Well that was fast!  What with San Diego’s new restaurants, resorts that were being bought and sold then re-made, wine bars that sprouted up on virtually every urban block and wine events doubling in number, what’s a wine writer to do but to lace up the track shoes and try to keep up.
The news keeps getter better for Italy, already the #1 importer of wine to the U.S. with more districts that had never come to America before for road shows, showing up.  Both Puglia and Calabria in the south paraded their best wines for the first time in  Los Angeles and San Francisco.  San Diego hosted Cecchi and Lucente from Tuscany and Fontana Candida near Rome with its rejuvenated Frascati, all illuminating their passion for food and wine.  The timing was smart as San Diego and other cities are undergoing a revolution in Mediterranean-style restaurant farm to table food, and wine is playing a big role in that movement.
Italy has 3 wines in the TASTE OF WINE top ten, with two from Sonoma and Napa Valley and one from Arroyo Grande, France, and Spain.
The list is alphabetical. All are rated excellent, weighing flavor, balance and value.  Prices are suggested retail or at the winery.

Famille Perrin Vinsobres, Chateau De Beaucastel, Rhone France. 2010. $15. A superior, soon to be classic French vintage in my favorite wine district in France, the Rhone Valley.  Over 5 generations of the Perrin family from over 400 acres of vineyards. www.m.familleperrin.com.
Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. 2009. $60. The backbone of the Grgich collection of fine wines. A product of several estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Rich aromas of black cherry and licorice.  www.grgich.com.
Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon,   Alexander Valley Sonoma. 2009. $53.
A great vintage with soft and silky patterns of taste with an elegant finish.  See more on Jordan and Sonoma in my next two columns.
J Pinot Gris Sonoma.  2012. $15.  A classy California style white.  Stores can’t keep this one in. #1 Pinot Gris in America, sweeping past France and Italy’s version.  www.Jwine.com.
The Jordan Cabernet expresses the
elegance of Alexander Valley’s red wines.
Laetitia Reserve Du Domaine Pinot Noir, Arroyo Grande. 2011.  $40.  The vineyard is on a coastal terrace below San Luis Obispo.  11 months in French Oak.  High elevation with cooler climate, perfect for Pinot.  www.laetitiawine.com.
Lucente Super Tuscan, Montalcino Italy. 2010. $22.  Rainy vintage early that built up groundwater reserves for ideal harvest. 75% Merlot, 25% Sangiovese. 12 months in French and American barriques.  Elegant wine.  www.lucedellavite.it
Marchesi Di Barolo Barbera Del Monferrato, Italy.  2011. $8.  100% Barbera grape from the Piedmont District.  Freshness, personality, charm and a steal at this price.  Try it with  Italian cheeses, breads and meats. www.marchesibarolo.com.
Pina Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain Napa Valley. 2008.  $85.  The Pina brothers and winemaker Anna Monticelli represent 8 generations of Cabernet going back to 1856.  Notes of blueberry and espresso bean.  Winery is located in Rutherford on the Silverado Trail.  www.pinanapavalley.com.
Serralunga D’Alba Barolo Fontafredda, Piedmont Italy. 2007. $29.  From one of the highest points in the Barolo district.  Powerful, earthy and built for the finest Italian dishes. The aristocratic Nebbiolo grape is the core.  www.fontanafredda.it.
Tres Picos Garnacha Borsao Spain. 2010. $13.  Spanish wines have nice prices and are value wines.  This old vine Garnacha is richly colored and aromatic with concentrated flavors of blackberry and strawberry laced with leather.  www.wine.com.
Wine Bytes, normally seen in this column, will be back next week.
Frank Mangio is a renowned San Diego wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View and link up with his columns at www.tasteofwinetv.com.  Reach him at mangiompc@aol.com.

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