Los Pilares is four co-conspirators in love with the winemaking potential of San Diego.
A handful of farm-to-table restaurants and craft breweries in San Diego are more than businesses; they are part of a movement. And so are you if you frequent them for the same reasons we do. We love them, because their aim is more than money, even more than artistry. Their aim is to make something authentic. Authenticity comes from ingredients obtained with care, processed with care, and served with care.
Making food this way results in great variety; it’s not standardized or mass produced.
Well, wine is food too, and a few winemakers in San Diego are making something authentic.
The two steps in making wine consistent with our values are easy to state but hard to do.
STEP 1: FIND GOOD FRUIT
It has to be local. For us that means 100% San Diego County grapes. It has to be the appropriate varieties. We want nature to choose the varieties, not marketing. We don’t look for Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay in San Diego’s provençal backcountry; we look for varieties like Grenache, Carignane, and Mourvedre. There’s not a lot of it growing here yet. Fortunately, the growers who have it tend to share our philosophy. The fruit has to be harvested at the right time — that means not overripe; we want to bring you fresh, bright, crisp flavors that show off the variety that San Diego can deliver (variety of the grapes, of the farms, of the vintage), not generic, thick, plummy, hot fruit.
STEP 2: DON’T MESS WITH IT
Don’t get in the way of the grapes. Try to add nothing. Try to take nothing away. No tricks. Winemaking tricks can save bad fruit, but we don’t like what they do to good fruit. They spoil its unique character.
Industrially produced wine can flatter the hell out of your palate and stand out at wine tastings, but it sits uncomfortably on the dinner table. It’s too rich, too sweet, too fruity, and too woody. After a while, it all starts to taste the same. And for good reason: it’s all made in the same way, with the same aims. So, no tricks.
We found the winemakers who have the most respect for good grapes and the lightest touch in the county. They are Chris and Alysha at Vesper Vineyards. For us, they are the perfect combination of youth and knowledge, technology and respect, New World and Old World, San Diego roots and statewide experience.
We couldn’t be happier with the simple ingredients that go into our wine. Hope you like it.