Lunch & Wine Tasting at San Antonio Winery!
It’s no secret how much I love a day in Downtown LA to visit San Antonio Winery. Nestled on Lamar Street, San Antonio Winery is the oldest winery in Los Angeles, celebrating 100 glorious years. Its founders, The Riboli Family, have survived The Great Depression, wine prohibition in Los Angeles and World War 2.
While their Los Angeles vineyards now house homes and parts of the Metro, San Antonio Winery thrives with incredible wines being produced in Paso Robles and the Napa region. I was tickled pink to head out for a visit once again, this time with Eat ‘n Drink Geeks. Our day began with a wine tasting and our first round could have stolen the show itself: with a Stella Rosa semi-sweet Black wine. With this Stella Rosa currently available only at San Antonio Wineries (In LA, Paso Robles and Ontario), I am not usually a big fan of sparkling semi-sweet wines, but, this one? It’s name and bottle alone was sleek and sexy, and the first sip bursted with berry notes as well as thoughts of a cherry cola. It’s rich, and perfect to pair with dark chocolate or a Havarti cheese.
As we moved on (but, seriously, they could have kept the Black coming and I would have been satisfied!), we moved onto some of their San Simeon whites. Sauvignon Blanc, a 2015 Chardonnay and a Riesling. Their Sauvignon Blanc made feel back in Hawaii, with powerful notes of pineapple and melon, while their Chardonnay was a 75% new French oak, which gave it that butter-y and creamy aspects so many think of when they think Chardonnay. Luckily, San Simeon’s is just perfect and that often over powering ‘bite’ of butter notes was not present.
The varietal that surprised me the most? Their 100% Riesling. I have definitely encountered Riesling’s that reckon a pancake syrup, and it’s too mighty for me. San Simeon’s 2014 Riesling was as smooth as silk, and a bottle I could easily enjoy a glass (or 2 or 3) of. As we moved onto Reds, we began with one of my favorites from San Antonio, their 2015 Monterey Pinot Noir. With a beautiful first nose, I love how dry this Pinot is, and it’s spicy elements bring to mind having a mellow fish or chicken dish paired with it.
We then seg wayed into a Malbec that was a fun, rather chameleon kind of wine. A blend with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the strong presence of the tannins give it such a gorgeous red and not bad notes, either; I tasted a lot of pepper, cherry and a smoky finish.
While we could have stayed at the bar all day with San Antonio Winery’s General manager, Dominic Menton, and their sweetheart PR Manager, Melissa Gonzalo, it was time to move onto something I had yet to experience at San Antonio: lunch at Maddalena Restaurant!
Arriving in the thick of lunch time, Maddalena Restaurant (named after Maddalena Riboli), I was immediately impressed at how attentive the team of Maddalena was, and that they were willing to make any of their dishes gluten-free for me. While trying out pasta was tempting, Melissa suggested their salmon, and, getting a peek at it, I knew it was the dish for me (not to mention I would be heading to a movie preview with popcorn, candy and Icee’s later that day).
A cafeteria style setting, Maddalena serves an impressive daily menu of lunch and dinner as well as breakfast on weekends, and breakfast fare available during the week for large parties and events (their breakfast buffet, available for parties of 50 or more, looks pretty awesome. Email me if you want to help me make a party of 50 happen!)
Despite the hustle and bustle, I was impressed that our food came out just shortly after placing our orders. The pasta around me looked mouth watering, and my salmon with basmati rice and grilled asparagus was exquisite. I was stuffed, but, then, we were offered dessert.
I decided to adopt that “When in Rome” philosophy and ordered a delectable Crème brûlée. It did not disappoint. When I cracked into it, the crust was burnt just enough,and the filling was luscious. It made me think that a Gewürztraminer would pair incredibly well with this dish.