Exclusive offer: 4/14/2023 — Anthill Farms (rare retail offer)

Offer available through Monday, 4/17/2023, or as inventory lasts.

Did you get this page from a friend or a social media link?
Sign up for our newsletter to never miss info on our Friday offers or upcoming classes and events.

Share this week’s offer!

Hi everyone –

There are some wines and wineries that have developed a cult following through a very specific formula:

  1. First, of course, the wine has to be beyond good. It has to be great, and it has to be distinctive.
  2. Get some major press not only in terms of scores, but also recognition in articles and books.
  3. Cater to sommeliers and sell most of your wine through high-end and of-the-moment restaurants.
  4. Make very little of your wine available to retailers around the country.
  5. Don’t have a tasting room. Thus seeing the bottles, much less tasting them, is even harder for consumers.

This week’s offer is a bit out of left field. The distributor for Anthill Farms reached out with an amazing offer to help them correct some inventory numbers, and we’ll happily help out.

A renegade offer, and here’s why

While more and more restaurants are opening up every week (and I worry about that, especially when people without restaurant experience are dumping huge sums of money into them), they are not buying wine at the same levels and quantity they did pre-pandemic.

Craft cocktails and the arrival of THC beverages, combined with the sober-curious and what-place-does-alcohol-have-in-my-life movement (both of which we fully support here at TCWE) have dropped wine sales quite a bit. During the pandemic many restaurants sold off their wine to get some cash flow, and have not replaced the wines in the same way — especially on the by-the-bottle lists. In many, many restaurants wines are now by the glass only, with no bottle-only lists at all.

As a result, inventory on wines like this backs up at the wholesaler. To correct the matter, we were approached with a deal we couldn’t pass up.

So we have this wonderful offer for you, saving you 33% off the regular prices on these wines. Note these deals are only good through this offer, through this weekend. It’s rare enough to access a range of wines from Anthill Farms, and it’s unheard of to get prices like this.

What you need to know about Anthill Farms

I first heard of this winery through one of my favorite books, and a book I think pivoted the entire California wine industry in many ways, The New California Wine by Jon Bonné (more info). If you haven’t yet read it, please do. It’s amazing to me that it’s approaching ten years old but the info is as relevant as ever (a rarity in the wine book genre).

Anthill Farms was started in 2004, when three friends with diverse winery experience came together in the model that Bonné champions in his book: pre-industrial winemaking, wines with a sense of place, old vineyards, wineries with little or no land ownership, access to top level fruit, and a new appreciation of fresh and bright flavors.

This was to become the blueprint for many wineries that opened in California in the late 2000s.

Focusing on Pinot Noir primarily, along with a wee touch of Chardonnay and Syrah, they set out to help re-define California wine. Other wineries that were in this club include LIOCO, Radio-Coteau, Littorai (who’s owner/winemaker is on the cover of Bonné’s book), and Copain.

These are dynamic, rare, delicious wines that are rarely available at retail and definitely not at these prices.

From their NYC distributor:

Anthill Farms is an exciting project that focuses on producing exceptional Pinot Noir from a broad range of North Coast vineyards. The properties are managed with intensive and meticulous farming practices, with minimal ecological impact. As for winemaking, there are two unchanging goals: to make wines that express the growing site and the characteristics of the vintage above all else, and to make wines that, simply put, taste good. These goals require gentle handling from crushing to bottling, judicious use of oak, and, perhaps most importantly, leaving the wine alone as much as possible.

“We didn’t know whether the name was really great or really dumb,” admits Anthill Farms Winery partner Webster Marquez. “It came about because we’re all winemakers and people would see us all scrambling around trying to grab the same hose at once; they said it was like watching a bunch of ants.” This trio of ants—Marquez, Anthony Filiberti and David Low—met while working at Sonoma’s Williams Selyem. Says Marquez, “We realized that we have the same approach: using Pinot Noir—the most ‘transparent’ grape in the world—to communicate the way vineyards from cooler areas create distinctive wines.” The partners themselves farm many of the small plots where they buy their grapes, and the results of this labor of love are remarkably seductive wines that combine concentration and finesse. Now that the company has grown from producing 200 cases in 2004 to 1,800 this year, the trio’s work is becoming ever more demanding. Notes Marquez, “It’s a good thing we’re young and don’t need much sleep.” –Food & Wine Magazine’s “Most Promising New Winery” 2009

It’s all about (cool) places

Anthill Farms specializes in making wine from some of the most dramatically cool/cold places in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

When you look at a map of Sonoma, the division line between “ripening grapes consistently” to “we’re at the edge of possibility here, and it might not work every year” is roughly here:

When you are west of that line, which includes most of the Sonoma Coast AVA, all of Fort Ross-Seaview, the western fringes of Russian River AVA and Green Valley AVA, and half of the new Petaluma Gap AVA, you can have a very hard time ripening your grapes. Following that line northwards into Mendocino County lands you in some of the coldest wine regions on the west coast.

Learn a bunch more about this here: https://westsonomacoast.com and https://www.sonomacounty.com/articles/sonoma-coast-wine-region-and-appellation

Even in the era of global warming, there are pockets of these regions that are actually cooler than they used to be. How can that be? Hot air rises, and the hot air is located further inland (such as in Napa Valley). When hot air rises, it pulls cold air from the ocean over the coast (path of least resistance due to the mountain ranges). So the faster and hotter it gets further inland, the faster the cold air pulls into pockets of the coast. Not on the entire coast, mind you, but portions and pockets. Terroir is fascinating indeed.

