Beyond Napa and Sonoma in the north you find a couple of other counties producing great wine. Among these are Mendocino and Lake County. The northernmost California winegrowing regions, these two counties are right above Napa and Sonoma, geographically. Yet, wine-wise they are very different – both from their southern neighbors and from each other.
Mendocino has a high amount of organic vintners and vines. The first winery to settle here was Fetzer, which practices organic viticulture and holds some of the most vineyard land in the area. Mendocino has many pockets of micro-climates while Lake County, being smaller in size, is less diverse climactically. As for the grapes, Chardonnay
is the most popular in both counties, but there are also some excellent Sauvignon Blancs
, particularly in the Lake County. In red wine, Zinfandel
leads the way, followed by Rhone Blends
and Petite Sirah
. The reds in both counties are complex and sumptuous. Anderson Valley is a sub-AVA of Mendicino and is quite well known for its excellent cool climate, producing the delicious Roederer Estate
sparkling wines and some wonderful cool-climate Syrah.