Uncorked: Bogle reds remain a local favorite
Nov 06, 2013 | 1599 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When “Uncorked” first appeared in The Star in March of 2001, my inaugural assignment was to write a column about stocking a home wine shelf with locally available bottles. The local availability criteria was somewhat limiting as the only two wine outlets at the time were Midtown — Anniston’s first wine store, which shared space with an Amoco gas station — and Winn-Dixie, which primarily offered gallon containers of cheap wine and mountainous displays of white zinfandel.

Among the wines recommended in that first column was a merlot by Bogle Vineyards. Faced with a similar assignment today, Bogle would still likely make the cut. Its very approachable merlot came along at a time when wine consumers were transitioning from pink and popular white zinfandels to red wines.

Bogle merlot is a familiar fixture on local grocery shelves where it has been joined by chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot noir, cabernet, old vine zinfandel, petite sirah, Phantom, Essential Red Blend and a Port made from petite sirah.

Shanken’s Impact Newsletter, one of many publications under the Wine Spectator umbrella, just released its “Hot Brand” award, and Bogle once again emerged as a standout in the $10 and up premium plus category. This is the 12th consecutive year Bogle has made the “Hot Brand” list — more than any other domestic producer. What started out as a small family winery produced 1.75 million cases in 2012.

The family-owned winery is now in the hands of the sixth generation of Bogles. The family has farmed in Yolo County, adjoining Napa County’s eastern border, since the mid-1800s. The original winery is located on Merritt Island, an inland island formed by the Sacramento River and Elk and Sutter Sloughs. Yolo County is also home to UC Davis, and houses one of the world’s most prestigious schools of viticulture. It was not until the late ’60s that the Bogle family planted its first wine grapes when father-son team of Warren and Chris Bogle planted their first 20 acres. Today the Bogle family farms more than 1,200 acres of grapes. Its success is attributed to its reasonably priced, high-quality wines and the fact that remarkably, in this age of family wineries selling out to large conglomerates, its operation remains in the hands of the family who oversees all aspects of production.

Bogle is consistently tapped by top wine publications as having the best wines in its price category and continues to garner high critical acclaim for wines in its price range.

Bogle wine labels have always been adorned by a rendition of a pheasant. When Warren and Chris were seeking a label for their first wine bottles, they commissioned nearby artist Paul Lorenzi to design a label for them. As the artist sat sketching vines one evening in the vineyard, a brilliantly hued, male ring-necked pheasant settled among the vines. The pheasant made it into the artist’s sketch and through the years, with rare exception, has remained a constant on Bogle labels as an homage to Merritt Island and its abundant wildlife.

I found a wide selection of Bogle wines including chardonnay, petit syrah, merlot and cabernet all in the $10 to $12 range at Greenbrier Winn-Dixie in Anniston, Publix and Target in Oxford and the Wine Cellar on Quintard in Anniston.

In addition to the varietally labeled wines adorned with the iconic pheasant label, Bogle makes two popular red blends with labels depicting gnarly old vines.Bogle Essential Red is a moderately priced blend of old vine zinfandel, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and petit sirah available at Publix and The Wine Cellar in the $11 range. Phantom, Bogle’s premium blend of zinfandel, petit sirah and mourvedre, is available at The Wine Cellar for $17.99.

Email Pat Kettles at pkettles@annistonstar.com
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