Anaba: Earth, Wind and Wine in My Glass

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coriolred_btlsmI like earth scents and flavors. Growing up as the only girl in a neighborhood of boys – this tomboy played football in the front yard and made mud bowls from the clay-rich soils of West Virginia.  I never minded harvesting the worms for our family fishing trips. And I loved to go to the deepest part of the woods on our property, put a stick in the ground and watch the bubbling up of the underground spring. My favorite part of last year’s Wine Blogger Conference was a hike through the woods on our vineyard walk.

I prefer wearing scents of patchouli, sandalwood and amber.  If I had been born just a few years earlier, I might have been a hippy living in a commune. I probably would have attended the Monterey Pop Festival and gone to San Francisco for the 1967 Summer of Love.

But alas, I did not. I grew up in a small town, and now I’m a lawyer working in a big metropolitan city, living in the suburbs with my husband, two teenagers, two dogs and a cat.

However, I have been known to wear a cologne called “Dirt” by Demeter Fragrances. And there is something about Côtes de Rhône, a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, or a California Rhône-style blend that reminds me of the earth, the origin of all living things, the “yin and yang” of wines that I admire.

Such is the ambiance of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape type blend from Anaba (pronounced Anń-ah-bah), the winery named after the winds of Sonoma Valley.  This 2006 Coriol Red, Sonoma Valley is part of the Anaba inaugural releases of Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir and the red and a white Rhône-style blend, both named Coriol. The wines are handcrafted from Rhône and Burgundian grape varieties grown at their Carneros Estate vineyard and in selected vineyard properties throughout Sonoma County. All five of Anaba’s wines earned medals in the recent 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

The Red Coriol is a blend of 5 grapes; Grenache (60%) Mouvedre (25%) Syrah (10%) Counoise (2.5%) and Petit Sirah (2.5%) which provide a very rich flavor and long finish, despite its color of a bright ruby-red peck, transparent at the edges vs. the long, dark deep red of an open-mouthed kiss. The nose offers bright cherry and raspberry with hints of anise and truffle. Alcohol by volume is 14.4%.

Tasting Notes from Anaba’a winemaker, Jennifer Marion

Savory aromas of black and white pepper, smoked bacon, earth, red and black berry set this wine apart. Medium-full bodied, this red Rhône blend is packed with dark fruit, spicy pepper notes, and a hint of minerality. Crisp and fresh, our Coriol red is an ideal companion for food.

Joe and I tasted this wine from two different bottles on two consecutive nights, as the first night I had a sneezing fit right before Joe poured. Joe’s notes from the first evening recall, “This is a Côtes de Rhône as if re-imagined by Robert Parker. A classic Rhône blend of grapes but a huge California fruit bomb. The finish brings to mind figs, dates and mocha.”

The first evening I could taste the earth, and black and white pepper. The second evening, I could better appreciate the dark fruit and long finish. Both nights I paired it with a dry Pecorino Romano, and the sharpness of the cheese really brought out the earth, pepper and fruit flavors of the wine.

Winemaker’s Winemaking Notes

This fruit was hand harvested early in the morning to ensure the coldest juice possible and came into the winery in exceptional condition. Then we hand sorted, de-stemmed and the fruit was put into one-ton bins. After fermentation was complete we avoid harsh and green tannins by using a basket press which prevents skins and seeds from being crushed. The juice then underwent complete malolactic fermentation. Our finished wine was transferred to French oak barrels, 50% new, where it aged for 21 months before being bottled.

Anaba 2006 Coriol Red Rhône Blend is priced at $32.00.  Anaba offers tastings by appointment. The gold medal winning Anaba Chardonnay and Coriol White blend will be available for tasting at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (SFCWC) Public Tasting on Saturday, February 28th.  Acclaimed as the largest competition of American wines in the world and San Francisco’s premier tasting experience, the SFCWC Public Tasting takes place at Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion and features award winning wines. For more information and ticket pricing, visit www.winejudging.com or call 888.695.0888.

For those not fortunate enough to live in Wine Country, or attend this year’s SFCWC, Anaba wines are available for purchase through the winery’s website at www.anabawines.com. Try it yourself, and let us know what you think!

*** SPECIAL OFFER ***

anaba-chard-smThe folks at Anaba asked us if they could give our readers a special bonus, and since we are not getting a cut, we thought it would be cool!  Use this special code on their order form AWB0309 (click the Enter Discount Code for a little pop-up box once on the order form site) for 15% off any purchase of 6 bottles or more!

Cheers!
The WineWonkette

  • http://www.thewinesleuth.co.uk The Winesleuth

    I love the smell of earth, reminds me of playing in the garden when I was a kid and getting all dirty before dinner. I'm always up for comparing how the CA winemakers compare to the “motherland' so to speak. One thing I still haven't gotten used to is the “fruit bombiness” of those CA wines, though.

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      I had already finished it before I got another “dirt” story from a friend! One of her colleagues also loves the earth, and earth scents. The friend once received a gift from her husband (then boyfriend) of a set of little vials of dirt from all the places where they had vacationed together. To me that sounds like the most awesome and romantic gift EVER!

  • http://www.anabawines.com Michael Lavenson

    I am smiling so much! You have done an awesome job of explaining this wine in the context of emotional memories, memories that are sparked by aromas. And those aromas take you back to your youth and walks in the forest. I loved it. I was such a camper myself that you took me back. For me campfires bring back smells and memories of how almost anything cooked over the wood fire tasted great, even though it all tasted like wood smoke. ;)

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      So glad you liked it. I wish we could be in San Francisco next weekend for the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The Public Tasting sounds awesome — I can't wait to sample the Coriol White and look forward to trying the Pinot and Viognier, as well.

  • boarding

    You have been awesome with your blog work, just keep posting like this. You rock!

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

      Thanks for you nice comment, boarding.

  • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

    Thanks for you nice comment, boarding.

  • http://www.anotherwineblog.com Houstonwino

    Thanks for you nice comment, boarding.

  • Pingback: Spring Has Sprung - Anaba Coriol White Blend | another wine blog

  • John

    Amy – it might interest you that some of the Coriol was produced from grapes we grew at our Annadel Estate and sold to Anaba. And we share our Vaslin-Bucher JLB-12 basket press with them, too. (Being specific in case someone wants to do a search – it is a very cool machine.)

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      I wondered if that might be the case when I was reading the back label of your bottle last night. We visited Anaba to talk to Jennifer Marion but didn’t get to see the actual operations when we were there. She was pretty busy that day, so our appointment was for the tasting room.