Last month, we wrote here about our favorite experiences at the Hopland Passport Weekend and offered recommendations for wines and wineries in the area. Since then, we’ve had the pleasure of attending both the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival and Taste of Mendocino, so we thought we’d just combine the results and offer a summary of our recent favorites from the rest of Mendocino County.
Naturally, we have several Pinot Noirs to recommend but we also found many excellent white varietals from Mendocino County including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer. We were also impressed by some less common varietals such as Tocai Friulano from Vía Cellars and Charbono from Testa Vineyards.
Keep reading, and we’ll tell you which wines we enjoyed the most. We encourage you to do some wine country exploration and sampling on your own in the area, and/or seek out these wines and wineries at your local wine stores and/or restaurants:
Alder Springs Vineyard (Laytonville, 707-984-8970) – 2010 Signature Chardonnay, 2011 Row 5 Viognier/Marsanne
Balo Vineyards (Philo, 707-895-2215) – 2012 Pinot Gris, 2013 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, 2012 Estate Pinot Noir, 2012 Suitcase 828 Estate Pinot Noir
Baxter Winery (Philo, 707-895-3173) – 2011 Valenti Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2012 Langley Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2012 Run Dog Vineyard Pinot Noir
Bink Wines (Philo, 707-895-2940) – 2013 Randle Hill Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Old Chatham Ranch Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Rosé (of Merlot)
Drew Family Cellars (Philo, 707-895-9599) – 2013 Albariño, 2012 Balo Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2012 Fog Eater Pinot Noir, 2012 Morning Dew Pinot Noir, 2012 Perli Vineyard Syrah
Elke Vineyards (Boonville, 707-246-7045) – 2010 Donnelly Creek Pinot Noir
FEL Wines (at Breggo in Boonville, 707-895-9589) – 2012 Farrington Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2012 Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir
Foursight Wines (Boonville, 707-895-2889) – 2011 Zero New Oak Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Clone 05 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir
Goldeneye (Philo, 707-895-3202) – 2011 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 2011 Gowan Creek Pinot Noir
Judson Hale Winery (Yorkville, 707-894-1881) – 2012 Yorkville Highlands Chardonnay, 2011 Pinot Noir
Knez Winery (Philo, 707-895-3036) – 2012 Demuth Vineyard Chardonnay, 2012 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 2011 Demuth Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir
Meyer Family Cellars (Yorkville, 707-895-2341) – 2013 Rosé (of Syrah)
Navarro Vineyards (Philo, 707-895-3686) – 2013 Gewürztraminer Cuvée, 2012 Estate Traditional Gewürztraminer, 2013 Rose of Pinot Noir, 2012 Anderson Valley “Method L’Anciene” Pinot Noir, 2011 Anderson Valley “Method L’Anciene” Pinot Noir
Panthea Wine (Philo, 707-614-0433) – 2010 Londer Vineyard Pinot Noir
Phillips Hill Winery (Philo, 707-895-2209) – 2012 Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2012 Two Terroirs Pinot Noir
Philo Ridge Vineyards (Boonville, 707-895-3036) – 2012 Gewürztraminer, 2010 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Testa Vineyards (Calpella, 707-485-7051) – nv “White” (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Muscat), 2010 Charbono, 2010 “Black” (Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Petite Sirah)
Although these wineries aren’t in Mendocino County, we also really enjoyed their wines made from grapes grown in the county: Copain Wines (2011 Kiser “En Haut” Pinot Noir), Expression Wine (2011 Annahala Vineyard Pinot Noir), Il Cuore Wine Cellars (2012 “Barbera,” a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah), LIOCO (2011 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir), Saintsbury (2012 and 2011 Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noirs) and Vía Cellars (2013 Tocai Friulano, 2013 Rosé of Nebbiolo).
If your wine travel adventures take you into Anderson Valley, there are two local food purveyors we suggest you seek out as well:
- Boont Berry Farm (Boonville, 707-895-3576) – This health food store and deli featuring fresh local produce was serving a trio of salads at the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival, each one worth recommending the store for: Roasted Vegetable with Feta Pasta Salad; Mixed Green Salad with Aged Balsamic Vinaigrette; and a Pesto Pasta Salad.
- Pennyroyal Farm and Farmstead Cheese – Based in Boonville, you can find their products at Navarro Vineyards in Philo, local Farmers Markets, and several food and/or wine events (as well as online) – our favorites are their Laychee (a soft and light chèvre-style Goat and Sheep cheese) and Boont Corners (an aged Goat and Sheep Cheese which won Best Hard Cheese at this year’s California State Fair).
If you’re looking for another wine event to trigger a trip to Mendocino County, you may want to mark off Saturday August 2 when the Mendocino Ridge & Yorkville Highlands Wine Festival comes to Meyer Family Cellars in Yorkville from 1 to 5 pm. You’ll find over 60 wines from these appellations along with delicious cuisine, a silent auction, a grape stomp and plenty of other fun and games for all ages. Tickets are only $45 per person if purchased by July 31. Tickets without the wine (for Designated Drivers and youths 12-18) are available for $30 and kids that are 12 and under can come for free. To purchase tickets and see more details please go here.
Or, if you enjoy barrel tastings, then you may want to consider attending the Anderson Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend on July 26 and 27. Over 20 wineries will participate in this passport-style event featuring previews of new wines as well as current releases. Tickets are $20 per person, and you can purchase tickets and find more details here. If you attend, please realize that the wineries will have limited food so you may want to bring a picnic. Locally, we recommend you pick up food items from Boont Berry Farm or the Boonville General Store, and the Philo Apple Farm is a great source for awesome apple cider.
Mendocino County includes winding roads, boutique wineries, hikes that truly make you feel you’ve gotten away from it all, coastal escapes, and farms and vineyards. We hope the suggestions above help you plan your next trip there, but if you need additional ideas, please follow the drop-down menus on the navigation bar above under “Favorites by Wine Region” to target the area(s) you are most interested in.