Marvelous Mendocino

Lots of places on the West Coast think of themselves as pinot prima donna, but there is a very real possibility that the least pretentious of all will claim the throne. Sideways loved the Central Coast. Oregon assumes (a little to quickly) the crown is theirs. Yet it seems time after time the most exciting pinots I’ve been tasting are from Mendocino’s rugged Anderson Valley.

Yesterday’s Taste of Mendocino was packed with enthusiastic tasters and expressive pinots. What's most exciting is, strangely enough, what these Mendocino pinot noirs lack. They are moderate in alcohol, missing a big price tag and offer more pleasure than attitude. They are brilliantly light in color, fragrantly lacy, exotically delicate and long on the palate. Pinot noir from Anderson Valley tastes like pinot noir - a claim many pinots from Oregon and the rest of California cannot claim. You'll not confuse a Anderson Valley pinot noir with a syrah.

We can only hope their increasing fame does not lead these growers down the path taken by so many Oregon producers who have given up the elegance that their cool climate can bestow on their wines in the headlong pursuit of points over purity of variety.

Some highly recommended Mendocino pinot noir wines from the tasting:

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