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San Diego Cellars open in Little Italy

A winery in the heart of the city? That's the idea!

Place

San Diego Cellars

2215 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego

While not wholly unique, the concept behind San Diego Cellars is fun. The novelty lies in putting a fully functional winery, kitchen, and tasting room within the confines of the city, rather than exiling winemaking operations to the more conventional countryside. Done up in the rustic “barn door chic” style so popular today, the place manages to be hospitable in addition to being functional. It’s a trip, stepping into SD Cellars and walking past oak barrels of future vintages, just chilling out and aging right there on the floor, bedecked with shiny lights for the holidays.

SD Cellars predominantly sells their own wines, with a few from other vineyards mixed in for variety. Since the majority of the wine rests in casks, sale is by the glass or in 1L “cruzers,” which are like growlers for wine and can be refilled. Prices hover at $6-$9 per glass and $20-$32 for a cruzer-full. That is to say, they’re reasonable.

The results vary.

A $6 glass of “San Diego County Syrah?” Tremendous at that price.

Boldly tannic and earthy, it would be interesting to see this wine age a few years.

A $5 glass of Pinot Noir rosé may very well “change your attitude towards 'pink' wines,” as the menu suggests. The change just might not be positive. The bizarre wine has beerlike qualities, as if designed to please the palate of a Belgian farmer. Certainly not the picnicker’s rosé of choice!

Even when flawed, it seems SD Cellars’ wines at least manage to be interesting, and it’s hard to deny the chance to sip around the wine list at such fair prices.

Pork pâté

In addition to the wines, the wee kitchenette turns out a menu of <$15 wine bar standbys. Flatbreads, crostini, cheeses, and salads could come from the menu of any other tasting room. That’s neither bad nor exciting.

Pistachio and burrata flatbread

The pistachio and burrata flatbread, enthusiastically recommended by several diners, makes an impression more with its whole-wheaty crust than with its toppings. It’s hard to get worked up over pesto flatbread, but it certainly does the trick and doesn’t disappoint in any way.

Porcine paté is not a typo for “porcini!” Beyond mushrooms, which are there, the paté includes plenty of pork. Spread thinly over brittle crostini, there could be more of it, but what’s there tastes good enough.

So too it goes with Caesar salad. It works. That is all.

More interesting food would make San Diego Cellars a better destination, that much is certain. But even with a pedestrian menu of snacks, the novelty of the vino alone makes it worth a visit for wine lovers.

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Place

San Diego Cellars

2215 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego

While not wholly unique, the concept behind San Diego Cellars is fun. The novelty lies in putting a fully functional winery, kitchen, and tasting room within the confines of the city, rather than exiling winemaking operations to the more conventional countryside. Done up in the rustic “barn door chic” style so popular today, the place manages to be hospitable in addition to being functional. It’s a trip, stepping into SD Cellars and walking past oak barrels of future vintages, just chilling out and aging right there on the floor, bedecked with shiny lights for the holidays.

SD Cellars predominantly sells their own wines, with a few from other vineyards mixed in for variety. Since the majority of the wine rests in casks, sale is by the glass or in 1L “cruzers,” which are like growlers for wine and can be refilled. Prices hover at $6-$9 per glass and $20-$32 for a cruzer-full. That is to say, they’re reasonable.

The results vary.

A $6 glass of “San Diego County Syrah?” Tremendous at that price.

Boldly tannic and earthy, it would be interesting to see this wine age a few years.

A $5 glass of Pinot Noir rosé may very well “change your attitude towards 'pink' wines,” as the menu suggests. The change just might not be positive. The bizarre wine has beerlike qualities, as if designed to please the palate of a Belgian farmer. Certainly not the picnicker’s rosé of choice!

Even when flawed, it seems SD Cellars’ wines at least manage to be interesting, and it’s hard to deny the chance to sip around the wine list at such fair prices.

Pork pâté

In addition to the wines, the wee kitchenette turns out a menu of <$15 wine bar standbys. Flatbreads, crostini, cheeses, and salads could come from the menu of any other tasting room. That’s neither bad nor exciting.

Pistachio and burrata flatbread

The pistachio and burrata flatbread, enthusiastically recommended by several diners, makes an impression more with its whole-wheaty crust than with its toppings. It’s hard to get worked up over pesto flatbread, but it certainly does the trick and doesn’t disappoint in any way.

Porcine paté is not a typo for “porcini!” Beyond mushrooms, which are there, the paté includes plenty of pork. Spread thinly over brittle crostini, there could be more of it, but what’s there tastes good enough.

So too it goes with Caesar salad. It works. That is all.

More interesting food would make San Diego Cellars a better destination, that much is certain. But even with a pedestrian menu of snacks, the novelty of the vino alone makes it worth a visit for wine lovers.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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