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Taste of Wine: Parc Brasserie, Banfi Wines and a local favorite

Above: John Parker, spokesman for Caymus Wines of Napa Valley (left) is shown with the impresario of the new West End Bar & Kitchen in Del Mar, Sal Ercolano. Photo by Frank Mangio

Parc Brasserie rolls out new menus, Banfi Wines and a local favorite

I like to call it “Paris in the Spring” with its garden look and feel, murals of the French Quarter and customers swirling and sipping European wines.

Such was the scene recently at Parc Brasserie as a traditional wine favorite returned to this San Diego downtown 5th Avenue gathering place for new seasonally exciting menu selections. Owner Garo Minassian and Executive Chef Benjamin Navarro warmed up the menu with their finest creations, now offering a variety of seafood headlined by Alaskan Halibut, a fresh Scallop and Shrimp Duo, Branzino and Shrimp Scampi.

Diane Nares, Southern California district manager for Italy’s famous Banfi Wines of Tuscany, displays the latest 2014 Brunello di Montalcino and the 2015 Banfi Summus. Photo by Frank Mangio

And for fun, they introduced Happy Hour Lobster Tacos garnished with fresh avocados. Oh, so delicious! And the Banfi Wine brought out the Italian wine lovers recently and encored their enshrined lineup.

Banfi is Italy’s premier vineyard estate, and the creator of modern day Brunello di Montalcino.

In 1977, the Mariani family, major U.S. importers of food and wine products

from Italy, noticed the decay in quality of Italian wines at the time. The decision was made to purchase 7,100 acres of rolling hills in Montalcino, in the south of Tuscany and name it Castello Banfi.

To this day, they continue to pursue excellence in the quality of wines that are made from the native Sangiovese grape, found in their noble Brunello and other “Super Tuscan” wines, which were featured in the five-course Parc Brasserie menu.

Earlier in the month, Parc went local with an Olsen & Perri wine dinner with authentic French tastes on the menu. This winery, headquartered in San Diego, draws the best grapes, mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, from California’s Central Coast. It was a “French Foodie’s” dream list, starting with fresh Dungeness Crab Cake with the Chardonnay and finally the Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb. Enjoy much more at, and

Sal Ercolano of West End sets record with four consecutive nights of Caymus Wine dinners

Congratulations go out to the impresario of Seasalt and West End Bar & Kitchen, Sal Ercolano, who recently presided over four consecutive nights of Caymus wine dinners at his West End location in Del Mar. You have to be nothing short of a magician and a juggler to pull something like this off.

Each night was a sellout! Mind you, the Wagner family of Caymus in Napa Valley has many brands. All have a special quality and charm about them and are always in demand, but let’s give it up for Ercolano and his brand of charm that keeps customers coming back with each winery that engages Chef Noe and his special cuisine.

Ercolano’s other restaurant in Del Mar, Seasalt Seafood Bistro, is just a block from West End. It will host the next blockbuster dinner, Antinori Family Wines at 6 p.m. June 20 and June 21, featuring Antica wines from Napa Valley!

Antica’s old world-new world blended approach, combines 630 years of Italian wines with modern Napa Valley techniques, to craft a five-star treasure in Antica’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Seasalt’s pan-seared Sea Bass highlights the five-course dinner, offered for just $75 per person. Call now at (858) 755-7100 to reserve your seat for this memorable meal with some of the finest wines in the world.

Wine Bytes
  • Vintana Wine + Dine in Escondido has a four-course wine dinner featuring Terlato wines, from 6 to 9 p.m. June 20. It celebrates the fruits of the season. Menu features include: bruléed pineapple and citrus prawns, spiced pork loin with Bing cherry reduction and more. Tickets are $79 each. RSVP at (760) 745-7777.
  • Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in San Diego is planning a Rose’ Soiree Tasting from 4 to 6 p.m. June 21, featuring 30 Rose’ wines from around the world. Cost is $50 and is conducted by Wine Director Faith Fulginiti.
  • Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and live music on the bay view patio. RSVP at (619) 272-5060.
  • Stag’s Leap Wines will be the main attraction at the Firenze Trattoria wine dinner
  • in Encinitas at 6:30 p.m. June 27. This is a five-course menu with five wines on the patio.  $100 per guest with reservations at (760) 944-9000.
  • Seasalt Seafood Bistro in Del Mar presents a “Spoonful of Magic” with sleight-of-hand expert Sky King. It includes a three-course meal and an option to pair it with wine at 6 p.m. June 26. Wine names include: Banfi, A to Z and Robert Mondavi. You will be amazed at what you see! Check out The cost is $54.95 or $64.95 with paired wines. Call (858) 755-7100 to reserve your seat.