Wine and olive oil tasting at Villa Di Calabro in Temecula

I had a few minutes before meeting Steve and Valerie Andrews and Mike and Mindy Calabro, the new owners of Villa Di Calabro in Old Town Temecula. I hadn’t been to this part of Temecula in a few years, so I was in disbelief at the makeover of Front Street into a delightful series of colorful shops including restaurants, wine and gift shops, night clubs, and now a wine and olive oil bar with an old-world fountain patio for backyard barbecues with a rustic Italian flavor.
It’s the marriage of two families — the Andrews with their Temecula Hills Winery and Vineyard and the Calabros with their Villa Di Calabro Winery and Olive Oil Company — both under one roof
and a first for the Temecula Valley.
Mike Calabro was a winemaker at Wilson Creek and realized his long-held dream of making olive oil when he collaborated with Andrews in buying a storefront in Old Town at Main and Front Street.
“Italians have a custom of using olive oil in their diets and many have long lives and clear complexions,” he said. “I use high quality, fresh olives from local trees. People from Temecula call me all the time and offer their 2200 or 300 trees to make olive oil.” Mike creates daily olive oil presentations and has romantic names like Sevillino, a smooth, mild Spanish varietal. Then there is Ascolino, a spicy Italian flavored oil that’s a big seller.
A visit to Italy reveals widespread making of olive oil as a staple in the Italian meal and an important cash crop for wineries in Italy that have to wait years before they can bring their wines to market. They customarily lean toward “extra virgin” oils and I asked Mike about that. “It’s a natural process that uses no chemicals and hand-separates the oil in the first press.” This oil is somewhat cloudy, with a deeper greenish tone.
In the wine side of the shop, ask for the ’06 Temecula Hills Tempranillo. It had a beautiful, binding flavor of coffee, berries and pepper.
Villa Di Calabro has an old world friendly atmosphere, and will quickly become a favorite stop in the renaissance of old town Temecula. For more, call (951) 695-4525, or access temeculahillswinery.com.
Wine Spectator Grand Awards
The highest awards for the best-of-the-best restaurants in the world were revealed in Wine Spectator, the most influential wine publication in the world. Two San Diego favorites took home the Grand Award and stand with only 69 others in the world to receive the honor. Congratulations to Addison at the Grand Del Mar and Wine Director Jesse Rodriguez, and WineSellar and Brasserie with Wine Director Eric Guy.
Addison was created just three years ago and has quickly become the pinnacle of great wines and world-class cuisine. The wine list includes 3,200 selections featuring French Burgundy and California. A 2,500-bottle wine cellar is a must-see in the main dining room.
Other great area restaurants took Award of Excellence honors and they include Acqua Al 2 San Diego, Amaya Bistro Del Mar, Vigilucci’s La Jolla, Bistro West and West Steak House Carlsbad, Firefly Grill and Wine Bar Encinitas, Firenze Trattoria Encinitas, Il Fornaio Del Mar, and Mille Fleurs Rancho Santa Fe, among others.
Wine Bytes
— The MIT Enterprise Forum has its annual Wine Social at Birch Aquarium at Scripps from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 5. Special guest is Eddie Osterland, America’s first master sommelier. Enjoy many fine wineries and restaurants and member discounts. The event is open to the public for $70 per person or $80 at the door. For more information, visit www.sdmitforum.org.
— Monterey County Wineries are presenting the 17th annual Winemakers Celebration from noon to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at Custom House Plaza downtown Monterey. More than 50 wineries are offering their best, with local restaurant participation and a wine auction. The cost is $45 in advance, and $50 at the door. Call (831) 375-9400 for details.
— Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas is presenting events every Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. On Aug. 7 it’s the “ Top 6 New Value Wines” and on the Aug. 14 look for a “Tour de France.” Call (760) 479-2500 for details.
— San Antonio Winery in downtown Los Angeles, has a “Wine and Brew Fest” from 2 to 5 p.m. Aug. 9. Live performances, cooking, wine and beer tasting in four event stations. The cost is $50 each. Details at (800) 626-7722.
— Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido brings in Ryan Hill from Napa Valley’s Hill Family Estate from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14. Enjoy Chardonnay, Cabernet, Syrah and more for $15 per person. Call (760) 745-1200 for details.

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