In the late 1700s, when California’s first winemaking endeavors began, the Spanish priests made sweet wines that were fortified with brandy. There were many methods by which these wines were made over the years, and they were produced by many wineries, using various varietals. Over time this type of wine took the name of the region from which it originated, as would be the custom in Europe. This wine was made in Los Angeles, and therefore became known as Angelica, California’s first wine.
Our 2017 Angelica Dessert Wine, made from 100% fortified Alicante Bouschet, is a nod to the winemaking past of Los Angeles. The Alicante from the Swazye Family Vineyard in L.A.'s Antelope Valley, one of the few teinturier grapes (having red juice and red flesh), was harvested by hand, and was gently crushed into a small, open top bin for fermentation. Before fermentation was complete, the temperature of the must was dropped to 40 degrees F and was fortified with grape spirits. The combination of the cold, and the alcohol from the spirits arrested fermentation, preventing the remaining sugar from converting to alcohol, leaving behind a subtle sweetness. The wine was gently pressed into a super-fine grain American oak barrel for 32 months of aging before bottling. Only 132 half bottles were bottled, while the remaining wine will continue to age in barrel for an undetermined number of years before the next release.
Sweet delights swirl from the glass of this ruby colored wine, with dominant aromas of candied raspberries, caramel, hazelnut, and chocolate covered pomegranate. The sip is sweet and luscious, yet delicate and playful, with more dark fruits, blackberry, chocolate and vanilla swirl, balanced beautifully with bright acidity. A flutter of cinnamon, and lingering black walnuts persist on the finish.