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Feb 3, 2013 07:38 PM

Who says there are no excellent wines from San Diego!

I have long been a cheerleader for the Orfila wines, especially their reserve Merlot.

Now I have a new addition, it's the Vesper winery. Tried their 2009 Vesper Carignane and it was great. Lots of fruit, lots of flavor, but not overwhelming for food. The way it is supposed to be.

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  1. When I used to visit Orfila most of their fruit came from other parts of the state. It's interesting to note that most is now from the local area (San Pasqual Valley). At that In the past the winemaker was one who'd worked for Louis Martini for many years, but I know he passed away a few years ago. Sounds like a lot has changed there.

    Have you noticed changes and how would you evaluate them?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Midlife

      Ummmmm . . . brief correction?

      I was at Louis Martini when Leon Santoro started working there as a temporary hire for the "crush crew." IIRC, he left right around the same time I did. He worked for a couple of other wineries in Napa in the early 1980s, eventually becoming winemaker at Quail Ridge before leaving for Orfila.

      To the best of my knowledge, Orfila's Cabs -- always (IMHO) their best wine -- always came from the San Pasqual (Estate) vineyard. Pinot Noir and, I think, Chardonnay came from Edna Valley in SLO -- in part, I think, because that's where Steve Dooley ended up (he was the asst. winemaker @ Martini when Leon was on the crush crew).

      1. re: zin1953

        I did say "most of". Or is your point about just how long he worked at Martini? Just sayin'. ;o]

        If you look at their current offerings, about half (by varietal) is from San Pasqual, including the one Cab listed. Actually, that makes me want to go back soon.

        1. re: Midlife

          IIRC, Leon was only there about two years . . . .

    2. Not me! I agree Vesper is making excellent wines, and their Triple B Ranch label is producing great estate wines from San Diego County grapes. I've enjoyed Orfila's syrah greatly, and I also enjoy the Hart Wines from Temecula.
      It takes some searching to find great wines from Southern California, but they do exist. Baja produces some nice grapes, too.

      1 Reply
      1. I have not tried Vesper, but I've been underwhelmed by Orfila. Not saying they make bad wines - they don't - but compared with other places in CA . . .

        My favorite SD area winery is Shadow Mountain. Located at around 3500 feet, producing only estate wines, and pricing the wines reasonably works for me. The carignane from there is the best version of that varietal I've had from a CA vintner. Also it would be a nice place for a picnic.