Elegant Wines from Hand-Tended Vines
Angwin Estate Vineyards is a micro- boutique estate winery producing wines that have been mistaken for classified growth Bordeaux in blind tastings with master sommeliers. Jon Larson is a true vigneron, living on the vineyard with his wife Angela and their two children Arek and Piotr. Farming is a family affair with an emphasis on meticulously working to improve the health of the vines and quality of the fruit using organic and biodynamic tech- niques. Each vine is touched 20-30 times per year, and no insecticides or herbicides are used in the tiny vineyard surrounded by fir and oak trees at 2,150-foot elevation, high above the clouds shrouding the valley below. Sunlight kisses each cluster perfectly throughout the growing season, and ladybugs, bees, and lacewings dance between the vines.
How did this tiny slice of heaven become Angwin Estate Vineyards? The answer is in the emblem on the bottle: Perseus’ winged foot. “The symbol is a tip of the hat to all those who helped make Angwin Estate Vineyards a reality” explains Jon. Many mentors and supporters helped establish the vineyard in 2002, gave advice, helped with vineyard management, bought fruit, and answered questions. Start with a degree from Princeton, add winemaking classes from UC Davis, mentorship from Philip Togni, lots and lots of reading, trial and error, and you have Jon’s explanation of how he transitioned from cardiac surgeon into vigneron and winemaker.
The winemaking is old-world, allowing low yielding vines on a special site to speak for themselves. One hundred percent estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, natural yeast and bacteria with a little acid and water are plenty. Post- fermentation, wines are aged in approximately 60 percent new oak barrels, coopered from some of the oldest remaining trees in the Napoleonic forests in France. The Hungarian oak barrels come from forests that were used exclusively for the great wines of Bordeaux before WWII. During the 24 months of elevage, raw wine is converted into drinkable art, almost as if by magic. In a final step, wines from differ- ent lots are tasted, and only the very best included in the final blend. This process is used by classified growths to select their best lots and Angela really shines as her palate is truly superior. Wines from barrels not selected are bottled as a second label, “The Kissing Trees.”
In the glass, Angwin Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is restrained elegance. Violet and rose petal on the nose give way to flavors of raspberry and bright red cherry followed by crushed rock minerality mixed with black plum, blackberry, and notes of graphite, cedar, pipe tobacco, crushed herbs, petrichor mixed with exotic spice.
Khalil Gibran wrote ‘love is work made visible’. Angwin Estate Vineyards is love made drinkable.
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Article By: Eve Bushman