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Travel Planner Tamara Golden and David Andersson of RELM host a series of “Meetups” at the Carlsbad bistro combining wines and stories of travel. Photo by Frank Mangio
CarlsbadCommunityCommunityTaste of Wine

Taste of Wine: France vs. California — again at RELM

RELM is a Carlsbad Village focal point for inquiring minds that are thirsty for the latest in wine and beer, in a bistro setting.

It has been re-invigorated after a short slump, by the smart and stylish General Manager David Andersson who came in after a successful run at Donovan’s Steak House in downtown La Jolla.

It really got interesting when Andersson collaborated with Tamara Golden, a local expert on travel news and views, to come up with a “Meetup” series of events that incorporate wine, food, travel and culture, at least once a month. The setting is intimate and encourages understanding through narration, large wall photos, and lots of wine comparisons, old world vs. new world.

France’s Rhone Valley, Provence and the “Cote d’Azur” were highlighted in a two-hour Meetup of some 24 interested guests.

French wines, it seems, are often compared with their American counterparts, going back to the “Paris Tasting” of 1976, when Napa Valley wines were compared with French wines for the first time in a “blind” setting — and the American wines defeated the French in the well-known Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon categories.

French grapes like Cabs, Chards and Merlots are the most produced in California, so there lays the undercurrent of constant competitiveness. While Andersson poured the wine and offered tasty French-style bites like “Chevre,” a duck liver mousse with cognac, Golden presented a vivid journey through the south of France with imagery and imagination.

Her sources were her own experiences. She began in the north of the Rhone Valley at Lyon, France’s second largest city and then guided us to Hermitage deep in Rhone wine country.

Avignon was the final stop in the Rhone Valley with its Ponte De Avignon, a famous bridge in France.

Looking ahead to more Meetups, RELM and Golden will be presenting a Spain Wine Tasting and Travelogue May 28 from 4 to 6 p.m.  They will offer a six-wine sampling from various Spanish districts and take a visual journey throughout Spain, the country of bullfighting, flamenco, tapas and Gaudi. Cost is $35.

On June 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. and again June 18 from 4 to 6 p.m., they will present a South Africa Wine Tasting and Travelogue with native wines, a tour of Cape Town and a Safari.  Cost is $35. To register, contact [email protected] or visit


On May 15 you can experience some 27 wineries in a festival of wine and food at the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo. Photo by Frank Mangio
On May 15 you can experience some 27 wineries in a festival of wine and food at the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo. Photo by Frank Mangio


San Diego County Wines on Stage

San Diego wines have been making news these days with some wineries taking home some serious awards from top ranked competitions.  On May 15 you can experience some 27 wineries including Orfila, Fallbrook, Woof‘N Rose, San Pasqual and many more, in a festival of wine and food at Bernardo Winery, that will also be pouring their wines.

Time will be 1 to 4 p.m., with a cost of $50 per person and includes unlimited wine tasting and a selection of gourmet foods.

There are now 115 wineries in San Diego County.  It is fascinating that San Diego was the first region in California where vineyards were planted and wine produced, when the Spanish missions were first built.

The Bernardo Winery location is at 13330 Paseo del Verano in Rancho Bernardo.  Visit for details.  For tickets go to

Wine Bytes

Tablas Creek Vineyards of Paso Robles comes to a Winemaker Dinner at Inn L’Auberge Del Mar, May 17 at 6:30 p.m.  A five-course, six-wine occasion will spotlight Spring Lamb with Tablas Creek 2013 Esprit de Tablas;  $125. RSVP at (858) 793-6460.

Island Prime on Harbor Island San Diego is planning a “Wines of the World with the Winemakers,” event May 21 from noon to 2 p.m.  Tickets are $40. This is a combination symposium and tasting with five winemakers: New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Australia with 10 wines to be tasted. Call (619) 298-6802.

Fazeli Cellars in Temecula presents Studio 54, June 4 from 6 to 10 p.m.  Flares, afros, platforms, bling, disco, dancing, food wine and beer. Prices are $79.99; for club members $69.99.  Call (951) 303-3366.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View his columns at and reach him at [email protected].  Follow him on Facebook.