinots that blew away all the guest diners.

If there is just one wine varietal you need for your Thanksgiving dinner, it’s Pinot Noir.  The Pinot lineup at Twenty/20 included:  Carmel Road 2012

Monterey ($16), La Crema Willamette Valley 2012 ($40), Cambria Estate 2012 ($19), Champ de Reves Anderson Valley 2012 ($36) and Hartford Court Russian River Valley 2012 ($42).  Jackson Family owns 47 wineries worldwide.  Jess Jackson the owner, before he died recently, declared, “I want to make the best wines I can, at every price point and be dedicated to sustainability.”  Five thousand acres of Jackson wine has been officially declared sustainable, grown with natural products, using solar power.

What began as a top chef challenge some five years ago, pork is now seen as the hottest dining trend in the restaurant world and Chef Robert at Twenty/20 explores and discovers new, delicious ways to make this dish happen.

Other reasons to lock into this feel-good restaurant this month are the Saturday night live music and dinner feature, with panoramic views of the sunset and coast from a pavilion, with contemporary fire features to excite the senses.  A Friday lunch changes weekly, with Spanish Tapa flair to it.

Twenty/20 has a Thanksgiving Buffet extravaganza including stuffed pork loin, for $50; kids $25.  Service will be from 3 to 8 p.m., with a limited dinner menu until 10 p.m.  Call for reservations at (760) 827-2500.

Pinot Noir is the most embracing wine I know, in the sense that it pairs with nearly all entrees, and that’s what makes it right for Thanksgiving dinners. It’s like putting a dozen beautiful roses on the table.  Other pinots to consider include:  Edna Valley Reserve 2012 ($45), Golden Eye Anderson Valley 2010 ($45), Frei Bros. Reserve, Russian River ($16).

Oregon Pinot Noirs like Domaine Serene 2010 ($80) are more Burgundian French style with a stronger taste, while the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey would be a more floral style like the Talbott Sleepy Hollow Vineyard 2012 ($22).

Thanksgiving Wine Bytes

Chandler’s Restaurant & Lounge in Carlsbad has a Thanksgiving feast Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Traditional turkey with all the trimmings.  $55; add $20 with wine pairings.  RSVP at (760) 683-5500.

Marina Kitchen in San Diego Celebrates Thanksgiving with a home-style menu Nov. 27 with a buffet style feast from 1:30 to 7 p.m.  $48; $12.99 for children under 12.  Wine pairing $20 additional.  Call for RSVP at (619) 699-8222.

Amaya at the Grand Del Mar presents a three-course Thanksgiving dinner Nov. 27 from 12:30 to 8 p.m.  $85; $125 with wine pairings.  Reservations at (858) 314-1996.

A Fall Harvest wine tasting showcases San Diego County’s premier wines at Vintana Wine & Dine in Escondido, Nov. 22 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.  Taste barrel samples and new releases, with hors d’oeuvres for $25. A wine symposium from 2 to 3 p.m. plus tasting is $40. Call (619) 236-1299.

Taste Thanksgiving wines at San Diego Wine Company on Miramar Road Sat. Nov. 22 from 11 to 4pm for just $10.  Call 858-586-WINE for varietals.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.

View and link up with his columns at  HYPERLINK “”  Reach him at  HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected][email protected] and follow him on Facebook.