Mendocino Wine Tasting with morning dew ranch

There are so many reasons I love Mendocino wine tastings. I’m what they call a Pinotfile. I’ve never met one I didn’t like. Even the highly acidic. Mendocino wine tastings and the Anderson Valley offer exceptional Pinot Noirs and a laidback vibe.

Anderson Valley Wine In Mendocino County

Anderson Valley in Mendocino County is one of the more lesser-known and under appreciated AVAs in California, from a tourist perspective. There are over 30 wineries and tasting rooms in Anderson Valley.

But, IYKYK and if you don’t know, we’ll let you in on the reasons Mendocino wine tasting is California’s best kept secret. 

The region produces some of the best Pinot Noir.

Alongside this varietal, sparkling wine and Chardonnay are also commonly found here.

The Mendocino County and Anderson Valley region has a cool and foggy climate, which originally made it challenging to grow red wines like Pinot Noir.

But, in the 1980s, varieties of Pinot Noir that could ripen in cool climates like Anderson Valley, were produced.

Mendocino Winery- Morning Dew Ranch Estate Vineyard

The Morning Dew Ranch Estate Vineyard was purchased in 2015 from Burt Williams, founder of the famed Williams Selyem Winery.  

Morning Dew is a 12-acre vineyard, located in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County, California.  Mendocino County is a cool microclimate, at an elevation of 617 feet, and Pinot Noir thrives in cool elevation.  

Morning Dew Ranch is the newest vineyard in the Castello di Amorosa portfolio. Castello di Amorosa is a full-scale, historically accurate, actual, medieval Tuscan castle in the heart of Napa Valley.  

The vineyard contains nine blocks of Pinot Noir, specifically DRC, 115, 777, Rochioli, 23, and 828 clones.

In viticulture, a clone is a variety of grape that is selected for specific qualities (like fungal resistance, cold hardiness or a particular color or flavor characteristic), which result from natural mutations.

Pinot Noir is a very old variety of grape, and extremely susceptible to mutation, so there are a ton of Pinot Noir clones out there.  According to UC Davis, there are more clones of Pinot noir than of any other wine grape variety.

mendocino wine tasting
photo credit: Mendocino Winegrowers

2016 Morning Dew Ranch Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley  /94 points

100% Pinot Noir from the 12-acre Morning Dew Ranch vineyard.  Aged for 10 months in French Burgundy oak barrels.  

Medium ruby in color.  Wow.  Layers and layers of complexity.  Strawberry, fresh red cherries, cola, vanilla, clove, cocoa, tobacco.  Gorgeous structure — soft yet strong (but not bullying) tannins, and engaging acidity.  

I say again, wow.  Sometimes, in my zeal for Burgundy, I forget just how transformative California Pinot Noir can be when it’s made well.  And this one is made very well.  It’s elegant, classy, and thought-provoking.  13.9% ABV.   

I’d buy a case of this stuff without hesitation.

2016 Morning Dew Ranch Rosato, Anderson Valley /91 points

100% Pinot Noir from the same 12-acre estate vineyard as the regular Pinot Noir.  Aged in concrete fermentation eggs (which are really cool, btw).  

Pale salmon color.  Beautifully dry.  Strawberry, rhubarb, and rose petals.  Beautiful minerals/wet rocks on the finish.  Light tannins provide structure, balanced by an energetic acidity.  13.2% ABV.  

Retail’s  bit on the high side for a Rosé, but if you’re looking for something with a structure and elegance that’s a departure from the normal run of the mill Rosé, it’s worth the price tag.

Fun Fact:  The word gargoyle comes from the old French gargouille, meaning throat.  The practical purpose of gargoyles was to provide drainage for a church or castle.  The secondary purpose was to scare the bejeezus out of people.  But, a gargoyle can only be a gargoyle if it functions as a water spout.  Otherwise, it’s a grotesque, which is used solely for decoration.

mendocino wine tasting

More Tasting Experiences in Mendocino County

Toulouse Vineyards & Winery

Toulouse Vineyards & Winery varietals offered: Pinot Gris, rosé of pinot noir, pinot noir, zinfandel, merlot and valdiguié.

8001 Highway 128, Philo, 707-895-2828

Pennyroyal Farm

The Pennyroyal Farm offers its own line of cheeses, farm tours, The Pennyroyal is an Anderson Valley institution.

14930 Highway 128, Boonville, 800-956-8909

Husch Vineyards & Winery

In 1968, Tony and Gretchen Husch planted chardonnay, gewürztraminer and pinot noir nearby and established Husch Vineyards as Anderson Valley’s first new winery since Prohibition.

4400 CA-128, Philo, 707-895-3216

Roederer Estate

Louis Roederer came to Anderson Valley in 1982. Roederer Estate produces some of the best sparkling wines in Anderson Valley, with their Brut sparkling wine being perhaps their most famous. L’Ermitage Brut is referred to as one of the best Mendocino wines.

4501 Highway 128, Philo, 707-895-2288

Navarro Vineyards and Winery

In the heart of Anderson Valley, Navarro Vineyards and Winery is open daily. The winery also offers tours and you’re welcome to bring your picnic.

The winery’s Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer and Riesling  are award winning.

5601 CA-128, Philo 800-537-9463

Mendocino Wine Tasting FAQ

Are there vineyards in Mendocino?

There are so many reasons I love Mendocino wine tastings. Mendocino wine tastings and the Anderson Valley offer exceptional Pinot Noirs and a laidback vibe.  There are over 30 wineries and tasting rooms in Anderson Valley, Mendocino County.

What wine is Mendocino known for?

Mendocino County has earned much of its fame from the wines of its Anderson Valley AVA. With it’s cool and foggy climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grow well here, as do Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris. Let’s not forget about their sparkling wines.

How many wineries are in Mendocino?

There are far more vineyards than wineries on Mendocino County. About 570 vineyards to just under 40 wineries.

What wine region is Mendocino?

The region is part of the larger North Coast AVA and one of California’s largest and most climatically diverse wine growing regions.

Share on:

Recommended Articles