Taste of Wine

Crab is king at Truluck’s Restaurant in La Jolla

When a restaurant owns its own fishery and can guarantee freshness for its seafood, focusing on an array of succulent crab, it gets my attention. On top of that accolade, add a wine list that favors the flavor of crabmeat and is awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence each year of its existence, and you have the new and exciting Truluck’s at the Aventine at I-5 and La Jolla Village Drive in La Jolla.
The menu showcases the always fresh 100 percent Stone Crab off the Florida coast. Claws are offered as tiered appetizers, with medium, large and jumbo sizes.
The Crab House menu has a Stone Crab Claw Platter, Dutch Harbor Red King Crab, which was my personal favorite, and fresh steamed Oregon Dungeness Crab. For foodies with the hungries, I would urge them to catch the All-You-Can-Eat Fresh Florida Stone Crab Claws every Monday night.
The congenial General Manager Matt Hunstman describes the essence of Truluck’s as “a high-quality crab house that tantalizes the senses with a wine list of over 100 wines by the glass as well as an international array of reds and whites by the bottle. We have 9 locations and we have a central selection process, but we work hard to get the best of the local wineries represented,” Huntsman said. “We are also proud of our many selections of wine flights with decided themes where our guests can be adventurous. This list is ever-evolving.”
Steaks, chops, chicken and other seafood fill out the rest of the menu and there are wines to bring out the full flavor of each. I chose a cool, crisp white for starters, the Austrian Gruner Veltliner 2007. Next I tried the R. Lopez Rioja Alta 2006, and finally with my Filet Center-Cut, I enhanced it with the Napa Ladera Meritage Red 2005. Truluck’s serves dinner nightly. Its Stone Crab Lounge cocktail hour is from 5 to 7 p.m. Learn more by visiting www.trulucks.com.
Wine rating system needs updating
I hope you are relying less on wine ratings, those ubiquitous numbers you see at wine shops attributed to a wine critic or magazine. I did a quick count of 90 to 92 ratings and found that they were about the only two or three numbers posted on the supposed 100-point scale of quality. It seems that is the range at which most wines are blessed.
Too often, critics and consumers forget that wine has a living history, carefully crafted for the most part, and subject to personal taste. For instance an Italian wine will taste very different than the same varietal that is made in California.
Wine, at its core, is farming and a single number is not the story of the wine.
I would urge indulging in the background of the wine, its terroir ( homeland) and the grower’s philosophy of wine making. Use your own rating system, say a simple 1 to 5, with 5 as an excellent! Weigh in the color, smell, taste and finish.
Log in your findings, recording the brand, grape varietal, vintage and price.
Learn to extract other information from the label, like alcohol content and winemaking process. Be smart and don’t use a rating number as your only source of choice.
Wine Bytes
— The lovely Gondola Wine Cruises at Loews Coronado resume with this year’s premier tastings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. May 23. Guests glide through canals and waterways near the resort in an authentic Venetian gondola as sommelier Kurt Kirschenman presents a tasting flight of six wines and an attractive dessert plate. It is easily the most innovative wine tasting event in San Diego, and a romantic adventure. The cost is $45 each. RSVP at (619) 429-6317 or visit www.gondolacompany.com for more information.
— Wine Street in Carlsbad presents Robert August, world famous surfer and now winemaker, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. May 27. His role in the iconic “Endless Summer” movie brought worldwide attention to Southern California’s surfing industry. A signature surfing “What I Ride” longboard is being raffled off with the winner named June 14 at Wine Street. Taste Merlot and Pinot Grigio for $5 per person. Call for details at (760) 431-7286.
— The second annual San Diego Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival is from 6 to 9 p.m. May 29 at Casa Del Prado Balboa Park, benefiting the Women’s History Museum. Enjoy artisan cheese, breads, a chocolatier and swing music with Sue Palmer. Reserve your $30 tickets now at (619) 955-8884.
— The California Center for the Arts in Escondido is rocking from 4 to 10 p.m. May 30 as the Bonsall Rotary Club brings you its annual Wine, Brews and Blues Festival. Two stages of dance music, a great international list of wines and beer to taste, 20 local restaurants to sample and a huge silent auction with gifts, trips, wines and much more. Tickets are $60 each. Call (800) 249-2024 for advance tickets or pay at the door the night of the event.