Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: Anderson Valley boasts some great pinot

By JIM BEAUREGARD September 18. 2018 8:01PM

The name Anderson Valley may be a little less familiar to you, but it is a full-fledged American Viticultural Area, a coastal region some 80 miles north of San Francisco on that state’s Western slope down to the ocean.

It is located in Mendocino County, which has some 7,000 acres under vines. The terrain is mostly sloping as it heads down to the ocean and before viticulture arrived there, it was the land of Redwood logging and apple growing. Sheep were pastured there as well.

The planting of vines began in earnest in the 1970s. The region was initially known for its white wines including chardonnay and riesling, but red wines such as zinfandel have become more popular in recent years.

In today’s column, we want to think about pinot noir in the Anderson Valley. As all those on the Pinot quest know, the grape needs warm days and cool nights to reach its full potential, and the Anderson Valley provides just that, with cool winds coming in off the Pacific at night. Let’s take a look at one pinot noir from said region:

Balo 2014 Estate Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Calif., $39.99 at the New Hampshire State Liquor Store, 13.6% abv. The Mullins family has produced an interesting pinot noir, purple at the core and ruby throughout most of its body, clear, free of faults and possessing a clean nose with medium intensity and primary fruits, strawberry and raspberry coming through most strongly. The palate is dry, of medium — plus acidity and medium tannin. The alcohol is well-balanced in this medium bodied red with medium — plus flavor intensity that continues the raspberry and strawberry of the nose, and adds red plum and some hints of charred wood from the barrels. It has a good finish that holds the flavors, which come and go right through to the end. It is good balance, integration and intensity, and is ready to drink now. For more information about the vineyard, go to www.killerpinot.com.

If you are looking for a cold weather beverage since the temperature is starting to fall at night, it’s time to consider Unearthed Stout, Long Trail Brewing Co., 7.9% ABV, about $2.50 dollars for a 12 oz. bottle. Winter calls for something heavier and this is a very dark beer, very dark brown to black, with a dark tan, creamy head. The aromas that greet you include malt and chocolate. The beer is slightly off dry, with medium bitterness, acidity and balance alcohol. The alcohol is well integrated into the blend, and this is a full-bodied beer, creamy and thick, with medium — plus flavor intensity that includes malt chocolate and some spice/resin. It has a very long and pleasing finish.

Contact wine and beer writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh@aol.com.


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