Anderson Valley Barrel Tasting 2019

In case you haven’t figured it out yet,  we are passionate about wine. On any trip,we always scout out local wine regions to educate ourselves and our readers about wines, wine events and wine regions. Living in San Francisco, some of the best wine regions and events are close to home. Just two hours north of San Francisco is Anderson Valley. We recently visited in July 2019 to go to the Anderson Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend.

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Over a dozen of participating Anderson Valley’s wineries opened their cellar doors for the weekend. Some wineries are normally open to visitors, but others are not normally open but were pouring wines for the event. Visitors could taste new vintage wines directly from the barrel as well as older vintages that were already bottled. Many wineries offered futures on the barrel wines at a discount. What a great way to get an idea of how a wine that you tasted from a barrel might evolve once it is bottled.

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And to go with the wines, most wineries also offered snacks including cheese, homemade casseroles and homemade desserts (especially brownies).es’ currently available wines.

Anderson Valley Wines

Anderson Valley is known for its pinot noirs (which is our favorite varietal), a variety of Alsace-style varietals (such as gewürztraminer, pinot gris and riesling) and chardonnay. The barrel tasting weekend focused on pinot noirs. We stopped at the vast majority of participating wineries—some of which we have never previously been to.  After all, that is what events like this are all about. We discovered many new favorites (many of which of course we had to buy) from previous and current vintages. These included:

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We enjoyed the entire barrel tasting experience and the opportunity to taste and learn more about Anderson Valley wineries and wines. It provided a welcome opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with several wineries we knew in the past, discover some interesting new ones, restock our cellar with Anderson Valley wines and to discover our particular affinity for Oppenlander Vineyard pinot noirs.

We particularly enjoyed the especially educational experience we had at Foursight Wines where the winemaker was conducting the barrel samples and explaining the origins and how each of the vineyard-designate wines was produced. We shifted back and forth between current releases and barrel samples to see how the wines would age. And even more interesting, the winery had pinot noirs with varying levels of oak, including Zero, which had no oak at all. What a great way to understand what aging in oak barrels does to wine.

We also stopped at some non-participating wineries and particularly enjoyed Handley Cellars. Here we especially enjoyed their 2017 unoaked Water Tower and 2016 Burgundian-style Estate chardonnays; their 2016 Helluva and RSM Vineyard pinot noirs and their 2014 Late Harvest Riesling dessert wine.

The only problem? We ended up buying several cases of wine and some futures. Not a bad problem to have however.

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