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Taste of Wine

A wine show with international flavor

Do you have a hard time tasting the difference between a wine from Italy and a wine from California?

There are distinct taste essentials that start with the fundamental culture of the land and its winemakers.  Just what role does wine play at the table?

These and more questions can easily be answered at the latest wine show coming to San Diego Saturday and Sunday April 25 and April 26 from 1 to 6 p.m., in the beautiful outdoor Paddock area at the famous Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Donato Santarsieri is a determined entrepreneur and producer who had the vision a few years ago of presenting equal amounts of domestic and imported wines (old world and new world wines) for visitors to explore, taste and meet many of the winemakers and representatives of their respective wineries at this one-of-kind show.

I asked Santarsieri what other features would make his show a must for wine lovers.  “I have secured the next door Turf Club Courtyard for beautiful original artwork, and I have a lineup of musicians in both the Paddock and the Turf Club areas.  Education is still a high priority with my show, so sommeliers will speak about all things related to wine, and chefs will be demonstrating their cooking talent.”

The San Diego International Wine Show comes to the Del Mar Fairgrounds April 25 and 26. Photo courtesy International Wine Show
The San Diego International Wine Show comes to the Del Mar Fairgrounds April 25 and 26. Photo courtesy International Wine Show

There is an increasing buzz going on about wines from the Guadalupe Valley of Mexico and the International Wine Show caught on early, so a big part of the tasting will be these wines.  Other names to pick up a pour will include: Orfila and Carruth in San Diego, Tenuta di Arceno and Zonin from Italy, Freemark Abbey and Hartford from Napa Valley and Sonoma and Bodegas M from Spain, to name a few.

Prices start at $55. Get the latest updates at the website:

The Cuisine of Florence Flourishes at Acqua Al 2

In September 2000, Chef Martin Gonzalez, after a number of years mentoring in Florence Italy, made the visionary decision to come to San Diego and start up the Florentine sibling of the original Aqua Al 2, bringing Florentine dining to America’s Finest City.  These days, it’s easy to order at Aqua Al 2.  First, choose a bottle of Acqua Al 2 Sangiovese, made in Puglia, Italy.  The wine list is full of great wine choices, made in either California or Italy.  Choose one of the 4 choices from the Pasta menu, and a choice from the Secondi menu for Florentine unbeatables. Make sure you get plenty of bread to sop up the delicious pasta sauce.

When he is not cooking at Aqua Al 2, Gonzalez is catering for the San Diego Padres baseball team.  The Padres are huge fans of Aqua Al 2’s dinners, and their meals are prepared for the players at each home game.

See more at

Wine Bytes

Meritage wine market in Encinitas presents Oysterfest, April 25 from 3 to 6 p.m.  A hearty assortment of oyster preparations and selections of burgundy wines.  $60. RSVP at (760) 479-2500.

The De Portola Wine Trail in Temecula is planning a Big Red Fest April 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  All 10 wineries will offer three red wines plus gourmet food and a free logo wine glass for $69.99.  Tickets and details online at

The Celebrity Cruises Great Wine Festival happens at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine May 2 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Enjoy more than 30 exceptional wineries, breweries and spirits, fine cuisine, a silent auction and live music.  The event will benefit the Legal Aid Society of Orange County & Community Legal Services in southeast Los Angeles County.  Admission starts at $100.  See other options and features at

Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour will stop in Las Vegas May 2 at the Mirage Hotel from 7 to 10 p.m.  Over 200 top rated wines to taste, light buffet and a souvenir Riedel glass.  Cost is $225.  Order tickets at

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View and link up with his columns at  Reach him at and follow him on Facebook.

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