Anglim Winery – What a Kit Hath Wrought



Steve Anglim at Hospice du Rhone 2010

It started somewhat insidiously – with a gift of a winemaking kit one Father’s Day.

“It was god-awful disgusting stuff,” said Steve Anglim, owner and winemaker of Anglim Winery.

But it was enough to get him making wine, eventually leading to the winery, which began in 2002.  Steve and his wife Steffanie Anglim run the place, taking turns pouring at events and running the tasting room in Paso Robles, California, while their younger daughter plays in the back room.

“You have to divide and conquer because there’s so much to do,” Steffanie said.

The winery produces 3,500 cases of mostly Rhone-style varietals, like syrah and viognier.  Steve sources his grapes from several local vineyards but really has no yen to get out and start farming, himself.

“It’s just what you enjoy doing,” he said.  “They’re fundamentally different kinds of work.”

After Anglim’s first winemaking kit failed to produce anything really drinkable, Steffanie encouraged him to see what he could do if he got some good fruit.

“That’s how I met James Ontiveros, from Bien Nacido and others,” Steve said.  “Of course, he would laugh hysterically when I would call and ask for Bien Nacido pinot in the mid-nineties.”

Nonetheless, Steve was not deterred and ramped up his personal production considerably over the next few years, to the point where maybe they had a little too much.

“My friends said they couldn’t drink anymore,” Steffanie said.  “You know, when you’re a home winemaker, you have to give it away.  And we had a lot of it.  So it needed to be either smaller or bigger.”

The final push came when Steve’s employer at the time, Nissan, decided to move its headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee, and Steve decided that he didn’t want to go.  It was time to change careers.  As for the old saw about making a small fortune in the wine biz by starting with a big one, well….

“Our mistake was that we didn’t have one of those,” Steve joked.  But, “We’ve been doing it for eight years.  I’m not dead yet.  I’m still here.”

You can find out more about the winery and order wines at their website,

Rounding Up the Paso Rhone Rangers

Well, we’re back home and mostly recovered from checking out the 30-odd wineries present at the 2010 Paso Robles Rhone Rangers Experience, which happened this past Sunday.

It was a particularly good day for us. We caught up with some old friends, discovered a new-to-us boutique winery and that’s before we got to the event tasting!

The Rhone Rangers is a national education and advocacy group of about 200 wineries and other folks dedicated to educating the wine-buying public about wines made from the 22 varieties of grapes that come from France’s Rhone Valley. The principal grapes are syrah, grenache and mourvedre on the red side, with viognier, roussanne and marsanne on the white. The wine we Californians are producing do tend to heavier and fruitier than, say, a Chateauneuf du Pape (one of the major producing areas in the Rhone Valley, it’s pronounced shah-toe-nerf doo pop and means the Pope’s new castle).

But one of the things we’re getting excited about is that more and more wineries are working toward developing a food-friendly style that’s closer to the original French style. And we certainly saw that at Sunday’s event, put on by the Paso Robles chapter of the Rhone Rangers.

Imagine two rooms, with tables ringing the walls, and behind each table is someone from a winery pouring wine into your glass and trying to talk over the noise in the room and answer questions, while you’re trying to balance a wine glass, your notepad and pen, and… It’s a real blast.

We did get in on a press pass because these events are about selling wine and introducing people to some of the smaller wineries that are not as easily found on the magic maps. As for who we tasted, well, we’ll be posting those over the next few weeks. But if you want to check out the Rhone Rangers, click here for their website. And, no, we did not taste all the offerings, nor can we get to every event out there. Our livers would never forgive us.

Due Vigne 2006 Viognier

We picked this one up at Blackwell’s Wines and Spirits during our recent visit to the Bay Area largely on the recommendation of Sara (and pray forgive us, Sara, if we have spelled your name wrong).
By Due Vigne Di Familia in the Napa region, the wine is a class act with 86 percent Viognier, eleven percent Roussanne and a scant three percent of Marsanne, aka a classic blend of three Rhone white grapes. Sara told us that the panel almost passed on the 2006 vintage because they didn’t think it was dry enough.
It was dry enough. The golden color in the glass had a nose of lychee nuts and banana on the first sniff and some citrus on a second smell. There was also some of the honeysuckle aroma. The rich mouthfeel first tasted of anise – licorice or fennel to some – that led into a hint of peach at the back of the mouth. The finish was decent and you could tell they used the oak sparingly.
The best part was that the wine was only ten dollars. You could certainly enjoy this wine buy itself. But try it with a creamy seafood bisque now or grilled scallops next spring. The wine certainly plays well with others and should have that chance. The catch is that at this price, if it’s still in the store, it won’t last.