Mission Wine & Spirits is a well known as a purveyor of fine beverages and tobacco products in the San Gabriel Valley. It's less well known for events such as wine tastings - given the wine "bar" is has only been in effect for about a year and a half and accommodates perhaps up to five patrons at a time.
On a recent Friday evening Mission featured Chris Madrigal of Madrigal Wines pouring a lineup of his wines in this cool, low key setting. Mr Madrigal serves interesting wine growing stories and histories of Napa along with his wine. He maintains a pleasant atmosphere of informative diversion drawing on more than 70 years of vineyard history.
As a small winery, Madrigal's resources are limited. Therefore efforts were bent toward the strengths of the terrior and ability of the winemaker. As such, the flight consisted almost entirely of reds - tempranillo, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah and bonus tastes of a petite sirah port, zinfandel and merlot. The lone white was a sauvignon blanc. These were fine wines and almost as remarkable for their reasonable prices as for not being the typical run of chardonnay-pinot noir-(expensive) cabernet sauvignon. Indeed, the cabernet was very good and is apparently priced at half the cost of a typical Napa cab. Other standouts were the cabernet franc and petite sirah port.
While the creature comforts are sparse and occasionally a line for the bar forms, this is one of the more genial tasting rooms central to the LA area. Make no mistake, a proper bar or boutique is better suited to relaxing with one's wine. But unlike the San Antonio Winery, Mission Wine & Spirits is not harshly lit, crowded or staffed by rude servers. Like the San Antonio, there is no seating and little in the way of nosh to go with the wine. But the pace is set by the tasters not the pourers, questions are answered politely and information is presented with as much pleasure as the wine. Prices for tastings vary by the selection, the Madrigal tasting was $10.
Mission offers the Mission Cork Club wherein members are kept appraised of new arrivals, upcoming events, exclusive tastings and may buy certain wines at a discount.
Mission Wine & Spirits is open 9am-8pm Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays. Wine tastings are every Thursday and Friday 4pm-7pm. Locations: 1785 Washington Bl Pasadena, CA 91104 and a new location at 825 W Glenoaks Bl Glendale, CA 91202