Anthill Farms’ 2009 Sonoma Coast Syrah


Thanksgiving Day is fast approaching and I’m starting to feel a bit peckish. I loves me some turkey and all the fixins’. If I plan my day just right, I might be able to hit TWO family dinners on Thursday. It’s been done before and, miraculously, there is always room for just one more bite! When it comes to pairing wine with the traditional Thanksgiving meal my advice is that anything goes; drink what you like. I have my own personal preferences and if you ask me I’ll likely suggest staying away from tannic reds, especially big structured Cabernet Sauvignons, but that said over the years I’ve known many sophisticated wine drinkers who have uncorked a special Bordeaux at Thanksgiving and enjoyed the pairing, so there goes that theory. A typical Thanksgiving table has so many flavors going on that you might as well drink what you like best be it white, red, pink or bubbly. For my contribution to the Harvest Festival table I’ll be bringing a bottle of 2009 Sonoma Coast Syrah from Anthill Farms. I opened up a bottle a week ago and was bowled over by the unmistakable note of freshly cracked black pepper making me question if I was indeed drinking a wine from California and not from the Northern Rhone. The finish did not betray its origins for a savory, bright acid thread weaved through all that sumptuous fruit again making me think: Northern Rhone. What a pleasure to smell, drink and taste this vibrant Syrah.


Anthill Farms, a collaboration between three guys who met while working at Williams Selyem in the Russian River Valley, made its debut with the 2004 vintage. These like-minded young winemakers (Anthony Filiberti, Webster Marquez, and David Low) quickly garnered a reputation for making elegant, refined Pinot Noir from cool climate, unique North Coast vineyards. Though TWH got in early with the winery, as is so often the case with small production, highly lauded operations, we can never get our hands on enough wine to fill demand. We currently have a full range of single-vineyard Pinot Noir from Anthill Farms in stock, but the quantities are all under a case. So imagine my delight when I asked to increase my allocation of the 2009 Sonoma Coast Syrah expecting a “no” for an answer but instead got a “yes”. Thankfully with a little more wine in stock, I can wholeheartedly recommend the 2009 Sonoma Coast Syrah from Anthill Farms as the perfect Thanksgiving Day/Holiday wine and at $20.98 per bottle let me just say, this is a SCREAMING deal, plain and simple. The 2009 Sonoma Coast Syrah comes from three vineyards: Peters, Campbell Ranch and Windsor Oaks. The Peters Vineyards sits right outside Sebastopol in western Sonoma County, Campbell Ranch is in Annapolis and at 750ft elevation sits right at the marine layer, and Windsor Oaks Vineyards is in the Russian River Valley. The dark purple fruit, though rich, does not sit on the palate at all heavy or flabby, but is expressive and keeps you digging your nose back down deep into the glass again and again for another whiff of that black pepper spice. Just gorgeous.


I took this past Friday off so that I could attend my daughter’s second grade class performance of “The Turkey’s Go On Strike!”. In my biased opinion, I think she gave a tour de force performance as a turkey, holding her picket sign “Rice is Nice” up higher than any of the other turkeys. Afterwards I held a reception for family, serving snacks and Lambrusco (another good option for T-Day by the way). And if that weren’t enough turkey references, just today as I was driving to work I encountered this nervous little fellow hiding in a parking lot median. I just had to take a picture. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, California, Sonoma Coast, Syrah

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