Friday, June 22, 2007

Winery Watch: Anglim Winery

An ongoing series of Friday posts highlighting California family wineries. You might not be familiar with all of these vineyards and winemakers--yet--but they produce wines that speak with the voices of this state's people, places, and history. They are worth seeking out. These posts will be longer than most posts on the blog, but I hope you will find them perfect for leisurely weekend reading and internet browsing. To read previous posts in the series, click here.

It all began years ago on Father's Day.

Steffanie Anglim and her daughter gave Steve Anglim a home wine-making kit to celebrate the day. Pretty soon Steve took over the garage for his wine hobby, and started attending classes at the famed wine school UC Davis. Now his "wine-making kit" is much bigger--read: as big as a winery--just proving that you never know when, where, or how a life-long passion will get sparked and your inner talents will get released. (photo of Steve Anglim at work courtesy of Anglim Winery)

Since 2002, wine-making has been a family affair at Anglim, with all hands pitching in to craft distinctive, vineyard- designate wines and blends made with the best fruit that they can source from their viticultural partners in Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County. (picture of the Anglim Crew courtesy of Anglim Winery). Today, they produce around 3000 cases a year and specialize in Rhone varietals. In their wines, the Anglims try to achieve the perfect balance between the varietal essences of the fruit, the added character provided by the barrel, acidity, and freshness--and they succeed. They've opened up a tasting room in the old Paso Robles train depot, so if you're planning a trip out there you should definitely make a stop and check out their wines.

So where do they get their fruit? From lots of vineyard producers you've heard of (Bien Nacido, Cass, Fralich, and French Camp ring any bells?). With these grapes, it is no wonder the Anglims are able to produce such a high quality product. They get their pinot noir from Kathy Joseph's Fiddlestix Vineyard, their viognier from Bien Nacido, and their roussanne and marsanne from Harry Fralich, for instance. And if you're interested in seeing some of Anglims' grapes grow, you can stay at Starr Ranch on the west side of Paso Robles, where the Anglims get some of their cabernet sauvignon, grenache, and syrah grapes. (vineyard photo courtesy of Anglim Winery)

Here are my impressions of the Anglim wines I tasted at the 2007 Rhone Rangers Tasting. Prices indicated are the suggested retail prices at the winery; as always the price you pay may be higher or lower. Clicking on a wine's name takes you either to a list of merchants who stock the wine, including Anglim itself which maintains an online store which you can reach directly by clicking here. If you become a fan of Anglim wines you may want to consider joining their Winemaker's Club, which will ensure that you get quarterly shipments of 3 or 6 bottles as you prefer. Their wines are popular, and they do sell out of them, so joining the club is your best defense against seeing the dreadful word "unavailable."

2006 Anglim Rosé ($15) I just loved this excellent QPR, salmon-colored wine. Made from grenache, syrah, mourvedre, and viognier grown in Paso Robles, it is full of rich floral aromas from the viognier. Then the wine turns rich and complex with raspberry and strawberry flavors that have a real depth thanks to that mourvedre. An outstanding example of a US dry rose, this is the rose I'd buy a case of and have on hand for all your summer BBQ and picnic needs. Save one for Thanksgiving, too, since this is sure to appear on my list of wines that would go great with turkey. (PS: I'm not the only one who thinks this wine is great. Check out Ken's Wine Guide for a comparably enthusiastic review.) Excellent QPR.

2005 Anglim Roussanne ($22). Another beautiful wine from Paso Robles fruit, here fresh orchard pears and apples dominate the flavors and aromas. This wine tastes like spring, and is less heavy than most wines made with this varietal. An excellent food wine. Excellent QPR.

2003 Anglim Syrah Fralich Vineyard ($20) This chewy, beefy syrah had interesting grilled herb aromas and flavors that accented the blackberry and raspberry fruits. A very nice value, and excellent QPR.

2004 Anglim Viognier Fralich Vineyard ($22) Nice, fresh honeydew aromas accented with floral notes are the lead in to this wine that has loads of fresh-picked, juicy honeydew flavors. Great for summertime. Very good QPR.

2005 Anglim Viognier Bien Nacido Vineyard ($24). Winner of a silver medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the Santa Barbara fruit used in this Viognier give it a riper, rounder flavor profile than the Fralich Vineyard bottling. Appealing honeydew aromas and flavors predominate, accented with flowers. Very good QPR.

2004 Anglim Grenache ($24) I really liked the abundant blackberry, coffee and spice aromas and flavors of this wine. Aromatic on the front end, rich on the back, this is very appealing and more complex than many wines made with this varietal. Very good QPR.

2003 Anglim Syrah Best Barrel Blend ($40). This wine is still too young to judge it fairly, with its balance between acidity and fruit not fully developed, but there are already lovely chocolate notes underneath rich red fruit and spice. Give it time, and it should be excellent, and make for a good special occasion wine for a grand dinner, or for a candlelit meal for two syrah lovers. Good QPR.

If you got a wine-making kit for Father's Day, you may want to clear out the garage and start looking for some viticulture and enology courses now. Steve Anglim was bitten by the wine-making bug. You could be, too. Or, you could just do what I do and buy Anglim wines whenever and wherever you see them!

No comments: