Wine of the Month
Note:Create joy, one sip at a time.
Featured Wine: AN/2 (Anima Negra)
Grapes: 65% Callet, 20% Mantonegro-Fogoneu, 15% Syrah
Production Zone: Mallorca, Spain
Color: Ruby Red
I assume I am not different in the fact that I have been catching up with many old friends. As a matter of fact, I have a Zoom date every Friday with some old high-school friends. It is weird and crazy and I spend half of the time examining my own personal aging face…seriously, my screen face does me no favors. The other half, I spend laughing, sipping wine, and just listening to them. It makes me happy. In Pittsburgh, PA, where I grew up, I was a little different than most. There were multiple neighborhoods that I enjoyed loafing in, whereas most stuck to their specific neighborhood; I had crushes on at least one boy/neighborhood. That way, no matter where I ended up, a flirt was waiting for me. It was a good plan. But, Pittsburgh was really divided, so, it left me feeling, in every neighborhood, a little bit like I wasn’t one of them, more of a visitor. To be honest, I felt that way most of the time in Pittsburgh, even in my own neighborhood. Moving to LA was incredibly freeing. My first time visiting Venice Beach, I felt so good; like I could be exactly who I was and no one was watching me, no one cared, everyone was just doing their thing. And although, because of work, it was impossible to live there, I managed to make Venice my second home. I was a school teacher during the week and sold toe rings weekends, on the Venice Boardwalk. I interacted with everyone, the homeless, vendors, locals, even if it was just a nod, it was a regular thing; it felt good, we were all there for our own reasons and we all knew it and respected it.
But LA in general was a place where I completely learned who I was; and now I know. Where, I was once a ‘wine snob’ or a ‘picky eater’, I wrote reviews. Where I was once ‘obsessed’ with planting gardens, I became a landscape designer and gardening instructor. It is such a good thing to learn who you are, and where you live has such an influence on your future. LA is truly full of opportunities. In LA, I found my niche of creatives. It was so nice to be amongst likeminded people; we leaned on each other and created together. Not only did I find my place, I found my people and they helped me grow.
What’s all this about friends? Well, in 1994, Anima Negra winery was born, parented by two true friends. And not only are their wines symbiotic with Mallorca, using primarily indigenous grapes and bio-dynamic practices, it seems their relationship as well is symbiotic. It started as an experiment, two friends wanting to premiere the Mallorcan Callet grape. Using old milk tanks on a family dairy farm, they started making wine. It worked out even better than expected and voila, between the two of them and a little help from some oenophiles and local farmers, they created something very special. This is what true friends can do together and believe me, you will be grateful they did. The grapes are picked and sorted by hand. Most of their wines are macerated with native yeast; this wine is briefly macerated and aged in a combination of 80% French and 20% American oak barrels for just over one year.
Breathing in AN/2, my first impression was, this is how red smells, almost Chianti like, earthy and acidic. But then, after a few breaths away from the wine, I breathed it in again; I was gifted with a touch of spring flowers, licorice, ripe fruit and a little bit of oak and vanilla. My first sip mirrored the nose with an almost immediate blast of ripe red currant and earth, followed by ripe plum and black cherry; vanilla, oak, soft tannins and acid pair up with licorice for a fine finish. The oak is very subtle.
This medium bodied wine pairs well with sitting and looking out the window, trying to decide what to cook for dinner. It paired nicely with a quickly made Pasta Arrabbiata and Milanesa. I really loved the combination. The spicy sauce and fried meat met their match with this wine; AN/2 seemed to cut the heaviness of the fried cutlet while adding depth to the spice of the sauce. As this wine has a bouquet that includes spring flowers, why not put some violets or iris in a vase to match. How about a little embrace to your surroundings, turn everything off and listen to the sounds of birds outside, with the world so quiet, they are a lot easier to hear.