The Coast News Group
Taste of Wine

Meet the Mola men & the wines they love

Mola Gastro Bar, upstairs in the Del Mar Plaza, is drawing a lot of big time party people since it opened a short time ago.  Meet and greets love the format that promotes easy “getting-to-know you” events over a glass of wine and a tapas or two.  An inviting combination of an inside bar room and a generous outside dinner table plaza scene connect the fun.

Jose Antonio Gomes is the general manager that turns it on.

“We are something new and different, very colorful with murals crowded with smiling people raising wine glasses, and we have a much bigger wine menu,” he soothed in a perfect Spanish accent.

Turns out that Mola means “cool” in Spanish, so the name is a perfect fit.

If you’ve ever traveled in the nightlife circles of Spain, as a Barcelona, Marbella or Madrid, you know that nightlife begins at 10 p.m. and ends with the last patron standing — and that’s usually 7 a.m.  “We’re open seven days a week from 3 p.m. to when the last diner leaves,” said Antonio.

Ninteen-year-old Chef Eric Mendoza is great beyond his tender years.  His tapas list is long and flavorful.  Try the Lobster Croquettes, Fried Zucchini Blossoms or the trio of Mini Sliders: Margherita, Smoked House BBQ and Diablito.

If a big entrée is your thing, get the smoked short rib or Chilean sea bass.

Jack Petty is the bar manager and he opened up a Spanish wine that had it all going, a blend that was his personal favorite.  It had 65 percent Garnacha/ 35 percent Tempranillo that was high on flavor and big on berries.

Hazana is the brand and like many wines from Spain, you get flavor, quality and a value wine at a little price. And Mola is not just Spain.  They offer name brand California premiums like Silver Oak ’09s and ‘10s.  Give them a call at (858) 792-0209.

More About Spanish Wines

Spain has more land under vine than any other country in the world and many wine styles.  But most Spanish wine drinkers know only Rioja for quality.  It’s a large district in the northeast, near the French border and produces some of the best Tempranillo in the country.

This is Spain’s biggest selling red grape. The country has about a half dozen other quality wine countries like Ribera Del Duero, Priorat, Calatayud and La Mancha.  Here’s the thing that makes the wines adventurous and something of an experiment.  Many of the winemakers are still first or second-generation families.

I have tasted lovely Tempranillos and Garnachas but I am hard pressed to give you household names as in other more familiar neighbor countries like France and Italy.

Spain is coming off its 2011 vintage new releases, and the wine is being judged as excellent. A good start might be a 2011 Artadi Tempranillo or Garnacha.  Both should be under $20 a bottle.

Las Rocas would be another name to try.

Wine Bytes

Marina Kitchen next to the Convention Center in San Diego and Advanced Sommelier Joshua Orr presents Wine Wednesday, a learning and tasting event most Wednesday nights from 6 to 7 p.m.  $20 with only 12 seats to a class and $10 off towards dinner the evening of the class and 50 percent off a bottle of wine not to exceed $50. Next class is “Great Value Wines” Oct. 29.   RSVP at (619) 234-1500.

Wedge Escondido happens Oct. 25 in downtown Escondido from 1 to 5 p.m.  It’s a taste of Grand Avenue with cheese flair.  A $35 “passport” gets you 25-plus cheeses, wine, beer and restaurant tasting stops.  Cost is $45 after Oct. 18. Get tickets at (949) 280-6482.

Gen 7 Wines, premium wines made by San Diegan Tim Bacino, is celebrating its 2014 Fall Release Party Oct. 26 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Rancho Santa Fe with an Oktoberfest theme.  Details, cost and location are available by calling (844) 436-7946 ext. 700.

Vittorio’s Restaurant in Carmel Valley presents a Gundlach Bundschu Wine Dinner Thurs.  Oct. 30 at 6 p.m.  Chef Angelo carefully crafted the perfect menu to pair with great wines like Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Merlot and Mt. Cuvee.  $49.50 pp.  Call 858-538-5884.

The “Dia de los Vinos” celebration is at Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas Nov. 1 from 3 to 6 p.m.  This is a wine and taco fiesta with Mexican winemakers and vineyard managers from Napa Valley.  Cost is $20. RSVP at (760) 479-2500.

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 [email protected] and follow him on Facebook.