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Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

It is always a joy to attend the three day, annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival sponsored by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association. This year’s 16th annual event was held on May 17-19, with the featured Grand Tasting in the big tent at Goldeneye Winery in Philo. There is something special about this sold-out event because of its casual, unpretentious, country fair feel, the cheerful welcome from the organizers and participants, and the superb, world-class Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs. Many wineries along Highway 128 had open houses with food, music and special Pinot Noir tastings on Sunday, May 19.

There were several new goings on in the Anderson Valley which on the surface never seems to change. A new winery, Angel Camp, had the grand opening of their private tasting room on the Festival weekend. Located 0.5 miles past Navarro’s tasting room, they poured their inaugural Pinot Noir and Vin Gris of Pinot Noir. Baxter Winery had the grand opening of a new tasting room in downtown Philo. Black Kite Cellars offered a vertical tasting of Kite’s Rest Pinot Noirs at their secluded vineyard near Philo on Sunday. Champ de Reves, located at the old Edmeades property, was open for the first time with a joyous open house. The Madrones, a property with accommodations and four separate tasting rooms (Drew, Bink, Knez and Signal Ridge), a curiosity shop, and a restaurant to be open soon, is located adjacent Goldeneye Winery and has been featured in a number of national magazines. A new wine room at the Boonville Hotel hosted Waits-Mast Family Cellars. Londer Vineyards had their last open house including a huge Pinot Festival wine sale. Maggy Hawk, one of my favorite Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs, finally has a website at Get on the mailing list.

Hollywood descended on Anderson Valley in early April 2013, to film a movie called Need for Speed. A street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate and sent to prison, joins a cross country race with revenge in his mind. The flick stars Dominic Cooper, Aaron Paul and Dakota Johnson. Ford Mustang is cast in a hero car role.

Almost all the 29 winery members of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association participated in Open House Sunday. Many members of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association and other wineries located outside the Valley but produce Anderson Valley Pinot Noir also participated, including Bruliam Wines, Cakebread Cellars, Copain Wines, Couloir Wines, Expression Vineyards, Frati Horn Wines, Fulcrum Wines, Ici/La-Bas, La Crema, Littorai Wines, MacPhail Family Wines, Maggy Hawk/Windracer, Onward Wines, Saintsbury, Twomey Cellars, Waits-Mast Family Cellars, Williams Selyem, and Witching Stick.

Excerpts from the Technical Conference

Glenn McGourty, viticulture and plant science adviser for UCCE Davis gave a report on the state of Pinot Noir and viticulture in Mendocino County. He noted that planting of new Pinot Noir vineyards had slowed possibly due to tight availability of vines from nurseries. His talk is summarized in the following slides.

The high production tonnage in the San Joaquin Valley is due to cropping Pinot Noir at a very high 10 tons per acre.

A tasting of the latest fad in Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Blanc, featured wines from Angle Camp Vineyard, Balo Vineyards, and Alta Winery in Napa. Pinot Noir Blanc is a white wine made from Pinot Noir by pressing the grapes after harvest but avoiding significant skin contact with the juice. The pulp and juice of the Pinot Noir grape are clear (white) and the resulting wine is the essence of Pinot Noir grape juice. The wine is white gold or golden copper in color and can be lean and crisp or full bodied and highly flavorful, depending on how the juice is handled. In either case, Pinot Noir Blanc features primarily white wine flavors: Pinot Noir without the Noir. It is a curiosity that may reach a niche market, but its biggest drawback is the expense of Pinot Noir grapes required to produce it, making it a rather expensive white wine. Some would criticize it as a bastardization of Pinot Noir.

Mel Knox, a thirty-year veteran of the oak barrel trade and a long time broker for Tonnellerie Francois Frères and Tonnellierie Taransaud, spoke about barrel selection for Pinot Noir. For many years, he has sourced fruit from Anderson Valley for his own Pinot Noir label, Ici-la Bas, produced with Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat. He presented a Pinot Noir from Molnar aged in Hungarian tight grain, high toast oak. Four different wines were compared with oak of different seasoning air dry periods: (1) 12 months, (2) 18 months, (3) 24 months, and (4) 30 months. The conclusions were that more nuance and better integration of oak occurred as the interval of seasoning increased. Also, less toast, less vanilla and better phenolics were observed with more seasoning. In summary, Pinot Noir seems most amendable to more lengthy seasoned oak.

