I was not expecting much from San Antonio Winery. There are a number of billboards for this winery along the 5, suggesting a large advertising budget but not necessarily good wine. As a connoisseur of boutiquey wineries that may or may not be open more than once a month, I equate big names in wine with a lack of quality or ridiculous prices.
Yet San Antonio Winery left me pleasantly surprised. We enjoyed everything we tasted there. I imagine not everyone would. Their wines are definitely on the sweet side, and if you are looking for a rich, bold, deep red, this is not the place for it. But since I like light, sweet wines, I was in Heaven.
The Maddalena Pinot Grigio and Riesling were both tasty and sweet, perhaps a little too sweet, but still good. Stella Rosa Peach was a beautifully light, peachy Moscato, totally worth $9. The chocolate Port was trying a little too hard, but their regular Port had a nice mellow flavor and again was very reasonably priced.
We enjoyed all of their wines, but once the Stella Rosa Imperiale Bracchetto touched my tongue, I could no longer care about anything else.
Magicale Bracchetto was the first wine I ever loved. I first drank it at the Golden Vine Winery in Disney’s California Adventure, and it truly was a magical experience for me. Alas, twenty-one-year-olds cannot afford to buy $42 bottles of wine with any kind of frequency, so while I thought of it often, I have only had the opportunity to taste it on a handful of occasions.
I have looked for a substitute, but while I have found other tasty sparkling reds, nothing quite measured up to Magicale Bracchetto’s perfection. Then I saw the Imperiale Bracchetto on San Antonio’s tasting list and realized Bracchetto was a varietal. With such a “magicale” name, it had not occurred to me that the name had given me a tool to search with all along, but as soon as I saw the name, I knew I had to try it. And it was like coming back to that first taste five years ago at Disneyland.
Like I said, I have tried similar wines, but this taste was the same. At first I thought maybe I wasn’t remembering it fully, but now I think they could easily be the same exact wine. It was that close. I couldn’t believe it. It was perfect. With trepidation, I looked at the price. I still don’t know whether to be happy at how much less it is or sad that I paid $42 for something that could be gotten for $17, but regardless I snatched up three bottles then and there and wish I could have gotten more.
All in all, I had a very satisfying random stop at San Antonio Winery. I will certainly plan on going again next time I make that drive. In the meantime, I will be scouring World Market for more Stella Rosa Bracchetto.