We were recently on the way from San Francisco to Mendocino and made a brief Anderson Valley winery stop, which was, in turn a two-day detour on the way to Eureka (see our next post on the Humboldt County Kinetic Sculpture Championships).
Anderson Valley Highlights
After a brief visit at Silver Oak’s Anderson Valley tasting room (for a very interesting mini-horizontal/vertical tasting (the 2007 and 2011 Anderson Valley and the 2007 and 2011 Napa Valley cabs, we headed up the windy Route 128 to Yorkville where, based on a recommendation, we stopped at Meyer Family Winery (own by previous partners in Silver Oak). While known primarily for their Syrah (we especially enjoyed the 2011 High Ground Reserve). and Syrah Port, they also have some very credible Cabernets (a very drinkable 201o Fluffy Billows and a more age-worthy 2012 Spitfire).
From there, as we went down into the valley, we were in Pinot and Chardonnay territory. We passed on some of our regular stops (such as Goldeneye, Breggo, Lazy Creek and Husch) in favor of a few newer and lesser known wineries that were recommended to us. Among our favorites at these were the 2012 Wicking Stick Wiley and Cerise Vineyard Pinots, the 2013 Balo Pinot.
Then, after a stop at Roederer to stock up on bubbly (L’Hermitage), we made a brief stop at Handley, to which we hadn’t been for years. This turned out to be our biggest surprise of the day, where we ended up buying four very nice, reasonably priced Handley Celler’s 2012 Pinots: two estate wines (the Mendocino County and Estate Vineyard Reserve), and two vineyard designates (RSM Vineyard and Helluva Vineyard).
Mendocino Restaurant Update
We arrived at our Mendocino inn (Brewery Gulch Inn) just in time for happy hour, a rather extravagant affair with roasted squash salad, tomato bisque, wild rice, roasted duck breast and a choice of four local wines. These bites turned out to be so satisfying that all we could manage for dinner (at the MacCallum House) was a small, but very tasty sausage and mushroom pizzetta.
The next day, even after the unusual, intriguing selection of breakfasts offered by the Brewery Gulch Inn (we both had smoked salmon plates with capers, red onions, creme fraiche and toast), we were still up for a substantial lunch and dinner.
Lunch was at Silver’s at the Wharf in Fort Bragg’s Harbor. The fried oysters and onion strings were both very good. The pan-fried rock cod sandwich, although inherently limited by the nondescript taste of the just-off-the-boat fish, was bolstered by tarter sauce, red onion, lettuce and tomato. While the service was merely acceptable, the food, the view and the selection of local beers (I had the Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale) made up for it.
Dinner, meanwhile, was a treat. Wild Fish is a tiny, ten-table Little River restaurant that serves interesting, well-crafted meals consisting of fresh, local, organic seafood, meat, produce that are accompanied by local wines and beers. We began with grilled wild, Salmon collar with Thai spice rub and coconut curry sauce, followed by two entrees: Wild king salmon with morels, asparagus, roast Yukon Gold potatoes and roasted garlic and basil vinaigrette; and seared halibut with roasted fingerling potatoes, green beans, onions and white wine shallot emulsion. All dishes were delicious, the service professional get casual and the wine (a 2011 Champs de Reves Anderson Valley Pinot, superb. Absolutely the best meal we have Thad in all our many Mendocino visits.