California’s Mendocino County is widespread and extremely diverse, encompassing 2.4 million acres of land. The area sprawls across narrow valleys, giant redwood forests, and reaches out to the pristine northern California coastline. The scenic route and my favorite way to get there starts at Highway 128 in Cloverdale, at the northern tip of Sonoma County, and continues north until you reach Anderson Valley, an AVA (American Viticultural Area) most known for pinot noir, chardonnay, and Alsatian grape varietals.
Jean Bousquet, a third generation French winemaker, traveled to Argentina in the early 90’s and fell in love with a very particular area named the Gualtallary zone of Tupungato, sub-region of Mendoza’s Uco Valley. Sitting 4,000 feet in the Andean foothills, these high-elevation grape vineyards are considered to produce some of the finest wines in Mendoza.
On the Central Coast of California, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, is where you will see the best views of the rugged Pacific coastline. This area is also home to the Paso Robles wine region. Once known primarily for cattle ranches and grain fields, the region also has a rich history of grape growing by true American farmers.
Following the second annual Taste Tours Tuscany last spring at Casali di Bibbiano, a magnificent Italian country estate and winery, I headed to Umbria, a lesser-known but equally wonderful wine region. My trip was focused on learning more about Sagrantino, a red wine grape that has been making a lasting impression.