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Old 13-11-2006, 07:37 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Anderson Valley trip

To mark the half-century celebration of "she-who-must-be-obeyed" we headed
for the Mendocino coast for a couple days and nights of scenery, hiking, and
eating and drinking to excess. We slipped down to Boonville, and then took
128 through the Anderson Valley, visiting a number of wineries along the
way. Some familiar, some new; some favorites; some that will never be so.
For anyone interested, here is a quick recap of our tasting, guzzlings, and
purchases. Not all wineries were visited and not all visited are mentioned.
Long winded tasting comments are our opinions only - your mileage may vary.

Navarro Vineyards
We had not visited Navarro before, although had tried one or two wines at
tastings previously. Navarro seems to be getting more mention these days,
and their promotion of an increasing number of awards and accolades is
testament to either a lot of good wine, or a lot of very good promotion. The
tasting room is well equipped and well staffed. They had 14 wines available
for a no-charge tasting, which I think is the most I've ever seen available
in a winery tasting room. We focused on just 5; two 04 Chardonnays, an 05
Gewurtztraminer, an 04 Riesling, and an 04 Pinot Noir. Only one wine got a
thumbs up from both of us - the 04 Premiere Reserve Chardonnay (Anderson
Valley) $21. Crisp, lively, nice fruit on the nose, light mouthfeel, not
quite as much finish as I prefer. No faults, but nothing to jump up and down
over.We enjoyed it, and even stopped in again on the way home to try it
again to determine if we would buy. We chose not to, as we preferred another
Chardonnay mentioned below. We had mixed reviews on the Gewurtz and the
Rielsing; I liked the dry Gewurtz, she did not - she tends to prefer a more
fruity, off-dry style for Gewurtz. On the other hand, we differed on the
Reisling - she liked it's soft, off-dry 'drinkability'. We both passed on
the others tasted.

Greenwood Ridge
We had visited here only once before and honestly didn't remember it. Also a
well appointed tasting room, well staffed. Another no-fee tasting. A special
note - very friendly and helpful staff. They had 4 wines available for
tasting, of which we focused only on two; the '03 Sauvignon Blanc, and the
'05 Riesling. The Riesling is off-dry (about 1.5% residual) but has good
mouthfeel and acidity. We both quite liked it, but not enough to purchase
any. $16. The SB is a Semillon blend. Worth trying - but if you are a fan of
"in your face", methoxy pyrazine, 'cat **** on a goose berry bush' style
SB's (as we are), it seems a little timid.

Husch
A long time favorite with us (we have often participated in their club), we
tasted 7 of the 14 wines that were available for tasting (again, a
remarkable number). As with the above, they do not charge for the tastings,
but ask each taster to choose only 6. We generally prefer to compare and
write notes together so we had 5 of the same, and then each had one
different wine to finish - ergo the 7 wines tasted. The tasting room is very
small, and rather rustic. It can get crowded but if you catch it on a
weekday, or early, when it is not too busy, it is delightful. The staff are
knowledgable and friendly (and some rather cute, too!). The 04 Special
Reserve Chardonnay ($25) is delightful, but quite different from the famous
'01 Special Reserve. Back then, the wine was rich and buttery. The winery is
out of stock, and it is available only at various restaurants (we had a
bottle at Harbor House on the Saturday night, just to remember how good it
is!). The '04 was put through a partial MLF (ie, incomplete) and is a
crisper, livelier wine. More akin to a Burgundy than a classic buttery
California. Still very nice, just different. We were not as thrilled with
the less expensive ($18) Vine One Chardonnay. Not available for tasting, but
available at numerous stores locally is the inexpensive 05 Mendocino
Chardonnay. We enjoy it as a 'value' wine - and purchased a case ($14, less
20% as a club member).
We tried a number of red wines at Husch, all worthy of being poured at your
next dinner, but none striking enough, or of such value, that we purchased
any.
Then we got to some dessert wines. We enjoyed both wines we tasted - the
Postre late harvest Sauvignon Blanc - a very sweet and rather unique wine
that sells for $20 for a half -bottle (375 ml). But we purchased a half case
of the 05 Muscat Cannelli - again, a value buy at $14 for a full size 750 ml
bottle. Nice fruit, not too sweet (6% RS), a really nice wine to serve with
a fruit dessert.

Roederer
While we've driven by many times (right across the road from Husch) we've
never visited. Shame on us. A beautifully laid out and appointed tasting
room, with friendly, knowledgable, and attentive staff (and again, rather
cute). Roederer makes sparkling wine in the traditional method. They do
charge for tasting, but because we purchased wine, we did not have to pay.
We skipped the Rose's, and focused on the vin blanc. They taste the
non-vintage Brut from the 750 ml bottle and the magnum as two separate
tastings. And so they should - the magnum is finer in it's effervescence,
giving better mouthfeel. We were so struck, we bought a half case of magnums
($43).
The '99 'Ermitage was supposed to be the high point of the tasting, but we
found it to be a little too musky for our palate.
Then we were surprised. Roederer are now offfering two table wines. The
first was an 04 Chardonnay. Good nose, with lots of fruit character, but
lacked finish. The second was the highlight of the trip - the '04 Pinot
Noir. A rich, full Pinot, with lots of complex bouquet and flavors. Long
finish. Not over-oaked (as I find too many Pinots to be). We loved it - and
bought a half case. $22. Recommended.

As I said, not all wineries visited bear mentioning. And certainly your
tastes will vary. But if you are headed to Anderson Valley sometime soon, we
recommend visiting all of the above.

Last note; on the way home we stopped at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company
and had a sampler of their ales and porter. All delightful beers (except for
the IPA which was too hoppy by far). But a special mention to the Brother
David's Double Abbey Style Ale. A rich, flavorful Belgian style ale that
will knock your socks off - 9% ABV. Comes in large 22 oz bottles. We bought
a handful.



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Old 13-11-2006, 08:31 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Anderson Valley trip

Ric wrote:
To mark the half-century celebration of "she-who-must-be-obeyed" we headed
for the Mendocino coast for a couple days and nights of scenery, hiking, and
eating and drinking to excess. We slipped down to Boonville, and then took
128 through the Anderson Valley, visiting a number of wineries along the
way. Some familiar, some new; some favorites; some that will never be so.


[...]

As I said, not all wineries visited bear mentioning. And certainly your
tastes will vary. But if you are headed to Anderson Valley sometime soon, we
recommend visiting all of the above.


Did you not visit Lazy Creek?

Last note; on the way home we stopped at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company
and had a sampler of their ales and porter. All delightful beers (except for
the IPA which was too hoppy by far).


IPA is pretty much an excuse to max out on hops; you think they actually
over-did it?

Dana
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Old 14-11-2006, 01:49 AM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Anderson Valley trip

I brew an IPA each year; mine tends to be a little stronger than most, and I
certainly do not max out on hops, but try to keep them in balance - albeit
within the itter style of a traditional IPA. All the other beers we had at
Anderson were delightful - but yes, we think they over-did the hops in the
IPA - at least for our taste.


IPA is pretty much an excuse to max out on hops; you think they actually
over-did it?





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