Most trips to northern California wine country end just a short drive from San Francisco in Sonoma or Napa. But, if you’re a lover of pinot noir or chardonnay and don’t mind a bit more driving through the redwoods, head up to Anderson Valley. This is one of California’s coolest growing regions, which makes it perfect for the Burgundian varieties. Homey and bucolic, Anderson Valley is the road less traveled, and that’s a shame because there are some brilliant wines coming from this region. Back in 2012, Roederer Estate, which had been producing outstanding sparkling wines from Anderson Valley fruit since 1981, started a still wine project with the release of Domaine Anderson wines. I met with Darrin Low, who grew up in Healdsburg, the talented wine maker at Domaine Anderson, to discuss what makes Anderson Valley unique and of course, to taste some delicious wines.
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Darrin Low, Wine Maker, Domaine Anderson
2014 Domaine Anderson Estate Chardonnay
Bouquet of white flowers, golden delicious apple, lemon meringue, and a distinct minerality. Stunning balance. Nothing is too showy in this chardonnay. Clearly California fruit is restrained by great acid, minerality and elegant leesy creaminess. Flavors of yellow apple, Meyer lemon, and slightly under-ripe stone fruit are balance by crisp acid for a long finish. At under $30 you can;t beat this chard.
2014 Domaine Anderson Estate Pinot Noir
Nose of dark berries, earthiness and hints of baking spices. On the palate this wine presents a moderately full body. Restrained flavors of dark cherries, blackberry and cocoa are balance by tannins which might be considered a bit bold for pinot noir and bold acidity. Further complexity is added by a wonderful earthiness. All of this combines for a wine that has a lot to offer and will age nicely for the next 10 years.
2013 Domaine Anderson, Pinoli Vineyard, Pinot Noir
Aromas of purple flowers, dark cherry, blackberry and a hint of fresh thyme. This wine is all about elegance and texture. Flavors of juicy, yet restrained, berries are backed by notes of licorice and fennel. Vibrant acidity and fine tannins combine with everything else on the long, complex and elegant finish.