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About this Episode

Maria Valetta, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas take a trip to San Diego where they explore the wine list at Herb & Wood,  a delightful Italian restaurant that focuses on Mediterranean cuisine and rustic, wood-fired dishes. The secret garden courtyard and indoor restaurant with vaulted ceilings make this location a dining destination in San Diego and one that will not disappoint diners. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2016 Trimbach Grand Cru Geisberg Riesling, Alsace

  • 2019 Keenan Upper Bowl Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Napa

  • 2019 Tornatore Etna Bianco, Italy

Transcript: Herb & Wood

Herb & Wood

RT): Hi Everyone, welcome back to CorkRules! The wine podcast that’s here to help YOU navigate all your favorite restaurant wine lists.

I’m Robert Tas, along with Maria Valetta, wine educator, and certified sommelier, also known as Maria The Wine Blonde. Welcome back Maria

MV: Hello Robert! Great to be back for another episode with you as we expand to southern California

RT: Today we are talking about Herb & Wood, this little spot nestled within the Little Italy neighborhood of downtown San Diego is known for Modern interpretations of Traditional Mediterranean cuisine.  The retractable roof brings the outside in, while heat lamps in the winter keep you cozy as you nosh on a multitude of tapas-style plates coming from the wood-fired oven. The wine list at Herb & Wood features a selection of Champagne and Rosé wines plus whites and reds broken down further into headings of Old world and New world, Maria, What do you think of their list?

MV: This is not a large list by any means, but the selection is lovely… well procured, with a lot of thought put into the offerings, with some excellent

Options from the US, France, Italy and Spain, and even Germany, Austria and Portugal… something for everyone for sure.

RT: Where should we begin then?

MV: They have some great wines by the glass too, so if sparkling is your thing too, Start with the Pierre Sparr But Rose from Alsace France  - this lovely crémant d’Alsace is 100% PN made in the champagne method- this will go down super easy! Or you could go with the Sancerre, Domaine Auchere this bright citrusy Sauv Blanc is the perfect companion to all the Hamachi crudo with ginger and apple or any of the Vegetable small plates.

RT: Do you have a fav red by the glass for this menu?

MV: order a glass of the Vietti Barbera d’asti from Italy. I Love this Piedmont producer, this wine could go with just about everything. Let me say.. This food menu is great, so many options – something for everyone!

RT: any interesting bottles that we should not miss here?

MV: yes def some fun stuff on this list… and the markups are fair …the Vieux Telegraph La Crau 2020 CDP blancs are kind of rare… I used to sell this producer when I worked for International Wine Brokers. Dominated  by Clairette grape and bolstered by 30% some Grenache Blanc, 15% Bourboulenc, 15% and Roussanne.

Another interesting white Bodegas Edetária “Via Edetana “ Blanc DO Terra Alta Spain 2019 70%Grenache 30% Viognier highly aromatic wine, balanced by a bright acidity. South of Barcelona in Gandesa DO Terra Alta.

RT: I would definitely try both of those… any interesting red wines you would want us to drink?

MV: My pick is the Keenan Upper Bowl Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2019, a single vineyard cab franc from Napa valley I’m  totally on board!

RT: That’s an underrated gem of a grape for sure!

MV: oh yeah hey.Cheval Blanc knew from the get-go that Cab Franc could make fantastic juice.

RT: How about some value wines.. I know that the Spanish white you recommended falls into that category, any others in that nice price point?

MV: I have a few more great options for you: Try the Tornatore Etna Bianco 2019 a beautiful white from Sicily made from the native Carricante grape grown in volcanic soils

And for red since the menu has some killer pizzas and pasta dishes the Messer Oto Aglianico del Vulture – a rustic but unoaked version of the Aglianico grape from the Basilicata region of Italy.

RT: That sounds like a perfect wine for that Oxtail gnocchi dish on the menu

… now can you steer us towards an option or two that I could order to impress everyone at the table?

MV: Okay so take it up a notch because you’re trying to impress your in-laws..  I actually think The Trimbach Grand Cru Geisberg (gaysbourg) 2016 Riesling is going to shine so brightly with honeysuckle and Asian sliced pear but with a superior dry finish...  and if you are eyeing a re, splash out on the Margaux du Chateaux Margaux 2014 the third wine of famed premier cru Bordeaux estate chateaux Margaux but this is on-trade only offering so here’s your chance to try this beauty it would be perfect with the Iberico pork secreto, and if you’re on a new world wine kick the Shafer hillside select 2015 $626, you can’t go wrong with this beauty - I can rarely recommend this one because it's always so insanely priced on a winelists so I’m happy about this markup so make this top rated cabernet your top notch selection.

RT: Fantastic Choices …Well thank you Maria for helping us discover the wine list at Herb & Wood in San Diego. And Thank you everyone for joining us today you can find more wine tips from Maria on Instagram @Mariathewineblonde. Remember the only rule in wine is “drink what you LOVE”.

MV: Have a favorite wine list? Let us review it here. Send us your requests at info@CorkRules.com You can find previous episodes on your favorite podcast platform and on

The CorkRules website. Be sure to follow @CorkRules on Instagram for episode and app updates. Prices and selections subject to change, please drink responsibly.









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