And so they came, saints and sinners, dreamers and schemers, to claim their place in the ever-expanding American landscape — often on foot, at an average of ten miles a day. But then, Gold Fever began to cool, and the open road to vast riches was showing deepening ruts. A transformation of values was beginning, colored as it was by new ideas and uncharted possibilities. A number of newcomers turned away from digging gold to pursue a more enduring wealth borne from the earth: The liquid gold that was California wine.
They planted Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Barbera — grapes that display great ripeness and intensity. These grapes were often planted together in small patches and co-fermented into what was referred to as a field blend. They complemented one another favorably and the wines showed great character with a big, bold, highly extracted style. Some 140 years later, these people and their wines inspired us to pay tribute to them — and to acknowledge the path that would, in ways they had never imagined, ultimately lead them to their dream down: The Broken Road. View all Ten Mile Wines
About North CoastView a map of North Coast wineries
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.
Notable FactsMendocino 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.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.