As a kid, all of us had that a person unique hangout– a magical location where no matter what was going on, you might meet your pals and all was excellent.
I grew up in the 80s in Ohio and my special hangout was a video game with games like “Asteroids,” “Tempest,” and my preferred, “Dig Dug.” The game was best beside an Italian deli with killer meatball sandwiches. For me and the other newspaper boys, this was the unique hangout that we delighted in summer afternoons after the daily papers were provided.
Perhaps a concept for an adult hangout with that magical vibe is North County Red Wine Company in San Marcos. Frank and I enjoyed a top-flight tasting a few weeks back with owner Jim Tobin. This tasting kindled fond memories of my 80s newspaper kid, video arcade, and meatball sandwich days.
Tobin has produced a special red wine hangout that is enjoyable and energetic with customers and banter reminiscent of the hit funny “Cheers,” another 80s favorite memory.
Each consumer is warmly welcomed by Jim or another barkeep. Those wishing to hang out for a glass of wine or flight can relaxing up to the bar or quaint tables and are rapidly engaging with others, whether longtime pals or brand-new associates.
Tobin had an all-star lineup with a white and two reds. The tasting kicked off with 2018 Davis Estate Hungry Blonde Chardonnay. This was a “classic California” oaky, buttery chardonnay looking like powerhouses like Rombauer and Frank Family. It had aroma and tastes of butterscotch, apricot, and a hint of toast, like a crème brulee. The complete taste and long finish will have you returning for more.
Jim Tobin, owner of North County Wine Company in San Marcos, with an all-star lineup of Davis Chardonnay, Turley Old Vine Zinfandel and Runquist Petite Sirah. Photo by Rico Cassoni
Next up was a 2019 Turley Old Vine Zinfandel. A fun fact on the Turley is that it was sourced from 26 various sites.
“This zin uses inviting notes of black cherry, plum, and blueberry fruit accentuated with tips of spice, licorice, and dried flowers. On the palate, it is smooth, soft, fresh, and friendly,” Jim discussed in the tasting handout.
I constantly enjoy Tobin’s down-to-earth descriptions and tasting notes. Also, the zinfandel was a 93pt Wine Advocate awardee. The tasting concluded with one of my preferred and budget friendly small sirahs, the 2019 Runquist “R.” On the nose, the Runquist had cassis, berry, chocolate, and hints of mocha.
On the palate, there were blackberry, blueberry and subtleties of vanilla. Runquist did a terrific task of softening the edgy tannins associated with the small sirah fruit developing a velvety mouthfeel finish.
Besides a terrific white wine hangout, NCWC has a wide choice of white wine representing all parts of the world with a killer California and Pacific Northwest choice. NCWC has reasonable and reasonable costs, competing with big box stores, often times with specials being available in less than market prices. As constantly, Frank and I took pleasure in hanging out at NCWC. Information at northcountywinecompany.com.
Esteban Ramirez– A Poet and Pianist
Numerous weeks earlier, I had the satisfaction of going to a piano/cello show hosted by among my wife’s associates. I heard there was going to be terrific charcuterie and live music, but I did not anticipate to see a whole table covered with delicacies planned and prepared by budding “Chef” Kathryn Klement. I was also captivated by the music of uber enthusiastic pianist and poet, Esteban Ramirez.
Ramirez was born and raised in El Paso and was the youngest of nine kids. As a hyperactive child, his mom started him on piano lessons when he was 10-years-old to redirect some of his energy. He ended up being connected on piano and at age 11 became his church’s pianist.
Quick forward to today, he has actually released three albums under his own label, Descanso Music. Ramirez’s style is best referred to as neo-classical. He mentions composers Chopin, Mozart, and Barry Manilow as strong influencers. For those who take pleasure in piano instrumental music, I motivate you to take a look at Esteban Ramirez. He has a magical way of making connections through his works.
Ramirez is currently working on his 4th album, “Running with the Sun,” a long-lasting dream to carry out with an orchestra that he is hoping to perform in Prague. Find his music on iTunes, Spotify, and so on. Details at descanso-music. com.
Red wine Bytes
— Del Mar’s West End Bar & & Kitchen will be hosting five-course Chalk Hill Wine Dinners at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, and Friday, Feb. 25. Given that 1972, Chalk Hill Winery has actually been committed to creating terroir-driven wines of character, richness and sophistication from the diverse terrain of Sonoma County’s rolling hills. This supper will be hosted by Alan Crawford, vice president of High-end Brands at Foley Family Wines. The main course features lamb osso bucco coupled with Estate Red Blend. The cost is $75 per individual + tax/gratuity. RSVP at 858-259-5878.
— Vittorio’s Italian Trattoria is hosting a five-course Alexander Valley Vineyards Wine Supper at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24. Veteran Winemaker Kevin Hall is constantly adapting to the rhythms of nature, the readiness of the vineyards and the advancement of the specific wines. The main course features grilled petit filet mignon with 2018 “Organic” cabernet sauvignon. The cost is $75 per person + tax/gratuity. RSVP at 858-538-5884.