The Wine Guy - Greg Walter


Rising with the winds

These days, most of the time when I find out about a new winery it’s because I’ve heard about it or tasted their Pinot Noir in the course of writing my PinotReport newsletter. So, it’s kind of refreshing when I find some exciting non-Pinot wines and then later discover the winery also makes a great Pinot.

That’s the sequence of events that led me to want to get to know more about Anaba Wines. I think the winery first appeared on my radar maybe as much as two years ago when I first tasted Anaba’s while Rhone blend called Coriol. That wine and a Grenache Rose definitely got my attention. Later I heard that they also produced a Pinot Noir and have had a couple of opportunities recently to confirm that it too is worthy of your attention.

I’ll bet that many of you have not heard of Anaba either – it’s not one of the 22 winery tasting rooms located around the Plaza. But I’ll also bet you’ve driven by their attractive, unassuming tasting room hundreds of times. Anaba is located at the junction of highways 121, 116 and Bonneau Road.

Anaba founder and owner John Sweazey named his wine project after the “anabatic winds,” a phenomenon where winds move across land—in this case, vineyards—and are drawn up slopes due to the warming of the air by the sun at the top of the slope. Anaba’s location right in the path of the daily winds from the Petaluma Gap lives up to the name.

Anaba is the culmination of Chicago native Sweazey’s decades-long journey learning about and enjoying fine wines, especially those from the Burgundy and Rhone regions of France. And although he loves wine and the wine business, his bio says that he never really wanted to be a winemaker.

For that role, he’s fortunate to have Jennifer Marion in the cellar and vineyards at Anaba. Part of a growing (and good) trend in winemaking, Jennifer has hands-on experience working on both sides of the fine-wine equation. She has worked for an agricultural technology consulting firm as well as spent time in service as assistant winemaker at Carneros Pinot pioneer MacRostie Winery.

Jennifer’s Anaba wines are full of texture and nuance and are the best examples of her understanding of what it takes to make terrific wines.

Anaba’s white wine offerings include the Coriol White Rhone Blend ($28), a Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($28), an unoaked Chardonnay from the Denmark Vineyard ($37), Chardonnay from the Gap’s Crown Vineyard ($37) and the Turbine Pink Grenache Rose ($22).

Red wines include the Coriol Red Rhone Blend ($28), a Sonoma Valley Mourvedre ($40), a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($32), Syrah Las Madres ($42) and the Turbine Red Sonoma Valley ($24).

Other wines include a Late Harvest Viognier ($30/375 ml), White Aero Port Sonoma Valley ($28/375 ml) and Red Aero Port Sonoma Valley ($28/375 ml).

The Anaba Wines tasting room is located at 60 Bonneau Road and is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.anabawines.com or call 707.996.4188.

As always, you can email me with questions or comments at gswalter@pinotreport.com.

Greg Walter, a Sonoma resident for more than 20 years, has been in wine and food publishing for more than 30 years, 15 of which were spent as a senior editor and later president of Wine Spectator magazine. Today he writes the PinotReport newsletter (Pinotreport.com) and publishes books through his Carneros Press imprint (Carnerospress.com).

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