I presented a talk on Pinot Noir Suitcase Clone “828” and revealed the intriguing story behind this mislabeled clone. This story was published previously in the PinotFile at

The afternoon session began with a perspective tasting of diverse Pinot Noirs from the Anderson Valley. Three wines were presented but this really turned out to be more a demonstration of differences in winemaking style than in Anderson Valley diversity. (1) 2010 Baxter Valenti Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir: This vineyard overlaps the Mendocino Ridge and Anderson Valley AVAs at 1200 to 1600 feet elevation about 4.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean. 30% whole cluster. Aged 22 months in100% neutral oak barrels. A rather austere wine featuring delicate red fruit flavors and lively acidity. (2) 2010 Knez Cerise Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: This vineyard sits at 550 to 1150 feet elevation and has three different soil profiles. Made with 50% whole cluster, native yeast, 33% new French oak, unfined and unfiltered. Tasteful core of sweet fruit and noticeable length and intensity on the finish. A terrific wine. (3) 2010 Goldeneye Gowen Creek Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: This vineyard is located on the Anderson Valley floor along Highway 128. Brix at harvest 25º. 70% Mount Eden, 30% 777. Aged 16 months in 70% new French oak barrels. Rich, sappy and very fruit forward with firm tannic structure and oak influence.

The final presentation was a Wiley Vineyard Focus Tasting Panel with Brad Wiley, owner of Wiley Vineyards. His family started the publishing company, John Wiley & Sons, and he still devotes time to that company. The iconic 25-acre Wiley Vineyard was first planted in 1972, making it one of the earliest vineyard plantings in the Anderson Valley. It is located on a ridge top above the fog line at the extreme northern end of the Anderson Valley, and is one of the most westerly vineyards in the Anderson Valley, only ten miles inland from the coast. Note location on the map below. Wiley owns a total of nearly 200 acres of conifer forest and fruit trees here.

The area has a history dating to 1871 when the first homesteader planted apples, prunes, pears and oats to feed horses on the site. It was farmed until 1930 and laid fallow until 1970 when Wiley arrived and acquired the land which was then affordable. The land was ripped in 1971 and planted the following year. Wiley followed the plantings at Edmeades and Husch and preceded the vineyards at Lazy Creek and Navarro Vineyards.

The site has a very long growing season with bud break in early April or sooner and harvest October 20 or even later. The vineyard is exposed to less diurnal fluctuation than Boonville to the South and is typically eight degrees cooler. Soils are sandy loam with some clay. Yields per acre are very limited, but even in cool years, the fruit achieves ripeness.

Planting began with the Stony Hill clone of Chardonnay but the grapes would not ripen (he sold them to Schramsberg for sparkling wine) and the vines were afflicted with leaf roll within five years. Productivity was very low. Riesling was added in 1976 and all vines were on their own roots until Pinot Noir (Pommard 5 from Erath in Oregon and David Bruce clone) was added in 1982. In 1997, Dijon clones and 538, a Colmar clone brought to the United States originally by Gloria Ferrer, were planted. More Pinot Noir was added in 2000 bringing the total to 20 acres. There are also 2 acres of Pinot Gris.

Wiley has sold grapes to Breggo, Drew, Harrington, Phillips Hill, Schramsberg, and Woodenhead. The Anderson Valley Wiley Vineyard should not be confused with the 123-acre Wiley Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterey.

A 2012 Witching Stick Wiley Vineyard Pinot Noir was presented by Witching Stick winemaker Van Williamson. The 2012 vintage was unusual in that yields were an unprecedented 3.5 tons per acre. The fruit picked for this bottling was quite ripe in character and the resulting wine was inky in color, featuring blue and black fruits including boysenberry, and the wine was a tad hot on the finish. The usual fruit profile from this vineyard is red fruits, roses, velvets and spice.

Trade Tasting of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Twenty-five wineries presented one wine for a tasting by the trade and press which I attended. One interesting note came out of this tasting and was first proposed to me by sommelier Chris Sawyer. He has noted the herb pennyroyal, which grows wild in the Anderson Valley, in the aromatic profile of some Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs, particular those from Black Kite Vineyard. James MacPhail has found notes of pennyroyal in his Toulouse Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), also called squaw mint, mosquito plant and pudding grass, is a flowering herb that has a strong aroma similar to spearmint. Pennyroyal oil is toxic to both humans and animals, but the dried herb is used for medicinal purposes. The Greeks and Romans used pennyroyal to flavor their drinks, particularly wine.

Many of the wines offered were from the 2010 vintage, featuring one of the coldest summers on record in the past forty years. The result was slow ripening and extended hang time. Grapes brought in before the October rains were often fully mature and balanced. 2011 was one of the coldest and wettest vintages in memory. Wet winter and spring weather disrupted bud break, bloom and fruit set. The cool summer growing season culminated in a prolonged and occasionally wet harvest.

