At Antica Olive Oils and Vinegars, the namesake cooking elixirs adhere to Italian standards stricter than the mothers who created them. The shop stocks a rotating inventory of more than 50 extra-virgin olive oils, which originate in Italy, Spain, Tunisia, and other exotic locales and bear the taste of olives crushed at the peak of harvest months. Creative flavors infuse each oil, with almonds, chipotle peppers, and Tuscan herbs lending their profiles to oil meant for sprinkling on salads or drinking straight out of a champagne flute. White and dark balsamic vinegars also emanate unique flavors–aged apricot, honey ginger, and lavender among them–but their journey to bottles is much longer. They steep in seasoned wood casks in Modena, Italy for up to 18 years and bubble over an open wood fire before immigrating stateside.
Michael Dawson's resume looks a little different than that of the average winemaker. He earned degrees in biochemistry and cell biology, and went on to complete his medical degree and work in radiology. But as any grape-expert will tell you, viticulture is a scientific process?and Michael has proven himself more than up for the task. He draws on his technological background while bottling chardonnay, pinot noir, white rhone varietals, and other boutique wines for Seal Beach Winery. Those unique quaffs are available to sample in the tasting room, which also stocks bottles ready for visitors to take home and politely refuse to share. Those who aren't sure which bottle to select can opt to join the Wine Club in which Seal Beach Winery does the choosing for you. Customers can also take home merchandise such as wine-themed gift baskets, aerators, and tasting trays.
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