New wine releases – tasting the future

A wealth of new releases, poured in double the number of wine shows and winemaker appearances in restaurants, resorts and wine bars, have swept into the market. This has given consumers more choices than ever.In California, the size and value of the wine grape crop in 2012 has been over the top at more than 4 million tons, surpassing the record in 2005 by 6.5 percent. And more importantly, the price of wine grapes rose 20 percent to $772 per ton.

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the price champ at more than $5,000 per ton. By comparison, Chardonnay, the next pricey wine grape is in at a little over $3,000 per ton. A good rule of thumb for pricing is to move the decimal point over two places for the average price per bottle. If we take the 2012 “Cab” price per ton of $5,000 and apply the rule, the typical “Cab” in Napa Valley would be $50.

A trend to watch for in the flood of new releases are the white wine blends. Pedroncelli 2012 Friends White, Sonoma, $12, is a proprietary blend of Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. This is a smart followup to the successful red version of Friends, and was introduced recently at Rossi’s Pasta and Sports Bar in San Marcos. Visit

Season’s 52 Restaurants, with locations in San Diego and Costa Mesa, has a trendy attraction with wines. It’s a “Drink Them Before They’re Famous” list, an insider wine lineup carefully selected by Master Sommelier George Miliotes that changes every season. Two Pinots, a Sauvignon Blanc and a white blend from Arizona are the spotlights for this spring.

Other new release wines worth trying are:

— Jordan 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, $53. Since 1972, French style with superior California flavor and elegance. Visit

— Mazzei 2010 Badiola Red, Tuscany Italy, $10. Could be the best value of the group, with 70 percent Sangiovese, 30 percent Merlot. Mazzei has been making wine since 1435. Aged nine months in oak. A “Super Tuscan” with a super price. Visit

— Norton 2010 Privada Blend, Mendoza Argentina, $18. Forty percent Malbec, 30 percent Merlot and 30 percent Cabernet, produces a top rated Norton with elements of primal pleasure. Visit

— Niner 2009 Pinot Noir, Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo, $41. Newest breakthrough wine from world class winemaker Amanda Cramer. Sustainable farmed. Visit

— South Coast 2008 Wild Horse Peak Sangiovese, Temecula, $34. An Italian style mountain wine from master winemaker Jon McPherson. The vineyard grapes are selected from a 2,200 foot steep terrain. Competitive with the best of Tuscany. Visit

— Smokescreen 2011 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley/made in the Napa Valley, $19. Here’s the dark horse of the lot. An affordable, quality wine that defines the Napa Valley pinot style. Even has a convenient twist-cap. Visit

Wine winners showing at the Paddock, Del Mar Fairgrounds April 27 and 28

The second annual San Diego Wine Show comes to the Del Mar Fairground’s Paddock, from to 2 to 6 p.m. April 27 and 1 to 5 p.m. April 28. Make your plans to experience fine wines, gourmet food trucks, food sampling from celebrity chefs, entertainment and a Pinot Noir Blind Tasting by an expert sommelier on Saturday. A major feature will be wines from the Guadalupe Valley of Baja, in the beautiful outdoor setting of the manicured Paddock area, scene of the parading of the racehorses when in season. Tickets are $55 presale, $65 at the door.

Visit for more and to buy tickets.

Wine Bytes

The Campo Railway Museum in Campo has a benefit food and wine festival from noon to 5 p.m. April 20. Enjoy locally produced wines from San Diego County. Tickets are $25 pre-sale, $30 day of event. Call (619) 465-7776.

North County Wine Company in San Marcos invites you to meet the winemaker and drink the 2010 vintage of Powell Mountain, Paso Robles, from 4 to 10 p.m. April 19. Fifteen dollar fee includes appetizers. Call (760) 744-2119.

The Carmel Mt. Ranch Country Club will present a Wine & Chocolate Tasting and benefit auction from 3 to 6 p.m. April 21. Cost is $50 pre-sale, $60 at the door. Info at (904) 477-7084.

Encinitas Wine Merchants has a premium Champagne Tasting from 5 to 7:30 p.m. April 24. Names like Dom Perignon, Clicquot and others, for $38 per person. Call (760) 479-9891.

Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse has a Girard Winery Wine Dinner at 6:30 p.m. April 26. Feature menu includes Grilled Filet Mignon and porcini truffle sauce, with a 2009 Girard Cabernet. Cost is $80 each. RSVP at (760) 434-2580.

TOAST Enoteca and Cucina, downtown San Diego hosts an Italian “Vinitaly” with more than 30 award winning Italian wineries, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 25. Appetizers, antipasti and menu samples. Tickets are $50 per person. RSVP at (619) 269-4207.




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