Perlis Picks: Anaba Wines

Anaba Wines

We were planning our very short visit to Sonoma to coincide with the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. While the main event was scheduled for Saturday, September 1st, and we were scheduled to return home on Sunday, I was determined to get in one winery visit before our scheduled dinner Friday evening at Idell Family Vineyards. Seeking a winery fairly near to our planned dinner event, I asked Susan and Richard Idell for help. They both responded with emails listing about half a dozen wineries each. The one winery that was on both lists was Anaba. A quick visit to the Anaba website convinced me that this was the right place – small artisan producer of Rhone varietals, along with the Carneros requisite Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, put this place right up my alley.

Anaba was founded when John Sweazey acquired Castle Vineyards in 2006. In 2009, he closed the Castle tasting room and opened the Carneros tasting room in a renovated farmhouse on their vineyard property, renaming it Anaba.

When I first saw the name “Anaba”, I was thinking perhaps the owners were Japanese, but I was wrong [as I often am]. The name was derived from the “anabatic winds” that cool the area, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly. And windy it was on our visit, as you can see from this picture of us with Michelle Hogan, Marketing Director of Anaba Wines.
After viewing the gorgeous property, we went inside and escaped from the anabatic winds to the Anaba wines, as Michelle led us through a tasting of their current selections in the tasting room.

Again, their wines are mostly Rhones, but the area is of course known for the Burgundy varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well, so a tasting wouldn’t have been complete if we didn’t also try those.

We started the tasting with the delicious 2009 Coriol White Rhone Blend [Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and Marsanne]. We then had the crisp and refreshing 2011 Turbine Pink Grenache Rose.

Moving on to the Chardonnays, the 2009 Sonoma Coast version was a very tasty version of this varietal. And I was totally blown away by the 2009 Gap’s Crown Vineyard Chard, which I just found to be an incredibly sexy wine. And the 2009 Pinot Noir from the same vineyard could easily convert this typically-non-Pinot drinker.

But, it was the Rhones I was most interested in, and Anaba has a stellar lineup. I already mentioned the whites, and the reds were outstanding as well. Both the 2008 and 2009 version of the Coriol Red Rhone Blend were delicious. I always love to find a well-made Mourvedre, and the Anaba version was great. And the 2009 Syrah Las Madres was one of the best Syrahs I have had, period.

Winemaker Jennifer Marion, who is also Director of Vineyard Operations, clearly knows what she is doing. She has experience in both winemaking and vineyard management, and this dual knowledge enable her to run the entire process start to finish.

As with many small wineries, production is very limited. They only make about 6,500 cases total, so they run out of specific wines quickly. Buy online or better yet, join their club. You’ll be “blown away”.

Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine: reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either at or


  1. says

    At first I was skeptical as they fly under the radar. I tasted through their wines and sized up their tasting room staff. Excellent wines and first-rate hospitality! I have just asked Robert Holmes to photograph the winery for our next book. SO I’m a new fan of Anaba. Glad you brought this post to everyone’s attention.

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