Chalk Hill Estates lands one in Del Mar’s West End

I love how wineries have a knack for coming up with simple, effective, and descriptive names for their properties. Sonoma’s Chalk Hill is a prime example, as it takes its name from the white volcanic soil of its vineyards, perfect for growing one of its prized varietals, Chardonnay.

Del Mar’s West End Bar and Kitchen recently hosted two sold-out Chalk Hill Wine Dinners – West End owner Sal Ercolano’s seventh and eighth wine dinners this year. Alan Crawford, Vice President of Luxury Brands at Foley Family Wines, recounted the dinner Frank and I attended.

Crawford shared that Chalk Hill Estates Vineyards and Winery is part of the Foley Food & Wine Society owned by Bill and Carol Foley who have created “an exclusive company dedicated to uniting three of life’s greatest passions: world-class wines, exceptional cuisine and incredible experiences”.

His family of vineyards stretches from the Central Coast of California to the Pacific Northwest, including Sonoma, Napa, the Central Coast, Oregon and Washington, as well as Argentina, France and Nova Scotia. Zeeland.

Besides Chalk Hill, other well-known American brands include Lancaster, Chalone, Foley Johnson, Ferrari-Carano and Banshee. In total, the Foley family portfolio represents 25 wineries worldwide.

Crawford shared some of Bill Foley’s career and story. Foley acquired Chalk Hill Estate in 2010 from Fred Furth, an Exxon executive who spends time in Alaska flying himself. In 1972, when Furth flew his plane over the Russian River Valley and saw the natural amphitheater carved into the hills, he knew it was a perfect place to create Chalk Hill. Bill and his wife Carol’s passion and love for Burgundy varietals has made Chalk Hill an intriguing business.

In addition to his role as winemaker, Bill Foley is the president and CEO of the Vegas Golden Knights. Foley is also executive chairman of the board of Fidelity National Financial and vice chairman of the board of Fidelity National Information Services. Most impressive is that Foley finds time to be the winemaker at Chalk Hill and oversee the Foley Winery portfolio. did i ever say impressive!

Dinner began with Chef Noe’s bites served with Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Chalk Hill’s 2n/a greatest variety. Its floral and grapefruit notes on the nose with crisp, bright mango and melon on the palate were a good match for starter bites.

The second course was citrus crab cake served with Chalk Hill’s iconic Estate Chardonnay, a 92-point Robert Parker winner. The chardonnay exuded vanilla, orange blossom, apples and toasted marshmallow with its aging in French oak with a creamy mouthfeel and pear on the palate.

It combined well with the citrus in the crab cakes. In the third course, guests enjoyed tuna stew made with fresh tuna over fresh pipe-shaped pasta and estate pinot noir. The pinot’s wild strawberry nose with red berries and a cherry palate enhanced the flavors of the stew but did not overpower the tuna in the stew.

The main course featured a generous lamb osso bucco on the shank in a red wine reduction served over polenta and root vegetables. The osso bucco falling from the bone was paired with an Estate Red Blend (49% cab sauv, 40% malbec and 11% petit verdot). The red blend had a bold bouquet with intense aromas of black cherry, tobacco and leather. The dark fruit palate with hints of vanilla and spice was a great companion to the richness of the osso bucco and its reduction sauce.

While the lower part of the 1,200 acre property with 300 acres planted and the white volcanic soil is perfect for the whites, the upper Chalk Hill has red volcanic soil perfect for the red varietals that the Red Blend was made from. The evening ended with chocolate pudding and Quinta Do Noval dark port.

It was a great evening of rich food paired with equally daring wines, narration by Crawford, and tableside conversations with Crawford and Foley’s SoCal Marketing Director, Michael Clayton. I highly suggest checking out Chalk Hill wines at and for those traveling to wine country, check out the Foley Food & Wine Society at

Next in the Ercolano 2022 Wine Dinner series is Jordan Winery Wine Dinners at 6 p.m. March 30-31 at Flora. Guests will enjoy a three-course dinner accompanied by an appetizer and dessert and will include two wines from the Library of Jordan, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 and 2014. The main course includes veal cutlets Saltimbocca with the Library Cab Saved 2014. Price is $85 per person + tax/tip. RSVP to (858) 461-0622.

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— Carruth Cellars, San Diego’s largest urban winery, is hosting its 12and Annual barrel tasting evening from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday March 26, and Sunday March 27, every day in its Solana Beach tasting room. Customers will be able to taste the best of the Carruth cellar, directly from the barrel before the wines are bottled. Explore five stations tasting 10 varietals and enjoy food, music and take home a signature souvenir glass. Plus, get exclusive access to purchase wine ahead of its bottling and release in fall 2022 (known as “futures”) at a generous discount. Tee times are available to book every 20 minutes. Tickets are $56 for Carruth members and $70 for the public. RSVP to

– Vigilucci’s Leucadia is hosting a Spring Italian Wine Dinner on Thursday 3/24, 6pm. Guests can enjoy a four-course dinner. The main course includes ribs braised in Rosso Red wine, polenta with gorgonzola and baby carrots accompanied by Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Antica (Antinori) 2012. Wines served during dinner are available for purchase at 20% off off retail prices. The cost is $89 per person + tax/tip. RSVP to 760-634-2365.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. Frank and Rico are two of the leading commentators on the web. Contact them at [email protected]

Freeda S. Scott