Category Archive: Prime cru

A Busy Weekend for Prime Cru

Posted on March 18, 2014

prime cru yacht

This past weekend was a busy weekend for Prime Cru wine club members.  On Saturday we had an amazing wine sale.  The room was crowded with eager wine lovers looking for that great deal.  There were a lot of gems hidden in the bunch.  For example, Sea Smoke sold out within the 1st two minutes of opening the door.  Round Pond Cabernet from Rutherford sold out quickly at a ridiculously low price of $15/bottle.  The keen old world wine buyers found a great deal on Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino for $30/bottle.   Whites were also a hit at the sale.  It looks like the sunny weather gets everyone buying white wine.   One gentleman made out by walking out with Nicolas Joly Clos de Serrant  Savenniers for $30/bottle and Patrick Piuze Chablis for $22/bottle.  Roses went fast.  This makes me happy!  I love rose and it is cool to see more and more people understanding these great summer wines.

If the wine sale was not enough for our Prime Cru wine club members, we spoiled them on Sunday with a ride aboard the El Dorado, Ferrari Carano’s yacht.  I took them out on the Bay with our host. Mike Hurst who manages the sales of Ferrari Carano in Southern California.  Mike does a great job at hosting us.  His crew serves the Ferrari Carano line up along with delicious appetizers.  The stand out wine of the day in my opinion was the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir.  It was light with tart berry aromas and flavors with lingering acidity.

Our club is growing quickly.  We recently spread Prime Cru to North County at Vintana Restaurant and 333 Pacific.  We had guests from these restaurants aboard with us.  Everyone had an amazing experience.  I love doing this trip because it is the best way to say thank you to our patrons whom have supported us for so many years.  If you are interested in joining Prime Cru and taking part in some of our special events sign up today.  Below are some pics from our trip around the bay.



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Prime Cru Presents: Winemakers of San Diego County Forum

Posted on January 20, 2014


winemakers of San Diego

Winemakers of San Diego County will be joining me in a forum where we will ask the probing question, “are there any good wines being produced in San Diego County?”  It seems as though we might hear about Virginia wine or Texas wine before we hear about wine from San Diego.  I think that is interesting since San Diego sits between two world-famous growing regions, Santa Barbara and The Guadalupe Valley.  San Diego County has been producing wines since the 1850’s.  That’s longer than places like Napa and Sonoma.  But why has it not received the wine world’s attention?

If you have ever gone on a wine tasting tour through Temecula (Riverside County) you might have come across wines such as Almond Sparkling wine and Zinfandel port.  It seems that most of the wineries in this area sell more sweet wines than dry wines.  Temecula has built a tourist destination which has paid off for them very nicely. Why is that?  Is it the people want sweet wines?  Is it that the region is not able to produce dry wines of quality?  What differs them from San Diego wineries?   Will we ever get the wine world to take us seriously?

This February I will be hosting two wine seminars to hopefully answer these questions.  I have invited top winemakers of San Diego County for a round table forum where we will ask probing questions and taste through the region’s wines.  Joining us is one of the newer winemakers of the region, Chris Broomell of Vesper Vineyards.  Chris is pushing the limits in San Diego and experimenting with off beat varieties including Carignan, Grenache Blanc and Pinot Noir from Rancho Santa Fé.  Also joining us are ex-fire chief turned winemaker Jeff Bowman of The Screaming Chief and Mick Dragoo of Belle Marie Winery in Escondido. Jeff is the new guy on the scene and his winemaker, Mick has several decades of experience in San Diego.  Finally, Justin Mund of Orfilia Vineyards, the largest San Diego County winery will also share his insight.  Justin was the winemaker at Laetitia Vineyards in the Arroyo Grande.  Find out what brought him to San Diego and where the future lies for him and other winemakers of San Diego County.

I hope that you can make our first wine round table.  We will hold it twice, once in San Diego at Island Prime Restaurant and another time in North County at Vintana in Escondido.  To make reservations call the restaurant you’d like to attend or follow this link and buy your ticket online.

Saturday, February 22nd San Diego, CA:  Island Prime Restaurant 880 Harbor Island Drive 92101
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Wednesday, February 26th Escondido, CA: Vintana Restaurant 1205 Auto Park Way Escondido 92029
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The Bachelor’s Wine Dinner

Posted on December 18, 2013

I don’t know how many of you watch the Bachelor on ABC.  I don’t get it, but it seems to be the thing among the ladies.  Of course I don’t get wind of anything until it becomes wine related.  So here I am, promoting the Bachelor on Maurice’s Cru.  Well, maybe not so much promoting the Bachelor, but promoting the wines that the Bachelor, Benjamin Flajnik makes.