2011 Angel Camp Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 250 cases, $52. Released June 1, 2013. Angel Camp is a 12-acre vineyard located in the Deep End of the Anderson Valley nestled between the Navarro River and Highway 128. Planted in 2006 to 9 different clones. 5 clones in this wine: 777, David Bruce, Martini, Pommard and Swan. Winemaker Jon Keyes. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, native yeast fermentation, natural malolactic fermentation, aged in 40% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate light reddish-purple color and slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. Aromas of oak, sandalwood and baking spices. Vivid cherry and red plum flavors with a heavy tug of oak, and a refreshing finish with a good cut of acidity. A little flat and should benefit from another 6-12 months in bottle. Good.

2011 Balo Vineyards Estate Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.57, 211 cases, $40. Released May 1, 2013. Vinified by winemaker Jason Drew. Clones are 777, 828, 115, Pommard and Martini. Aged 15 months in 30% new French oak. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Delicate aromas and flavors of red fruits and herbs with a note of Asian 5-spice. Nicely integrated oak and soft on the palate. Highly approachable. Good (+).

2011 Cakebread Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.58, $49.50. Released October 1, 2012. Winemaker Julianne Laks. Each clone fermented separately. Post-fermentation maceration for several weeks. Aged 11 months in 37% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. This wine is true to the Cakebread Pinot Noir style exhibiting prominent oak on the nose and palate. Middleweight flavors of black raspberries and black cherries clothed in modest tannins and toasty oak, finishing with some length. The fruit is quite alluring, but I just can!t get beyond the oak. Worth revisiting in a year. Decent.

Note: In 2001, Cakebread developed what is now a 46-acre Pinot Noir vineyard in Anderson Valley known today as Apple Barn. It is planted to six clones of Pinot Noir. In 2011, Cakebread acquired Annahala Vineyard, just a half-mile west of Apple Barn. Annahala contains 60 acres and 8 clones of Pinot Noir. Soon, Cakebread will be offering three Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs, one from each of the Anderson Valley vineyards and a blend of fruit from the two.

2010 Claudia Springs Klindt Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.61, 220 cases, $32. Released May 2012. Pommard 4 and 5, 113, 115, 777 and 667. 10% whole cluster. Native yeast fermentation and natural malolactic fermentation. Aged 7 months in French oak barrels after blending. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. A very appealing wine with bright aromas of cherries, strawberries, rose petals, spice and sandalwood. Mid weight flavors of cherries, baking spices and savory herbs, finishing long and generous. Very well crafted and beautifully balanced. Very good (+).

Note: Sadly, Claudia Springs Winery, founded in 1989 by Bob and Claudia Klindt, has ceased operations and the Klindt Vineyard has been sold. The Klindts plan to move to Lake County, but Bob will continue to do some consulting winemaking. I would buy any of these very good value priced Claudia Springs wines while you can.

2011 Couloir Monument Tree Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.58, 169 cases, $44. Released April 15, 2013. Vineyard planted in 1999 to Dijon clones by Duckhorn Vineyards and now owned by Twomey Cellars. Situated in the Deep End of the Anderson Valley, the vineyard is farmed by Ardzrooni Vineyard Management. Clones 777, 667 and 115. 50% whole cluster fermented. 7-day cold soak, native yeast fermentation, aged 11 months in 40% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Hi-tone scents of black cherry glaze, tea leaf and sandalwood. Luscious, perfectly ripened boysenberry, plum and black cherry fruits caressed by modest tannins, finishing with impressive aromatic intensity. This vineyard performed well in this vintage and this wine was one of the best wI tasted from the Anderson Valley. Very good (+).

2010 Elke Vineyards Donnelly Creek Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.64, 500 cases, $34. Released January 2013. 14th vintage of this wine bottled under the family “Blue Diamond.” 20-year-old vines located just outside the town of Boonville. Five clones cane-pruned and trained using a combination of double-guyot (traditional style of Burgundy) and arc-coeur (lesser known style of Alsace). 100% de-stemmed, inoculated, aged 11 months in 35% new Francois Frères oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose draws you into the glass with effusive aromas of dark cherries and berries, spice and oak. Impressive attack of black cherry and black raspberry fruits embracing toast and vanilla-infused oak, balanced tannins and a finish that makes you sit up and take notice. Gets better over time in the glass. Very good.

2011 Expression Annahala Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 140 cases, $48. ReleasedMay 1, 2013. Vineyard is halfway between towns of Philo and Boonville on Highway 128.100% destemmed, whole berry fermentation in open-top fermenters, 1-week cold soak, gentle pump-overs, slight extended maceration post-fermentation. · Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. Aromas of cherries, sandalwood and dried herbs. Juicy black cherry flavor with a peculiar note probably associated with oak. Easy to drink with supple tannins and finesse. Good.

