Drunk at Dinner: Paso Robles White Wines

Stephanie Anglim at Anglim Winery
Stephanie Anglim at Anglim Winery
Willy Blackmore

White wine is certainly worth drinking year round, but with the heat making its way back to Orange County, a cold, crisp bottle has become evermore tempting in the past weeks. We've tasted some wines from nearby Temecula in previous editions of Dueling Dishes, but the whites from this weeks post, both from Anglim Winery, come from little bit further afield, Paso Robles specifically. But the family-run business got its start in a garage in Long Beach. Steve Anglim came to making wine as a hobbyist, starting out with small vintages made for family and friends out of their Long Beach peninsula home. But as the hobby shifted towards an obsession, taking over not just the garage but cutting in to his work at the Toyota corporate offices in Torrance, it got to the point where the hobby needed to become a profession of simply dropped altogether. And so Anglim Winery was born.

The winery produces an array of Rhone-style blends, with a few other varietals thrown into the mix--including fantastic Pinot Noirs--all wonderfully balanced and geared towards pairing with food. These aren't the massive, brassy and boozy Zinfandels Paso Robles is most known for. Their whites stick to Rhone variety grapes--Marsanne, Viognier, Roussanne and more--giving them scents and flavors far different from the crisp citrus of Sauvignon Blancs or the butter, vanilla and tropical fruits of California-style Chardonnays. If you think you only like red wine but have never tried Rhone whites, you may find a colder, more refreshing counterpart to your beloved reds in Rhone variety whites.

The first wine tasted from Anglim was their one white blend, called Cameo--a mix of Marsanne, Viognier, and Roussanne. The wine's notes will read as being fairly familiar, with notes of melon, pear and coconut. But unlike an oaked Chardonnay, the wine has none of the buttery taste and texture, making it a fully different experience.

Paso Robles
Paso Robles
Willy Blackmore

The second wine was 100% Roussanne and couldn't possibly taste any more different from the Cameo, which is made of 25% of the same grape. With its flavors of stone and smoke--thoroughly in the red wine department--and fruits, honey and other standard white wines notes, is a truly unique bottle. Less of a wine to pair with light fish dishes or chicken, it'd go perfectly with a variety of charcuterie, namely prosciutto, with its perfect balance of sweetness, salt and fat.

Both are worth trying--as is every Anglim wine I've had the pleasure of tasting--but if I were to declare a winner between the two, it'd have to be the Cameo. The Roussanne is the more unique of the pair, something that will make you rethink what whites can and should taste like, but the Cameo manages to be so thoroughly appealing without even approaching a boring, color-by-numbers palette of flavors.

Anglim is a small producer, but they're carried by a number of retailers in Orange County, including Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa and The Wine Crush in Long Beach. Check here for a full list of retailers.  

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