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North County Wine Company in San Marcos recently celebrated its 11th anniversary.
North County Wine Company in San Marcos recently celebrated its 11th anniversary. Photo via Facebook
ColumnsFood & WineTaste of Wine

Taste of Wine: North County Wine Company celebrates 11 years

Senior Editor Frank Mangio and I were on-site to celebrate the 11th anniversary of one of the region’s premier wine shops — North County Wine Company (NCWC) in San Marcos.

Owner Jim Tobin and bartender Chuck had a packed house with friends of the wine shop, including the original 12 customers with special wine glasses along with other customers taking advantage of the NCWC 11th anniversary top-shelf tasting.

I love the atmosphere that NCWC creates especially with its regulars. It is like a scene out of Cheers. For example, customer Steve Dewitt cooked up a couple of pans of Pistachio-topped salmon served with an equally good pasta salad that he shared out to about 40 guests.

The highlight of the event was Jim and Chuck using sabers to open two bottles of champagne. A quick flick of a saber across the bottleneck catching the top seam sheers off the top and makes for a spectacular show.

Equal to the sabering were the spectacular wines that Tobin selected for the anniversary tasting ($35).  Guests enjoyed 2017 Niner Fog Catcher Red Blend, Paso Robles, $100; 2018 Penfolds Bin 704 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $70; 2015 Immortal Slope, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, $70; 2016 Meyer Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $63, and the 2018 Eleven Eleven X-I, Bordeaux Red Blend, $80.

Additionally, Tobin had several add-on options, including a half glass of 2015 Opus One for $35. Some of these delicious wines are sure to make our Top 10 list at the end of the year.  NOTE – Wine prices listed are NCWC prices and not winery retail prices.

Congrats Jim on serving the North County community with exceptional wines, service, and fair prices for the past 11 years! See

Story by Tech Director/Writer Rico Cassoni

Bartender Chuck, left, and Owner Jim Tobin using sabers to sheer off Champagne bottlenecks at North County Wine Company’s 11th Anniversary
Bartender Chuck, left, and Owner Jim Tobin using sabers to sheer off Champagne bottlenecks at North County Wine Company’s 11th Anniversary. Photo by Frank Mangio

Daou Rosé Beach Party at Hotel del Coronado

Just like anything that Daou Family Estates commits to, their recent Rosé All Day Beach Party at Hotel del Coronado was exceptional!

One of Daou’s newest employees, Roman Palumbo, San Diego field service manager, led the effort for an amazing soiree with endless Daou Rose, sandcastle sculptures, roller skaters, break-dancers, and pop and lockers at the beautiful Hotel del Coronado.

It was great catching up with Kat Daou, social media manager and brand ambassador at Daou, and Roman Palumbo, as well as meeting Walter Sorensen, VP Western Region at the event.

The 2020 Daou Discovery Rosé is part of a catalog (Discovery) featuring great-value winning wines. Many have upstream counterparts including estate varietals. In fact, Daou’s cabernet sauvignon has five tiers, with top-tier “Patrimony” sporting 100-point scores and unheard of Bordeaux opaque black color phenolics that range from 300 to 500 ppm.

Master Winemaker Daniel Daou makes his rosé inspired by the renowned rosé wines of Provence, France.  The grenache noir (95%) based rosé with a splash of sauvignon blanc (5%) is fragrant with “aromas of fresh peach, Bartlett pear and nectarine, with subtle notes of hyacinth, apricot and crushed rose petals.

The palate is delightfully silky, underlying a clean, fresh crispness delivering enticing flavors of mango, Crenshaw melon, lemon chiffon and tangerine. Secondary layers reveal hints of sweet cherry and vanilla with orange peel accents. “A luxurious and lasting finish leaves traces of apple pie, strawberry and kiwi,” per Daou’s tasting notes.

At $24 a bottle, this is a home run wine, perfect for warm afternoons with light bites, pasta, and meals with poultry or fish. Bravo, Roman, for hitting the Daou Rosé All Day Hotel del Coronado Beach Party out of the park. Details on rosé and all Daou wines at

Story by Tech Director/Writer Rico Cassoni

Daou Family Estates representatives (left to right) Walter Sorensen, VP of Western Region, Roman Palumbo, San Diego field server manager, and Kat Daou, social media manager and brand ambassador, stand next to Rico Cassoni, tech director and writer of Taste of Wine & Food during Daou’s Rosé Beach Party at Hotel del Coronado. Courtesy photo

Wine Bytes

— Molly Brooks is on board with the Meritage Wine Market Team in Encinitas, conducting weekly Saturday Sommelier seminars and tastings from 2 to 5 p.m.

— A recent “Pinot Party” proved to be a smashing success. Pinots by the glass from several regions of the world were offered with 2 flights, an Explorer at $25. per person, and an Adventurer at $45. per person.  Every Saturday you’ll be able to select between these flights, with each wine’s retail price of at least $50 for the Explorer and $100. for the Adventurer. The theme will change weekly. Call 760-479-2500 for the next event.

— Vittorio’s Family Style Trattoria in Carmel Valley San Diego has its monthly wine dinner Thursday, Aug. 26, at 6:30 pm. This time it’s with Rusack Wines of Santa Barbara with their chardonnay, pinot noir and Syrah. The cost is $75. each plus tax and tip. Call 858-538-5884 for your RSVP.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator and one of the leading commentators on the web. Reach him at [email protected]