2010 Foursight Wines Charles Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.62, 170 cases, $46. Released May 2013. Crafted from all four clones grown in the estate vineyard: 777, 114, 115 and Pommard 05. 30% whole clusters, native yeast fermentation and native MLF. Aged in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherries, forest floor and the slightest oak. Lighter than the 2009 version of this wine and very similar in flavor but with a redder fruit profile. Red cherries are most evident with a bright backbone of citrusy acidity and a juicy finish. Very approachable and easy to drink. Maybe comfortable is the best word. A righteous food wine. Very good.

2010 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 16,293 cases, pH 3.79, TA 0.53, $55. Released November 2012. Estate fruit blended with fruit from independent growers in the Anderson Valley. 7 vineyards and over 200 individually fermented and aged lots. 90% estate grapes including fruit from all four estate vineyards with the core from Gowan Creek Vineyard. Average sugar at harvest 25º Brix. Aged 16 months in 70% new and 30% second vintage French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose offers an appealing marriage of cherry fruit and oak. The tasty, sweet cherry core is complimented by a toasty new oak sheen. Firm tannins balance the rich fruit and the finish has welcome length. A little more obvious oak than I prefer, but I can appreciate the style and the fruit is hard to resist. Very good.

2011 Fulcrum Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 1,032 cases, $54. Released June 1, 2013. Clones 777 and 115. Aged 16 months in 29% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. I was really attracted to the nose on this wine which offered an explosion of aromas including cherries, molasses, and roseate notes. Really delivers sumptuous flavors of cherries, raspberries and strawberries with a hint of complimentary spice that carries over onto the big finish. Very good.

2010 Greenwood Ridge Vineyards Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.63, 250 cases, $30. Released January 2013. The Mendocino Ridge Estate vineyard is only six miles from the Pacific. Wine has been made from this site for more than 30 years. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Perfumed with cherries, clove, redwood, and sandalwood. Light in weight and delicate, with a core of red cherry fruit underlain with notes of oak and spice. Easy to drink and highly approachable. Decent (+).

2010 Handley Cellars Estate Reserve Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.56, 98 cases, $52. Released February 2013. Martini clone. Aged 9 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. A full-bodied wine with very ripe black fruit aromas and flavors that is sturdy on the palate with a moderate tug of oak in the backgrou nd. Would benefit from decanting or further time in bottle, but the potential is obvious. Very good.

2007 Harmonique Delicacé Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.61, 422 cases, $44. Wädenswil clone from Ferrington Vineyard, 777 from Klindt Vineyard and Pommard from Conzelman Vineyard. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Not as aromatic as the Elegancé, but offering a pleasant array of darker red cherry and berry aromas. A step up in intensity with a hearty core of black cherry fruit complimented by a savory, spicy, chocolaty edge. Very soft in the mouth with a noticeably long finish that sports a bright cut of acidity. Very good.

2010 Husch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., TA 0.57, 2,555 cases, $23. Released January 1, 2013. Grapes were picked a half month later than normal. 25% whole cluster. Aged 9 months in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Bright cherry, strawberry and peat aromas lead to mid weight flavors of black cherries and spice. Very flavorful, with balanced tannins and a cherry-driven finish that goes on and on. One of the most consistent Anderson Valley bottlings in every vintage. Very good.

2010 Knez Cerise Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.58, 500 cases, $42. Released October 2012. Clones are Martini David Bruce, Pommard, Wädenswil, and 777. 17-year-old vines. 50% whole cluster. Aged in 33% new French oak barrels. 25% of press wine added to each barrel after pressing the must. Racked once, the day before bottling. · Very light crimson color in the glass. Highly aromatic featuring scents of cherry pie, spice and dried herbs. Fresh and vibrant flavors of cherries, brewed tea, savory herbs and edible flowers. Quite juicy and refreshing with vibrant acidity and composed dry tannins. Very good.

2010 MacPhail Wightman House Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., pH 3.80, TA 0.56, 132 cases, $55. Released spring 2012. 100% Martini clone. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold maceration, indigenous yeast fermentation, native malolactic fermentation in barrel, batonnage in barrel once a week for 3 months, aged 11 months in 50% new and 50% 1 and 2-year-old French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Fruit-filled nose featuring black cherries, roseate notes, spice and oak. Discreetly concentrated core of juicy and delicious cherry and cranberry fruits with oak adding smoky, spicy layers. Very good.

