Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anaba's Excellent Rhone(ish) Blend

2007 Anaba Coriol RedI continue my quest to track down balanced, complex, traditionally-proportioned, terroir-expressive New World wines, and in that context (or in any other context, really) I'm very happy to have come across the 2007 Anaba Coriol Red Sonoma County.

Made from 38% grenache, 27% mourvedre, 25% petite sirah, and 10% counoise, this Chateauneuf / Provencal-ish blend is rich and spicy, but it's also nicely proportioned, refreshing, and detailed. The nose shows concentrated dark fruit, dried herbs, black pepper, and a hint of citrus peel. I'm extremely pleased by its balance and presence at midpalate and surprised by just how much lift this has. It does show a touch of alcoholic heat, but only a touch, so that's but a small ding. This has the acidity and the balance to age nicely at least in the short term, and possibly longer.

I want to underscore the great lift this wine has, for as it turns out, the wine was aged for 21 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Winemaker Jennifer Marion must know what she's doing, for the wine is not at all glossy or laden with the cocoa or vanilla characteristics I typically find in wines that have this level of new oak. Instead, the nicely integrated herb, pepper, and citrus characteristics shine through.

I can't say that this is terroir-expressive per se, as it's sourced from a range of vineyards — the grenache was sourced from the Landa Vineyard just east of Healdsburg, which is a warm site, while the other grapes were sourced from cooler vineyards in the northwest part of Sonoma. On the other hand, I can say that the wine is just plain expressive and that it delivers balance, complexity, and plenty of character for about $30, which by artisan California winery standards seems pretty darn good to me.

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