This is, for those who might not know the history, a true American original. As the missions got established through CA, the Franciskan munks and padres brought with them the Mission grape (as we all know). And they often vinified it in this fortified style reminiscent of Port, Madeira, Marsala or Sherry etc. Partially out of necessity to make them last I think, but it seemed to also be the taste preference at the time. The name Angelica is a nod to the city of Los Angeles, which was the center of American wine production from 1750’s up until almost prohibition. Another little known fact.
This reminds me of a tawny port at first sip. Very similar. But at only 17.5% AVB there’s less of hot end than you tend to get with Ports. It’s also a little bit rounder and gentler somehow, and with a nutty vibe. Color is light, as is expected with Mission grapes. This would pair so well with blue cheeses, charcuterie or heavier soups, such as lobster bisque etc. Really enjoyable wine. (93 pts.)
Yup, Adam… Bryan’s Angelica is beautiful.
Angelica is much more akin to Ratafia than Port/Sherry/Madeira. Usually they take the juice & hit it w/ brandy immediately, though, by law, they must ferment it to 0.5% alcohol before fortifying.
This Angelica will be coming into its own about when you reach 150 yrs old. Invite me over & I’ll take short/boring TN’s!!
Quady Essencia/Elysian is another example of this genre.
The 2015 was the first and I think it was only a Ken Zinns / Gang of XX wine. Bryan liked it and made two or three vintages, one of which has not yet been bottled. I believe Somers was the only source for any of the Mission wines.
Deaver has their own. We tasted a barrel sample that was about 10 years out alongside their much younger current release, which was much younger. That extra time made magic. Marco Cappelli made those, as well as the Miraflores version, which is the best I’ve had Also 8-10 years. That showed prominent oak when opened, but that settled down with enough air. So, seek one out. Either let it breathe or age it 100-150 years.
There are others and some older bottles from wineries that don’t make it any longer or don’t exist. Vary Heitz bottlings show up now and then, for example. Picchetti makes some - I’ve had a real one and a fake one (from Chard), neither of which had skin contact, which is a mistake.
The true glories of Angelica were the old pre-prohibition ones. California at its best. Corti Brothers used to carry some. I’d love someone to do long barrel aging on these recent ones, despite the economic feasibility. Harbor Winery’s Mission del Sol was the last one I know of.
Corti still has the '86 Mission Del Sol I think, they also have some of this Harrington Angelica. It doesn’t seem out of the question for them to commission a long aged Angelica style wine, they have a 5 year Madeira style that was aged in the Mission Del Sol barrels that they just released and it sounds like another vintage is in barrel now, I bought a bottle but haven’t tried it yet, maybe Thanksgiving.
I’m pretty sure I saw some about a month ago when I was there. They are kinda buried on a low shelf in the back of the wine section so I don’t think the turnover is super high. If they don’t have any, holler if you’re ever in Oakland, I have 1 of the 86 I’m happy to open.