At the helm of his urban winery in the heart of the Cedros Design District, winemaker Adam Carruth handcrafts award-winning wines, including the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Best in Class Alexander Valley Cabernet, from grapes he fastidiously collects from all over California. His team handles the production of each varietal from crush to finish, aging juices in barrels that line the walls of the industrial-chic tasting room. The final products?which range from a crisp sauvignon blanc to a bordeaux-style Surfing Madonna?slosh into customized stemware for patrons? enjoyment seven days a week. Also in the tasting room, guests can peruse the exhibited work of local artists, break into crunchy baguettes from Bread & Cie or nibble on cheese.
At Wine Steals, a casual wine bar and market the bar?s barrels and shelves are filled with more than 40 international wines. The executive chef, a former US Navy galley cook, arranges artisanal meat and cheese boards and crafts wine-themed international flavor combinations that either spread onto pizzas or curl up into sandwiches. For example, the pinot noir combo mixes Italian flavors of prosciutto, asiago, mozzarella, and white truffle oil.
Servers suggest ideal pairings to novice and experienced oenophiles as they pass drinks and plates across a 14-seat stone bar topped with European-style zinc. Above the bar, a chalkboard framed by wine barrels lists 40 vintages available by the half glass, glass, or bottle. Throughout the space, plush couches and chairs gather around wine barrels with wooden tabletops for more intimate gatherings or heated staring-contest championships. Wine Steals? casual approach to wine and eclectic food has earned it the title of Best Wine Bar in the San Diego Union-Tribune's 2012 readers' poll.
Vinavanti Urban Winery vintner Eric Van Drunen's wines taste good on their own, but they're just as good to the earth as they are to their drinkers. This year, Vinavanti was the first San Diego winery to be certified as organic. This means its locally sourced grapes are organically farmed and its winemaking process is organic, too. After Van Drunen and his team hand-sort their grapes, they allow them to ferment spontaneously, without the aid of yeasts or bacteria. They also eschew other common additives, avoiding sulfites and even oak barrels, which infuse wine with oaky notes, resulting in all-natural, farm-to-table wines.
The WineSellar and Brasserie brings together a bold bistro bill of fare to accompany its versatile vino cellar. Atop white tablecloths, artfully arranged plates of contemporary French lunch and dinner offerings rest, ready for oral adoption. Palate patrons may initiate noshing with The WineSellar's tuna tartare coupled with avocado, dijon-mustard-seed quenelle, and a mascarpone chantilly ($15) or by sipping on the butternut-squash soup ($9 for a bowl), harvested from the rare butter-seed bush and squashed with French tennis racquets.
This La Jolla location of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is conveniently nestled into the Aventine shopping center, adjacent to the Hyatt Regency courtyard. They serve up some of the finest USDA prime beef, which can be ordered wet or dry-aged, broiled or iron-crusted. These choice cuts can then be topped with truffle-poached lobster, diablo shrimp or king crab with caviar. The steaks pair elegantly with their award winning collection of 100 wines by the glass, all of which are thoughtfully curated during a twelve-month tasting process. Its flare for fine dining makes Fleming’s a popular place for a date night and they also offer a private dining experience for intimate get-togethers and events upon reservation.