Anderson Valley is a valley of wineries off the beaten path area in Northern California, well beyond Sonoma and Napa, with surprisingly little traffic. The Anderson Valley is located in the rolling hills of the coastal region of Mendocino County, about two hours north of San Francisco. Only fifteen miles long, this beautiful valley is home to a unique group of vineyards and wineries producing a broad range of excellent wines. Whether you are an experienced wine aficionado, or are just discovering the pleasure of drinking good wine, the Anderson Valley deserves exploration.
They are known for their world class Pinot Noir and Alsace Varietals and their tasting rooms are very down-to-earth, friendly and rarely crowded, ranging from a picnic table at a backyard winery to a beautiful salon at a sleek, modern facility. Two gems worth mentioning, one is smaller and the other larger and more renowned: Toulouse Vineyards and Navarro.
Toulouse Vineyards is all about sustainable farming practices and producing the finest Pinot Noir infused with the fun and passion of winemaking. For Vern and Maxine Boltz, it has been an exciting journey beginning as fruit growers and evolving into producers of award-winning wines. As a boutique winery, the Boltz’ take pride in their truly handcrafted wine which is fully created in house. By design, their smaller sized operation enables them to maintain high quality control, do all winemaking and bottling on site, and manage every facet of the entire process.
Vern shares some of their best wines with us. My favorite was the 2008 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, which is loaded with cinnamon and brandied cherries and cocoa, and layered with smokiness.
Navarro Vineyards have been growing grapes and bottling wine since 1973. They produce red, white, sparkling, and dessert wines in Philo, CA. My favorites were the 2007 and 2010 Pinot Noir and their 2009 Shiraz. Navarro has four different cheeses as well onsite: Laychee, which pairs well with Gewurztraminer, Edelzwicker and Rose, the Bollie’s Mollies, which is ripened cheese from pasteurized goat and sheep milk, the Boont Corners and the Boonter’s Blue, which is aged for at least 60 days.