Zilaro Cellars Tasting Room Review
Address: 1113 Adella Ave. Coronado,California 92118.
Phone Number: 619-437-7969
Region: South Coast and S. California, California
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 9/6/2014
Reviewer: Becky Parr
During our recent trip to San Diego, we took the ferry to Coronado Island for two reasons: to visit Zilaro Cellars and to walk on the beach. The beach was amazing it was close to sunset, we happened upon a wedding taking place in the sand, and the waves were rolling in so quickly that we got completely wet, just walking along. Unfortunately Zilaro Cellars was not quite so memorable.
The Place:  Zilaro Cellars has a great location, so I expected a lot. It’s right across the street from the Hotel Coronado, the primo tourist attraction on the island. If it was a welcoming space to hang out, drink wine, and linger, Zilaro might get a lot of tourist business. Heck, when I go on vacation, I love to find the local wine spots! But it’s a small tasting room in a shopping area. Not only is there no view, there are no tables. Seating options are only the few chairs at the bar. The art is nice, and the lines of the room are clean and modern, but it’s a bit of a Spartan space.
The People:  We visited on a weekday afternoon; there was one other patron in the tasting room, which was staffed by Natalia and her lovely accent. As we talked to her, we learned that she’s from Bulgaria, and that she learned English by watching the Kardashians (lord help us all!). She was certainly able to tell us about the wines where the grapes came from, which is Paso Robles and Temecula, and the notes they offer but I wondered if she drank any of the wine herself, because she didn’t offer much in the way of her own favorites and preferences. That’s not necessarily bad I’m sure those who pour don’t want to prejudice the drinkers in any way but I like to hear what people think when they’re around wine all the time. What bothered me the most was that Natalia spent almost all of her time conversing with the other gentleman at the bar, who was clearly a regular, and gave us nothing more than the standard tasting spiel.
The Wine:  We tasted six wines, two whites and four reds. Both the Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Grigio were pleasant; the former was very crisp and the latter, light and smooth. I preferred the Sauvignon Blanc. We had two Cabernet Sauvignons, 2010 and 2011. Interestingly, the 2010 was much lighter than I usually expect from a Cab. The 2011 was fuller bodied, but not tannic at all. The Barbera, sourced from the Sierra Foothills, is fuller; but the Merlot was my favorite, very smooth. None of them, however, stood out as “I have to buy this” wines. The winery has only been legally in existence since 2010, so perhaps the wines still need some time to grow up.
The Experience:  This isn’t a place I’d recommend staying away from; nor would I suggest going out of your way to visit. It was a relatively average tasting room experience. It might have been different, in terms of interaction with the server, if we had been there by ourselves, or if we had come with a larger group of tourists.
Insider’s Tip:  Zilaro Cellars, and the Hotel Coronado, are on the opposite side of the island from where the ferry docks. There is a free shuttle that runs around the island every 30 minutes. It stops right outside the hotel. It was a godsend. If you want to visit either attraction, take that bus!