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Wines from "A Taste of the Americas"

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Photo by Elise Thompson for LAist

By Greg Thompson/Special to LAist

It was a beautiful day and a great turnout for the San Antonio Winery's "A Taste of the Americas" Festival Sunday. The 200 plus people in attendance seemed pleased with the quality of these reasonably priced New World wines. Let's look at the wines in greater detail. We'll start with our host winery and our home state.

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Alta California- San Antonio Antonio Winery & Riboli Family Wine Estates

Since 1917, the Riboli family have owned and managed the historical San Antonio Winery. The only producing winery in Los Angeles, it is the last of over one hundred that once dotted the LA area. They still have a tasting room, restaurant, banquet locations and an international wine shop.

Maddalena is a premium line named for the matriarch and wife of Steve Riboli, nephew of the founder. The grapes are mainly from the Montery area.

2007 Maddalena Chardonnay showed ripe fruit aromas, including citrus, guava, and orange peel. The flavor showed depth and body with nice forward fruit. Hints of butter and vanilla from the malolactic fermentation were noticed by many. Spicy oak added complexity. Balanced acidity gives structure with a long, complex finish.

2008 Maddalena Riesling showed classic flowery aromas of apricot and honey, followed by fresh fruit flavors of pear and green apple. This wine showed a good balance of natural acidity and sweetness.

2007 Maddalena Zinfandel showed bright fruit flavors of raspberry and cherries. Barrel aging adds hints of cinnamon and spice (and everything nice)

Mexico - L.A. Cetto Winery

Produced by Louis Alberto Cetto, 3rd generation family member. Different folks thought Lois Alberto's initials meant Los Angeles or La Cetto (wouldn't that be Il or El Cetto?) The tradition of producing Italian style wines in the Ensenada area of Guadalupe Valley was begun in 1928 by Don Angelo Cetto. The largest winery in Latin America, it produces fine wines sold in 27 international markets.

L.A. Cetto 2008 Chardonnay had a pale, straw yellow color similar to California Chards but a little lighter in shade. Aroma was bit closed, but slightly tutti-frutti . No alcohol in the nose, smells a bit like cider or fruit punch.The flavor was grapey, light, and enjoyable. Made entirely of Chardonnay grapes harvested from L.A. Cetto's vineyards.

L.A. Cetto Zinfandel 2003, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California: Aged 6 months in French Oak Barrels and 6 months in bottle. Lively Ruby color, intense fruity aromas of raspberries, blackberrries and cassis. Great fruit, classic Zin flavor and character!

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L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo 2003, Private Reserve Valle de Guadalupe: 14 months in French Oak, 24 months in the bottle. The Cetto family very successfully introduced Italy's Noble Piemontese grape to Mexico. Intense ruby color with brilliant glints of garnet and shades of purple/violet on the edge. Aromas of ripe red and black fruit, hints of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. Rich fruit flavors giving way to classic truffle, tobacco and leather. Round with good tannin structure.

Chile- Tierra Del Fuego

The winery of Tierra del Fuego is located in San Javier, Valley of el Maule, a pure and clean environment with no pollution. The vineyards lie between the Valley and the Andes Mountains Volcanic soils and a Mediterranean climate grow vines that produce wines with the unique characteristics of the Pangal Vineyards.

Tierra del Fuego 2008 Sauvignon Blanc. Lovely fruit aromas and flavors. Especially good acid giving it a clean, crisp refreshing finish.

Tierra Dle Fuego 2007 Merlot was, like merlot these days, quite popular. Good fruit aroma and flavor, and nice structure. A little too tannic for some but just right for many
Could age well . As more and more people are discovering, it went well with the chocolate desserts the way fruit toppings and fillings go well with chocolate.

Argentina- Luigi Bosca

Like San Antonio, Luigi Bosca is 100% family owned. Still operated by the it is one of Mendoza's top producers. The winery makes a number of wines under several labels. The Finca La Linda line represents their value wines. The Reserva line includes wines that see more aging, including the DOC labeled Malbec. Finally, the Alta Gama wines represent the family's flagship Gala
bottlings and single vineyard wines

Luigi Bosca Finca La Linda Torontes- Related to Malvasia. this torontes had the intense floral aroma of Viognier with Chardonnay- like lemon. The flavor also shows lemon with apples and a hint of flint. A big wine it has lots of alcohol (14%) depth and character.

Luigi Bosca 2006 Malbec Reserva. Malbec is a grape used in Bordeaux only to blend with grapes such as Cabernet and Merlot. The warm weather in the Americas allows Malbec to ripen enough to make stand alone in wines with lush fruit. flavor. With deep ruby red color, this wine has aromas of berries, spice and black pepper . Its intense taste is balanced by soft and sweet tannins. It is a full bodied wine with great structure and a long finish

Luigi Bosca 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, Mendoza- A medium ruby color, this wine has a classic nose of cherries, leather, and hints of green bell pepper. Made in a claret style,agile and not too heavy with excellent acidity and flavors of cherry. Still a bit tannic, it needs a couple years age to smooth out. Very nice finish.

The next (and final) summer festival will be the "Taste of Italy" on October 25. For more information or reservations, please call (323) 330- 8771. San Antonio Winery, 737 Lamar Street in downtown Los Angeles.