Carl Kanowsky: Dodger Blue, the Thief and San Diego

Three of the owners of Thief & Barrel: Clay Porlier (left), Russ Briley and DiMaggio Washington. Courtesy photo

We finished our kitchen remodel ordeal after seven grueling months. Deciding we missed the joys of contractors showing up at 7:00 am every morning, we are now in the throes of completely redesigning our t.v. room. Realizing that our television set harkened from the last century, we await the delivery of a new 55” Sony Smart TV. In the meantime, we needed some place to watch the Dodgers muff their chances for a world championship.

Fortunately, our eldest son, Ted, came to our rescue. With his television, it is better than actually being at the game. Being appreciative parents, we arrived game-time with a mess of El Pollo Loco. We also brought a 2016 Murrieta’s Well Dry Rose, fruit of Livermore Valley. A blend of Grenache and Counoise, it presents as bright pink with hints of strawberry on the nose.

Yessica, Ted’s significant other, succinctly summed up her feelings about the wine, “Nice, fruit, light, good for beginners.” Ted rated it 87.759 (he’s a detail-oriented guy), saying it would go well with salads and cheese/crackers. Terry found it well-balanced with a long finish. On opening, I really enjoyed it, describing it as bright and slightly tart. But for me (maybe because of what I was eating), it lost its personality fairly soon after opening. It’s listed at $30/bottle.

Around the same time, we ventured east to Lancaster and the Grand Opening of Thief & Barrel, the brainchild of DiMaggio Washington, head of the wine program at COC. We had planned on staying about 45 minutes and then escaping to see Game 5 of the Series. We wound up staying almost two hours. We discovered that Clay and Jan Porlier (friends from Cub Scout days) had taken a keen interest in wine, studied with DiMaggio, and were now partners with him at Thief & Barrel.

Joining them is the irrepressible Russ Briley. Russ and I took several classes together with DiMaggio. He and his delightful bride, Nancy, have taken their wine education a step further by marshalling their knowledge into making award-winning Pinot Noirs called Nuggucciet, garnering a 92 from Wine Enthusiast.

Well, I was sold. Next spring, I’m taking winemaking classes from DiMaggio, and Russ has offered to mentor me in my inaugural vintage.

Coming up are two excellent wine events. The first is STARS of Cabernet, which takes place Wednesday, November 15th, at the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel. The event will start at 6 PM for VIP guests and 7 PM for general admission. Almost fifty wineries will be pouring to show off their skills with Cabernet. Some of the headliners are Silverado, Spottswoode, Dunn, and Frog’s Leap. Not only is this a great chance to experience a range of Cabernet styles, this event benefits the Northern California branch of Habitat for Humanity to assist those devastated by the wine country fires.

Then, next week, much of downtown San Diego will be overrun by the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival, running from November 12th to the 19th. The Grand Tasting on Saturday, November 18, features over 150 wine, beer, and spirit purveyors. Some of the ones I’m looking forward to are Ancient Peaks, Donelan, Justin, and Papapietro Perry. Two other of our favorites, Tablas Creek and Talley, will also be pouring. It’s an impressive line-up with dozens of other events going on all week long. Hope to see you there.

© Carl J. Kanowsky
November 6, 2017

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