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Carruth Cellars owner and winemaker Adam Carruth holding a 2012 Lake County Malbec at the Right Bank Bordeaux station. Photo by Rico Cassoni
ColumnsTaste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Carruth Cellars’ Annual Reserve Sale a huge success

Adam Carruth, proprietor and winemaker of Carruth Cellars, a San Diego-based urban winery, held their Annual Reserve Sale a few weeks ago. Of course, Senior Editor Frank and I could not resist an event with great wines on deep discounts.

Once a year, the Carruth Cellars team digs deep into its reserve wine storage to gather up limited and award-winning wines for its largest and most treasured sale of the year. Just in time for the holiday season, it was a great opportunity to stock up on bottles up to 50% off as gifts for wine-loving friends, and favorites to fill your own wine rack!

Guests enjoyed tastings of limited and endangered wines at five stations spread throughout the tasting room. The five stations consisted of Burgundy, Italian, Rhone and Bordeaux split in both left and right bank stations. The admission price included 12 tastings, a special event take-home logo wine glass, and a Red Oven wood-fired personal pizza.

The station concept provided a great way to pace guests through the wine maze and adhere to COVID-19 protocols. Every 20 minutes, guests in groups of two to six patrons moved station to station with two of the 20 minutes reserved for cleaning the station before the next group showed up.

Carruth Cellars’ Theresa was getting “jiggy” (“Seinfeld” reference) rocking ’80s tunes piped throughout and meticulously keeping track of time. This allowed guests to be on-site for a total of two hours with the last 20 minutes being next to the Endangered Species rack of wine for the final chance to pick up some library wines at killer discounts.

Other particulars making this a special event included Carruth working with business neighbor David Allan to have wood sculptures and art pieces throughout from David’s studio down the street, including a breathtaking 6-foot-tall wood sculpture at the start of the station maze. Also, those purchasing 6+ bottles were able to use 50% of their ticket price toward wine purchases and received a Carruth Cellars logo tote bag.

I look forward to enjoying some prizes that I picked up at the event — 2013 Sonoma Valley Syrah, 2014 North Coast BDX Bordeaux Blend and 2015 Alexander Valley Double Gold Cabernet Sauvignon. The hardest part is always finding the right time to pop one of these reserve beauties.

Great event, Adam and Carruth Cellars team! Info at

— Story by Tech Director/Writer Rico Cassoni


A Thanksgiving feast in a box

Remember the time when Thanksgiving meant inviting the neighborhood and as many family members as could drive or fly in to fill up on a Thanksgiving feast at your home, a feast that could take days to prepare for the big get-together?

Silky, sensual and full of rich pleasure, Pinot Noir provided perfect pairing for just about every choice of entrée at our Thanksgiving dinner. Courtesy photo

The scent of food cooking filled homes in the neighborhood. But like most of our treasured moments, this year was very different and this Thanksgiving Day we had to deal with gatherings of “under 10” only, masks and 6-foot distancing.

The only thing that remained the same for us was that beautiful Pinot Noir wine that paired perfectly with this year’s eventual Thanksgiving dinner… in a box!

I found a savior in Seaside Market in Cardiff. This was a Thanksgiving dinner in a masterfully prepared box that would feed about 10, with leftovers for the next day.

Alongside the freshly roasted turkey was stuffing, potatoes, squash, string beans, cranberry sauce and even a fresh pumpkin pie.

I have annually paired my Thanksgiving feast with several bottles of Pinot Noir and again this year, these wines kept this tradition alive. Our “under 10” guests were requested to make a choice of “best pairing” of the three Pinot Noir current release wines presented to enhance the food choices.

They were: Frank Family Carneros Napa Valley, 2018 ($30), Laetitia Estate Arroyo Grande Valley, 2018 ($24) and San Simeon Monterey, Estate Reserve 2017. ($22)

Pinots have lots of smooth tasting red fruit on the palate, and not a lot of tannins. Minimum tannins mean mellow, tasty wines that don’t need much aging to deliver quality. Your turkey, ham, fish or pork will easily marry up its flavors with many Pinots.

San Simeon’s distinct flavor is achieved within the renowned Santa Lucia Highlands, south of Monterey, and just minutes away from the Pacific Ocean. Subtle spice is achieved from French oak barrels aging its Pinot Noir for at least 10 months. Once out and in bottles, black cherries and raspberry notes dominate, for a truly exclusive San Simeon flavor. It was the most favored wine of the group. Visit


Wine Bytes

  • Skip and Maureen Coomber continue to develop their Coomber Craft Wines on Mission in Oceanside. The creative combination of wine flights and a sensible wine club, quick-order food from neighbor restaurants and a covered outdoor concert stage with seating that respects distance, attracts guests to listen to live top regional talent. A full six nights a week of bookings has been scheduled for December at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Details at
  • Seasalt in Del Mar is now offering 25% off any pasta dish on Wednesdays for a limited time from 4:30 p.m., whether you’re dining at Seasalt or carrying out. Other discounts include brunch and taco specials. Call 858-755-7100 for details.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. Reach him at [email protected]