The Coast News Group
Sal Ercolano, with his wife Carmen, enjoy the wine events at Seasalt as much as anyone. Photo by Frank Mangio
Community Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Seasalt takes the lead in wine dinners

Sal Ercolano’s Seasalt Seafood Bistro, along the shoreline of a Del Mar lagoon, is shaping the wine and dine experience as it enters its second year of serving diners in the San Diego north coastal market.

After a number of successful wine dinners last year and an Oregon winery event a couple of weeks ago, Ercolano sees Seasalt as a leading stage for great wines from around the world, paired with his innovative menu. ”I am planning to offer a sensational wine and dinner event each month and present it in one of Seasalt’s event rooms,” he announced.  “The winery will bring one of their experts to guide my guests with their choices.”  

I asked Ercolano what he is planning for the next couple of months to match his Oregon event. He got excited as he revealed that a leading wine estate from Napa Valley, Merryvale Winery, will be bringing their award winning wines to Seasalt Feb. 24.

I got excited when I heard that it will be Italian Wine Night with Italian wine celebrity Marco Barat, presenting his passionate and colorful wine stories, March 23. It’s always worth the price of admission.

Speaking of price, Seasalt has been the most reasonable of any restaurant in their price package for their wine feasts.  Here you get a five-course custom dinner, carefully prepared by an executive chef.  Add to this masterpiece, a minimum four generous pours of premium wines, with a professional wine commentator educating guests, for a cost of just $55.

The King Estate wine dinner featuring the Oregon winery was the best especially for red wine lovers.  They enjoyed an intensive taste to their reds, led by the King Estate “Signature” Pinot Noir ($29) with very much a “Burgundian” flavor profile.  Burgundy, in France, was the birthplace of Pinot Noir.

A white wine sure to please is the King Estate “Domaine” Pinot Gris, a complex, delicious white wine with Nectarine, Apricot and Orange Blossom honey.  The 2014 is now released ($18). This wine recently took “best of class” at the recent San Francisco Chronicle competition with more than 7,000 entries.

Seafood is the specialty of Seasalt — from spaghetti with clams ($17) to Alaskan King Salmon glazed with honey ($26), it all comes to life at Seasalt. For Sushi lovers, you’ll find a unique menu with choices as good as any in the area.

Ercolano is a seasoned, experienced restaurateur with Seasalt as his crowning achievement.  He has tailored his restaurant into a culinary experience that keeps bringing customers back.  Find out more at

Fourth annual Vin Diego Wine and Food Festival 

The hottest wine and food show in town is returning for its 4th annual big day of sipping and sampling.  Vin Diego, with millennial swagger to it, comes again to Liberty Station in Pt. Loma San Diego.  Producer David Frischetti revealed to me that his winery booths sold out late last year.

Flavorful small bites from the best restaurants are paired with over 75 wineries at Vin Diego in San Diego. Photo courtesy Vin Diego
Flavorful small bites from the best restaurants are paired with over 75 wineries at Vin Diego in San Diego. Photo courtesy Vin Diego

Seventy-five wineries have signed up with 22 on a waiting list.

On April 1 from 6 to 8:30 p.m., a special sunset tasting is planned called “A Passion for Pinot and Reserve Chardonnay.”

This will be held at the nearby Grand Ballroom at the Liberty Station Courtyard Marriott. Tickets will be $75.  Only a limited number will be sold for this exclusive gathering of wineries from up and down the west coast.  On April 2, there will be the grand outdoor tasting with more than 1,300 wines promised, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Top chefs join award-winning winemakers, with a silent auction and live music.  The Silent Auction proceeds go to the San Diego Food Bank.  General admission tickets are $95.  Get all the details and ticket options at

Wine Bytes

A Wine, Cheese and Chocolate event is happening at Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas at a Valentines party Feb. 13 from 1 to 3 p.m.  Cost is $75 for six wines, six cheeses, three truffles and three chocolate bars.  Call (858) 442-2749.

Falkner Winery’s Pinnacle Restaurant in Temecula has a Valentine’s wine dinner and lunch event, Feb. 13 and Feb. 14.  Dinner is a five-course meal with wine pairings for each. Executive Chef Gianni Ciciliot presides.  Price is $89 for Saturday, and $104 for Valentines Day.  Call the winery for an RSVP at (951) 676-8231 ext. 4.

VINZ Wine Bar and Restaurant in Escondido has a Feb. 14 Valentines Day event going with guitarists Jimmy Pattton and Enrique as the entertainment.  Great menu, champagne, wine, cocktails and dancing.  Call in for reservations and details at (760) 743-8466.

Wiens Family Cellars, home of big reds in Temecula, has a Reserve Zinfandel & Chocolate Dinner, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m.  Four port vintages and a reserve Zin are available. Food pairings with a chocolate influence.  $100 for non-club; $80 for club members.  Call for a place at (888) 98-WIENS.

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.