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WINE VAULT & BISTRO: Top 5 Reds Of 2023 7-Course Dinner

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    Sat, December 16, 2023 (6:00 PM - 9:00 PM)

Wine Vault & Bistro
3731-A India Street
San Diego, CA 92103
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Cost: $115.00 + tax and gratuity

So we were reminiscing about all the winemaker dinners (including the virtual take-out ones at the beginning of the year) we had the privilege of hosting in 2023 (a whopping 44 if you’re keeping track), and getting melancholy thinking about some of the great wines we'd been able to pour when we thought, "How cool would it be to pair our five top best-selling red wines of the year with their own special menu?"

So we went through all of our sales recaps going all the way back to last January, ranked all the reds according to how you voted for them with your pocketbook, and picked the five top best sellers. We then picked five (actually seven) of our favorite menu items to pair with the wines. In years past we’ve always done a 5-course menu but this year we’re mixing it up a bit by doing seven. We’ll start with an appetizer paired with the stellar (and very difficult to get) Turley Rose followed by the top five reds each paired with its own tasting course and ending with our legendary eggnog paired with dessert. If you enjoy great food paired with great wines, this is definitely one dinner you'll not want to miss!

Hope to see you here! Wine notes and bottle prices are at the end of this announcement if you're interested.

NOTE: Due to the complexity of this menu we regret that we will be unable to accommodate vegetarian requests or extensive menu aberrations. Also, in the event any of the wines or food become unavailable, we reserve the right to substitute others of equal or greater value.


Bacon + Caramelized Onion Croquette | Brie Sauce Mornay

2022 Turley Zinfandel Rose (3 oz. pour)

Roasted Chicken Roulade | Melted Leeks | Wild Mushrooms

2019 Guigal Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge (3 oz. pour)

Red Wine Braised Pulpo | Gigante White Beans | Smoked Paprika Romesco

2019 Lafage "Narassa" Côtes Catalanes Grenache/Syrah Blend (3 oz. pour)

Grilled Duck Breast | Le Puy Lentils with Confit Garlic | Balsamic Glazed Onions

2015 Altanza Rioja Reserva (3 oz. pour)

Bone-in Beef Short Rib | Korean Sweet ‘n’ Spicy BBQ Sauce | Scallion + Ginger Fried Rice

2017 Saxon Brown “Durell Vineyard” Zinfandel (3 oz. pour)

Roasted Lamb Chops | Winter Vegetable Ragout | Camembert Fondu

2019 Trefethen “Dragon’s Tooth” Bordeaux Blend (3 oz. pour)

Warm Pecan Bread Pudding | Spiced Caramel

WV&B’s Eggnog (3 oz. pour)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 


Please RSVP by clicking on the “Contact The Host” button in the box on the right and responding with the following information.

1. your cell number and best time to call so we can call you to update your credit card info if we don’t already have it on file

2. how many people are in your party, and

3. an answer to the HEAD’S UP question below.  


Seating is EXTREMELY limited. We have a very limited number of tables for couples who want to sit by themselves so please let us know if you’re willing to sit at communal tables as that will GREATLY increase your chances of getting in. We also have two firepit tables for two (https://www.winevaultbistro.com/fire-pit) available so let us know if you’re OK with those tables if you want to sit by yourselves. If you’re a party of four or six there won’t be a problem getting your own table. We are currently limiting party sizes to a maximum of six.


Wine Vault & Bistro is located in the heart of San Diego between Little Italy and Old Town at 3731-A India Street on the upstairs terrace. Follow the black handrail up the stairs from the sidewalk to our front door. Our phone number is (619) 295-3939.


On-street parking is usually available within a 3-block radius. Meters are free after 6:00 so if you park at a metered spot just put in enough money (probably less than a buck) to get you to 6:00 and then you’re home free. You can also park in the lot behind Shakespeare Pub two doors down, but do not park in El Indio's lot unless you want your car towed! If you can’t find parking next to the restaurant, there’s always LOTS OF PARKING on San Diego Avenue and the adjacent side streets just past the Chevron station across Washington Street. So please don't drive yourself crazy endlessly going around in circles waiting to pounce on that perfect spot when there's TONS OF PARKING less than three blocks away!


We'll be pouring six 3-ounce tasting portions of each wine (see the line-up above) plus our housemade high octane eggnog with dessert, or the equivalent of well over three-quarters of a bottle of wine per person. Pour buckets are provided for designated drivers.


Although some wines may be in limited quantities, all wines poured at this dinner will be available for purchase at the restaurant until sold out. We reserve the right to limit sales of any rare or allocated wines at our discretion.


