This historic wine was first made in California by the Franciscan fathers. It is the first true California wine in our Wine History Time Line. We do not know when this wine was officially named Angelica but we do know the name pays homage to Los Angeles. Emile Vachel visited Los Angeles, and we have his notes, dated 1891, in French, for making Angelica wine. The basic technique was to mix the juice of freshly crushed Mission grapes with brandy. The recipe stated that the Mission grape is the only grape that should be used for Angelica. The proportions were three gallons of juice to one gallon of 180 proof brandy. The winemaking method stresses that must (freshly crushed grape juice containing seeds, skins, and stems) should not be allowed to ferment. The must can rest in an open tank for 12 to 20 hours at a moderate temperature before mixing it with the brandy. Angelica was simple to make and very sweet. It was served primarily as a dessert wine. In 1968, an 1875 bottle of Angelica was found, opened, and judged as a superb old dessert wine. It appeals to those who enjoy sweet wines and California wine history.
By Libbie Agran