Alessia Botturi, business development manager of Antinori Winery, with La Gran Terraza Manager Amanda Secore. Photo by Frank Mangio
Community Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: A ‘gran’ time at La Gran Terraza

La Gran Terraza, high on a hillside in the University of San Diego, is a Mediterranean style restaurant with a panoramic view of nearby San Diego. The dining room is spacious with tables that are spaced for comfortable access.

All this plus pleasing hospitality led by Manager Amanda Secore, who is committed to the highest quality wine events in the area.

I first experienced this venue when La Gran Terrazza presented the wines of Antinori, a legend in premium Italian wines. Antinori is most known for being the first to make what is known as “Super Tuscans,” a creative collection of Tuscan blends.

This one is 80 percent Sangiovese, 15 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and five percent Cabernet Franc and it was named after the vineyard Tignanello.

Tignanello first came on the market in 1971 and has brought Antinori fame and fortune to where he now has seven major wineries in Tuscany and many other affiliations around the world including Washington, where he has put his name on Ste Michelle’s Col Solari, a well known blend.

“Antinori is the messenger of Italy with his high quality wines,” proclaimed Alessia Botturi, the speaker for the evening.  He respects tradition, but seeks and creates the future in many of the twenty districts of Italy.”

Another Antinori wine presented at the event with a more value price was the Antinori Peppoli, a Chianti Classico from Tuscany ($26.99).  It has notes of cherry and strawberry.  Lively acidity provokes the appetite.  Spices and oak complete the aftertaste.

Visit the winemaker’s site at

More recently, La Gran Terraza has hosted the Napa Valley favorite, Stag’s Leap, led by its sought-after Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon ($70).

Stag’s Leap gained fame when its Cabernet was selected to compete with the French Bordeaux wines in the 1976 Paris Tasting and came out the winner in the world’s most famous blind tasting.

From left: Ste Michelle Wine Estate representatives Kyle Twitchell and Lindsay Applebaum with Southern Wine & Spirits representatives Jeff McIntyre and Amanda Brandlin at La Gran Terrazza’s Stag’s Leap event. Photo by Frank Mangio
From left: Ste Michelle Wine Estate representatives Kyle Twitchell and Lindsay Applebaum with Southern Wine & Spirits representatives Jeff McIntyre and Amanda Brandlin at La Gran Terrazza’s Stag’s Leap event. Photo by Frank Mangio

Stag’s Leap is the gem in the highly acclaimed Stag’s Leap District of Napa Valley. This 19th century stone built winery and manor house, has a beautiful garden and many varietals of wines and complex blends to please the palate — one thing to remember if you go — it’s by appointment only.  For more, go to

With the holidays coming up, here are wonderful times to visit La Gran Terraza:  lunch buffets with special themes 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 17, and Dec. 16; Holiday Prime Rib Dinners with carolers Wednesdays Dec. 2, Dec. 9, and Dec. 16 from 5 to 9 p.m. Make your reservations at (619) 849-8205.


Wine Bytes

Like to try new wines from the barrel?  Go to Stehlion and Vesper Urban Winery and Tasting Room in Escondido 12:30 to 2 p.m. Nov. 14.  Cost is $25.  Call for details at (760) 741-1246.

A truly memorable evening with world famous Banfi Winery from Tuscany Italy and its honorable family owner Cristina Mariani-May will be yours at Solare Italian Restaurant in Pt. Loma San Diego, Nov. 19 starting at 6 p.m.  This is a five-course dinner with six Banfi wines.  You will be thrilled by the story of Banfi as told by this legendary family member; $105 for this huge event.  Call early at (619) 270-9670.

Vittorio’s Trattoria in Carmel Valley wants you to join them Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. for a special Taken wine dinner featuring a not-to-be-missed engagement with Carlo Trinchero from Taken winery, along with a five-course dinner for $49.50. RSVP at (858) 538-5884.

Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas presents a Krupp Brothers Tasting and Pairing Nov. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m.  This winery is a leading wine producer in the famed Napa Valley and does only a limited number of appearances.  $50. Details at (760) 479-2500.


Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by WineSpectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View his column at and reach him at  Follow him on Facebook.

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