Grand Decant, Grand Tasting & Taco TKO A Full & Fun Weekend
In a whirlwind series of events that seemed to both to breeze by and also slowed down so you could savor the many moments, the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival closed out another successful year with thousands of people downing thousands of bottles of wine (as well as quite a few kegs of craft beer and several cases of spirits) and food from all over the city while pairing them all with a lot of fun and laughs.
This spirited event promised and lot and delivered even more, as it provided more than a palate full of tastes during its traditional third week in November in 2018.
In other words, it was its usual excellence. One of the things you can count on about this festival is its year-to-year consistency. It’s like going to your favorite restaurant because you can be guaranteed of the quality of the food and service. With the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival you can be assured you will get a quality event among the many served up on its platter.
This, year, PubClub added a new – new for us, anyway – food and drinks pairing to the usual events we cover. That would be the Taco TKO, which took place on Sunday afternoon after the Grand Decant on Friday night and the always spectacular Grand Tasting on Saturday.
The Grand Decant was pretty much like it has been the past several years. Which is to say excellent, the absolutely perfect warmup to the Grand Tasting. The Grand Decant (called SommCon in the past) was again held at the Marriott Marquis.
It featured more than 500 wines from domestic and international wineries, some great champagne, beers, sake, tequilas and, well, I think you get the idea. These are are lined up next to each other and you quickly move from one to the next in an attempt to cover everything, tho you know it’s a hopeless cause. My strategy was to slow down and enjoy it all, rather than trying to get to every single bottle.
I started off the evening with champagne – well wouldn’t you!? – and found one I really liked, Pommery from Reims, France. Just as PubClub (myself and Digger, the man behind the video camera) arrived to its area, representative Katrina Presting was popping open another bottle and and it made for a celebratory start to the weekend.
Digger used to live in Napa Valley and he naturally gravitated to several wines from that area. All were excellent. I also enjoyed wines from Russian River, CA, and a few from the closest wine-tasting area to San Diego, the Temecula Valley.
The next day, the Grand Tasting once again lived up to its name. And when does it not, really!? As I was explaining to fellow writer Pam Rossi of Always5Star.com, who was making her debut at the festival, it was again too overwhelming to really take in everything at this over-the-top event.
So we did what one should do here – we cruised around at a leisurely pace and took our time. My favorite food was the steak sandwiches from Morton’s Steakhouse (so good I can still taste them), which happened to be located next to some really good sipping dark Caribbean rum. And that was next to what I dubbed “champagne row,” which thrilled the bubby and bubbly-loving Pam.
My favorite wine tasting was Ammunition Wines, because not only were the wines very good but the winemaker did a full flight tasting, accompanied by a funny routine that would have fit right in with the street performers at neighboring Seaport Village.
Speaking of entertainment, I really, really liked the band playing in the VIP area (which you could hear all around the tip of the festival area, which backed up into San Diego Bay). It was Southern Rock/Zydeo/Cajun music and really added to the fun atmosphere of this event.
It was fitting too, because the whole event had that great laissez les bon temps rouler atmosphere.
The organizers definitely let the good times roll and it was another grand time at the Grand Tasting with the good times rolling and the wines (and beers, spirits) flowing as much as the fun.