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Intoxicating! Yes, the wine contained alcohol. But on a brilliant, clear Sunday afternoon perched on a hill in San Diego’s backcountry overlooking the lovely valley below, one doesn’t need alcohol to be intoxicated. At Cordiano’s Winery, the gorgeous view, warming sun, comfortable open-air venue, tasty pizza, and soft music covering the murmur of conversation can induce a reverie worthy of Debussy…oh the wine. I almost forgot the wine.

They poured a tasting flight of chardonnay, merlot, zinfandel, syrah, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon. In that atmosphere, they all taste like God’s nectar, but when I put my professional tasting hat on and ignored the surroundings, only the cabernet sauvignon made an impression.

The cab is a brooding yet elegant wine with bright black cherry and black current fruit, hints of bay leaves and cedar on the nose and a soft mouthfeel with persistent, fine grained tannins on the medium length finish. I found this wine intriguing and satisfying.

On a busy weekend, there was no one available to discuss the wines—everyone was busy cranking out pizzas for the non-stop crowd seeking an idyllic lunch. The wine plays second violin to the ambiance. But the wines are all quite competently done and the atmosphere on the right day is captivating.

Cordiano’s is definitely worth a visit and the cab will repay some undivided attention.

About $30 for the Cabernet.