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New Varietals on the Horizon
This spring we are releasing two new varietals! We have crafted Anderson Valley's only Semillon, made from fruit from the Meyer Vineyard, just west of Boonville at 1700 feet elevation. We blended it with enough Sauvignon Blanc to create the complex balance of green olive and licorice with honeydew melon, grapefruit and sweet fig aromas.
Also bottled in frosted white with our infamous copper fire-breating dragon is the estate bottled Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir Rose. It's the perfect summer sipping wine for sitting on the deck or toting to a picnic. This wine features a slight spiciness with rose petal and maraschino cherry aromas. And--yes--real men drink pink wine! Both of these 2004 vintage wines are being released in May 2005. Let's raise a toast to the long, hot days of summer and the perfect wines to accompany them!
Christine Lakeland Records Live CD at the
California Wine Tasting Championships
We are thrilled to announce that guitarist/singer/songwriter Christine Lakeland will return for an encore performance at this year's California Wine Tasting Championships. Each of our tasting club members has received a live CD that she recorded at last year's event, and she has promised to bring more....
Christine made her professional debut at age seventeen, performing with Tanya Tucker, and went on to play with performers such as Merle Haggard and Hoyt Axton, and is currently a member of J.J. Cale's band. Please join us for an unforgettable weekend of live music, sumptuous food, great wine and spirited revelry at the 23rd annual California Wine Tasting Championships, July 30 and 31, 2005. See you there!
Dragons Invade SBC Park
At 2:30 pm on Monday, June 27 the Greenwood Ridge Dragons will take on an all-star team from the Bay Area Men's Senior Baseball League at SBC Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants. For free tickets please contact the tasting room, 707-895-2002.
To see the complete Dragons schedule, including games at other major league stadiums, please click on the "Baseball" link at the top of the page.
The Evolution of Mendocino Ridge
By Rusty Eddy
When Greenwood Ridge Vineyards started making wine in 1980, The Empire Strikes Back was in theaters. The only recognized appellation available for Allan Green to use on his first bottle of Riesling was "Mendocino County," even though the grapes came from Anderson Valley. It wasn't until 1983 that Anderson Valley became a recognized American Viticultural Area (AVA).
In fact, the entire system of delineating grape growing areas by using AVAs was legislated in 1978, but only became finalized in 1983, which is why so many of California's AVAs were established in 1983 and 1984.
"Mendocino County" is a political appellation that simply refers to grapes grown anywhere within the County. Pioneering winegrowers like Donald Edmeades in the 1960s and Allan in the 1970s showed that cool climate wine grapes could produce outstanding wines in Anderson Valley (and on Greenwood Ridge). The unique climate of the Valley led directly to the establishment of the official appellation in 1983.
Meanwhile, the "Mendocino" appellation was also in the works, to be finalized in 1984. But viticulture and winemaking in Anderson Valley started long before the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. had even thought about regulating it. Swiss and Italian settlers planted vineyards to make wine for home consumption, and there wine found its way to logging camps in the Valley and along the coast. Italian immigrants settled the Greenwood Ridge area in the 1890s, developing small vineyards and wineries on their homesteads. Loggers and mill workers would visit the ridge and spend weekends buying and drinking wine from the ridge-top wineries.
The government finally noticed, and Prohibition ended all the fun. Wineries and vineyards in the Valley went into decline. At the time of Repeal in 1933, most of the vineyards on the ridges had been forgotten and apple orchards were planted on the Valley floor.
But you can't hide a great grape growing area forever. Taking a cue from some of the original Italian immigrants who settled and planted the ridges in the 1880s, Allan rediscovered and began farming his ridge-top property in 1973.
Allan and his neighbors, Dan Dooling and Steve Alden, along with the Zeni, Ciapusci and Gianoli families, are the reason the Mendocino Ridge appellation exists today. They petitioned the government for three years to establish Mendocino Ridge as a distinct appellation, but Washington had never granted AVA status to an area based on altitude rather than a contiguous flat-land surface.
The difference in the Mendocino Ridge appellation is that the vineyards are planted above the fog line. Different grape varieties flourish in these "islands in the sky" than down below in the cool Valley.
The Mendocino Ridge appellation was finally granted official status in 1997. Greenwood Ridge Vineyards released the first wines labeled with the new AVA: the 1996 Merlot, 1997 White Riesling, and the 1997 Late Harvest White Riesling. Of course, the newest releases of those varietals - and others - await you in the tasting room.
As a small winery we have very rarely discounted our wines other than to our tasting club members. Recently we have begun rewarding our loyal customers with internet-only promotions, starting with a holiday gift of free shipping. We followed with an end-of-vintage sale on the last pallet of 2002 Sauvignon Blanc, which sold out quickly as a result.
The popularity of this program is encouraging, so we're planning to continue to experiment with it. If you would like to receive notice of our internet-only deals, please send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 707-895-2002.
2003 Late Harvest White Riesling
Producing wines affected by brotrytis cinerea, the "noble rot," requires an arduous battle with Mother Nature and a great deal of painstaking work. We try to make a Late Harvest White Riesling every year, but we've only been successful about 40% of the time. But when the gamble and all the efforts pay off, the results can be extraordinary. Here's how Wine Enthusiast Magazine describes our 2003 Late Harvest Riesling, accompanying their score of 94 points:
"Wonderfully rich and decadent in botrytis and fruit, just bursting with apricot jam, orange liqueur, honey, vanilla and smoky oak flavors. Pretty sweet, but not cloying due to the refreshing acidity."
At only $25 per 375 ml. bottle, it's a bargain. Quantities are very limited so don't procrastinate!