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The San Diego Spirits Festival presented over 60 exhibitors offering high-end spirits with unlimited cocktails. Photo via Facebook/San Diego Spirits Festival
The San Diego Spirits Festival presented over 60 exhibitors offering high-end spirits with unlimited cocktails. Photo via Facebook/San Diego Spirits Festival
Columns Food & Wine Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: San Diego Spirits Festival back and better than ever

It’s been a triumphant 12th year for Liz Edwards, founder and director of San Diego Spirits Festival, which was bigger and better than ever before.

This two-day festival ranked as one of the biggest “happy hours” in San Diego, with unlimited cocktails and entertainment.

Some of the most creative mixologists known to cocktail aficionados were part of the 60+ exhibitors that set up a feast for your senses offering sips of the highest quality brands, like Johnnie Walker, Ketel One, Tinta Negra, Rico and a host of other eager top-shelf cocktail brands and their reps.

The entertainment was a perfect complement to this event with a sassy burlesque tone to it. Guests were screaming for more of the delightful lineup of belly and samba dancers and Groove Kitty 80’s live five-piece band on the “Wonder Bus,” and rare and beautiful tequilas dominated the showroom at the Spirits festival, and no better than the Rico group.

This lineup of high-end “extra Anejo” tequila borrows from the quality production wine techniques made famous by Napa Valley standards. The desert plant for making tequila is blue agave.

Soy Rico's Tequila Reposado Rosa and Tequila Extra Anejo presented by reps Samantha Hamlin and Chris Ibrahim at the Port Pavilion this last weekend in downtown San Diego. Photo by Frank Mangio
Soy Rico’s Tequila Reposado Rosa and Tequila Extra Anejo were presented by reps Samantha Hamlin and Chris Ibrahim at the Port Pavilion this last weekend in downtown San Diego. Photo by Frank Mangio

The first press offers the best and purest flavor. Pure water and time bring fantastic “Anejo” flavor. I was blown away by the richness of Rico tequila, a four-year product aged in red wine barrels and producing a deep red mahogany color.

Chris Ibrahim and Samantha Hanlon took me through the lineup of Rico Tequila and told me that the only way to obtain these high-end bottles is through the website: RareTequilas.com.

Caveman Spirits Company’s Steve Olsen, or “Chief Caveman,” found a diet that worked when he lost pounds with the paleo diet but still loved to drink his vodka.  After years of research, he found what he was looking for that would be paleo-friendly.

Olsen blended wines sourced from Monterey: chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, with pure Sierra alpine water from Lake Tahoe that would be gluten-free and paleo-friendly. Along with wine grapes, he creates Caveman Vodka Mules with vodka and ginger beer.

More on Caveman at CavemanVodka.com.

Country Music Concerts heard this month at South Coast Winery

South Coast Winery Resort and Spa in Temecula is in the middle of a country music series for September called Rhythm on the Vine, to celebrate the winery’s 20th Anniversary.

Coming up on this month’s series is Dylan Scott on Wednesday, Sept. 22, and Cassadee Pope on Thursday, Sept. 23.

The concerts will be held outdoors in the South Coast courtyard with a variety of food trucks offering options for pre and during-concert eating. Beverages will be available at bar setups throughout the concerts, and the winery will be launching its new 20th-anniversary Rhone-style blend.

Country artist Cassadee Pope will perform at Rhythm on the Vine on Sept. 23 at South Coast Winery in Temecula. Courtesy photo
Country artist Cassadee Pope will perform for Rhythm on the Vine on Sept. 23 at South Coast Winery in Temecula. Courtesy photo

Dylan Scott with his romantic platinum-certified #1 hit “My Girl,” transformed a real-life experience into a chart-topping success. Cassadee Pope is a Grammy-nominated, platinum-certified singer-songwriter.

Pope’s latest single, “What the Stars See,” blends into her country sensibilities and her No. 1 hit, “Think of You” with Chris Young, received a 2017 Grammy nomination.

Tickets and more info are available online at southcoastwinery.com/concerts.

Wine Bytes

Goldschmidt Vineyards of Sonoma will be the winery in a five-course dinner with Chef Erin Sealy at North County Wine Company San Marcos, Thursday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m.  Goldschmidt makes exceptional wines from various high-quality vineyards, including Napa, Sonoma and the Barossa Valley Australia.

This five-course dinner is $90. per person all-inclusive. It takes place outside in NCWC’s back patio.  Sweaters are suggested. For tickets, go to winepairsevents.com/calendar, or call 619-823-3541.

A Grape Stomping festival is planned for Castelli Family Vineyards Sat. Sept. 25 in Ramona from 6 to 9 p.m. You’ll enjoy live music, dinner, dancing, I Love Lucy look-a-like contest and grape stomp contests. The cost is $63 each. For tickets call 619-997-5141.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator and one of the leading commentators on the web. Reach him at [email protected]

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