Cradled in the rolling hills of western Mendocino County, Anderson Valley is one of the smallest and coldest winegrowing regions in California. It is also the source of excellent Pinot Noirs, crafted from grapes grown here by a talented group of wineries and winegrowers. We had the pleasure of attending the recent Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival and if you keep reading we’ll let you know what some of our favorite Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs are right now. We’ll also tell you about other wines and food purveyors in the area we recommend.
If you are heading this direction for a wine tasting excursion, congratulations! You’ve selected a delightful destination. Over half of the vineyard plantings in Anderson Valley are Pinot Noir grapes but crisp, aromatic white grapes such as Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris also excel here (and don’t miss out on the delightful sparkling wines made here too).
Did you attend the 2016 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival? The Festival activities ranged from a Technical Conference to Winery Open Houses to a Grand Tasting in the middle of the vineyards at Goldeneye. Over 55 wineries at the Grand Tasting poured wines made from grapes grown in this beautiful appellation as food purveyors offered small bites ranging from Salads to Pizzas to Duck Mole Tostadas.
Regardless of your future personal plans, we suggest Pinot Noir fans seek out the wines below at your local restaurant or wine store, or maybe via some online shopping.
Favorite Wines at Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival
At the 2016 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival, our favorite wines from Anderson Valley wineries were:
Balo Vineyards (Philo, 707-895-2215) – 2015 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, 2015 Pinot Noir Blanc, 2014 Suitcase 828 Pinot Noir, 2014 Estate Pinot Noir
Baxter Winery (Philo, 707-895-3173) – 2013 Langley Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2013 Valenti Vineyard Pinot Noir
Bink Wines (Philo, 707-895-2940) – 2014 Filigreen Vineyard Pinot Noir
Champ de Rêves (Boonville) – 2013 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Drew Family Cellars (Philo, 707-895-9599) – 2014 Balo Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2014 Fog Eater Pinot Noir, 2014 Morning Dew Ranch Pinot Noir
Foursight Wines (Boonville, 707-895-2889) –2013 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2013 “Clone 05” Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir
Goldeneye (Philo, 707-895-3202) – 2015 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, 2013 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Handley Cellars (Philo, 707-895-3876) – 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé, 2013 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir
Knez Winery (Philo, 707-895-3036) – 2013 Demuth Vineyard Pinot Noir
Lula Cellars (Philo, 707-895-3737) – 2013 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Navarro Vineyards (Philo, 800-537-9463) – 2014 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Panthea Winery (Philo, 775-342-4788) – 2012 Klindt Vineyard Pinot Noir
Pennyroyal Farm (Boonville, 707-895-1210) – 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir
Phillips Hill Winery (Philo, 707-895-2209) – 2014 Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2013 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 2013 Terroirs Pinot Noir
Philo Ridge Vineyards (Boonville, 707-895-3036) – 2010 Marguerite Vineyard Pinot Noir
Roederer Estate (Philo, 707-895-2288) – nonvintage Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine
These wineries aren’t located in Anderson Valley, but we really enjoyed their wines made from grapes grown in this appellation at the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival:
- Copain Wines (Healdsburg) – 2013 Les Voisins Pinot Noir, 2013 Wendling Pinot Noir
- LIOCO (Santa Rosa) – 2014 La Selva Pinot Noir, 2013 Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir
- Littorai Wines (Sebastopol) – 2013 One Acre Pinot Noir, 2013 Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir
- MacPhail Family Wines (Sebastopol) – 2013 Toulouse Vineyard Pinot Noir
- Maryetta Wines (Paso Robles) – 2014 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
- Williams Selyem (Healdsburg) – 2013 Burt Williams’ Morning Dew Ranch Pinot Noir
Favorite Foods at Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival
