Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, January 26, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page A:8



Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 26, 2019 

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills

Friends and family called him “Big Steve”, the Bicos Family 
has made a name for themselves here in the San Gabriel 
Valley with such great restaurants and drive throughs: Tops, 
T Burgers, Gus’ and memories that will last a life time, sad to 
report that “Big Steve” has gone to the Pastrami in the sky, You 
will be missed!!


 Sometimes I think my job title should include “detective”, as 
in “Peter Dills: Wine Detective”. I guess, for that matter, most 
of us who carry a pen could fall into that category. Something 
that I assume is common knowledge might be unknown to 
those of you who just have a glass or two of wine now and 

 Think about this: where does your wine come from? Where 
does the label say it is from? There is a simple way to know by 
looking at the label if the wine is estate grown and, generally 
speaking, the label will tell you the percentage of that grape. 

 For example: “Estate grown” means that 100% the grapes 
come from the winery even if that winery owned vineyards 
in different regions, i.e. Paso Robles and Lodi. On the other 
hand, do the grapes come from a small section of Sonoma 
or Napa, AVA* , or can they be pinpointed to the Alexander 
Valley, a region on the edge of Sonoma? If the latter case, then 
it has to be at least 85% wine from Alexander Valley.

 Many larger wineries produce grapes for themselves and 
for other wineries in a very common practice called “sourcing”. If a winery doesn’t have a vineyard of their own can 
they still be called a winery? Yes and no. I have heard terms such as “virtual”, and even though I’d call them more of a 
marketing company, don’t discount their ability to produce great wines. This is how many new wineries make a name 
for themselves. They get the luxury of picking and choosing what grapes/juice they want to buy. If there was a bad 
crop or a bad year, said winery can wait until better grapes are available.

 In Pasadena, there is the Old Oak Winery on Foothill Blvd. Obviously there haven’t been any vineyards in Pasadena 
for many years, so they source the juice from Sonoma County. From what I’ve tasted of their offerings, I think they 
do a great job on their cabernets and chardonnays. San Antonio Winery in Downtown LA produces their award-
winning wines in Los Angeles, and they do have the luxury of owning their own vineyards. Winemaker Anthony 
Riboli explains it this way: “We own estate Chardonnay vineyards in Monterey, but we ferment the juice from those 
vineyards in downtown LA. It’s a tradition of many decades. However, it shows that very high quality wines can be 
made in many places, even downtown LA. The urban winery trend is also very strong throughout the US.”

 So don’t be swayed by the “where “ so much - stay focused on the taste and the value.

AVA : An American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a designated wine grape-growing region

 Join me this Sunday Morning for Dining with Dills on my new home KKGO GO COUNTRY 105 AT 8 AM

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