The Anderson Valley was our destination for day 4 and a very different kind of experience was in store. The Anderson Valley is reckoned to be California’s smallest and coolest wine producing area and has gained an excellent reputation for top class fizz, Pinot Noir and cool climate aromatic grapes.
First of all, we headed out of Sonoma County into Mendocino County and a fairly long drive took us to our first visit at the Roederer Estate. Set up by the highly regarded Champagne House Louis Roederer some 15 years ago, they have set a gold standard for first class sparkling wine production. In the UK you see it marketed as Quartet which is their standard brut cuvée. Saffron showed us round and gave us a terrific tour and insight into the production facility and then enjoyed a seriously good tasting. Six different sparkling wines were tasted incorporating the Brut, Brut Rosé, Vintage 2009 and 2006, vintage Rosé and their Extra Dry – which was a bit sweeter than the others, obviously……
Lunch was brought in from the Boonville deli who served up pasta, a torta Milanese, salads and a delicious vegetable tart. We happily guzzled down some magnums of Brut Cuvée as we admired the view.
Next stop was Toulouse Vineyards just down the road from Roederer. A retired fire service Captain – Vern Boltz – set up the estate and made his first wine in 2002 and have never looked back. The tasting room has a beautiful setting overlooking the valley and surrounded by vineyards. We tasted an exceptional selection of wines with Jessica including some delightfully aromatic Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer followed by a quartet of utterly superb Pinot Noirs. It was very clear that the Anderson Valley is particularly well suited to this fickle grape.