Domestic Selection: Chardonnay, 1990. Maddalena

If you were to try and imagine the most irregular, most unnatural, most intriguing location for a win­ery, would you choose downtown Los Angeles? No, seriously, I mean downtown Los Angeles!

In 1917, when Santo Cambiani­ca came from Padua Italy, winemaking in Los Angeles was truly in its infancy. He opened this win­ery and named it after the patron saint of Padua, San Antonio. San­to purchased his grapes from near­by San Gabriel, vinting and aging the wines right in downtown (you can see City Hall from their loca­tion). After the second world war, there were over 40 bonded winer­ies within the city limits of Los Angeles. Now, according to the Riboli family (great nephews and niece of Santo), San Antonio win­ery “…is the last producing winery in the City of the Angels”. So in­teresting is the winery and its loca­tion, it has become Cultural His­torical Monument Number 42. If you are ever in or about downtown you must pay a visit to San Anto­nio; there is a wonderful restaurant there that serves over 17,000 cus­tomers a month, as well as a de­lightful wine and gift shop.

In 1970, the winery took a fresh look at the wine market and added to the current product line by developing the Maddalena Vineyards. This venture was to take San Antonio winery into the varietal wine market. Today, their winemaker, Jon Alexander (B.S. in Oenology, U.C. Davis and Masters in Microbiology) makes award winning wines for Maddale­na Vineyards. Our selection this month is the 1990 Central Coast Chardonnay.

Chardonnay is the noble white grape of Burgundy, France. There it produces some of the best and most expensive white wines in the world. In California, it produces wines from light-hearted and fruity to big, rich oak-y wines. This se­lection is of grapes from Monterey County where they are machine picked and pressed. The unfer­mented juice is then transported in insulated stainless tankers to the winery in Los Angeles. The juice is then fermented in stainless steel tanks where 1/3 is drawn off and aged in French oak barrels.

This wine shows a brilliant golden yellow with citrus and green apples in the nose. The body is medium with all the fruit coming through, with a hint of vanilla from the oak. The finish is long and clean, with fruit flavors linger­ing.

Serve chilled with baked sal­mon or creme sauce chicken.

Cellaring Notes: Drinking well now, will complex for 2 years.

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