Of all the New World wine countries, perhaps the one which has demonstrated the most flair for producing high quality wines - using a combination of traditional and forward-thinking contemporary methods - has been the United States of America. For the past couple of centuries, the United States has set about transforming much of its suitable land into vast vineyards, capable of supporting a wide variety of world-class grape varietals which thrive on both the Atlantic and the Pacific coastlines. Of course, we immediately think of sun-drenched California in regards to American wines, with its enormous vineyards responsible for the New World's finest examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot based wines, but many other states have taken to viticulture in a big way, with impressive results. Oregon, Washington State and New York have all developed sophisticated and technologically advanced wine cultures of their own, and the output of U.S wineries is increasing each year as more and more people are converted to their produce.
The North Coast region encompasses some of the finest vineyards in the state, running south from Mendocino on the coast, through Lake County and Sonoma, and eastward to the Napa Valley.
Mendocino & Lake County, for some, Mendocino means the quaint, artsy village perched on a cliff above the Pacific. But Mendocino County is also wine country. Many of the region's vineyards are tucked among the redwoods, sheltered from the fog and wind of the Pacific by the protective mantle of the Coastal Range Mountains. Sunny enclaves, such as Redwood and Potter Valleys, produce fine Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. On the other hand, the more-exposed Anderson Valley is extremely cool, ideal for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in still and sparkling styles. Well inland from the Pacific Ocean, just about everything from Chardonnay to Zinfandel does well in very warm regions such as Clear Lake and Guenoc Valley in Lake County. Of note, there are vineyards of so-called Old Vine Zinfandel plantings of long ago, sprinkled across the region. There is renewed interest in making wine from these old, historic vines.