Deep ruby color; black cherry, blackcurrant, black fruit galore on the nose; blackberry, plum, blueberry, cherry, raspberry, oak toast, meat, vanilla, smoke, pepper on the palate.
Dry; rich, hearty in the mouth. Medium-full body. Tasty tannins and some acidity. Plenty of oak surrounds the parade of fruit: 37% syrah, 24% malbec, 16% petit verdot; 13% zinfandel; 10% petit sirah. Aged 19 months in 55% French and 45% American oak, 25% of the barrels new. Smooth, almost jammy easy drinker. 14.7% ABV
Franciscan missionaries first planted grapevines at the Santa Margarita Ranch in the late 1700s. One of the current blocks is planted in the same location as the original vineyard. The modern era at Santa Margarita began with plantings by the Robert Mondavi family in 1999. The vineyard is the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles region. It is 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the new Santa Margarita Ranch AVA.
Ancient Peaks Winery is a partnership between three longtime local wine-growing families to craft wines from their jointly-owned Margarita Vineyard on the Santa Margarita Ranch. Co-owners include Karl Wittstrom, Rob Rossi, and Doug Filipponi. Amanda Wittstrom Higgins is the executive vice president. In 2005, the current owners were able to purchase the property from the Mondavi family. The first Ancient Peaks Winery bottles were released in 2006. The wines are distributed in 46 states and Canada.
The operation focuses on sustainability. The property includes 18 wind machines for frost protection. Cover crops prevent erosion and combat weeds. There also is a goat program to minimize weeds. Owl boxes, a wild cat program, and raptor attraction minimizes rodents. There are wildlife corridors. No trees were removed in the planting of the vineyard. Energy efficiency is achieved with solar and wind power. There is minimal tractor usage. Social responsibility includes treating employees and the community with care and respect. They note: “our team has competitive wages, medical insurance, training, and education.”
Ancient Peaks Winery Santa Margarita Ranch Renegade 2017 is juicy and rich. Smooth and round with a dark fruit parade across the palate, there is something to please almost any red wine lover. This is natural pairing with rich, red steaks; lamb; veal; poultry. With its vivid dark fruit flavors, it also works solo or paired with wine crackers and hard cheeses. $19-26