|Islands in the Clouds, Mendocino County|
|New vineyard investment in Philo, Anderson Valley AVA|
Early 20th century ag development along the 20-mile Anderson Valley saw new Swiss and Italian immigrant plantings of familiar grapes varieties, as well as apples and hops across the isolated valley. Here, the early wine pioneers had branded names like Edmeades, Husch or Navarro; even by the late 70's there were still just a handful of area wineries. Still, cool tolerant Alsatian varietals had established a diverse vineyard foothold. In the early 1980's, sparkling wine producers saw the valley's unique qualities, bringing the prestigious French Champagne-house Roederer and John Scharffenberger investing chardonnay and pinot noir into this forgotten landscape. Today, valley plantings of pinot noir in clay loam soils now blanket across her rolling hills, joining adapted varietals with a generally cool growing season, and abundant dormant seasonal rainfall. And, just about everyone bottles a fragrant Gewurztraminer.
|Pretty, blushing Gewurztraminer/wine.com|
Recently featured at our informal tasting, Gewurztraminer from the Anderson Valley showed promise and consistency in all the dry selections tasted from the 2014 and 2015 harvests. In another league was the star of the evening, a Late Harvest Gewurztraminer from the Navarro Vineyards 2006 harvest. Golden in the glass, it shared aromas of dried stone fruits, honey, lychee and dried flowers by way of introduction. Its viscous nectar filling the mouth round with so many pleasurable notes it was difficult to linger on just one for very long. Moments later, perhaps minutes, it was still casting a delicious shadow across the palate as it lingered to luscious memory.
"We manage to sell it, but it certainly is not a widely popular wine. I don't think demand has grown", offers Navarro winemaker Ted Bennett. There remains a bittersweet parallel. Both Anderson Valley logging and gewurztraminer perhaps may share a historical fate. Unless it finds a consumer marketplace and continues to be managed sustain-ably it may one day be threatened with severe scarcity or worse yet, loss. That would be indeed logging tragedy, if only because this under appreciated, good value ambrosia varietal always loves my kung pao takeout.
Salute! And, Happy Harvest!
Coastal Redwood logging: https://youtu.be/3MDgxNLDR64