Tomorrow night, Thursday December 19th, the Prado at Balboa Park will have an Envolve wine dinner.  Envolve is a project by Michael Benziger and his childhood friend, Benjamin Flajnik.  In staying true to Benziger’s philosophy all the wines are either organically farmed or biodynamic.   This means the wines go with food.  This is perfect, being that the Prado at Balboa Park has award-winning chef, Jonathan Hale behind the line.  The menu Jonathan has created for this dinner is well thought out to match the theme and styles of the wines.  Come on! Rabbit loin and Pinot Noir!

Now who is this dinner really for?  Is it for the ladies looking to snatch up an eligible bachelor?  Is it for foodies looking for a great experience?  Maybe it’s for the person who just wants to go out for dinner tomorrow night.  Whomever it is for, it will be a  great experience.  If interested in attending please contact for reservations.  Last I heard there were a few seats still available.

The Bachelor Wine dinner

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Has the Summer Left You High and Dry of Wine?

Posted on September 14, 2013

I know if you are like me, the summer was filled with grilling, dinner parties and lot’s of drinking with friends.  Although I had a grand time, it left me high and dry of wine.  Look, I cannot complain, having friends over drinking roses, Albarinos and some of my cellared bottles was a great way to spend the summer.  It has unfortunately left me dry of wine.   This led me to go back to work and start scouting some good wine buys.

I met with my purveyors and started looking for wines I could buy and take home.  During this time I started to visit some of the other restaurants in my company and realized that they had way too much wine sitting around.  I twisted a few arms and convinced them to send their wines to Island Prime where I could sift through them and offer a ridiculous prices for our Prime Cru members.

We are a week away and I have loads and loads of vino ranging from cheap California everyday drinking wines to old world staples, such as Barolo and  obscure ground breaking wines, such as Sadie Family.  There is something for every palate.  I know that when I get there in the morning and start to pull apart boxes I am going to pull aside some roses for myself.  Although summer has ended, we still have a few more months of sun here in San Diego.

If you never been to a wine sale at Island Prime, then you are missing out.  It only lasts 2 and a half hours and wines move very fast.  When you arrive be sure to grab a box, a wine glass and don’t over think your purchases.  The moment you begin to contemplate a wine, and you let go of it, there is no guarantee it well be there when you return.  Wines go fast.  The moment the room gets a buzz about a wine we tasted, that wine is gone, gone, gone.  Yes I said tasted.  You get to taste while you shop.  We have samples of many of the wines for you to make a better choice.  While you shop, taste and get blown away by the view of the San Diego bay, you can also enjoy some light hor d’oeuvres.   These wine sales are the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

When you finish shopping and you get the urge for a serious lunch, you can make your way over to the C-Level lounge and enjoy lunch on the patio.  The best part is you can take your new purchase and open it at your table without a corkage fee.  So if you are like me and summer has left you high and dry of wine, then this is the time to replenish your cellar.

To be part of Prime Cru Wine Club Click Here

For a sample wine list click here: wine sale sample list 9-13

wine sale


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A Summer of Riesling in San Diego

Posted on June 19, 2013

summer-of-riesling1Every Monday I have a tasting group where I meet with several sommeliers from San Diego and we practice blind tasting.  One of my colleagues is Tami Wong, wine director at the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla.  About a month ago she came to the tasting super excited about signing up for the Summer of Riesling program.  It immediately sparked an interest in me.

The Summer of Riesling is a summer long event started by Paul Grieco of Terroir Wine Bar in New York.  Paul is a crusader for Riesling and what once began as a rash decision one summer has spread countrywide.  In the summer of 2008 Paul felt that people were not drinking enough Riesling.  So in a totalitarian way, he removed all his whites on his by the glass list and replaced them with Riesling!  What the “F”?  If I were to do that here in San Diego people would stop dining with us.  But Paul is in New York, and he can do as he wishes.  Well it worked.  The next year others followed suit.  Today there are over 500 restaurants, wine bars and retail shops serving Riesling all summer long.  Not everyone is going to the extremes of removing all whites, but they are serving at least 4 Rieslings by the glass.

I was excited to jump aboard.  I love Riesling because it is so diverse and there is a style for every wine drinker.  Working with food all day, Riesling just makes sense.  I always have a hard time pairing Chef Deborah’s food with wine because it is so out there.  Some dishes have so many components that a perfect pairing is very daunting.  She loves her spice and dishes like the Skirt Steak Salad in C-Level is down right HOT! Well, Riesling is my saving grace.  It is so versatile with its high acidity and residual sugar, there isn’t anything I cannot pair with Riesling.  It is one of the few white wines that I can even pair with a steak at Island Prime.

So this summer, I am excited to promote Riesling to San Diegans.  Imagine sitting in this patio, sipping on Riesling all summer long! TAKE THE VIRTUAL TOUR HERE.  This is what I have up my sleeves for the Summer of Riesling:

  • Throughout the summer we will be serving 4 Riesling by the glass: (more…)
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