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Twisted Vine makes a fine comfort hangout for ‘grapeheads’

The latest creation to attract the burgeoning population of “grapeheads” who love chef-inspired cuisine paired with wines from all over the world, is bistro-wine bar Twisted Vine off the 56 Freeway at Camino Del Sur in San Diego.

Twisted Vine at once offers nutritious global-inspired menu items by Executive Chef Mia Sailing, the fifth-generation Italian wine director Luciano Leonardo and restaurateur extraordinaire Tammy Moore. Tammy has built and operated many restaurants in the San Diego area (including Pat & Oscar’s) and Twisted Vine could be her best idea yet.

Owner Tammy Moore, left, Luciano Leonardo Wine Director and Executive Chef Mia Sailing, are the people to know at the new Twisted Vine Bistro and Wine Bar. Photo by Frank Mangio

I knew I felt at home when Leonardo came up to me before I got my bar seat warm, and offered a 2008 Argiano Super Tuscan. This blend is a communion of 40 percent Cabernet, 20 percent Sangiovese, 20 percent Syrah and 20 percent Merlot. A more southern style Italian wine to taste would be the San Gregorio Primitivo Dei Feudi 2008, a sensational red and close kin to a California Zinfandel. With these wines as a model, he shared with me his goal that Italian wines will dominate the list when all is said and done.

Chef Mia is a native Californian and loves to work with fresh produce, delicious seafood and organic farming. On her small plate menu, try the Seared Yellowtail Tostados with avocado, salsa fresco, pickled red onions and lime crema. On the larger plate menu, I recommend the Moroccan Marinated Fish of the Day, with jeweled Israeli couscous and seasonal vegetables. There are six different choices of flatbreads with the most nutritious being the Zucchini with Eggplant and Roasted Pepper Sauce with Feta Cheese.

Hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call (858) 780-2501 or visit

News & Views

Another top professional from the French Laundry Restaurant in Napa Valley has come to work at Addison in the Grand Del  Mar Resort. He’s Anthony Secviar and he’s the new chef de cuisine.
He was raised in San Diego and honed his skills in Spain.

Ekrem Tercanoglu, Food & Beverage director, left, and Jesse Rodriguez, wine director of The Grand Del Mar, co-host the resort’s holiday Eat, Drink & Be Merry party. Photo by Frank Mangio

The first was Wine Director Jesse Rodriguez, who has built a world-renowned wine list. Over the holidays, he and Food & Beverage Director Ekrem Tercanoglu were congenial hosts at The Grand Del Mar’s Eat, Drink & Be Merry party.

The Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association is hosting a Pacific
Coastal Wine Cruise, with five nights on the Celebrity Millenium, going from San Diego to Vancouver, B.C. Departure is May 27, with stops at San Francisco and Victoria. Wine events on board are planned. Call (800) 801-9463 for more information.

From the prestigious Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A. comes the finding that drinking red wine in moderation may help cut women’s breast cancer risk.  Natural chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes “slightly lowered estrogen levels while elevating testosterone among premenopausal women who drank eight ounces of red wine for about a month.” Breast cancer is the leading type of women’s cancer in the U.S.

Congrats to Kristian Story and Erik Turner of the ‘90s rock band Warrant. They took a Silver Medal at the recent largest American wine competition, the San Francisco Chronicle Awards, with their 2008 Warrant Red, Napa Valley.

Check out how they did it and the other wines in their portfolio at

Wine Bytes

— Vigilucci’s, on the beach in Carlsbad, is presenting an “Assagi Italiani” Wine Dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27. It’s Northern Italian cuisine like Insalata alla  Salame di Tonno,  Risotto alla Salsiccia and Filetto alla Campagnola. Il Poggione is the signature wine for the night, including a 2006 Brunello Di Montalcino. The cost is $80 each. Call (760) 434-2580 for an RSVP.

— Alternative Wines in Carmel Valley has Frank Family Vineyards Jan. 27.  They are serving Chardonnay, Cabernet, Zinfandel (“Taste of Wine” Top 10) and a rare Cabernet ’05 in a Magnum. Call (858) 780-9463 for cost and times.

— San Diego Wine Company in the Miramar area of San Diego is bringing in a Spanish and French Tasting from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 28. Cost is $10. Hear the details at (858) 586-WINE.

— North County Wine Company in San Marcos has Jann Forth of Forth Vineyards on from 4 to 10 p.m. Feb. 3. Cost is just $10. Call (760) 744-2119 for details.

— Twisted Vine Wine Bar Bistro & Wine Bar in San Diego is pouring Sparkling Reds for Valentine’s Day on Feb. 11 with five varietals. It will start at 4 p.m. with a fee of $35. RSVP at (858) 780-2501.