Wine of the week: Anaba, 2013 Sonoma Valley Turbine White

The people behind Anaba Wines committed to produce Rhone-style blends a decade ago and some thought they’d gone mad.

That’s how vintner John Sweazey tells it.

“They said stick with pinot noir and chardonnay,” he explained. “Fortunately we were able to follow our dream.”

Sweazey is behind our wine-of-the-week winner – the Anaba, 2013 Sonoma Valley Turbine White at $28.

The wine is floral, with a bouquet of white flowers and honeysuckle. It has stone fruit on the palate – nectarine and peach – with a kiss of honey in the mix. Refreshing and light on its feet, it’s a knockout.

Each wine at Anaba has a similar recipe, Sweazey said.

“All of our wines are made similarly - i.e., some new oak and richness but remaining in between what is considered California-style and Old World,” he said.

One of the most challenging aspects of producing this white blend is making sure there’s an ample supply of all the Rhone varietals needed.

Sweazey makes his wish list well known to the higher powers.

“Each year I’m praying for enough high-quality marsanne, roussanne, viognier, picpoul blanc and grenache blanc to be able to make a great blend,” he said.

Producing Rhone-style whites has been a goal of Sweazey’s since his first meeting with Max Chapoutier looking over the Rhone River in 1974.

Chapoutier led Maison Chapoutier, a winery and negociant business, situated in the Rhone region of France, until his retirement in 1977.

What the uninitiated don’t know about the Rhone region is that “it’s not just syrah and chateauneuf du pape, but it’s also home to some of the most delightful and unique white wines to enjoy with that outdoor lunch,” Sweazey said.

The Turbine White is 42 percent roussanne, 20 percent grenache blanc, 20 percent picpoul blanc and 18 percent marsanne.

Sweazey said what worked in the wine’s favor was the good 2013 vintage and the plentiful quality of picpoul blanc and grenache blanc.

And then, of course, there’s the wind.

The winery was named after the winds that blow up from the San Francisco Bay and across from the Pacific through the Petaluma Gap.

Sweazey explained that the wind shapes the character of the grapes and perhaps even the people who live and work at the winery.

E-mail Peg Melnik at or check out her Tasting Room blog at


This week’s blind tasting: White wines


Anaba, 2013 Sonoma Valley, Turbine White, 14% alcohol, $28. ????

1/2: Floral, with a bouquet of white flowers and honeysuckle. Stone fruit on the palate – nectarine and peach – with a kiss of honey in the mix. Refreshing and light on its feet. A knockout.


Saxon Brown Wines, 2012 “Fighting Brothers” Semillon, 13.5%, $20. ????

: An exotic pick. Gorgeous notes of peach, orange blossom and mineral. This wine will appeal to those looking for something less mainstream. Supple. Striking.

Foppiano, 2013 Estate Sauvignon Blanc, 13.5%, $15. ????

: Crisp and clean with layered flavors of grapefruit, lime and a hint of pineapple. Spicy finish. Refreshing. A perfect wine for a spring picnic. A smart pick.

Etre 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 13.5%, $28. ???

1/2: This is a wine that’s packed with a range of flavors -- pineapple, mango and apple. Rich, yet manages to be balanced. Vibrant. Lively. Lovely.

Monte Volpe, 2013 Mendocino County Pinot Grigio, 13.5%, $15. ???

1/2: A refreshing blend of aromas and flavors. Appealing notes of cantaloupe, apple and mineral. The sun-kissed fruit shows it was groomed on California turf. But the crisp acidity keeps the wine’s balance in check. A nice take on pinot grigio. Greg Graziano at his best.

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette