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San Diego's Grand Del Mar

San Diego's Grand Del Mar

San Diego's Grand Del Mar

San Diego's Grand Del Mar




Isn't it Grand: San Diego's Grand Del Mar

We're always on the hunt for terrific wines at prices Winewomen can afford, especially when dining out. After all, choosing the best affordable wine from a wine list heavily stacked with expensive or unfamiliar bottles can be daunting. We came across a money-saving wine tip in an unexpected setting that might help you choose your next great restaurant bottle – without breaking the bank.

The tip came to us during a cool-down break at the Grand Del Mar, a spot we'd been itching to check out. With desert heat on perma-broil and San Diego's June gloom on an extended stay into July, the time had come.

Since opening in 2007, The Grand has redefined spectacular. A slew of awards scream best, platinum, unforgettable, top, favorite and perfect. Ditto for their fine dining restaurant, Addison where Chef William Bradley and up-and-coming sommelier Jesse Rodriguez have combined their prodigious talents to create one of the southland's most acclaimed food-and-wine experiences.

Aptly named, the Grand Del Mar regales guests in over-the-top luxury at every turn. Tall cypress trees dot manicured, majestic grounds. Tranquil resort paths invite guests to stroll between dramatic fountains, lush gardens and pools. Inside, marble and rich touches everywhere seem to whisper I-t-a-l-y. Princesses have plenty of room to relax and be pampered, whether exploring a 4,500 square-foot villa or chilling inside one of the resort's exquisitely appointed suites. Of course, there's golf too. Owner 'Papa Doug' Manchester appears to have spared no expense to create his vision of palatial paradise. And, as might be expected, none of it comes cheap.

We opted for dinner at Amaya, the resort's moderately priced restaurant headed by Mediterranean-inspired Chef Camron Woods. Already cooled by coastal air and eager for seafood, we felt free to nix a white wine pairing for branzino and go red instead. We paged through wine list temptations that threatened to throw us off budget. Then, we spotted it – the no-brainer option that held our Winewomen tip. It was a 2008 Côtes du Rhône that bore a single designation: Kermit Lynch.

California-born wine merchant Kermit Lynch made it his business to introduce Americans to French wines. Lynch scopes out extraordinary French bottles as well as value finds from lesser-known vignerons. Despite iconic status among serious collectors and the world's finest restaurants, Kermit Lynch still offers wines over a wide price range, from untouchable Burgundies to small-production gems priced to enjoy everyday. Finding a Kermit Lynch import can make it easier to pull the trigger when facing tough or unfamiliar choices in French wine at wine shops or when dining out.
At the helm of The Grand's massive wine inventory is wine director Jesse Rodriguez. The Beaumont-raised rising star enjoys sharing his wine knowledge to help guests find wines that suit their palates and complement their dining choices. With an easy-going flair, Jesse teases out whether diners are seeking a traditional go-to wine, a certain flavor profile or whether they might be in the mood for something daring and different.

Jesse was keen on our Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône to pair with Chef's Mediterranean-style sea bass preparation. Unlike fish-friendly whites, the versatile red would also go well with dining partner's braised short rib cannelloni. But first, we had to taste another Lynch import he had just opened. In a flash, he was back with two empty glasses and a bottle of Patrimonio Domaine d'e Croce 2007, a red wine made from Corsica's native Nielluccio grape. Its earthy flavors and smoky dark berry fruit were right up our alley. Soon, our Côtes du Rhône and dinner would arrive. As we savored every sip, we couldn't shake the memory of that Nielluccio – and wondered what other far-flung gems we have yet to discover from Lynch's portfolio of wines.   
With another hot summer month on the way, we've set our sights on Addison for our next visit to the Grand. Their summer The Grand Life package might bust a few budgets with rates that start at $366 daily plus a three-night minimum stay. But we're optimistic we'll find a way back to enjoy Jesse, Amaya and indulge our longing for Chef Bradley's cuisine at Addison, Southern California's five-star wonder inside a dream world that is The Grand. We're certain to find another tip or two – or perhaps, another taste of Nielluccio.

The Grand Del Mar
5300 Grand Del Mar Court
San Diego, CA 92130





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