1875 ANGELICA PORT (OLD CALIFORNIA RARITY) TASTED - Reposado Restaurant, Palo Alto, CA (1/27/2010)
A group of us decided to go in on this California rarity when it was offered by BP Wine a couple weeks back. One of us, George Kautzman, had already tried a bottle of the same stuff recently with his buddy Rod Berglund, of Swan Vineyards, and turned us on to the BP offering. When the bottle arrived, a week later, Mischa Travers, who made the purchase for the group, reported that the fill on the oversize bottle–900 or 1000 ml?-- was pretty impressive, but that the bottle had leaked a bit in shipment and the top of the cork was wet (there was no capsule, just the remnants of what looked like it might have been a wax seal). He also reported that the stuff that leaked smelled good and appeared not to be oxidized. We decided we should convene as soon as possible to check this out, rather than risk further air damage that might be occurring, signaled by the leak. The soonest a large portion of us could get together, along with a few other invited guests, was last night, so we popped it then, and George was in attendance to compare it to the other bottle he’d sampled. According to George, this bottle had a little more VA and a sharpness on the nose that he didn’t get on the other bottle. Nonetheless, he and the rest of us enjoyed this little piece of California history very much.
For those who haven’t heard of Angelica, it’s the name of sweet wines made in California from the Mission grape, now established by DNA matching to have been the same as a Spanish variety known as Listan Prieto. Until about 1850, these were the only grapes planted in California. Angelica was the fortified wine produced with these grapes. I’d only tried a couple of relatively young–1970s–examples of Angelica in the past, thanks to George.
Prior to opening the Angelica, we sampled some lovely mature Burgundies. I’ll report about those separately.
George pictured left, then Mischa, Richard, Jill and Mark
1875 Cucamonga Vineyard Angelica Wine Isaias W. Hellman Private Stock - USA, California, South Coast, Cucamonga Valley
Bricked medium cranberry red color with clear meniscus; fascinating, VA, coffee liqueur, chocolate, raisinette nose; tasty, rich, chocolate, orange, raspberry, coffee liqueur, raspberry syrup palate with good acidity; long finish (bottled from wood in 1921; reminiscent of both a mature Port, but with greater color – no doubt due to the 46 years in wood before bottling – and a mid-1800s vintage Madeira Bastardo, i.e., vintage Madeira from a red grape, with the acidity of a Terrantez or Verdelho) (97 pts.)
Extra large Angelica bottle, compared to normal size Burgundy bottle
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