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Anthill Farms

Founded in 2004, this new producer with the quirky name and unique label has burst on the scene with startling good Pinot Noirs made from purchased grapes. This project is one of many that has ties with the Williams Selyem winery. Three young Pinot amigos, who had worked together as cellar hands at the distinguished winery on Westside Road launched their own winery with three Pinot Noir releases in 2004. Anthony Filiberti grew up in Sonoma County and was lured to wine at an early age. He learned winemaking at Bergstrom Winery in Newberg, Oregon, Hafner Vineyards in the Alexander Valley, and Williams Selyem. David Low grew up in Kansas but got hooked on wine while attending University of California Berkeley. A short stint as a computer programmer was followed by a change of heart and he later worked at both Williams Selyem and Papapietro Perry. Webster Marquez grew up on the East Coast and attended college in Virginia. Here he began working as an assistant winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards. He then moved to Sonoma County where he joined Williams Selyem. Currently he is the assistant winemaker at Belvedere Winery in Healdsburg. The trio’s goal is to craft Pinot Noirs which “express the growing site and the characteristics of the vintage, and above all else, taste good.” Their emphasis is on the vineyards and have named their winery Anthill Farms to emphasize the many tiny individual vineyards that form “the link between place and product.” Their grape sources are North Coast vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Anthill Farms Winery is located at 4791 Dry Creek Road, #3-4, Healdsburg, CA 95448. The phone is 707-490-5191. The wines are available on the website at www.anthillfarms.com and through retail channels. As good as these wines are, I was surprised recently to find the 2006 vintage Pinot Noirs still available on the website. I sampled the 2005 and 2006 lineup of Anthill Farms Pinot Noirs and my reviews follow.

2005 Anthill Farms Peters Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc.. Peters Vineyard is just west of Sebastopol and has been farmed by Randy Peters for more than twenty years. · Terrific aromatics that make the hair stand up on the back of your neck: juicy cherries, cardamon and other spices, and toasty oak. Lovely cherry flavors enhanced by subtle toast notes, sporting a comforting creamy texture. The acidity is just right, toned down from the 2006 vintage of this wine. Refined and ornate with plenty to like here. Age (of vines) has its rewards.

2005 Anthill Farms Comptche Ridge Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir

13.8% alc.. This vineyard is dry-farmed by the Weir Family and is located north of Navarro, a few miles inland from the Mendocino Coast. · Loamy crushed dark ripe berries with a smoky edge. Appealing richness and respectable acidity with a clean, tangy finish. My only nit is a touch of green tomato in the flavor profile. Decent, but not as good as the 2006 version.

2005 Anthill Farms Abbey Harris Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc.. This 1.5-acre vineyard is located on a rocky slope at 1,100 feet overlooking the town of Boonville in the Anderson Valley. The owners, Dona Abbey and Dan Harris, farm the vineyard with the Anthill Farms crew. · A wine on the dark side from color, to aromas, to flavors. The nose features dark stone fruits, herbs from Provence and a touch of alcohol. Dark fruits carry the palate attack leading to a dry finish with citrus (grapefruit) highlights. A simple, decent wine.

2005 Anthill Farms Tina Maria Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc.. This vineyard is located in the cool Green Valley sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley and is farmed by Ron Black and Stephan Bessone. · Flamboyant scents of confected cherries, violets and dried herbs that just wont quit. Herbdusted deep red fruits with a hint of oak, a zippy acid backbone and a tangerine peel finish. Deeper and more structured than the 2006 version. A nicely crafted wine that has plenty of aromatic charm. Prefers this over the 2006 vintage.

2005 Anthill Farms Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc.. · The powerful aromas shot out of the bottle when the cork was pulled. Extremely fragrant fruit-driven scents of ripe cherries and berries with a hint of plum and marzipan. Absolutely delicious dark red fruits complimented by notes of spice, vanilla and coffee. A complete wine that is impeccably balanced. Everything you could hope for in Pinot Noir.

2006 Anthill Farms Peters Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $39 . · Like the 2005 version of this wine. a wine of charisma. Bing cherry fruit, nicely spiced and deftly oaked makes this wine a delight to drink. Lighter in color, it is an elegantly styled wine, still retaining some soft tannins that need shedding and finishing clean with a brisk and citric finish. Might be a bit austere and acidic for some, but will partner with food beautifully.

2006 Anthill Farms Comptche Ridge Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $39. · A very floral and fruity nose with just a touch of alcohol. Nicely oaked and candied dark fruits with a loamy bent. A certain fig accent is appealing. Tasty and smooth with mild drying tannins. This wine will find many fans.

2006 Anthill Farms Tina Marie Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $44. · Complex aromatics featuring wild strawberries, ripe cherries, wildflowers, black olive and exotic woods. Full-on attack of cherries on the palate with earthy accents. Nicely balanced and soft in the mouth, this wine goes down easy. Not a blockbuster, but quite satisfying.

2006 Anthill Farms Windsor Oaks Vineyard Russian River Valley Syrah

14.5% alc., $25. · Deep, dark ruby color. Penetrating aromas of black raspberries, toast, char and fragrant flowers. Copious dark fruit obscured by overwhelming tannins, oak char and smoke. Needs a big grilled steak.

2006 Anthill Farms Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $32. · Light crimson in color. Cinnamon spice, cherry, cardamom aromas which are nose-filling. With time in the glass there are more confected grape fruit notes with a touch of alcohol peeking out. Light-weighted and elegant, the wine shows off very appealing cherry and raspberry flavors.. Nothing epiphanic but a good drink and perfect for the table.

2006 Anthill Farms Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $39. · Light crimson robe. Complex nose showing black cherry, truffle, oak and toffee. Charismatic dark stone fruits with an earthy tone. Healthy tannic backbone. Creamy texture and a slightly dry finish. This will only get better with cellaring. I could drink this all night.

Anthill Farms Pinot Noirs have made quite an impression with me. These are food-friendly wines that are elegantly styled with complex aromas and flavors and respectable balance. The Demuth bottlings are clearly the stars of the lineup but you can’t go wrong with any of the Pinot Noirs. I would grab some while the getting is good.

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