Angeleno Wine Company "Swayze Vineyard" Alicante Bouschet 2019
Antelope Valley of the California High Desert
Angeleno Wine Co. is back with an amazing, heady wine that challenges our preconceptions on California wine. In the middle of the Mojave desert in Los Angeles County, amidst sprawling salt-flats at 3000 feet elevation, an unlikely patch of vines grow. You might be surprised to know Los Angeles County was the first region to be planted by Spanish missionaries in 1833. By the end of the 19th century the county was the largest wine region in California.
Alicante Bouschet is one of only a handful of "teinturier" grapes – ones which have red juice. (Most wine grapes have clear pulp and juice.) In co-proprietors' Amy Luftig Viste & Jasper Dickson's capable hands, this beauty blows minds and resets expectations about southern California wine. With heady aromas of boysenberry compote, crushed violets and rose petals, espresso, and incense-laced spice, this is a fruit-driven, juicy cuvée with bright and extracted blue-black fruit and just a whisper of oak influence. Sitting at a mere 13.75%, this refutes the conventional notion that California wine can't have nuance. We love it!
Situated between the Tehachapi and San Gabriel mountain ranges, in the "Antelope Valley of the California High Desert" AVA you'll find the Swayze Vineyard, in Lancaster, literally in the middle of the Mojave desert. Most of the desert is a salt pan (Edwards Air Force Base uses parts of the flat as an airstrip.) This site thrives on a postage stamp-sized square of vineyards in sandy soil, an improbable outpost of grapes surviving in an otherwise unforgiving climate.
If you're like me, you can't wait until the next dinner party with a large group. Grill some steaks, roast some pork, whatever you like, and pop this bottle to blow some minds and please some palates! The story, the juice, everything about this wine is unique and amazing.