Taste of Wine

10th Annual Wine/Food Festival coming to San Diego

The wine/food event of the year is still 3-1/2 months away but by the way the talk is going, it may as well be next week.

Kendall Jackson’s Wine Center in Santa Rosa, home of the interactive wine sensory and culinary gardens.The Grand Tasting of the four day San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival is Nov. 23 at Embarcadero Park behind Seaport Village, downtown San Diego. Photos by Frank Mangio

The San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival will be with us Nov. 20 to Nov. 24 for its tenth year. I’ve seen them all and the stage gets bigger and grander every year.

Local and national wine and food celebrities will gather at over 20 events in the heart of downtown San Diego to fill your appetites for the largest culinary extravaganza in Southern California. The alert I have for you now is that tickets just went on sale for this luxury wine and food festival.

Make sure the Grand Tasting is highest on your list of events to see. It’s at the Embarcadero behind Seaport Village at the Marina. You will be able to taste over 200 wineries, breweries and spirits and 70 local restaurants and gourmet food companies. Highlight is the Chef of the Fest Competition where San Diego’s best chefs compete for the title.

New this year is the California Classics Cult Wine Tasting featuring Screaming Eagle & Master Sommelier Fred Dame with commentary education, and the story behind each cult wine.

Tickets are now available for all events online at www.sandiegowineclassic.com. For more information, call (619) 342-7337.

The Best of the Recent Crop

The last week in June, the TASTE OF WINE FIRST HALF TOP TEN was unveiled with winning wines from Italy to Sonoma. So what have I got for you lately? Here’s my “pick six” for July:

Chateau St Jean Chardonnay, Robert Young Vineyard, Sonoma, 2010. $18. Single vineyard in the Alexander Valley, rich in oak aging.

Grgich Hills Merlot, Napa Valley, 2009. $42. Concentrated flavors, this is a Merlot for Cab drinkers. Certified Organic and Biodynamic.

Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet, Sonoma, 2010. $28. 16 months in oak. Blend of mountain, ridge, hillside and beachland grapes. Best estate vineyards.

Lava Cap Petite Sirah, El Dorado, Placerville CA, 2010. $30. Mountain grown grapes in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Rich with full flavors to awaken your senses.

Pedroncelli Mother Clone Zinfandel, Dry Creek Sonoma, 2011. $17. Over 100 years of parental care from ancient vines go into the flavor profile of this wine. Add 12% Petite Sirah for good measure.

Thornton Nebbiolo, Temecula Valley, 2011. $46. Carefully crafted Italian grape from the gifted Piemonte country of Italy and the premium grape of Barolo and Barbaresco. Cheers to John Thornton for bringing this master wine to Southern California.

Wine Bytes

Temecula Wine Country continues its musical parade in August as Baily Winery has the band Fandango Aug. 24 from 5 to 8 p.m. during dinner. Call (951) 972-9758. Briar Rose Winery has its Saturday Night Sunset Aug. 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. with the Get Down Party Band. Paninis on Wheels provides the made to order meals. And Thornton Winery Aug. 24 has Chris Botti jazz from 7 to 10 p.m. Call (951) 699-0099 for tickets.

Il Fornaio in Coronado presents a Mondavi Wine Dinner Aug. 22; reception is at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. The event features five-courses, live Neopolitan music and Mondavi wines, including the Napa Valley Cabernet and Carneros Pinot Noir. Chef Loverde presides over a custom menu. $65. RSVP at (619) 437-4911.

Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula will have a “free Cruise Tasting” of its wines Aug. 24 at 5:30 p.m. They will present details on two riverboat cruises it is hosting on the Rhone and the Danube Rivers in Europe in 2013 and 2014. Call in for an RSVP at 951-699-9463.

The 20th Annual Grape Stomp is at Orfila Vineyards and Winery in Escondido Aug. 24 from 4 to 8 p.m. Includes a dinner buffet, live dance music, wine tasting, tractor rides and hilarious grape stomping. Cost is $85. Phone for reservations at (760) 738-6500 ext. 22.