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MAY 8, 2015

T he C oast News - I nland E dition

Food &Wine


Southern California is awash in dozens of wine shows taste of wine frank mangio


t would take reams of copy to summarize the dozens of wine shows that have descended onto Southern California to pour the latest releases of fine wine for a thirsty public.  At times you can find international shows where wines from many countries compete with the U.S. (read West Coast).  Others are just California and many more focus on regions, like the one I visited recently — the wines of the Santa Lucia Highlands of the central coast. Along the central coastal area of California, there is no lack of wine counties to visit.  From Santa Barbara north to Santa Ynez, the Sta. Rita Hills, Paso Robles, Monterey and the special, bucolic mountainside just below Monterey called Santa Lucia Highlands.  Truly a home for wine artisans where vineyards are planted on terraces overlooking the Salinas River Valley, cooled by the fog and ocean breezes off Monterey Bay, and where 49 properties grow wine grapes on 6,100 acres. Most of these wineries make Pinot Noir.  There is no more attractive setting for this glamour queen of wine than the Santa Lucia Highlands. With more than 30 years experience, Dan Lee and his Morgan label are the essence of this region.  His Double L Vineyard, purchased in 1996, is today one of the best-known vineyards in the state.  You can taste this crown jewel of Pinot Noir ($58) as the 2013 Double L has just been released.  That year was beautiful for wine grapes, as was the 2012.  You find aromas of coffee and black cherry,

Frank Mangio, TASTE OF WINE columnist on the right, tries a new wine with Michael Langdon, wine spirits buyer for Whole Foods Market in Encinitas. A wine representative from the Henry Group, an exhibitor, is on the left.

Jonathan Apt, western sales manager and Dan Morgan Lee display a 2013 Morgan Double L Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands Photos by Frank Mangio

and flavors of blackberry, dates and plum. For more, go to One of the fastest growing wine events in San Diego is one that is only in its third year.  Held at Liberty Station in the Pt. Loma district, this indoor/outdoor venue quickly picked up over 100 brands of high quality wineries.  The passionate producer David Fraschetti, who did corporate events and is a lover of fine wine, rolled up his sleeves and laid out a space plan of wines, food and music second to none, and called it Vin Diego. Heavy hitters lined the walkways in the park-like setting — wines like Ferrari-Carano, Grgich Hills, Opolo, Niner, South Coast, Sokol Blosser and ZD plus many more were repeat customers. Marina Kitchen, Jake’s, Solare and the Grant Grill had tasty bites. Mark your April 2016 calendar for the second Saturday and be sure to experience Vin Diego next time around.  Visit for more information. It doesn’t have to be a huge strung-out event

to gain an insight into the world of wine. Find an active restaurant like Vittorio’s in Carmel Valley, just north of San Diego producing monthly wine dinner events, and you will learn a lot.  Marty Merritt, regional manager for Hope Family Wines in Paso Robles, came in recently with some of his newest releases from Hope.  All are Rhone Valley-southof-France style wines.  Vittorio’s was up for the event and called on his chef for exceptional cuisine like jumbo scallops, roasted duck breast and New Zealand lamb chops. The wines were red blends, chardonnay and a personal favorite, a 2013 Treana White ($23).  Mostly from the Viognier grape, flavors of ripe stone fruit with honey overtones are the real deal. Check out   Wine Bytes North County Wine TURN TO TASTE OF WINE ON 18

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Inland edition, may 8, 2015  

Inland edition, may 8, 2015