Winery of the Month

February 2020 Winery of the Month –
Ancient Peaks Winery

Ancient Peaks Winery is a multi-layered entity that produces wine for themselves, grows grapes for others, runs a cattle ranch and for good measure, has the only zip line in the Central Coast. If you think you’ve seen every angle of a vineyard, try it from 200 feet above the ground. Ancient Peaks represents the shared vision of three longtime local winegrowing and ranching families—the Filipponis, Rossis and Wittstroms. Two generations are actively involved in the winery’s daily operations, all dedicated to producing extraordinary wines from their esteemed Margarita Vineyard. Rob Rossi acquired Santa Margarita Ranch in 1999. His friends Doug Filipponi and Karl Wittstrom soon joined him as partners in the ownership of the ranch, which they had all regarded as a special property for many years. The obvious potential of the vineyard ultimately inspired the three families to become vintners as well as winegrowers. They knew that they could cherry-pick their favorite blocks and make distinctive wines with a strong sense of place. The name Ancient Peaks was chosen to honor the towering Santa Lucia Mountains that border Margarita Vineyard. These peaks define the land’s complex geology and regulate the vineyard’s climate, ultimately shaping the character of the wines.

Sauvignon Blanc

suggested retail $16.99 – WOTM Special $13.99

This Sauvignon Blanc opens with bright aromas of peach, guava, citrus and wet stone. A round, soft texture envelopes the palate with luscious flavors of pear and tropical fruit, all underlain by a subtle minerality. The roundness yields to raciness on the finish, with pitch-perfect acidity and lingering notes of lime zest. The balance of full fruit flavors and snappy acidity makes a fine match for fresh oysters, pan-seared scallops, lemon-herb chicken and citrus shrimp tacos.

Chardonnay

suggested retail $19.99 – WOTM Special $16.99

This beauty presents bright tropical fruit aromas with accents of butterscotch, vanilla and spice. Rounded flavors of pear, melon, pineapple and papaya unfurl along a sumptuous texture. Quenching notes of green apple and citrus add crispness to a long, smooth finish. It’s made to be versatile with food, such as butter-poached scallops, creamy risotto, shrimp pasta in white wine sauce and grilled chicken breast.

Merlot

suggested retail $19.99 – WOTM Special $16.99

Merlot, still an oft neglected grape, excels at the Margarita Vineyard and has been a mainstay at Ancient Peaks since day one. Ancient sea bed soils combine with a long growing season to yield a Merlot with silky dark fruit flavors and a luscious texture, resulting in what has become one of the Paso Robles region’s most notable Merlots. This dark beauty delivers rich black and red fruit aromas with intriguing hints of cedar, mocha and eucalyptus. The palate is juicy and rounded, offering a flavor palate of black cherry, raspberry, vanilla and spice. Firm tannins and luscious acidity take this Merlot to the next level, finishing with a refined heft that is rooted in the vineyard terroir. Recommended matches include pan-seared duck breast, bacon wrapped filet mignon, grilled veal chops and pasta with savory lamb ragu.

Cabernet Sauvignon

suggested retail $19.99 – WOTM Special $16.99

The Cabernet opens with enticing aromas of plum, cedar, vanilla, tobacco and leather. Bold flavors of black cherry, blackberry, violets, black pepper, dark chocolate and spice are integrated into a broad, chewy texture. Elegant tannins unfurl into a sleek, effortless finish. This classic varietal makes a fine match for rich, flavorful fare. Suggested pairings include beef tenderloin medallions, roasted pork shoulder, Cabernet-braised short ribs with stuffed eggplant and filet mignon with a black olive sauce.

Renegade

suggested retail $22.99 – WOTM Special $18.99

The Renegade is composed of Syrah, Malbec and Petit Verdot from the Margarita Vineyard. A majority of the Syrah comes from vineyard slopes of ancient sea bed soils, where the fruit achieves dark fruit flavors with meaty richness. The remainder comes from a nearby vineyard block, which offers a more restrained fruit profile with notes of spice and mineral. The Malbec hails from a southwest-facing hillside with shallow shale soils that produce sparse, intensely flavored clusters. The Petit Verdot comes from a ribbon of sandstone and rocky shale that yields firm texture with vivid varietal character. This “outlaw” is loaded with heady aromas of boysenberry, blueberry, violets, tobacco and roast coffee. Luscious flavors of blackberry, cola and vanilla cream unfold with suggestions of savory smokiness and spice. A mouth filling texture delivers plump tannins on a bold, lavish finish. The prolific flavors are a perfect foil for equally rich fare, including herb-grilled lamb chops, French onion soup, venison pot roast and beef medallions with shiitake wine sauce.

Zinfandel

suggested retail $19.99 – WOTM Special $16.99

This bold Zinfandel presents nuanced aromas of raspberry, blueberry, tobacco and white pepper. The palate is deep and chewy, showing brambly flavors of wild blackberry jam and black cherry with notes of vanilla, caramel and cola. Hints of spice emerge on a finely structured finish. The rich, chewy texture is a perfect match for comfort foods such as wood-fired pizza, smoked chicken, classic lasagna and grilled tri-tip with Santa Maria seasoning.

Oyster Ridge

suggested retail $59.99 – WOTM Special  $54.99
93 points Wine Enthusiast 2016

Each year, this cuvée comes from superior sections of Ancient Peaks’ estate Margarita Vineyard that are fastidiously farmed to maximize the fruit’s potential and meet the standards of this program. The final blend is assembled from only those barrels that exhibit exemplary complexity, structure and aging potential, often resulting in an unconventional union of varietals. The mouthfeel of this wine is broad and plush, framed by luscious accents of new oak. Lively acidity and long tannins converge with an impeccable balance on a sleek, structured finish.