If you find yourself visiting Nothern
California Wine Country, there is no shortage of choices to visit: Napa Valley, Russian River
Valley, Anderson Valley and beyond. Anderson Valley is an excellent option, offering
outstanding wines in a rural setting leading out to the fabled Mendocino coastline.
Here is our overview of the Anderson Valley region and our tips for wineries to taste at, as
well as recommendations for lodging and dining:
Anderson Valley Location and
Anderson Valley snakes through
beautiful rolling hills spilling out onto the Mendocino County coastline, just under 100 miles
north of San Francisco. Farther north than Napa Valley or Sonoma County and so close to the coast,
this region features a cool-weather climate ideal for Burgundian and northern European varieties
like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer. Wines are more restrained and sophisticated than
those from the warmer valleys further south, with a refined elegance and balanced structure that
makes them food- and aging-friendly.
Unless you live in the area, it's hard to make this a 'day trip'. There's more than enough to do to
make either a weekend or week-long trip, including combining tasting with the other activities
Mendocino County offers.
Anderson Valley Itinerary #1 - Best of the
Only have one day to taste? Then don't mess these wineries - they
are our favorites for the region, the Easy Food & Wine "Best of the Best".
Goldeneye Winery - We love, love, love the Pinot Noir from this property, which is
the Anderson Valley brand of awesome producer, Duckhorn.
Navarro Vineyards - These folks make unique, fun, affordable wines and have been at it for
decades. Try the Gewurztraminers and whites.
Roederer Estate - Mix it up and go for bubbles. Founded by a fifth-generation family
member of the great Roederer Champagne house.
Husch Vineyards - The oldest winery in the Anderson Valley appellation. Makes 22
varieties of wine, and best known for Pinot Noir and Chenin Blanc.
Anderson Valley Itinerary #2 - Off the Beaten
This itinerary includes some of the less well-known wineries open
for tasting in Anderson Valley that also boast fabulous wines.
Scharffenberger Cellars - Dedicated to producing
premium sparkling wines. Their Brut bottling is full-bodied and racy, made of 2/3 Pinot
Vineyards - Family winery making highly-rated Pinot Noir, as well as spicy, exotic
bottlings of Gewurztraminer.
Handley Cellars - Small producer of high-quality
estate-grown wines, with a mix of everything - whites, reds and even sparkling
Drew Family Cellars - A relatively
new winery founded in 2000, the Drew Family focuses on Pinot Noir and Syrah from coastal
Where to Stay & Dine in Mendocino County
Anderson Valley is far enough from other areas of Wine Country and the Bay Area that you'll
usually want to make the most of your trip by staying a night or more in or near the town of
Mendocino. Great options for dining and lodging abound.
MacCallum House - Ideal downtown location with some rooms featuring peeks of
the ocean. The property encompasses several buildings, with B&B-style rooms, suites and
cottages to suit almost any want.
Albion River Inn - Located in Albion a bit south of the town of Mendocino,
this property has unbelievable panoramic views of the staggering coastline. Rooms are beautifully
appointed and luxurious.
MacCallum House Restaurant - The cozy fireplaced dining room serves an excellent dinner
- as well as breakfast. Enjoy creative California fare such as venison medallions with wild
boar sausage and yam hash.
955 Ukiah Street Restaurant - Charming downtown
location with fresh, regionial cuisine. We especially love the seafood, such
as pan-seared haddock with chopped scallops and fresh herbs. Great local
Cafe Beaujolais: A Mendocino staple. High-quality ingedients are the
star in the wide-ranging menu including both European-inspired dishes, like
Seared Foie Gras, and Asian-inspired dishes, like Shang-Hi Chicken Salad.
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