Producer website

As soon as you visit Anakota's website, the first words that you see make clear the winery's philosophy: Single Vineyard, Single Varietal, Single Appellation. Anakota is located in the Knights Valley appellation within the Sonoma Valley. Wines from the Knights Valley have been gaining in popularity over the past several years, as wine consumers are seeing the quality of the wines coming out of the area, as well as their distinct characteristics and structure. An ancient volcanic zone, both the soil and the microclimate are well-suited to Bordeaux varietals, especially Cabernet Sauvignon.

Anakota owns two estate vineyards in the Knights Valley, that they cultivate their Cabernet Sauvignon from: Helena Dakota and Helena Montana. Both sit on the flanks of the Mayacamas Mountain Range, with Mt. Saint Helena above them.

Anakota was founded by Pierre Seillan, who crafted the inaugural vinage in 2001. Seillan was born in the Gascony region of France and learned about terroir working in his family's vineyards in Armagnac. Pierre moved to California in 1998, and fell in love with Sonoma County, and specifically the Knights Valley, which he found to be a diamond in the rough. Although he produced many other wines within Sonoma using multiple grapes blended together, he saw that within the Knights Valley, and specifically the vineyards the he purchased, that 100% Cabernet Sauvignon would be the benchmark.

Although the two vineyards owned by Anakota, Helena Montana and Helena Dakota are near each other, separated only by a stream, they both have distinct characteristics and features.

The 12.4-acre Helena Dakota sits below Mount St. Helena’s two grandest peaks at 750 feet elevation. The site possesses a moderate micro-climate absent of extreme heat or cold and reddish-brown, gravel/silt loam soils intermingled with some volcanic rock. The Cabernet Sauvignon from Helena Dakota is large and dark with notes of espresso, chocolate, blackberries, cassis and wet stone.

Located at 950 feet above sea level, the 60-acre Helena Montana vineyard features rolling hills, undulating benches and severe slopes up to 30 degrees. The steep terrain is exposed to the cool maritime winds from the west. The hard, crusty soil restricts root development creating smaller, low-yielding vines. The Cabernet Sauvignon from Helena Montana is deep and elegant with ripe aromas of blueberries and black currants. It is a candidate for extended aging.

The wines from both of these vineyards have been receiving great ratings from the Wine Advocate in the last several vintages. This year, both vintages received excellent reviews with the Helena Dakota receiving a score of 98 Points, and the Helena Montana receiving a score of 96+ Points. To me, the most interesting and fun way to enjoy these wines would be in a compare and contrast situation. You can really get a great idea of what makes the vineyard plots different, since every other aspect of the wine, from the grapes to the winemaker to the barrel aging regimen are exactly the same. This is a pretty rare opportunity to see the effects of vineyard location and their own individual microclimates have on a wine.


Tracy Maxon

Last edited on 7/16/2019 by Viking 61

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