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Duckhorn Regional California Sales Manager Rebekah Turpin pouring Paraduxx Red Blend for a guest. Photo by Rico Cassoni.
Columns Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: The weather outside was frightful, but PAON’s holiday party was delightful

PAON Restaurant & Wine Bar recently held its second annual Holiday Tasting Party & Wine Warehouse Sale. Over 200 guests enjoyed seven Wine Tasting Stations with more than 67 wines to sample along with PAON small bites. The event wine prices were discounted just in time for holiday shopping and gift giving.   

PAON Wine Director Kate Edgecombe did a great job of ensuring there was a wine suitable for every guest’s palate. White and red wines represented the entire world including California wines from Napa Valley, Paso Robles, and Sonoma, Chilean reds, Italian whites and reds from Piedmont and Tuscany, Australian wines from McLaren Vale and French Bordeaux, Bourgogne and Rhone Valley wines to name a few of the regions and terroirs. 

Managing Partner Steve Barr and his team ensured a memorable experience by providing guests with delicious small bites to complement the wines being served. 

A special treat for attendees was Station 7 that included more than 20 wines from owner and partner Mayur Pavagadhi’s library, who is also the owner of Witch Creek Winery, a Carlsbad Urban Winery. In addition to great wines and nibbles, PAON offered three prizes in a raffle drawing: a 1995 Pikes Clare Valley Shiraz magnum, a 2019 Trinitas Mysteriama magnum and a 3-month PAON Wine Club starter membership. The starter membership, like all PAON Wine Club memberships, is completely customizable to the member’s unique preferences. We are already looking forward to the third annual 2020 Holiday Tasting Party & Wine Warehouse Sale. Visit

Pahlmeyer wines perfectly paired at West End Bar & Kitchen Wine Dinner 

The wine industry is filled with intriguing stories. Jayson Pahlmeyer’s story easily fits into this category. Out of the chute, 30 years ago in its first release, Pahlmeyer scored a stunning 94-point Robert Parker score with its Chardonnay that is made even more famous where it was showcased in the Hollywood Blockbuster movie, “Disclosure” starring Michael Douglas and Demi Moore. 

What is most interesting is how then lawyer, Jayson Pahlmeyer, and partner and land owner John Caldwell, got their vineyard started in 1981. After analyzing John’s soil, Bordeaux experts said that the land was best suited to grow corn. However, that did not stop this duo’s ambition to create a “California Mouton.”

Knowing they needed superior French clones and worried about being caught smuggling the contraband, they decided to first import to Canada and then drive the clones south to Napa Valley.  This worked well until they were caught on the last shipment. They were doomed and agreed to give up all clones. 

However, instead of surrendering the French clones, they switched them with cuttings obtained from UC Davis. They then planted the French clones. And the rest is history.  Throughout the vineyard’s tenure, Pahlmeyer wines have been made by some of the world’s top master winemakers including Randy Dunn, Bob Levy and Helen Turley creating the famous Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red Blend and Jayson wines. Note these two brands have recently been sold to E&J Gallo winery; no fruit or equipment was part of the sale. The third brand, Wayfarer Estate Grown Wines, is overseen by Jayson’s daughter Cleo, President, Wayfarer Wines.  Details at

The West End Bar & Kitchen Wine Dinner featured five mouthwatering courses including slow-cooked Ossobuco veal shank with saffron risotto, paired with Pahlmeyer Merlot as the main course. Guests also enjoyed Jayson Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet. The wines were perfectly paired with all five courses. See

Wine Bytes

• Wine Vault & Bistro (San Diego) is hosting a six-course winemaker dinner featuring Justin Winery founder and namesake, Justin Baldwin, in person at 5 p.m. Dec. 15.  Guests will enjoy Landmark Chardonnay and Pinot Noir followed by Justin iconic reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Justification and Isosceles. Price is $89.50 per person. RSVP at (619) 295-3939.

• L’Auberge (Del Mar) is hosting a Christmas Eve Celebratory three-course dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 24. The main course choices include Sea Scallops, Braised beef short ribs, Swordfish Oscar or Ratatouille. Cost is $95 per person. 

• L’Auberge (Del Mar) is hosting a Christmas Day Buffet from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 25. This is a full-featured brunch with optional Bloody Mary/Mimosa bar ($20 per person).  Guests will enjoy Eggs Your Way and Carving Stations.  Cost is $75 per adult and $25 for young guests (12 years or younger). Contact (858) 259-1515.

• Save the Date for the Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival, Jan. 18 at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. Event Producer David Fraschetti is featuring 50 Top Tier Pinot Noir wineries for this exciting event. Various ticket options are available. Details at