Anderson Valley

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 join home grown stalwarts in producing sleek, powerful Pinots. Cutting laterally through the coastal range rather than lying between ridges, the west or “deep end” of the Anderson Valley is only a few miles from the cold Pacific Ocean, while the town of Boonville is some 20 miles to the east. Such unique geography results in a wide diurnal range, with daily high and low temperatures occasionally diverging 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. In eastern and ridge-top sites there is plenty of warmth to ripen Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Then there’s sparkling wine. With several methode champenoise sparkling houses, Anderson Valley is bubbly paradise. More information is available at Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association.

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