Anderson Valley in California’s Mendocino County now ranks with the top Pinot Noir regions in North America. While production is not huge, quality is soaring, as rising-star winemakers from Adrian Fog, Copain, Littorai, Radio Coteau and Siduri join home-grown stalwarts such as Lazy Creek, Londer and Navarro in producing sleek, powerful Pinots.
An unusual transverse appellation -- cutting laterally through the coastal range rather than lying between ridges -- Anderson Valley is also a mere 10-15 miles from the cold Pacific Ocean. These factors result in a wide diurnal range, with daily high and low temperatures diverging up to 40 or 50 degrees. This enables Pinot Noir growers to keep acid development in line with sugar and flavor formation through long, warm Indian summers. It also makes for superb Gewurztraminer and Riesling, giving rise to the valley’s annual Alsatian festival. Then there’s sparkling wine. With three methode champenoise sparkling houses, including the renowned Roederer Estate, Anderson Valley is bubbly paradise.
~ Thom Elkjer, Mendocino Editor
Since Thomas Jefferson first tried to cultivate European vinifera in Virginia, the state has been a decided piece of American wine country. Over the years better knowledge, equipment and materials have all contributed to an advancing wine industry, but the more recent decade or two has brought out the real potential that can be found.
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