What I’m getting at here is that if you’re into wines with a sense of place, and if you’re into wines with exceptional food pairing abilities, and if you’re into cooler climate Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay, these are wines you NEED TO JUMP ON BASED ON THE PRICES WE ARE OFFERING.

Anthill Farms, Peugh Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

Anthill Farms, Peugh Vineyard Chardonnay 2020

Regular price: $59.99
Offer price, this weekend only: $39.99

We have two vintages of Chardonnay to offer, and they couldn’t be more different.

The 2018 is GORGEOUS, but not for everyone.

It’s loaded with layers of peach and apple, with a sprinkling of nutmeg thrown in. The age on this wine has evolved it gracefully, and a touch of oak comes through at the finish. IT’S NOT “OAKY,” just fuller and more evolved. What I like about this is what I also like about braised meats, vegetable soups, and barbecue: you can’t get these flavors without some time. It’s a beautiful wine with texture and polish, but definitely a richer style on the finish. The Burgundy equivalent is Meursault.

The 2020 is ALSO GORGEOUS, but not for everyone (see a trend here?).

Some people would shy away from this because of vintage (the fires, the smoke) but they would be missing out. Anthill Farms brought most of these grapes in way before any problems surfaced (and also cut production in 2020 by half anyway). This wine is lean and mean, with a tightrope edge of acidity and citric fruit. It doesn’t have the evolution of the 2018, and will appeal more to fans of Chablis.

Advice: buy them both, pop them at the same time, and learn a ton about how different two wines could be.

Anthill Farms, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2020

Holy moly, Batman! This is good. If you’re going to buy one wine, this is it.

Partial whole cluster fermentation from old vineyards combined with careful winemaking and attention to detail makes for a racy, bright, lively, feisty style of Pinot Noir. Complexity reigns here, and in many ways this is the most complex of the bunch. More spice and edge than many would expect, but with a purity. It’s edgy, artsy, dynamic, and personality filled. This is the David Bowie of Pinot Noirs.

Anthill Farms, Campbell Ranch Pinot Noir 2019 and 2020

Regular price: $59.99
Offer price, this weekend only: $39.99

From the winery:

This vineyard is located a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, near the tiny town of Annapolis, and is farmed by Steve Campbell. At approximately 750 feet above sea level, it sits right at the boundary of the marine layer, ensuring that the cool, coastal climate delays ripening well beyond the warmer vineyards to the east. The two-decade-old vines grow on sandy, low-vigor Goldridge soil, which helps reduce yields to near two tons per acre.

Located at 750 foot elevation (above the fog line) but near the city of Annapolis (super cold air from the coast), this is totally distinctive and unique wine. This is EXTREME Sonoma Coast wine. Total production is in the low 100s of cases. Both vintages are showing great, with the 2019 showing a bit more evolution of obvious reasons. Super wine, super yum.

Anthill Farms, Peters Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020

Regular price: $59.99
Offer price, this weekend only: $39.99

From the winery:

Randy Peters and his father-in-law, Tom Mukaida, farm this vineyard outside of Sebastopol in western Sonoma County. The southern slopes of these hills form the northern edge of the Petaluma Gap, which rushes cool, marine air from the Pacific Ocean inland. The vines, a mix of Pommard and 777 planted over thirty years ago, produce grapes that ripen unusually slow due to the oft-present morning fog.

I know this spot well, having spent many nights at a winery house nearby. The fog and wind are the defining factors here, and you taste it in the wine. Tense, nervous, edgy, and intellectual. There is nothing “lush” about this wine … it’s about as far from Domaine Serene Pinot Noir as you can get (and I think that’s a good thing).

93 points Wine Advocate:

Aged in about 20% new oak, the 2020 Pinot Noir Peters Vineyard has a medium ruby-purple color and scents of cranberries, blood orange, desiccated roses and autumn leaves. The medium-bodied palate is soft and grainy, with a deep core of perfumed berry fruits, rounded acidity and a long, spicy finish.

Anthill Farms, Hawk Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019

Regular price: $59.99
Offer price, this weekend only: $39.99

Ripe and concentrated, with herby and earthy tones throughout. If you like your Pinots on the bigger side, this is the one for you.

From the producer’s website:

Above the town of Freestone, Hawk Hill Vineyard is perched on a steep, Goldridge soil covered slope just a few miles from the Pacific. Shaped by the coastal climate, this low yielding vineyard is farmed by the Yarak family. The two decades old vines work late into the fall to ripen and develop detailed flavors in its tiny berries.

This is traditionally the highest rated of the single vineyard Pinot Noirs. I attribute that to the lush and plush quality this vineyard gives. Make no mistake, this is cooler climate juice with edge and verve, but for sure more crowd-friendly. So so so so so good.

Buying advice

This is a pretty special offer. These wine are coveted and often sold out across the country. Most of the wines are produced in the low hundreds of cases so there isn’t much to go around (especially when you consider the international market for the wines).

If you’re a Burgundy fan, grab some bottles for sure. There is a wonderful Burgundian element to all of them, especially after being opened for a few hours. Also, this is a great offering for gifts for wine lovers in your life, for the wines are pretty rare and hard to find.

Always have them with food. They are begging for a good pairing with cheese, charcuterie, and traditional French dishes of all types.

Thank you, everyone! We couldn’t do this without you!

Jason Kallsen
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education

Offer is open Friday at 3:00pm central until Monday at 6:00pm central, or as inventory lasts.

Leave a Reply