San Antonio Winery
Summary: San Antonio Winery, in Los Angeles is the oldest winery in Los Angeles dating back to 1917 when started by an Italian immigrant. Today the winery tasting room in Paso Robles is filled with numerous types of wines including some exported from their partner in Italy. Food is available in the tasting room.
San Antonio Winery was started in 1917 by Santo Cambianica. Santo was very religious and named the winery for his patron saint, Saint Anthony. Years later in 1956 the winery passed on to Santo’s nephew Stefano and Maddalena Riboli.
The San Antonio tasting room in Paso Robles, with yellow adobe walls and a large patio, is located in the El Pomar sub AVA. A staff member noted that Maddalena is considered a visionary. Today, the winery owns vineyards in Paso Robles, Monterey, and Rutherford (Napa Valley). Currently the San Antonio Winery has three locations that include Los Angeles, Ontario and Paso Robles. We visited the easy to locate tasting room in Paso Robles. We discovered that a new winery facility is under construction just down the road.
Outside of the tasting room two large flags, Italy and United States, flapped breezily in the wind. Just inside the front door, a selection of freshly-made menu items are displayed. These dishes were very tempting as we walked past. The tasting room is large and bright. Decor includes San Antonio oak barrels and a fireplace. One area is filled with a tasting counter and several round tables with chairs. The retail area consisted of shelves with numerous gift items.
We were curious as to how San Antonio Winery survived the affect of prohibition. One member of the staff noted that the owners were very religious and produced sacramental wines. Today the winery is still one of the largest producers of sacramental wine in the country, while still producing a variety of award-winning wines ranging from dry to sweet.
San Antonio vineyards include Maddalena and Stefano vineyards with each having more than 83 acres. Varieties include Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenacha, Mourvedre, Primitivo, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot. The winery also controls about 2,000 additional acres of vineyards.
San Antonio winery owners want people to know that, for them, history is important as well as the quality of the wine and the time that the winemakers spend producing the wines.
Touching “Chicken Soup” Story
While attending the CABs of Distinction program, we listened to winemaker Anthony Riboli. He mentioned how they had a vineyard named for his grandfather, Stefano. When talking about his grandfather’s vineyard, his grandmother Maddalena asked, “Where is my vineyard?” The winery was able to purchase a vineyard and name it Maddalena. Today the two vineyards sit across from each other as if posed looking at each other.
San Antonio Wines
While tasting San Antonio wines, we were shown wine bottles in large formats that reminded one of another era. Large jugs of wines looked like gallon jug wines. We were quickly informed that these were not gallon-size but held four liters (4 liters is equivalent to 1.0566882 gallons).
The 2014 Maddalena Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles wine was 14.1% alcohol and was a light yellow color. The wine offered notes of citrus, tropical fruits, pineapple, and melon. The wine was crisp and refreshing. The back label provides a lovely description of Maddalena. “In 1946, family matriarch Maddalena Riboli began her lifelong journey with San Antonio Winery. She founded one of the first tasting rooms in the state and a highly successful restaurant.”
The Viognier Paso Robles Estate Reserve 2014 was a pale straw color with floral and tropical fruit notes. Pair this crisp, full-bodied wine with poultry, fish and spicy cuisine.
The 2012 San Simeon Cabernet Franc wine was an opaque dark ruby color. The full-bodied wine offered notes of perfume and black fruit with bold tannins. It was very crisp.
The 2010 Opaque Malbec Paso Robles was 14.5% alcohol. This wine was aged mostly in French oak. The wine was a ruby color with an aroma of dark fruits. The wine offered a soft mouthfeel and a taste of black cherries and blackberries. It had medium tannins with a medium/full body.
The Maddalena Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 was a ruby color. The wine offered notes of earthiness and dark fruits including blackberries. The wine had bold tannins and was a full-bodied wine. There was a lingering fruity finish.
Cask 520 Paso Robles was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. The aroma was of black fruit. The mouthfeel was smooth with black cherry and blackberry notes. The wine had bold tannins with a full body. There was a long fruit aftertaste.
When visiting San Antonio Winery keep in mind that the history is important. They also would like consumers to know that the winemakers spend a great deal of time producing wines that will appeal to everyone.
San Antonio Winery
2610 Buena Vista Drive
Paso Robles, California 93446
GPS: N35º 38.700’ W120º 40.348’
Article written April 2016
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