September is National California Wine Month and with over 4,400 wineries dispersed all over the golden state, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the many flavors harvested and bottled in California. The geologically diverse regions throughout the state create ideal growing climates for all types of grapes, which yield nearly 90 percent of all American wine production. To appropriately celebrate California Wine Month by trying a variety of different wines, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to sip and enjoy.
Bellamy’s, a hidden gem just two blocks from downtown Escondido, not only has a sizable wine list but an in-house, award-winning sommelier to help you select your glass based on taste and aroma. Ricardo Zarate Jr., the General Manager and Sommelier, was chosen as a Young Leaders in Wine recipient in 2015 and has also written for the magazine publication theSommJournal. One recommendation is the 2014 Orfila Syrah San Pasqual Valley, from Orfila Winery which is less than seven miles from the restaurant. With a huge assortment of wines local to the region, a lovely shaded patio and the option of ordering a glass or full bottle, Bellamy’s is the perfect spot for some wine tasting.
When most residents of San Diego hear the name Barrel Republic, they think beer. But the three locations, in Pacific Beach, Oceanside and Carlsbad also serve wine! Once you enter, you head straight to the bar to receive a wristband, which you can load with money. The wristband is then used to swipe and sample different beverages, allowing you to pour as little or as much as you like. Each location has a variety of five to ten wines, like the Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc Fumé Blanc, a dry white table wine from Napa Valley. Head in to one of the locations and start swiping before the month is over.
The elegant and sophisticated Osetra Seafood & Steakhouse, nestled in San Diego’s bustling Gaslamp District, is arestaurant and bar built around the finest fermented grapes. Literally. The focal point of the restaurant is a three-story tower which houses an ample collection of award-winning wine, listed on an eight-page menu. For a glass of red with dinner, try the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Liberty School, from the Hope Family Vineyards in Paso Robles, California. If you’re ordering seafood, you might prefer a bottle of the Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay from Russian River Ranches, located in Sonoma County.
Recently opened in Rancho Santa Fe, Nick & G’s welcomes friends and families alike to savor the tastiest in Italian/Mediterranean dining. Serving family-style meals such as flatbreads and pastas, along with salads and other dishes, Nick & G’s takes pride in treating their customers like family. They want everyone who comes to dine to feel like they’re eating in their own home, with the addition of an extensive wine menu. Order a pour of Chanin 2013 Pinot Noir from Zotovich Vineyards in Santa Rita Hills, within Santa Barbara County. Make it a family occasion, for everyone who is of age, and get a Sonoma County, bottle of 2015 Newton “Skyside” red for the table!
Fig Tree Café’s three locations are all equipped with perfect patios for enjoying a refreshing glass of wine, whether you are partial to reds, whites or anything in between. At their Pacific Beach location, which also features a wine of the day, try La Folette North Coast Pinot Noir. On Wednesdays at the Liberty Station spot, just off Historic Decatur Road, all bottles of wine are half-price, so get fancy and order the Dry Creek “Limited Production” Meritage. This red and white Bordeaux-style wine comes from Sonoma County. Grab your closest friends for a lunch get together at Fig Tree in Hillcrest where you can taste the Dynamite Sauvignon Blanc from Lake County, California.