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Del Mar Featured Rancho Santa Fe Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Seasalt comes ashore in Del Mar

Congratulations to Salvatore Ercolano for delivering the perfect San Diego seaside restaurant and wine bar that’s as relaxed as you could wish for.

Just a few steps from Torrey Pines State Beach, the ocean, and a few more to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, you’ll find lots of free, easy parking.

Ercolano brings a lifetime of culinary and wine experience, starting with his homeland on the Island of Capri in Italy.

He is best known in the area for his Villa Capri Restaurant in Carmel Valley.

Seasalt, on Carmel Valley Road, is casual, quiet and trendy and primarily a seafood bistro.  “I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant with a view in Del Mar,” Ercolano said. “Seasalt Del Mar has the perfect location.”

I asked Ercolano to name a couple of favorite dishes and, being a man of the sea, he pointed to his Crab Ravioli “Two Ways,” with a spicy pink tomato sauce and light lemon sauce.

Then he got into the Seasalt Tuna Scaloppini, a seared tuna topped with fennel, pomegranate seeds, shallots and fresh parsley, served with caramelized onion and garlic mashed potatoes.

The wine list is a geography lesson on Italy and France, listed by taste and grape varietal.  A sample of the wines includes: Banfi Chianti Riserva, Zardetto Prosecco, Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti, and Donnafugata Nero di Avola from Sicily which I thought was an excellent medium intensity red bottle, for just $28.

Other wines were from the California coast, Oregon, Europe and South America.

Seasalt also has craft beer and cocktails and is open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch seven days a week. For a reservation call (858) 755-7100.  See more at


Replay – the International Wine Show

The Paddock area at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and racetrack provided a serene backdrop for some 50 wineries, microbreweries and artists for the recent San Diego International Wine Show.

TASTE OF WINE columnist Frank Mangio tastes one of the premium Baja wine selections from Valle de Guadalupe Baja Wine Director Fernando Gaxiola. Photo courtesy Taste of Wine
TASTE OF WINE columnist Frank Mangio tastes one of the premium Baja wine selections from Valle de Guadalupe Baja Wine Director Fernando Gaxiola. Photo courtesy Taste of Wine

The wines of the Guadalupe Valley of Baja were the tastiest that day.  Director Fernando Gaxiola had a large variety of premium names to try and he led a seminar on that wine country, which is creating a stir this side of the border.

Italian wines got their share of pours from Mathew and Armanda Regan of ZONIN, especially the Sasseo Primitivo from Puglia, Italy.

Locally, Skip Coomber had his wines on the most wanted list, highlighted by his amazing Cabernet Sauvignon.


Wine Bytes

Tuscany, Italian Restaurant in La Costa has an Italian style Live Jazz Sunday Brunch, May 31 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Featured performer is the popular Mark Shapiro. Special prices on Bottomless Mimosa and Bloody Mary.  Call (760) 929-8111 for an RSVP.

WineSellar & Brasserie in Sorrento Valley San Diego has a Chardonnay Shootout May 30 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Cost is $30. Check out more at (858) 450-9557.

Solare Restorante at Liberty Station in San Diego presents a special wine dinner featuring San Felice from Tuscany, with a special appearance by the winemaker, June 2. This is a four-course chef’s special menu with five different wines including San Felice’s Gran Selezione.  $79. RSVP soon at (619) 270-9670.

PAON in Carlsbad is excited to bring its guests a Grgich Hills Tasting, June 3, from 6 to 8 p.m.  This is Napa Valley’s home of the legendary Mike Grgich, the pioneer winemaker.  Cost is $16. For more information call (760) 729-7377.

St Spyridon Orthodox Church is planning its annual Greek Festival in North Park San Diego, June 5 through June 7, featuring the Oracle Wine lounge.  Wine, spirits and beer will all be from Greece, with live Greek music and native food and dancing.  For details, visit


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 at Facebook.

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