2022 Turley Zinfandel Rose ~ $32

(California) Winemaker's Notes: We select a few of our Zinfandel vines to pick early to make this vivid, dry, delightful Rose. It's fermented completely dry using only natural yeasts, and finishes fermentation in 100% used French oak barrels. Pale and delicately pink in color with soft peachy tones, akin to the rosés of Provence. The nose is subtle but alluring, with hints of hibiscus flower and salted nectarine. The palate is brisk and dry yet silky, with wild strawberry, white peach and rose petal flavors.

2019 Guigal Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge ~ $17

(France) Winemaker's Notes: 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache + 10% Mourvèdre. Aromas of fresh fruits with red berries and spices. Full, round and racy. Rounded and smooth tannins. A full-bodied, rich and intensely aromatic wine. Full with a long finish and plenty of elegance and finesse due to the well balanced tannins and fruit. ~~~ Review by Jeb Dunnuck ~ 90-92 points: A no-brainer purchase. This Syrah-heavy red has lots of blackberry, bouquet garni and peppery notes in a ripe, full-bodied textured style. It’s well worth buying and drinking over the coming 5-7 years. ~~~ Review by Decanter ~ 90 points: A benchmark entry-level Côtes du Rhône from a classic Rhône Valley producer. A medium aromatic intensity of blackberries, spice and black pepper. The palate is textured and serves the same dark fruit plus spice notes.

2019 Lafage "Narassa" Côtes Catalanes ~ $19

(France) Winemaker’s Notes: 70% Grenache + 30% Syrah. The nose is dominated by lots of pure blackberry, crushed herbs, earth and peppery characteristics. The mouth is full-bodied and very rich with soft, fine tannins with a fresh, elegant finish. ~~~ Review by Wine Advocate ~ 91 points: Black cherries and blueberries mingle easily on the nose, joined by hints of maple syrup and licorice. Full-bodied, velvety and super-ripe, it comes across as almost sweet on the lingering finish.

2015 Altanza Rioja Reserva ~ $23

(Rioja, Spain) 100% Tempranillo. Review by James Suckling ~ 92 points: A fruity red with toasted oak and some chocolate and spice. It’s medium-bodied with medium round tannins and a lightly chewy, fruity finish. Drink or hold. ~~~ Review by Wine Enthusiast ~ 91 points: Violet red in color, this wine offers aromas of blackberry, violet and oregano. It feels good on the palate, with polished tannins and flavors of stewed plums, blackberry preserves, cigar box and rose water that wrap up in a cooling finish.

2017 Saxon Brown “Durell Vineyard” Zinfandel ~ $34

(Sonoma Valley) Winemaker’s Notes: Beautiful rich color with an expressive dark berried fruit nose. Notes of dark chocolate, brown spices, vanilla and caramel with a complex structure that carries the creamy French oak beautifully. 88 cases produced.

2019 Trefethen “Dragon’s Tooth” Bordeaux Blend ~ $52

(Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley) Winemaker’s Notes: 40% Malbec, 32% Petit Verdot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon + 5% Merlot. Bold, dark fruit aromas of blackberry, plum and boysenberry are complemented by notes of clove, nutmeg and cedar. Generous on the palate, the lively acidity and youthful tannins add depth and energy leading to a long, concentrated finish.

WV&B’s Eggnog ~ $39 (750ml bottle ~ 25 oz.)

We’re releasing our legendary Christmas eggnog early this year. Last year we made well over 300 bottles and still had to turn away orders so we’re getting a head start this year. It’s an addictive concoction I’ve been perfecting for over thirty-five years now. It’s a decadent combination of super fresh eggs with bright orange yolks (instead of the typical pale yellow supermarket ones) from an organic farm, pure vanilla, cream and nutmeg aggressively spiked with two kinds of rum, cognac and bourbon. We sell it in recycled wine bottles for thirty-nine bucks. And, according to lots of research I’ve done lately, it will actually keep for 1-2 years as long as it’s continually refrigerated. And it mellows and gets better with age. I know that it just sounds so wrong to keep anything with fresh eggs and fresh cream for more than a week or two, but once a certain level of alcohol is introduced, (and we’re waaaay above that level) all bets are off and it will keep for a much longer period of time as long as it’s continually refrigerated. I kept some of last year’s batch until May and it was truly amazing but, out of an abundance of caution, I’ve somewhat arbitrarily listed the shelf life as end of March. But I’ve had customers tell me that they’ve just now opened some of last year’s nog and that it’s amazing a year later (But then again, you’d have to have the self-restraint to actually keep it for a year!)


Due to fluctuations of supply, we reserve the right to make substitutions of equal or greater value in case any of the wines or foods become unavailable. Please, ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NO ONE UNDER THE AGE OF 21 ... even if your babysitter flakes out on you at the last minute!

Hope to see you here. Buon appetito and cheers!



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