About two hours north of San Francisco, past the fabled lands of Napa and Sonoma, lies the Anderson Valley, a hidden gem of the wine world. The tiny, tucked away valley in Mendocino County is just 15 miles long, but gained international notoriety in 1982, when Champagne giant Louis Roederer (producers of Cristal), chose it as the site for their U.S. sparkling wine facility. People quickly caught on that the Anderson Valley was a prime site for cool climate varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but you didn’t have to tell the people at Husch Vineyards – they had already been making wines in the Anderson Valley for 11 years.
I recently had the pleasure to taste through a range of the Husch Vineyards offerings with Zac Robinson, part of the third generation of his family to grow grapes in the Anderson Valley. The first thing that struck me about these wines was the reasonable pricing compared to others I’ve tried from the region – Zac explained that there are economic advantages to having already been established before Roederer came in and the price of land exploded. Of the six wines they distribute outside of the winery, I tasted the following four:
2008 Husch Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc – $13 – A very herbaceous nose leads to a bright, not overly grassy wine on the palate with a refreshing acidic finish.
2007 Husch Vineyards Gewurtztraminer – $14 – This wine just jumps out of the glass at you with blossom and sweet spice. The palate has just a bit of residual sugar but a perfect balance of acid, lychee fruit and spice on the lingering finish. Great! Enjoy it with spicy Asian cuisine.
2008 Husch Vineyards Chardonnay – $15 – A pleasantly soft, lightly oaked, wine with hints of apple and pear to go with a bit of toast. It would likely please all ilks of Chardonnay drinkers, as it toes the line between the clean-and-steely and buttery-and-oaky styles.
2007 Husch Vineyards Pinot Noir – $20 – A wine truly representative of the varietal and the terroir, this is a lighter bodied and feminine pinot tasting of nice sour cherry and clove. Keep this in mind to serve with Thanksgiving turkey.
As always, I recommend that if you can’t find the Husch Vineyards wines in your area, try something else new from the Anderson Valley. I particularly enjoy the wines from Breggo Cellars and Londer Vineyards, and would take a chance on any Gewurtztraminer or Pinot Noir from the region.