A Primer on Anderson Valley (Part 2)
This week I wanted to follow-up Brian's introduction to the Anderson Valley with a few more didactic tidbits and reiterate our excitement at harvesting fruit from this fascinating region. Anderson Valley is known as one of the "cooler" regions for growing pinot, which may or may not spark an "ah-ha!" amongst our geekiest readership. As you know, cool temperatures, particularly pre-harvest low minimum temperatures, are cherished for developing bright fruit flavors and high acid. Since acid and structure go hand in hand, we can expect Anderson Valley's overnight lows in the 50's to enhance all aspects of our finished wine. High diurnal temperature variations, with daytime highs in the low 90's and overnight lows in the 50's, allow grapes to fully ripen without sacrificing acid. A self-proclaimed "quirky" region, once populated with aging hippies dissatisfied by the grind and chaos of urban life, the area ironically now commands top dollar for land, with prices nearly commiserate with top notch Northern California real estate. Staunchly anti-development and relishing its relative isolation, the Anderson Valley has few restaurants and even fewer hotels. But even this won't stop us from sneaking over to heavy hitters like Goldeneye to try to talk our way into barrel tasting and some free education.
Xenophobic reputation aside, I think the Anderson Valley has grown more mainstream than its residents want to believe. Indeed the Anderson Valley was prominently featured on the cover of the June 15 Wine Spectator. Just reading about their elegant wines with juicy, berry flavors and supple, velvety mouth feel accelerates my anticipation of our 2008 harvest. In fact, we've really enjoyed the Londer pinot which was specifically mentioned in the article. We stumbled upon that same wine rather serendipitously at out neighborhood grocery store a few months ago. One Friday evening, we sampled a panoply of Anderson Valley pinots as "due diligence" for our vineyard selection. Super-ego be damned, I imbibed indulgently knowing a marathon training run loomed in my future, just hours away, early (too early) Saturday morning. And I happily report that despite multiple restroom stops for a churning stomach and spastic colon, coupled with waking a handful of unsuspecting homeless people seeking shelter in a foul, public john, my impression of the Londer pinot remains unsullied. I guess the bottom line is that excessive pinot, sushi and early morning long runs are an unsavory combination. (How did we get from Wine Spectator to bathrooms again?)