A wine moment at the Grand Del Mar

Road shows are nothing new in the wine world.  Especially this time of the year when wine makers really don’t have critical responsibilities at bud break and flowering of the vines.

But when one of the top distributors organizes its winery clients from all over the world to meet at the Grand Del Mar, one of the most beautiful resorts in the world, wine columnists and members of the trade put it on their “A” list to attend.

Over 100 wineries and distributors popped their corks on their best and most recent vintages, produced by the Henry Group, a leader in the distribution of wines and spirits.

Household names showed up like Shafer, ZD, Ancient Peaks and a personal favorite of mine from Walla Walla Washington, the 2011 Amavi Cellars Estate Cabernet.

Henriot Importers, specializing in distribution, sales and marketing of luxury wines representing centuries of family winemaking caught my eye, with its ties to some of the leading wineries in Spain and Italy.

Rebecca Thompson captained the Henriot table exhibit and unlike other managers, she was out front and center talking up her brands and pouring samples, with special emphasis on an Italian blend from northwest Tuscany with a traditional name: Tenuta di Ghizzano Veneroso 2008.  Blends made from the Tuscan varietal Sangiovese are considered to be historically untraditional and Italian regulators have cast a disparaging eye on blends.  Yet, these so called “Super Tuscans” have been in demand and pricing has been driven up for some of the best-of -breed like Tignanello, Summus and Solaia.

Veneroso is my surprise find of the first half of 2014, with its medium deep saturated ruby base of fruit.  In the sorting and crushing of the grapes, they are tread on by foot, first in steel then wood, before fermentation. Aging is 16 months in French oak casks.

Recommended serving is 65 degrees, my degree of perfection for most red wines.  The blend is 70 percent Sangiovese and 30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine comes from the town of Ghizano about 40 kilometers south of Pisa. The estate dates back to the 1300s and currently is a “natural winemaker” thanks to owner Countess Ginerva Venerosi-Pesciolini, who in 2013 converted to organic agriculture.  Gain more information about this wine at henriotinc.com.

Expand your Knowledge of Wine at SDSU

The College of Extended Studies at San Diego State University serves more than 27,000 adult learners every year with a wide variety of educational opportunities including a comprehensive wine program designed to provide a Professional Certificate in the Business of Wine.

I’ve lectured on Exploring Wine and have been a member of the Wine Advisory Board at SDSU.  Giana Rodriguez is the Program Director of the Extended Studies Program.  She has some of the best resource people in the industry to bring years of experience to the students of the program.

The next class sessions start July 7 to July 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. on campus, and it’s an intensive on Austrian and German wines.  Instructor is the well-known advanced sommelier Jesse Rodriguez.  “We are planning an international component with wine classes abroad,” said Rodriguez.  The Basque Country of Spain is being targeted, probably the end of Spring 2015.”

For more, visit SDSU on line at neverstoplearning.net/wine.  By phone, call (619) 594-1138.

Wine Bytes

In Temecula, Monte De Oro Winery will have a Fourth of July BBQ Party June 29 from 1 to 5 p.m. Buffet, wine, live music and hay rides.  More information is available online at montedeoro.com.

Falkner Winery in Temecula is presenting its 14th Anniversary Event July 4 to July 6, with free concerts from noon to 3 p.m. July 5 and July 6.  Hourly raffles and outdoor BBQ’s available; with up to 50 percent off wine case prices.  More details at (951) 676-8231 ext. 1.

Marina Kitchen on Harbor Drive in San Diego has a Fourth of July All-American Picnic Style buffet.  Four courses including a 12-hour roast carving station begin from 5 to 10 p.m.  Call (619) 699-8222.

The San Diego Wine Country Festival is July 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo.  Cost is $30 in advance.  Twenty local wineries, live music and auction items.  Phone (858) 487-1866.

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



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