Some friends of mine live on a cul-de-sac in a nicer neighborhood than my own. Their next-door neighbor is Brad Bruce, a guy who judges wine competitions and who happens to be the program director of the San Diego Wine Guild. Once a year, these friends pull a couple of tables into their driveway, which their neighbors cover with plates of food. For his part, Bruce pulls out a slew of bottles and offers tastes for anyone with a wine glass. I've been crashing this party for years, and I did so again just recently, mingling with folks I've come to know over wine glasses while dodging kids on rollerblades.
Usually at these events, I quickly migrate from the whites to the reds, but this year I found myself lingering over a Chardonnay, a wine I'm considerably less likely to drink unless it's in a flight or a tasting. Still, the Sextant 2008 Chardonnay wasn't overly buttery, the quality in a Chardonnay that usually turns me away. Instead it was nicely rounded without being too crisp, with mellow citrus flavors backed up by hints of honey and melon. It's an easygoing wine, but one that ends up tasting more complex as you sip it.
Like he does every year, Bruce was more than happy to say what he knew of each wine. He's an amiable guy, and he's hosting blind tastings on a monthly basis at Wine Cabana in Old Town. You just missed the most recent one, but a calendar is located at w, and I'm sure the date will be up for the next one soon. You'll be inside, of course, and not out on the street, but with any luck, it will be just as neighborly.
Save the date: One of the biggest food/booze events of the year is coming up, and it's not too late to get tickets. The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival will run Nov. 16 through Nov. 20, primarily at Downtown locations. Tickets and a rundown of tastings and other events are at worldofwineevents.com.