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Swim, Bike, Run…Sip

We’ve noticed a trend at the wine store lately: bicycles on labels. We were curious how these wines measured up, so we got the expert opinion from San Diego Sommelier Jesse Rodriguez.

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We’ve noticed a trend at the wine store lately: bicycles on labels. We were curious how these wines measured up, so we got the expert opinion from San Diego Sommelier Jesse Rodriguez. As the wine director at the prestigious Grand Del Mar’s restaurant, Addison, he oversees a 35,000-bottle collection. All three bottles fall in the wallet-friendly range of $8–12. Rodriguez concluded that they were all good quality, value and bang for the buck.

Cono Sur

Merlot
Tasting notes: Plush red and black fruit, mocha and cocoa, with subtle leather.
Staff says: Thumbs up. It’s smooth from start to finish. Out of the three wines, Rodriguez says this was the most versatile.
Pair it with: Pork loin or seared steak. Rodriguez would cook a pork loin with sautéed spinach or broccoli rabe, pine nuts, garlic confit and thyme.

Red Bicyclette

Pinot Noir
Tasting notes: Prominent red currant, cranberry, tart Bing cherry.
Staff says: A lot lighter
and more juice-like than your average pinot.
Pair it with: Salmon, which is an oily, dense fish. Or try it with fettuccine with basil and cherry tomatoes. “Tomatoes are naturally acidic, and pinot noir is probably the most acidic wine,” Rodriguez says.

Cycles Gladiator

Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting notes: Licorice, plum and blackberry, with a woody finish.
Staff says: The dry-mouth sensation that comes from the wood is intense, but it’s bolder and more flavorful than the pinot.
Pair it with: Tri tip. Or, because it’s an $8 bottle, Rodriguez says to “go budget all the way.” Cook a meal with lentils, barley or couscous.