Anthill Farms | Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay Crafted with Care on California’s Northern Coast
Anthill Farms: The Story of Three Wine-Loving Friends
Anthony Filiberti, David Low and Webster Marquez first met in 2003, while working in Sonoma at Williams Selyem Winery. A native of Sonoma, Filiberti learned about winemaking during a stint at Bergstrom Winery in Oregon, continuing his career at Hafner Vineyards in Alexander Valley before arriving at Williams Selyem. Originally from Kansas, David Low first embraced the grapevine while studying at the University of California Berkeley and, after a few years working in computer programming, he returned to winemaking. Webster Marquez grew up on the East Coast, working at Jefferson Vineyards as an assistant winemaker before moving out to Sonoma County.
United by their shared passion, the three budding winemakers decided to venture out to the vineyards of Oregon. In the Willamette Valley AVA, they found wineries of modest scale crafting artisanal cool-climate Pinot Noir in the Burgundy style. Inspired by the winemakers they met and the wines they tasted along the way, the three vintners returned to Sonoma with ideas of starting their own shared business. Shortly after, they began purchasing fruit from around Sonoma and Mendocino Counties and creating their first experimental wines at the Papapietro Perry Winery, which had agreed to rent a space to them, rent-free. In just a few years, this collaboration grew from just a hobby into a small yet serious business named Anthill Farms, founded in 2004.
Anthill Farms: Eight Terroirs giving rise to fine wine
Today, the Anthill Farms Winery produces a beautiful portfolio of single-vineyard Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay wines from Sonoma County. Their Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir wines are made from the Campbell Ranch Vineyard (Sonoma County) near Annapolis, their Harmony Lane Vineyard and Peters Vineyard (Sonoma Coast). They also produce the Hawk Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir in Sonoma County.
In Mendocino County, the winery produces Anthill Farms Anderson Valley Pinot Noir from single vineyards (the Abbey-Harris Vineyard overlooking the town of Boonville and the Baker Ranch Vineyard) as well as a multi-vineyard Anderson Valley blend. The Anthill Farms Comptche Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir comes from the Comptche area of Mendocino County. Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley is known for its smooth tannins and fresh red fruit aromas.
Anthill Farms Pinot Noir wines are made with a Burgundian obsession to detail and offer pure representations of the California terroir. They exude fresh aromas of cranberries, strawberries and rhubarb, along with touches of cinnamon, depending on the vintage. They regularly fetch a high score and some of them are reminiscent to Pinot Noir wines from Burgundy, France.
Aside from their high-quality, single-vineyard Pinot Noir, the winery also produces beautiful cool-climate Syrah wines. These have become known for their aromas of rich blue fruit, spices, lavender and menthol. The Anthill Farms Peters Vineyard Sonoma Syrah come from a cool, foggy vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. These are wonderful red wines to pair year-round, with a barbecue in June or hearty stew in October.
And finally, Anthill Farms also produces an exquisite Chardonnay from the Peugh Vineyard in Russian River Valley. This wine reveals on its bouquet brilliant aromas of quince, unripe plums, pears and lemon pith. The palate also offers a bright salinity and layers of texture.
Hands-Off, Minimal Intervention Winemaking at Anthill Farms
At Anthill Farms, a minimal intervention approach to winemaking is taken as a way to ensure a terroir-driven expression in the finished product. After arriving at the Papapietro Perry winery, some of the grapes are crushed but some clusters are left whole in order to enhance aromas. While some of the fruit is destemmed, stems are added back into the vat, depending on the nature and needs of the fruit. The juice is cooled to delay alcoholic fermentation with the long maceration allowing a fuller extraction of flavors and aromas. The Pinot Noir is handled very gently, without ever being racked, fined or filtered before bottling. Always aiming to achieve in their wines a freshness of flavor and fine acidity, the winery team limits the amount of new oak to only around 30%, relying on barrels of one or two previous uses instead. So, while some oak is detectable in the background of the full flavor palate, the foreground is reserved for expressions of grape variety, terroir and vintage. At Anthill Farms, Pinot Noir is treated almost like a white grape, with plenty of attention paid to limit oxidation during each step of the winemaking process.
A combination of carefully chosen terroirs and minimal intervention winemaking results in a range of Pinot Noir wines that have become the favorite of many Californian restauranteurs. The Anthill Farms signature style can be described as fresh and seductive, with a lively acidity and seamless representations of local terroir. These Pinot Noirs lend themselves as the perfect companions to a wide range of dishes as ideal food-pairing wines.