The Coast News Group
Taste of Wine

Grand Del Mar uncorks Wine Spectacular

If you’re like me and most of the known world, a 249-room elegant resort with a championship golf course and two French-Mediterranean eating areas cannot be your private residence. Not in your wildest of dreams.
But thanks to the Grand Del Mar, you can relax like it was your own, enjoy classic cuisine from Addison or Amaya, and choose from what I consider to be the best wine list in California.
I usually arrive early for a lunch, dinner or a meeting, and sit in a different focal point of the resort, enjoying the lush renaissance Mediterranean
décor. At the Grand Del Mar, you will discover brilliantly carved architecture; a peerless work with moods of Morocco, Spain, Italy and France. Yet a closer look finds such simple amenities as a natural vegetable garden so the chef can indulge in the freshest of ingredients for his guests.
But I digress. This is a wine column and the Grand Del Mar is unveiling a wine spectacular for fall. So let’s get to it.
Peak experiences await the wine and food lover as Amaya, Addison and the resort lobby bar collaborate in a grand series of events.
On Oct. 8 from 5:30 to 10 p.m., Master Sommelier Chris Blanchard, who supervises restaurant wine programs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and the Napa Valley, will star in an Amaya winemaker dinner featuring Chapellet Wines. He will team up with resident wine director Jesse Rodriguez and Chef Camron Woods in a four course pairing dinner for $75 per person. The second annual Winemaker Quintet at Addison is planned for Oct. 25 with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.
It will be an inspired night with Addison’s award-winning chef William Bradley, guest chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, Jesse Rodriguez and several guest winemakers, mostly from the Napa Valley. Cost is $270 per person. RSVP at (858) 314-1900.
In the lobby lounge there will be wine tasting on from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 13 with Sokol Blosser from Oregon’s Dundee Hills. Fee is $20. The next night, Oct. 14, “Wines for Fall Feasts” will feature a cooking workshop, wine reception, take-home recipes and perfect food/wine pairings. Cost is $75 per person. To reserve space for this activity at the Grand Del Mar, call (858) 314-2000. Visit for more information.
Is red wine giving you a headache?
The most recurring whines I hear about red wine consumption is “it gives me a headache” and “it must be the sulfites.” It’s one thing to dislike something because it doesn’t agree with your taste buds. That is usually the reason some people don’t like certain foods. I respect and accept that.
I dislike asparagus. I don’t really know why but I don’t point the finger at its composition.
Sulfites are chemicals that are present in wines and the warning labels on American wines make it seem like this a major injection and should be feared. European wines have the same sulfites but their governments don’t mandate a warning label.
Sulfites present themselves in the fermentation process, but are so minor (about 10 milligrams in a typical glass of wine) as to be barely perceptible. They in fact aid in the preservation of wine flavor and should not be pointed to as a problem. Indeed, if you have dry-mouth or a headache from red wine consumption, you ought to be looking at the alcohol level and the vintage of the wine you selected. A two-year old Cabernet is loaded with strong tannins, a compound in the skins which controls taste, structure and preservation. Aging mellows out the tannins and makes the wines live longer. That two-year-old Cabernet should take on more beauty and lusciousness when it’s four years old. An alcohol level approaching 15 percent or more has a cocktail effect on the wine and will make you feel it, perhaps with a headache. Most wineries are lowering their alcohol level to 14 percent or below, mostly due to food and wine pairings that enhance taste. This is more and more the trend in homes and restaurants.
Look at the label before buying that next bottle of red wine. Select more years and less alcohol. That headache may not be there the next time you taste your next bottle
Wine Bytes
— Vino 100 in San Marcos has wines from around the world as their theme for a tasting from 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 2. The cost is $15 per person. Call (760) 591-9113 for more details.
— Delicias Restaurant in the Village of Rancho Santa Fe presents Open That Bottle Night on Oct. 7. This is a nationwide “BYOB” event started by the Wall Street Journal wine columnists. Free corkage fee. Enjoy California fresh cuisine from Chef Michael Knowles. Call (858) 756-8000 to RSVP.
— Valley View Casino in Valley Center combines art, music and wine for a free Festival, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 11. Gourmet wine vendors will be offering tastings. Visit for details.
— The Vintage, Farewell to the Swallows in San Juan Capistrano, has its 13th annual celebration from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 17. It’s an Italian-style party at the historic Mission. Fine food and wine, casino tables for play fun and live entertainment add up to the best time in So Cal. The event is produced by the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce. For tickets and information, contact the chamber at (949) 493-4700.