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Taste of Wine

Dates Set for 11th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

Harry’s Bar & American Grill in La Jolla is fine Tuscan style dining with artistically composed entrees like the Pasta Zarina:  hand rolled pasta, fresh salmon, shallots, Vodka, black pepper and cream sauce topped with caviar. Photo courtesy Harry's Bar & American GrillThe 11th annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is coming Nov.16 to Nov. 23. Photo courtesy San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

Make your plans now for the biggest and best wine and food festival on the West Coast and the most talked about public event in San Diego.

The dates are Nov. 16 to Nov. 23.  This is an international showcase of the world’s premier wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities and gourmet foods.  Think of it as the world’s largest and longest buffet

where the visitor gets to pick and choose the wines, the spirits, fine dining restaurants and the finest chefs serving you personally and revealing their secrets.  The logistics boggle the mind.  Try these on for size:  200 wineries, breweries and spirit companies, 70 of San Diego’s top restaurants and 30 gourmet food companies will be part of the 2014 Festival, with an estimated 10,000 visitors from across the nation.

Daily and nightly events are being added, with local and national star –chef talent coming on board as I write. Locally look for Richard Blais of Juniper & Ivy, Bernard Guillas of La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Brian Malarkey of Searsucker, Giorgio Lo Verde of Il Fornaio, Paul Murphy of Humphreys and many more.  Winemakers include:  Paul Hobbs of Ahnfeldt Winery, Daniel Daou of Dauo Winery, Patrick Muran of Niner Wine Estates, Joe Ramazzotti of Ramazzotti Winery and many more.

The two spectaculars on the calendar will be the Vault: Reserve and New Release Tasting Nov. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. on the yacht Inspiration Hornblower with tickets starting at $65; and the Grand Tasting at the Embarcadero Marina Park behind Seaport Village, Nov. 22, from noon to 3 p.m. (11 a.m. for early entry) with tickets starting at $75. A “Chef of the Fest” competition keeps the action coming involving all chefs.  Live entertainment will take place at both ends of the festival and in the VIP tent.

TASTE OF WINE will be covering the major presentations and will feature a special edition on the best wines at the fest.  For all details, events and pricing, go to sandiegowineclassic.com or call (619) 312-1212.

Harry’s Bar & American Grill Salutes Banfi Wines

The Tuscan wine experience really begins and ends at Castello Banfi, just outside the mountain town of Montalcino.  Founded by American importers John and Harry Mariani in 1978, who envisioned the need for higher quality Italian wines. Banfi has since produced a constellation of world renowned wines to fit any budget and palate, from the versatile Centine Rosso ($12) to the legendary Brunello di Montalcino ($58) the signature wine for Banfi.

Harry’s Bar & American Grill of Forence and Naplesfame, and now in La Jolla across from the UTCCenter, packed the dining room for this special Banfi wine occasion. Owner Garo Minassian was careful to pair his courses specifically with the Banfi wine selections.

“My favorite dish in the whole world is Lamb Osso Bucco.  It’s big, robust and best served with a wine that’s’ velvety smooth on the palate,” Minassian declared.  “We chose Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 2009, a perfect compliment.”  For more on Castello Banfi, go to Banfi.com.  Go online to harryslajolla.com.

Wine Bytes

Lorimar Winery in Temecula celebrates California Wine Month with a Grape Stomp and Harvest Festival Sept. 20 from 4 to 8 p.m.  Cost of $65 gets you dinner, two glasses of wine with a glass to take home.  Hay rides, live music and a costume contest.  Call (951) 694-6699 ext. 4.

Mia Francesca in the Del Mar Highlands Center presents a signature cooking class Sept. 24 starting at 6 p.m. Cost is $50 per guest. Reserve a place at (858) 519-5055.

The Barrel Room in Rancho Bernardo presents a Stolpman four-course Wine Dinner Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m.  Cost is $65.  Call (858) 673-7512.

Vittorio’s Trattoria in Carmel Valley off the Interstate 56 is planning an evening with Zaca Mesa wines of Santa Barbara and a pairing dinner, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. Price is $49.95.  RSVP at (858) 538-5884.

Michael Mondavi of Mondavi Wines Napa Valley fame, will appear at Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas Sept. 25 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.  Michael and his daughter Dina will want you to join them. Cost is $20, including wine tasting.  No RSVP needed.

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 atwww.tasteofwinetv.com.  Reach him at mangiompc@aol.com.