While we were at the Las Vegas Food & Wine Festival at Tivoli Village in between grazing on all the munchies, a fellow at one of the wine tables asked me if I had ever had a Los Angeles wine, and I had never been to Los Angeles and the only vacant land that I could think of, was where the Hollywood letters are mounted. The Riboli Family Wines of San Antonio Winery began as the San Antonio Winery; the vineyards are gone, but the winery is still there (along with a Cultural Heritage Board Monument Number 42. The winery is over a century old and named for St. Antonio. Many wineries disappeared when the government first attempted to treat the citizens as children, and they have not learned their lesson, but San Antonio Winery survived the Volstead Act (Prohibition), by making altar wines and in the process, became one of the largest makers of altar wine. It is estimated that there were about one hundred wineries in Los Angeles, but because of Prohibition and then the Great Depression, they were the only one to survive in the city. They have always had business relationships with vineyards, as well as their own vineyards. The fourth generation of the family is the Riboli family and they now have vineyards in Paso Robles, Monterey and Napa Valley. Their brands are Maddalena Wines, Stella Rosa, San Simeon, Highlands 41 and Opaque.
The first wine that we tried from the Riboli Family Wines was their Opaque Darkness Red Wine Paso ZinRobles 2018. The winery is certified sustainable by CSWA. This wine is all estate grown and a mix of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah. Each of the small lots of varietals were fermented individually, then blended and aged for fourteen months in a mix of French and American Oak. Opaque was a good name for the wine, as it was extremely dark purple with notes of black fruit and coffee beans. On the palate plum, blackberry, raspberry and vanilla and cooking spices; with a finish of more fruit.
The second wine from Riboli Family Wines was their Highlands 41 “Black Granite” Red Blend Paso Robles 2020. Millions of years ago, the ancient sea covered the Highlands 41 vineyards leaving fossils and limestone soils. In 1934, Highway 41 was completed connecting Yosemite to the Pacific Ocean and cutting through the heart of Paso Robles. Once a seabed, the Creston Highlands is 1,300 feet above sea level. Creston Highlands is in the Creston District AVA, one of eleven sub-districts of Paso Robles. The wine is a blend of forty-five percent Zinfandel, twenty percent Petite Sirah, fifteen percent Malbec, ten percent Syrah and ten percent Merlot. The wine was aged for ten months in neutral American Oak, with ten percent being new. A nice deep dark wine that had notes of boysenberry, elderberry and violets. On the palate a meaty wine with tones of cassis, some mocha and violets with a finish of terroir.