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Arts and Entertainment

Wine, Women and Song: East LA Meets Napa at Union Station Part II

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Union Station is always a beautiful venue. The cool summer breezes and fading sunlight as the three large courtyards filled with music and sounds of celebration last week made for an outstanding event. The feast at the annual benefit for AltaMed was accompanied by wines from Latino-owned or operated Napa Wineries. This year three select vineyards from Baja, the Adobe Guadalupe, L.A. Cetto Vineyard and J.C. Bravo also represented.

Most of the participants were boutique wines, with a high ratio of Cabernet Sauvignons, for which Napa Valley is best known. The 2007 Chateau de Vie Cabernet Sauvignon tasted of berries and spice. Another vintner, Gustavo Thrace, produces Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the usuals and and a "very unique Bordeaux blend".

The Madrigal label had a light Chardonnay, almost like a champagne sans bubbles. Three generations of the Madrigal family have worked the Napa Valley vineyards. Other recommendations would be the the wines from Maldonado and the Robledo.

Besides more Mariachis than I have seen outside of Mariachi Plaza, Jose Rizo’s Mongorama provided the music. Dancers spun and salsa danced into the night. We were drinking and dancing for a good cause. AltaMed has become the largest community-based provider of health care in California since their first free clinic opened in the 70s. Their mission is

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To eliminate disparities in health care access and outcomes by providing superior quality health and human services through an integrated world-class delivery system for Latino, multi-ethnic and underserved communities in Southern California.

They provide primary care, dental services, senior services, Comprehensive HIV/AIDS services, drug treatment and prevention, just to name a small part of AltaMed's wide-ranging program.

As the last rays of sun faded, we were handed gift bags from Trader Joe's and made our way home -- tired, content, and reminded of how grateful we should be, not only for gorgeous nights like this, but for the things some of us are allowed to take for granted.