Toast Of The Coast 2018

June is the time of year when the big Ferris Wheel can be seen off the west side of the Interstate 5 Freeway in Del Mar California!

If you have ever lived in San Diego California or spent time there, hopefully you have taken time to attend the San Diego County Fair (formerly known as the Del Mar Fair) at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  It typically runs the first week in June through July 4th and hosts a wide range of attractions for everyone.

Amidst the smell of that fabulous fair food and all those amazing exhibits, the sounds of music from various bands and screams of thrill seekers on carnival rides is a wine tasting event called Toast of the Coast. My wife and I had a wonderful time strolling through the beautiful outdoor garden display while sampling local (San Diego area) and Paso Robles wines and tasting a variety of wonderful cheeses. Many of the winery owners or representatives were there to give insight to the history of their wines and wine making journey.

Almost all the wines can be found at local grocery stores here in San Diego, although a  few wineries are so small you have to either order online or visit the individual winery to make a purchase.

I hope you enjoy the recap of our experience during the 3 hour Toast of the Coast wine tasting event. 

Wild Thing – Old Vine Zinfandel







Stop number one was the Carol Shelton Wines and San Augustin Vineyards and their Old Vine Zinfandel. Nice Fruity bouquet.  Initial sip was strawberry with light oak.  Medium dry with very light oak overtones at the end.  Doesn’t last too long on the backside.  Would be good with sharp cheese and of course Italian food.  OK, so it’s a twist top, get over it, it was fine.  I give this wine 3 glasses.  

Eberle – Hearst Ranch Winery Cabernet 2015







Next stop, Eberle Hearst Ranch Winery, a Paso Robles Winery.  We tried the Cabernet.  A true Paso Cab with the rich cabernet structure of fruit (plum jam) and oak.  Very Jammy with medium tannins making it semi dry with a very long finish.  We discovered that this wine was produced by the godfather of Paso Cab’s, Gary.  Gary (didn’t get last name) is very well known in Paso Robles for his excellent Cab’s.  Besides this winery he has made wine for other famous wineries like Justin.  This was a really exceptional Cabernet, I give it 4 glasses.     

Alexander Valley Vineyards – Temptation Zinfandel 2014






The Temptation Zinfandel from Alexander Valley Vineyards was a surprise to me as on initial sip it had more pepper than most Zinfandels I’ve come across.  Of course, it still had the cherry overtones that most Zinfandel’s are noted for.  The finish was not long lasting either.  This wine is lighter on the tongue and would go really well with spicy foods. I give this wine 3 glasses.   

Castelli Vineyards – Sangiovese 2014







This wine is from a local vineyard from Ramona.  It’s a 100% Sangiovese.  Extremely oaky and dry.  Not much fruit or jammy texture in this wine.  This is a drinking wine to enjoy with food, not by itself, a little too dry.  This is a young vineyard with young grapes that will only get better year by year.  I give this wine 2 glasses.  

Rodney Strong – Cabernet 2013







A medium dry Cabernet, very soft on the tongue with plum and cherry overtones and a mild oak flavor.  This wine has a nice finish but doesn’t last too long.  Would be great with all types of cheeses.  I give this wine 3 glasses.  

Mahogany Mountain Vineyard – Zinfandel 2014





Another Ramona Winery.  This wine is really different and really good.  It had a hazelnut bouquet!  Yes that’s right Hazelnut.  Really unusual and really nice.  As far as taste, strawberry jam, in fact you could even say a little on the sweet side, yet still maintaining some oak. This would be really good with spicy foods and all sorts of cheeses.  It was the best Zinfandel in the show for me, absolutely great.   As we talked to the owner Kim, she was telling us that due to her allergies they wanted to have a vineyard that was pesticide, free so all of their grapes are organic (not certified yet, but working on it).  They also had a Syrah that we tried and it was much dryer yet really soft on the taste.  I give the Zinfandel 4 glasses and the Syrah 3.  

Tangent – True Myth Cabernet 2015







This winery from Paso Robles uses the same grapes as Justin winery.  And guess what, it was like drinking a Justin Cabernet, absolutely wonderful.  Great oak overtones with jammy flavors of plum and medium tannins.  Very rich on the tongue as well with a very long finish.  This wine was great.  This wine would go with anything.  I give this wine 4 glasses and in a year or two I’m sure it would be 5 glasses.  The Sauvignon Blanc (OK so it’s not a red wine, I had to try it), had that nice Peach taste yet not sweet.  The bouquet was really nice as well.  Great summer wine for red wine drinkers that want a cold glass of wine as it had that red wine richness yet still light and refreshing.  I give this wine 4 glasses as well.  

Little Oaks Winery – Sangiovese & Malbec 2015


Little Oaks Winery in Carlsbad is an urban winery, which means they don’t have any grapes, they buy them from various vineyards and then make the wine at their facility.  The Sangiovese was a very light wine on the palette, semi dry with earthy tones.  The Malbec has a very rich flavor with berry and some coffee notes as well as a darker color.  These are both great cheese wines as well as BBQ.  I give both these wines 3 glasses.  

Ascension Cellars – Testament 2014 (Red Blend)


Ascension Cellars from Paso Robles was one of my favorite discoveries.  Eric, the master winemaker was really knowledgeable and so gracious.  The wine was absolutely fantastic. Oak and cherry with medium tannins, smooth on the tongue and a long finish.  What else do you want? Great.  For a blend I have to give this wine 5 glasses.  

San Pasqual Winery – Teroldego 2015


Our Final stop was the San Pasqual Winery (another urban winery) to try their Teroldego, an Italian grape that you don’t see very much of so I was excited to try it.  This wine was very dry with some light strawberry notes.  Not too long of a finish but overall a nice dry red wine that would go very well with red meat and sweet BBQ.  I give this wine 3 glasses.  

Almost all the wines can be found at local grocery stores here in San Diego, although a  few wineries are so small you have to either order online or visit the individual winery to make a purchase.



About myredwineguys

My red wine guys, Jim and Rich, have been drinking and comparing red wines together for the last 10 years. We drink reds exclusively (except for champagne during New Year’s Eve celebration's or special occasions). In our search to find the best red wine for the buck, we are constantly buying and drinking a variety of reds. Frequently, we see many of our favorite reds increase in price (making them impractical to buy and consume with the dismal economy). This motivates us to try and compare lesser known reds from a variety of wineries. We are constantly telling our friends where to buy and save on these great reds. One weekend over a bottle of red wine (of course), we decided to share our recommendations with the world via a blog (with the support of our wives who really think this is another way for us to drink more red wine). We are going to be making road trips up the coast and sharing our opinions on some great California Reds. Jim is a retired Navy Senior Chief now working as a Navy Technical Rep. His world travels have given him the opportunity to taste wines on different continents. He finds himself often comparing them to his favorite region – Napa Valley’s Oakville/Rutherford districts that produce some of the world’s best Cabernet Sauvignon's. Richard is a musician who grew up in Santa Maria with a family rich with red wine tradition. According to the family legends, his grandfather used to make wine out of grapefruit when grapes were not available. He grew up drinking and making wine with his father and other Italian families in the central coast, long before there were grape vines in the area. In fact, the reason his family located to California was to make wine! Thank you for visiting our site! We hope you enjoy a glass of exceptional red wine soon!
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