The Grand Tasting at the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival also provided nibbles ranging from Salads to Pizzas to Duck Mole Tostadas from local food purveyors:
Aquarelle is a Café and Wine Bar in the heart of Anderson Valley where Chef and Owner Christina Jones offers a menu consisting mostly of small plates, tapas or mezze. At the Grand Tasting we were pleasantly surprised (and delighted) by her Duck Mole Tostadas. 14025 Highway 128, Boonville, 707-895-2767
Boont Berry Farm is a health food store in Boonville serving the community with organic produce and fine foods since 1982. During the Tasting they were sampling a trio of salads and the best (in our opinion) was their Kale Caesar Salad. 13981 Highway 128, Boonville, 707-895-3576
Piaci Pub & Pizzeria has an extensive menu of Salads, Calzones, Focaccias and Pizzas at their restaurant in Fort Bragg. Our favorite slice at the Festival was their Garlic Sauce, Ham and Prosciutto Pizza (closely followed by their Pesto Pizza with Spinach and Prosciutto). 120 West Redwood Avenue, Fort Bragg, 707-961-1133
Pennyroyal Farm produces farmstead cheeses crafted exclusively from the milk of goats and sheep raised on their farm in Boonville (where the animals munch on the wild grasses and pennyroyal mint that blanket the property). To pair with the Pinot Noirs they offered a Salmon Mousse with Chive and Dill made with their Laychee (a soft fresh cheese). 14930 Highway 128, Boonville, 707-895-2410
Roundman’s Smokehouse is a family-owned and -operated smokehouse in Fort Bragg that produces and sells gourmet smoked fish, meat and cheese made in their own processing plant. Our favorite samples were their Smoked Wild Salmon and Smoked Albacore served with their Mustard Aioli. 412 North Main Street, Fort Bragg, 800-545-2935
Shannon Food is a catering business based in Point Arena headed by Shannon Hughes, a chef/writer/artist from Mendocino County who previously owned two acclaimed restaurants. During the Grand Tasting she was serving an impressive Gravlax and Fried Caper Aioli with Pickled Red Onion on a Seeded Cracker.
Stone & Embers is a casual but refined restaurant at The Madrones in Philo focused on fresh and delicious food from a wood-fired oven. Their regular menu has five to seven pizzas to choose from but there is a collective maximum they can make per day so you should go early. We were deeply impressed by their Smoked Potato Beignets with Piment d’Ville Sauce at the Grand Tasting. 9000 Highway 128, Philo 707-895-3471
Other Anderson Valley Food and Wine Events
The Anderson Valley/Yorkville Highlands Barrel Tasting Weekend on July 23rd and 24th has these neighboring appellations joining forces to preview new wines and offer you the ability to purchase “futures” of your favorites at special prices. Participating wineries will also provide you opportunities to meet vineyard managers, winemakers and winery owners (which may all actually be the same person). Some of the wineries that participated last year were: Balo Vineyards, Baxter Winery, Bink Wines, Champ de Rêves, Foursight Wines, Knez Winery, Lula Cellars, Meyer Family Cellars, Phillips Hill Winery, Seebass Vineyards and Yorkville Cellars. You can find more details by going here.
To learn more about wineries and food purveyors throughout the County, you may want to consider attending Taste of Mendocino in San Francisco on Saturday, June 25th at Fort Mason Center. Hosted by Mendocino Winegrowers, Inc. and Visit Mendocino County, this intimate wine event features over 30 wineries pouring their wines next to artisanal food producers and local tourism information providers. Attendees will also be able to purchase wine and artisanal foods onsite.
Participants are expected to include Goldeneye, Handley Cellars, Lula Cellars, Navarro Vineyards, Panthea Winery, Pennyroyal Farm, Phillips Hill Winery, Philo Ridge Vineyards and Stone & Embers. If you do attend Taste of Mendocino, these are some other purveyors we are huge fans of: Kemmy’s Pies, Little River Inn, Seebass Vineyards, Thanksgiving Coffee and Theopolis Vineyards.
Mendocino County includes winding roads, coastal escapes, and a breadth of outdoor activities that make you truly feel like you’ve gotten away from it all. If you need additional ideas when you make it to the area, please follow the drop-down menus on the navigation bar above under “Favorites by Wine Region” to see our recommendations for Mendocino County (including the Anderson Valley).