2009 Nelson Hill Deep End Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.82, 205 cases, $36. Released May 1, 2013. Clones are 777, 114 and 115. Aged 12 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy fruit on the nose with primary aromas of dried herbs and oak. Cherry fruit dominates accompanied by an offbeat earthy, herbal tone and some dry tannins. Decent.

2011 Phillips Hill Two Terroirs Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.58, 125 cases, $40. A blend of 70% Cerise and 30% Ridley vineyards. Clones are 115, Pommard and Wädenswil (Cerise) and 777 (Ridley). Natural yeast whole berry fermentation, aged 16 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Alluring aromas of strawberries, cherries, and caramelized and spiced oak. Juicy flavors of strawberries, cranberries and red cherries with a hint of spice, supple tannins, and a tangy, dried cherry finish. Good.

2009 Philo Ridge Vineyards Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.69, 455 cases, $34. Released June 1, 2012. Produced at the first 100% solar powered winery in the United States. Sourced from Philo Ridge Vineyards and Ferrington Vineyards. Clones are 115, 777, 667, Pommard and Wädenswil. Winemaker is Heather McKelvey. 100% de-stemmed, whole berry fermented, gentle pressing, aged 24 months in 35% new French oak barrels and the remainder in neutral oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. Aged 9 months in bottle before release. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of strawberries, clay, briar and herbal oak. Middleweight flavors of cherries, boysenberries and plum. A relatively mature wine with well integrated tannins and balanced acidity. Good.

2009 Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.81, TA 0.50, 320 cases, $23. Released October 1, 2012. 100% de-stemmed, aged 10 months in a blend of new and old French oak barrels, lightly filtrated. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry and oak-driven caramel and toffee. Nicely concentrated flavors of black cherries and boysenberries with spice and oak in the background. The fruit makes a notable mid palate impression which carries through on the finish. Good.

2007 Scharffenberger Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.56, 500 cases, $20. Released October 1, 2012. A blend of nine clones from multiple vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, 20% cold maceration, aged 11 months in 20% new French oak barrels. Lightly filtered. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Delicate aromas and light flavors of herbal cherries. Rather tart, with firm tannins. Decent.

2009 Toulouse Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.57, 800 cases, $50. Released May 2012. Clones 115, 667, 777 and Wädenswil. · Medium light reddish-purple color in the glass. Delicate aromas of cherry and strawberry with plenty of new oak evident. Flavors of very ripe red and black berries with oak-driven notes of vanilla and cedar in the background. Moderately lush with satisfying Bing cherry notes singing on the finish. Good.

2011 Twomey Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.56, $46 (Magnums too, $90). Released April 27, 2013. Sourced from the estate Monument Tree Vineyard and Ferrington Vineyard. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Glorious aromas of fresh black raspberry jam, potpourri and spice. I just love that smell. Really delicious marriage of dark berries and cherries with a subtle mocha note. The ripe fruit really pops, reaching every corner of the mouth, and finishing strong and satisfying. There is an appealing tension and focus to this wine and the satiny texture is captivating. An incredible effort in a difficult vintage and my kudos to winemaker Ben Cane. Still great the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle when my family polished it off. A 2013 All American.

2010 Waits-Mast Cellars Londer Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 100 cases, $40. Released May 2012. Londer Vineyard is located west of Philo, surrounded by a forest of conifers. Clones 115 and Swan picked at 24º to 25º Brix. 100% de-stemmed, native yeast fermentation, aged 17 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Very aromatic with scents of dark red cherries and berries with a kiss of oak. Full-on mid palate attack of black cherry flavor that is sappy and showy, sporting young, firm tannins and a remarkably fruit-filled finish that goes on and on. Needs time to fully integrate the tannins. Very good.

2009 Wind Racer Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 246 cases, $50. Released fall 2012. Clones 667, 777 and Wädenswil. !00% de-stemmed, 70% whole berries, 5-day cold soak. Aged 15 months in 34% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. A richly concentrated wine featuring aromas and flavors of black cherries and black raspberries with a hint of herbs and oak. Impressive finishing length. This wine will find fans looking for powerful fruit flavors. Very good.

Lodging is always a challenge in the Anderson Valley but there are some new appealing possibilities. I have already mentioned the Madrones. In nearby Yorkville Highlands, there is the Ravenridge, two fully appointed rustic cottages, one of which comfortably accommodates four adults and the other one couple. Visit Stony Bottom Gardens came highly recommended to me by friends. The beautifully landscaped property of 5! acres of English-style gardens is within walking distance of the town of Boonville. Three deluxe accommodations are offered: the Suite, the Cottage and the Annex. Ginger and Walt Valen are your hosts. 707-895-9424.