Here’s What’s Happening in the Wine World

Here’s What’s Happening in the Wine World
Paul Fornier offers the wines of Fallbrook Winery including the awarded 33 Degrees North Red. Photo by Frank Mangio

The Coast News expands. As some of my readers know, I’ve been crisscrossing Colorado for the past couple of weeks, visiting wineries from Denver to Grand Junction and will deliver the news of what I found out about Colorado wines in just a few weeks.


While I was gone, the news came out about my home newspaper, The Coast News Group in North County San Diego, now being circulated in the inland communities of Escondido, San Marcos and Vista, for a total of 120,000 readers, starting with this column.

For those who are new, TASTE OF WINE brings you the best wine and food pairing news from the top wineries, wine bars, restaurants, resorts and special events.

We comment on new wine releases and tell stories about the people that make the wine — the loveliest  beverage known to the civilized world.  Congratulations to publisher Jim Kydd and his talented staff for this award-winning, free on-demand publication, for pick up in racks and newsstands in nearly 400 high-traffic locations.

Fallbrook Winery wins with 33 Degrees North.  Proving that estate grown grapes from Fallbrook can produce nationally acclaimed wines, Paul Fornier headed the wine tasting team from Fallbrook Winery that poured 33 Degrees North, a proprietary red blend that was the hit of the Rotary Wine, Brews & Blues annual Festival in Escondido.  This is the same Fallbrook Winery that took the honors when I was judging the San Diego County Fair’s first-ever wine competition last year.

Then it was Fallbrook Winery’s Chardonnay that blew away the competition.  Wineries are opening in Fallbrook, as avocado farms close due to water expenses.  Its’ a wine district to watch!

The Jolie-Pitt & Perrin Cotes de Provence Rose’ Miraval 2012.  Now there’s a mouthful!  Hopefully it’s a tasty, flavorful mouthful.  My friends at Wine Spectator have profiled the actors- turned- winemakers Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt who have purchased a vineyard in Provence, France for $60 million and collaborated with star  Rhone Valley French  winemaker Marc Perrin on Rose’ vinification. The new release is ranked 90 points on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale.

The Perrin Family in Paso Robles.  Jean Pierre and Francois Perrin of that distinguished French Family, helped found and operate Tablas Creek Vineyard and make Rhone Valley style wines in Paso Robles California with Robert Haas.  They have encouraging news about this year’s crop, which started out starved for rain with just 2.5 inches by February.

It was 10 inches at bud-break where it should have been 25 inches.  Despite the harrowing start, flowering looks good.  The vines look healthy and the hope is there will be a similar crop to last year, which was surprisingly good.

Bijou French Bistro Coming to Prospect in La Jolla. Building on their success of Parisian-inspired cuisine that made Addison a triumph at the Grand Del Mar resort, award-winning Chef William Bradley has created the menu for the new Bijou French Bistro, to replace the La Jolla location of Amaya, set to open any day now.

Included will be a new wine bar and wine cellar room.  Global French favorites will include:  Steak Frites, Coq au Vin, Rainbow Trout and Veal Paillard.  Pastry delights abound with:  Crème Brule’e, Macarons du Jour, and of course Chocolate Souffle’ with Grand Marnier.

Bijou’s wines will offer selections from France as well as regional and global choices.  Lunch and dinner will be served daily. Check out more at

Marina Kitchen’s Sommelier/Bar Manager is San Diego’s Wine Wunderkind.  Josh Orr, the smart, young Wine Sommelier at Marriott’s Marina Kitchen next to San Diego’s Convention Center downtown, recently scored a first place win in the Guild of Sommeliers Top/Somm Honors in the national championships, beating out over 200 similar experts for the distinction.  The test was on wine theory, service and taste.  Orr credits his San Diego ties for their support. “ I have a great group of somms here in San Diego that I study and taste with.  We are constantly pushing each other, and that has helped me immensely in my preparation.” Orr now prepares for his Master Sommelier exam, a grueling difficult test, with a less than a three percent pass rate.

Wine Bytes

Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas is planning a Hiatus Cellars new release party June 21 from 4 to 7 p.m. $25 includes all wines and a taco bar.  RSVP at (760) 479-2500.

The 3rd Annual Taste of our Towne is at Poway Center for the Performing Arts June 21 from 5 to 10 p.m.  Enjoy wine, music, local food and a silent auction.  Cost is $100.  Phone (858) 668-4797.

Croce’s Park West in San Diego presents a Chandon Wine Makers Collection Dinner June 24 at 7 p.m.  Chandon and Sommelier Michael Simpson will be pouring and describing the wines with a five-course dinner; $70 per person.  RSVP at (858) 345-7379.

Vittorio’s in Carmel Valley offers a 5 course wine dinner with Tobin James Cellars from Paso Robles, June 26 with a 6 p.m. start.  Local wine specialist Rob Rubin will speak.  $49.95. Feature wine will be the Tobin James 2010 Cabernet “Notorius.”  Call (858) 538-5884 for your place in this event.

Rancho Valencia in Rancho Santa Fe launches a Napa Valley Vintners evening of wine, cuisine and jazz music June 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. on the croquet lawn. Nine wineries will be pouring. $65.  Reservations at (858) 759-6246.


Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  His columns can be viewed at  He is one of the top wine commentators on the web.  Reach him at



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