28 Mar Tasting 3/29: WindRacer Wines, 5:30-7
It’s not that Anderson Valley and the Russian River Valley are in competition because they are so recognizably different from one another in the glass, but it is true that some of the fiercest debates we’ve had at tastings over the last few years were over the merits of one AVA versus the other.
In Anderson Valley, 15 miles of Mendocino Coast and an additional 15 miles snaking inland comprise one of California’s super-cool growing regions allowing for grapes to hang longer and ripen slowly thanks to the sub-60-degree average temperature, morning fog, and geographical features shortening each day’s length of sun exposure. The coastal vineyards are prized for their structure and dark fruits and the vines that grow in the even cooler pockets of the AVA show an almost mystical complexity of herbaceousness and spice and possess incredible ability to age.
In the Russian River Valley, a short drive north of San Francisco, small and highly specialized wineries have made comfortable homes for over half a century. The AVA is quite large, around 10,000 acres, and covers a few different terroir types in Sonoma County. Much like Anderson Valley, this AVA is most heralded for producing refined, elegant, and ageworthy pinot noir. My favorite elements of distinctly Russian River Valley tasting notes are loaminess, tart cherry, and most of all black tea. But, you know, Anderson Valley will always be my favorite of the two, so come taste with us if you disagree and we’ll have a good debate!
Here are the contenders:
WindRacer Anderson Valley Chardonnay:
Enticing aromas of white clover, citrus zest, caramel and sweet spices are the first demonstration of this wine’s beauty. On the palate, this wine displays Meyer lemon, yellow plum and butter cookies that lead into a fresh, lively acidity with a balanced richness showing the refined expression of both Chardonnay and the Anderson Valley.
WindRacer Anderson Valley Pinot Noir:
Delightful aromas of blueberry tea, anise, violets and plum expose the elegant personality of this wine while flavors of bright red cherries, cloves, vanilla and a subtle earthiness dance along the palate. The finely knit, subtle tannins demonstrate the unique, restrained quality that Anderson Valley lends to the overall impression of a wine.
WindRacer Russian River Valley Chardonnay:
Bright aromas of yellow apple, orange zest and nutmeg couple with lovely flavors of Asian pear, stone fruit and crème brûlée to create a rich wine that proudly boasts fresh acids and a long finish. The classic flavors and profile of the Russian River Valley shine through this beautifully integrated wine.
WindRacer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir:
Opening with beautiful aromas of ripe plum, mocha and black licorice this wine displays the bold personality of the Russian River Valley. The palate is met with dark, brambly fruit and molasses, perfectly balanced by a lingering spice making way for a dense and concentrated texture. This plush mouthfeel and flavor profile showcase the exuberant characteristics and quality the Russian River Valley is known for.