Mendocino’s Anderson Valley is a treasure trove of cool-climate greatness, from Pinot Noir to Chardonnay and crisp, ridiculously affordable sparkling wines made from those same grapes. Here’s what you should be sipping on this season.
Sheldon 2010 Roma’s Vineyard Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley). An ebullient example of cool-climate Pinot Noir from an 1,800-feet elevation vineyard at the north end of the Anderson Valley. Sheldonʾs Roma is classic in its layers of nuanced cherry and raspberry flavors and spicy acids that are focused and intensely delicious.
abv: 13.4% Price: $45
Davies 2010 Londer Vineyards Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley). A soft Pinot Noir from one of the region’s better known vineyards, this has thick fruit, and it offers a silky counterpoint to the meatiness lurking in the background. With tart cherry and dark plum flavors making their presences felt, the wine has depth and finishes long and neat.
abv: 14.3% Price: $50
Breggo 2010 Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley). An assertive yet rounded Pinot Noir, this is surrounded by cherry fruit and a hint of rose petal, with a distinctive herbal finish. Crafted by Breggo, which is owned by well-known Napa Valley producer Cliff Lede, it is a dark, toasty and rich wine that Cabernet fans will love.
abv: 14.5% Price: $60
Scharffenberger NV Brut Excellence (Mendocino County). Another fine sparkling wine from Scharffenberger, this blend of two-thirds Chardonnay and one-third Pinot Noir is a swirl of very inviting caramel apple that dives into a frothy mousse, with a dry finish that has balanced acidity.
abv: 12% Price: $20
Navarro 2011 Table Wine Chardonnay (Anderson Valley). This is truly one of the best bargain wines imaginable. Itʾs extremely well made from good fruit, showing a creamy caramel-lemon imprint. Itʾs textured and vibrant, with bright acidity and a bite of lime on the finish. Best Buy.
abv: 13.1% Price: $13