Mendocino’s Anderson Valley is home to many fine wineries that find success in growing cool-climate varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. It’s a beautiful, remote region, flanked by ridges covered with redwood and oak forest, and the mouth of the valley ends at the stunning Mendocino Coast. I’ve traveled its length many times, and have a soft place in my heart for its bucolic setting and the wines that are made there.
One of the old-timers is Husch Vineyard, a family-owned winery founded in 1971—which the owners claim makes it the oldest winery in the appellation. On a recent trip to California, I pulled a bottle of 2007 Husch Chardonnay from a well-stocked grocery shelf in the Bay Area community of San Bruno. (YouTube's headquarters are next door, and Google security personnel were dining in the local storefront burger joint—how times have changed since my youth in northern San Mateo County!)
My colleague James Laube loved the 2007 vintage for California Chardonnay, and the $13 price tag on the shelf couldn’t be beat. There was plenty to like in this wine, which featured a complex aroma of fig, anise and honey, with ripe flavors featuring tropical fruit overtones and some minerally notes. The short finish was a touch exotic and had wild herbal notes. The wine was barrel-fermented in a mix of mostly older French, Hungarian and American oak, with about a quarter of the juice undergoing malolactic fermentation. It was then aged in barrel for around eight months before bottling. I rated it 88 points, non-blind.
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