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Scented and elegant, the beautiful sparkling wine in Rosa Regale from the Banfi family of Tuscany will brighten your Valentine's Day.
ColumnsTaste of Wine

The most romantic wine in the world

If I had just one wish in my lifetime it would be that the calendar begins with the month of February and not January. This way the New Year would begin with Valentine’s Day: romance, flowers, dining out and wine.

Warms an Italian man’s heart just thinking about it. Well, February is almost here so make some memorable plans for the 14th before it happens. Which wine you say? Think ruby red, a rose bouquet, intense and aromatic. The flavor would be raspberry and strawberry with just enough sweetness to reveal your intentions. Of course, Rosa Regale is a sparkling wine, which, like Champagne that we wrote about last week, has maximum scented bubbly from Castello Banfi, a family of fine Italian wines from Montalcino in Tuscany Italy. Banfi is primarily known for its world-class Brunello, an aged, complex Sangiovese, released in its fifth year after harvest. Just as much quality goes into their current 2017 Rosa Regale. These grapes are from Banfi’s 19th century sparkling wine cellars in the town of Strevi in Piemonte, with vineyard estates yielding 100 percent Brachetto d’ Acqui grapes from the towns of Acqui and Gavi. The cooler climate is ideal for sparkling wines and the winery keeps every part of the process cool, for charismatic color and aroma. The wine is filtered and stored at 32 degrees. The bottle is regal in structure with a large notched base to give the bottle solid footing.

A simple gold and red minimal label allows maximum viewing of the ruby red wine to taste, once the cork is popped. 

The acclaimed Castello Banfi presented its latest release wines at Seasalt in Del Mar. Left to right, Seasalt owner Sal Ercolano, Banfi Ambassador Luciano Castiello and wine columnist Frank Mangio.

A sold out gathering assembled recently at Seasalt Seafood Bistro in Del Mar to celebrate a Banfi wine dinner.  Owner Sal Ercolano placed the Banfi Rosa Regale paired with pan-roasted octopus served with nouvelle potatoes and asparagus as the fifth course in a five-course gourmet dinner, that also included favorites like the Banfi Belnero Super Tuscan and the ASKA Cabernet Sauvignon from Bolgheri, west of Tuscany, by the sea.  Luciano Castiello has been with Banfi for the past 19 years and can speak with great passion and confidence about this most-awarded winery in Italy. He is now their ambassador and travels the world telling the Banfi story.

Congratulations to Seasalt dining customer Shelley Gilliland who won the raffle drawing, a 3-liter bottle of Banfi Col DiSasso, a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ercolano has recently purchased a nearby restaurant virtually next door to his Seasalt operation, West End Del Mar Bar & Kitchen.

More about that later, as wine dinners are on the menu as well as many at the established Seasalt. Next one at Seasalt will be a Napa Valley favorite Markham Winery with winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls at 6 p.m. Thursday Feb. 7. Call (858) 755-7100 for details.

Oh, about that dream idea of starting the year with February, Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl as marquee events. In the interests of transparency, I need to tell you, my birthday is Feb. 1 … the No. 1 reason to begin my year.

Wine Bytes

  • Join Il Fornaio in Del Mar for the second in the current season of Festa Regionale menus. From Feb. 4 to Feb. 17, it will be the food and wine from the Italian district of Umbria.  Call for details at (858) 755-8876.
  • The Trinchero Family wine estates are featured at Capri Blu in north San Diego at 6 p.m. Feb. 6. This Napa-based wine leader will be paired with a five-course dinner featuring Pork Tenderloin. The price is $65 per person. For an RSVP call (858) 673-5100.
  • Gianni Buonomo winery in the San Diego beach community of Ocean Beach is presenting a Barbera Fest in honor of the new release 2015 Barbera, an Italian Piemonte wine from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 16. Cuisine from Piemonte will be featured in this wine dinner featuring slow roasted beef in a red wine. The dinner will be created by Zafferano Catering. Cost is $50 per person, $40. for club members. Details and an RSVP (619) 991-9911.